June has flown by and it feels like we’ve been busy. Perhaps not by our old-life standards, but busy enough for us now, thank you very much.
In true ‘it never rains but it pours’ fashion, David’s work went from very quiet to very busy overnight – not that unusual when you are self-employed. So it was heads down to meet the deadlines – I help out by fielding emails, doing the quotes & accounts etc. While you can never complain about having plenty of business, it would be a little easier if it wasn’t all at once! Never mind, things have settled down now, with a nice flow of work still to come.
Adventures in the kitchen have been continuing. Pizza is still appearing weekly and we’ve hit on a favourite combination of caramelised onion, garlic mushrooms & feta – yum. I’ve also been making all our yoghurt and will be making a batch soon to strain into yoghurt cheese, to flavour with garlic and herbs – yum, yum. And I’ve discovered the delights of homemade baked beans. You can buy Heinz in some of the bigger supermarkets here, but I’ve never been that keen on the brand and at €1.50 a can vs 50c for a jar of plain white beans I thought I’d try them out. I read a few recipes, left out all the pork and came up with a really rather delicious version of my own with onion, garlic, mustard, paprika and tomato pulp – thicker than passata, thinner than tomato paste and readily available here. If the beans are already cooked, they don’t even need to be baked, just bubbled for a while on the stove. However, if you have the oven on anyway for the baked potatoes, then they can go in there. A handy hint – just make sure the lid of your pan is ovenproof first, otherwise you end up with something like this;
However, if you have a very clever and creative companheiro (Portuguese for ‘not-married-but-more-than-a-boyfriend-you-know-a-life-partner-sort-of-thing), you might get lucky and end up with one of these;
One day, I want to start making my own bread, but given that we’ve struck up a relationship with the local bread van man, it will have to wait until we move away from his round – we don’t want to do him out of his 80c a loaf!
And we might be moving soon. Another reason for the busy month was the house-hunting and we think we’ve found the perfect place. Even better, we had our offer accepted by the 7 (yes, 7!) current owners! And here it is;
Now, I know what you are thinking – it doesn’t look like much now. But it will, it will. The inside is a blank canvas – no electricity, kitchen or bathroom, exposed stone walls. There is a separate stone building in the garden for guest accommodation – bizarrely, that building does have a bathroom. There is a nice amount of garden – enough to grow some veggies but not so much that it is overwhelming. There are trees – walnut, orange, fig and a couple of olive. It is lovely and we have great plans for it. There are some questions over the paperwork – it has been inherited and not changed hands for over 60 years so we just have to hope that the owners can provide everything that is needed to prove they own it and therefore can sell it. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
As I’m English, there is a law that says I must mention the weather. Finally, finally, summer has arrived. At the beginning of the month there was a hint that it might be on its way with a couple of 30° days – just two days later it was back down to 15° with rain. It was horrible and cold. The last week however has been well above 30° every day and the forecast suggests it is here to stay. We are both very much warm weather people so are happy bunnies.
And finally, here is the puppy – as David said, you can never have too many photos of puppies, even 15 year old ones. She is doing well – still old, still deaf but seems happy. Her walks are a bit shorter in the hot weather – she will always stop and turn around to tell us she wants to go home rather than continue and at her age, we let her dictate how far she goes. She still likes a play with a new toy though, even if it does only last two minutes before she punctures it.
So that is what we’ve been up to recently. Portuguese lessons start again tomorrow after a few weeks off – our tutor was doing the pilgrim walk to Santiago de Compostela – so we’ll have to get into a routine of revising what we have learnt each week, something we have been very poor at doing. We’ll continue making plans for our future home – hopefully the paperwork will be sorted out and we get this one, but if not there will be another and we are having fun choosing flooring, tiles, wood burner, cooker etc. And I’ll continue having fun in the kitchen – at the moment, trying to come up with meals that need as little cooking as possible so I don’t melt in the kitchen on a hot day.
See you soon.