Take a break and be inspired

There is life outside the office and it can be inspiring. Here we take break from business and pass on recommendations for a few of the things which give us pleasure. Enjoy!

PS. Do let us know what you think and pass on your own favourites.

quotations of the week | wine of the month | book of the month
restaurant of the month | golf tip of the month


In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.

Warren Buffett

The worst is not
So long as we can say,
This is the worst

Shakespeare - "King Lear"

Herdade das Barras 2005

Alentejo red wine (15% by vol.) produced and bottled by SAPOA (Sociedade Agro-Pecuária do Oeste Alentejano) in Vila Nova da Baronia, Alvito, Alentejo.

Won the Alentejo Trophy award and gold medal at the IWC in London 2009 and the Gold Medal at the Concours Mondial 2009 in Brussels.

Oenology by Paulo Laureano,  based on Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grape varieties. Aged for 24 months in American and French oak casks mesesand afurther 12 months in the bottle.

Bouquet of red fruits with tobacco and chocalate notes. Full in the mouth with clear but rounded tanins. Good finish.

Drink now or during the next 5 years.

Good accompaniement to game or roast meats

Price 14.50 eurosat Coisas do Arco do Vinho.

Centro Cultural de Belém, Rua Bartolomeu Dias, lojas 7/8, 1400-026 Lisboa, Portugal Tel/fax: +351 213 642 031 Email:
O Magano
Rua Tomás da Anunciação 52, Campo de Ourique, Lisbon. Tel: 213 954 522

I shouldn't do it but I’m following a review of one of my favourite Alentejan restaurants (Solar dos Nunes) with a new discovery (to me) from the same gastronomic region. I couldn't resist. I allowed myself to be shamelessly seduced, indeed ravished,  by O Magano, which sits in an unassuming side street of the pleasant Campo de Ourique quarter.

It was the soup that gave me that "thunderbolt city" moment (cf Four Weddings and a Funeral). I'm not a huge soup eater but my friend Carlos Vicente (visit his outstanding organic supermarket, Brio, nearby), chose the Sopa de Cação – shark soup, made from a local, small, coastal species of shark – and I chose fried rabbit (Coelho Frito). We decided to split the dishes. Great decision.

The soup is really a stew, with generous pieces of fish and bread - a typical Alentejan addition – swimming in the thick, aromatic liquid.  This traditional dish is frequently either bland or overwhelmed with garlic. In the Magano's version, the rich, almost pungent, fish flavours are given the lead, with a sharp zing of fresh coriander and a deep undertone of garlic. The bread is not the usual dollop of disintegrating pulp at the bottom of the plate but is its own chewy, tasty surprise. Rarely have I so carefully scraped the plate for every last, delectable, drop of a soup.

Rabbit is difficult to fry properly. Timing is everything to avoid dried out or rubbery results. Here it was perfect, full of flavour – the hapless bunny had been soaked for some time in wine and herbs – juicy with, yet, a hint of crispness on the outside.  Another well-scraped dish and an extra notch let out on my belt.

The menu is extensive, although with few surprises for the Alentejo, but the execution is just unbeatable. Starters or, rather, hors d’oevres, are excellent, with some interesting ideas, such as fried strawberry pieces,  thrown in amongst the usual sausages and cheeses. Puddings are splendid, including a number of classic monastery recipes (“doces conventuais”) full of eggs and sugar, as well as other rich, mouth-wathering and thoroughly wicked temptations. The wine list is broad and solid. The atmosphere is genuine, relaxed and, thank goodness, not too noisy.

O Magano is definitely going into my top ten. This is a perfect choice for a relaxed business lunch or an intimate dinner and the ideal introduction to the wonders of Alentejan cooking.

Times: 12.00 to 15.00 and  19.00 to 22.30. Closes Saturday. Booking recommended.

Copyright © 2010 Clive Viegas Bennett 



"The Sum of Our Days" by Isabel Allende

I just had to choose my favourite modern author at least once. Isabel Allende is an enchantress of words and a mistress of the story. Here is another part of her sporadic autobiography: this time about her life in the United States. This is presented as a sequel to Paula, the extraordinary, wrenching account of the long death of her eponymous daughter but is completely different in tone and scope. The Sum of Our Days is a comedy of character and of life. If we are to believe her – and I am determined to do so – her life is as rich and as wild as her fiction.

Allende’s candour about herself and her family is both shocking and delightful. Her relationship with her American husband and with her children and all the rest of her tribe is always totally over-the-top, passionate to the point of madness. Her self-criticism is comically transparent – she describes herself as the mother-in-law from hell and one can believe it, though it makes hell seem so attractive. Like her novels, every word transmits her unending joy, even, paradoxically, during paralysing depression, in being alive, in being a witness to the miracle of humanity, of individuality, of love. But above all, this book is extremely funny and there are moments which made me laugh till I wept.

Read this book if you need to feel good, really good, about the world and about people. Surely, right now, we all do.

Available from at GBP 12.59 (hardback) and GBP 6.99 (paperback). Add postage to these prices.



Copyright © 2009 Clive Viegas Bennett

Photo-Finish for good balance
Author: Daniel Grimm

Picture Perfect

In a well-balanced follow-through, your weight transfers to your left side, your right heel raises off the ground, and your belt buckle faces to the target.





A good way to eliminate the tendency to hit the driver too hard is to think of one simple word: balance.


While you swing, you concentrate on finishing in a perfectly balanced position (as if you are posing for a photograph). This will help you tremendously to control your rhythm and swing. If you cannot maintain a balanced follow-through, you are almost certainly swinging beyond your limits of control.


Golf lessons and club fittings can be booked on, Tel: (+351)-935 675 365 or through Nevada Bob’s Golf.