Autumn is on its way; I can sense it. That dazzling light that we get in the Mediterranean during the summer has gone, replaced by much gentler sunshine and cooler breezes. Despite the fact that it’s still 30 degrees in the middle of the day, and we are enjoying going to the beach now that the last of the tourists have departed for the year, our neighbours are getting out their winter woollies and refusing to leave the house without several layers and a flat cap. Continue reading “Super-easy Asian chicken stir fry”
While we were on holiday in Tonga, one of the ladies in our group was a marine biologist, who spends a good deal of her time in Africa. In an idle moment when we were bobbing about in the Pacific, waiting for whales to come and join us, she filled us in on some of the less attractive features of the prawn fishing industry, which made me never want to eat them again. Continue reading “Prawns saganaki-style”
I’m having a little cleaning flurry. Where I sit at the breakfast bar to write this blog, I get a birdseye view of the wall behind my worktop/stove, where all the action takes place. When we redesigned our kitchen, we got one thing wrong: we allowed the nice man at Vitra to convince us that matte tiles were OK to use as a splashback. Not true, never be tempted to try this at home. It is practically impossible to remove grease spots from the little darlings – the grease just soaks into the tiles. Continue reading “Heidi’s Tongan ham & cheese pancake rolls”
It’s hard to believe we are two thirds of the way through October already – the weather is absolutely glorious, the water is still warm(ish) and our government has decided not to put back the clocks with the rest of Europe next weekend. Woohoo, this is such good news – it means we will have daylight later into the afternoons for walking this winter. Continue reading “Thai-spiced pumpkin soup”
I’ve just spent a fascinating five minutes watching another giant hornet (or it might be the same one – brown head, brown wings, yellow striped jumper, six engines…) trying to take off with a cat biscuit that one of our mob left in their dish outside on the terrace. Our cat biscuits are about the size of a British penny, so that gives you an idea just how big these pesky beasts are. The locals call them donkey bees – not sure why that is – maybe because of their penchant for carrying things around. Anyway, he was having trouble getting enough lift, so he solved this by nibbling all around the edges of the biscuit to make it a bit smaller – hey presto, we have lift off. He’s probably got a very fully tummy though, so I’m not sure whether he’ll make it safely to his destination with his prize. Continue reading “The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)”
Yes, well spotted, that’s ‘chicken with vinegar’ to you and me. I know it doesn’t sound particularly appetising, but it’s not vinegar as we know it in the UK, and of course the dish involves wine, posh vinegar, garlic and tarragon, so things are getting better already.
We’ve been in France a couple of times this summer – I lived there for some time during the 1980s, but have hardly visited since, so it’s been fun re-encountering some of the absolutely delicious food I remember from my youth. I lived in quite a rural area, so the restaurants served good, tasty, country food to a clientèle mostly made up from farmers and shopkeepers (and the odd British cook from a neighbouring restaurant, of course…) Continue reading “Poulet au vinaigre”
We are off to New Zealand to visit Robin’s son and daughter-in-law in two weeks time. It will be just coming in to spring there and I can’t wait for cooler weather, so that I don’t have to have crazy hair all the time. We had some chores to do in town this morning (involving two trips to the local municipality and one to the tax office – opposite ends of town and it’s market day, so no possibility of driving between the two and finding a parking space). When I left home, I looked like a relatively normal person (as normal as you can be when you step out into a swamp that is over 40 centigrade and 70% humidity, that is). When we arrived at the municipality offices for the second time, having crossed town on foot twice now, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror window and wondered how I’d managed to get past security without being detained for my own safety. Continue reading “Sticky fig & orange muffins”
Today is probably the hottest since we arrived back – ironic, since we’ve just moved into September. This morning it was 44 degrees, but has now cooled to a more manageable 34, so I might yet venture out – according to our little weather station, the temperature has been as low as 27 at some point since midnight – not sure when that was, I must have missed it while I was asleep. When I had my morning swim, I complained that the pool was starting to get cold – a quick temperature check assured me it was still 32 degrees in the water – it must have been the super-hot air temperature confusing me. Either that or I really have turned into a total wimp. Continue reading “What to do with that Swiss Chard in your veggie box”
We finally arrived back in Turkey at the weekend after what seemed a mammoth journey. As our less-than-favourite airline, Thomas Cook, once again cancelled our flight back from the UK, we decided to go off-piste and treat ourselves to a few days in France on the way back. This may sound simple, but it involves a convoluted route back here, as the French don’t come to Turkey for their holidays – they have other places to go (no doubt all with better wine), so the only flights are with the big carriers into Istanbul. And that’s very expensive indeed, plus it is a place I don’t feel comfortable hanging around in at the moment. Continue reading “Home sweet home (and summer plum cake recipe)”
We are in blackberry heaven at the moment. There are wild brambles growing along the canal towpath and at the sides of all of the footpaths around here. A neighbour also has the most prolifically-fruiting blackberry bramble, which handily hangs over the fence behind our house, at perfect picking height.
Robin has been out picking blackberries today while I went across to what we used to call the ‘bottle bank’ but now seems to be known by the euphemism ‘mixed recycling’. I’m confused about this new term. There’s never anything very mixed about our recycling apart from the fact that the beer bottles are mixed up with the wine bottles and occasionally there’s the excitement of a stray mini Prosecco bottle – does that count or do we have to have cardboard and stuff as well? I keep expecting some kind of recycling official to come over and tut about the lack of variety in my offerings. Continue reading “Summer fruit crumble”