The spring before spring



Often referred to as autumn. The fire is lit at night and the mornings are cool, but by 11 the doors are open and it’s lunch outside. Bees are buzzing, the heady aroma of orange blossom wafts through the door, the flies are annoying (still) and there are fresh green leaves on every plant. Seems odd at this time of year, but not altogether unusual for a climate that is bone dry and bread-bakingly hot over summer followed by an extremely wet and mild winter and early spring.

Split pea soup with (non-fishy) Worcester sauce and garlic bread oozing with olive oil and enough garlic to ward-off an entire flock of vampires!


A few more shrubs planted now the ground doesn’t need a jack-hammer. Hefty stakes for vampires and to discourage doggy bed making in the garden bed. Lúcia lima (lemon verbena), just behind the little table, makes a very refreshing infusion. It has a “thick” oily lemon flavour which works well on its own or sometimes I throw in some ginger and maybe a bit of tea. If you’re feeling north African, add mint and green tea. One day I’ll try making baklava filled with some of our walnuts. For me, the ultimate over the top sweet thing. I presume this type of dessert isn’t found in Portugal, firstly because the Iberian peninsular Moors from current day Morocco were pre-Ottoman expansion across north Africa, so didn’t bring baklava with them; secondly the Portuguese are hard-wired to refuse eating anything sweet unless it has 35 eggs per slice.


Today is cold enough to be a fire-in-the-day day! We shall call this winter.




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