Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Like veg, but fried!

We are learning that when you grow your own veg you need to plan carefully. If you don't plan, then you end up with a glut of the same veg all coming along at the same time. Take the simple courgette for example, everyone grows them so you cannot give them away (but we took some of our friends Jackie and Richards courgettes, so maybe that is not strictly true that you cannot give them away). The courgette needs to be eaten, it won't keep too long and we are starting to get monster ones!

Our neighbour made a suggestion the other day, which was that at the start of the year we all get together and decide who is going to grow what veggies, then we share them out throughout the year. That way we have a 12 month growing cycle, never too much of one thing and everyone gets to have a bit of everything. Now, it is a good idea...I see the logic, in fact I applaud it. But isn't this how communism started...?

These are some of the veggies grown by our fair hands (well Peter's manly hands really but a lot of cheerleading from me). My new fave food is the humble courgette fritter (it's veg, but FRIED veg, it is very almost healthy!).

So here is how to create this feast:

Grate one courgette (make it a big one) along with an onion. Put into a bowl then add some herbs plucked straight from the garden (am I showing off now?). Put in a little cheese add two eggs (which reminds me, we must get some chickens) and 250gs of plain flower.
Mix it then put it in the fridge for a little while.
Heat up some oil (we've got some olive trees in the garden so come Winter we'll make our own oil, although everyone says you try it once and never bother again as it is too much trouble).
Mold the mixture into little patties and then fry them (hurrah) until they are nice and brown. Put onto kitchen paper to drain and serve with home made tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber and garlic) or home made salsa (our tomatoes are not red yet so we had to buy them!).
Totally yum.
But the best thing is when you serve them with some red wine bought from the local store for 11 euros! Look at the size of this monster box of wine and it's all mine I tell you, mine!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Everything in the garden is rosy

A bit more weedy than rosy, but lush and green none the less.
Peter has been busy with t he veg patch, mostly filling up mole holes when we water. The moles are a problem, our lawn is full of mole hills at the moment, I've tried sticks in the holes, filling the hole with water, putting lemon down the hole (local old wives remedy) but still they pop up. We need a killer cat!

The local cove cabbage grows in every garden, Jersey folk will call it a Long Jack. It's used in soups throughout the Winter and just keeps growing.

All his hard work is paying off as we've had courgettes-a-plenty, lots of radish, lettuce and spinach. The tomatoes are on there way, along with the corn, beans, onions, beetroot and peppers.

We've still got lots to do, the lower garden is a haven for weeds (some may call it a wild garden). We've cleared some space, but the weeds just keep on coming.

So, today Peter has been out there strimming the weeds away with our neighbours strimmer. We'll sill have to weed as we've read that 'one year seeding is 7 years of weeding' and all the grasses have already gone to seed.

What we are going to do with all the weeds is a slight concern, our compost heap is already out of all control, although it has given us a sunflower in apology!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's Festa Time

The Festa is a big thing in Portugal, every village has their own Festa, some lasting a week but most take place over the weekend. The whole village or valley come together to walk the streets, watch the entertainment and drink! Now, I'm no expert (I have been to two so far), but I can see a theme.

1. Parade your religious/local hero icon
2. Hang around a bit
3. Listen to some wonderful local music
4. Wait for the entertainment to arrive, which is usually a singing group with very scantly clad women dancers! For example: Meet Nuno and the Nunetts, who performed at the Figueiró dos Vinhos Festa in June.

Or the girls who performed at the local Castanheira de Pera Festa.

The dances seem to be the same. Wave hands in the air (like you just don't care), wiggle at little, flick hair, repeat until fade!

These events are fantastic, local community getting together. It is something that is lacking in England I think, or at least something I didn't experience in London (Boat Race day is not the same).

Today at our local Festa in Castanheira de Pera we had some local dancing, none of this wiggles and flicks. It was great fun, a parade through town then performing different dances on stage to a audience that was a little too hot from the sun. The costumes were fantastic, and a real display of their local heritage, that everyone can enjoy and get the nostalgic feeling for past times that the Portuguese call - Saudades.

More Festa's next weekend. Looking forward to all I need to do is work out this hair flick and I think I'm in the band!