Friday, October 11, 2013

Recipe for Pickled Gherkins/Cucumbers

Rob this one is for you.
Really easy recipe and one that you can enjoy within 3 days.


2 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
4 Tbl sugar
8 cloves garlic
6 Bay leaves
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 Tbl salt
I like to add some dill if I have it.

- Sterilise some jars
- pack jars with cucumbers whole or cut into pieces - I only had normal cucumbers so cut    them into lengths and some small pieces.
_ combine ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, then pour over cucumbers/gherkins       making sure they are covered.
- seal, refrigerate and ready to eat in 3 days.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Viarco Pencils in Portugal - brands with history

A brand that is manufactured in Portugal and that we saw in many shops in Lisbon is Viarco.  Their website is excellent and the range of products that they do are all on the website, There is an aquarelle pencil, A huge stick of graphite for huge drawings as well as coloured pencils and many others. An interesting video about the company is available here to watch, the commentary is in Korean, I think but there is a lot of Portuguese as well. IT IS EXTREMELY INTERESTING as the gentleman in the video says, the factory is not a static museum it is a working museum.

A tourist in the video says it is not very modern. I think that he is wrong  - it is great that it is not modern and that people have an opportunity to see how things are made on a small scale using old machines and that the people that have worked there for many years have an opportunity to still work and create a unique product for the market.

The machinery may be antique but the marketing , website, and product development are current.

Marcas com história por viarcoportugal

Full circle

An amazing thing happened here last week .

Friends of ours arrived at a braai (barbecue) with a sailor friend of theirs , and to our suprise it was the man we sold our boat to.

8 years ago

 Eight years later and with many miles under her keel she stopped in at Horta and we got to see her again.

A little travel weary, but under that, still the solid little boat we once owned.

I am happy that she is out there doing what she was made for, and as is the tradition here left a mark on the harbour wall.

A Vida Portuguesa, Samsung galaxy tab vs Apple iPad

On our recent visit to Lisbon we spent an amazing 5 days enjoying the city and what it has to offer. One of the highlights for me was a visit to a store that stocks all sorts of interesting Portuguese products.

As we have previously posted, we use a number of Portuguese manufactured products for example Couto toothpaste, 444 para depois de barbear, soaps etc. as we feel that if we don't support local manufacturing and companies they will eventually die out or be swallowed up by huge multinationals.

I suggest you visit and have a look at what they offer.

While we were looking around I found a product that I used when I was  young,
a Quadro Ardosia which is a wooden framed slate that you can draw on either with a slate pen or with chalk.
I said to T it looks like a prehistoric iPad, amazing!!

Well later that day we went to a large store called where I got to try the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet. WOW!!!

What we miss on the island is a place where you get to see and touch all the latest NEW stuff (on the other hand then we would not have a trip to the mainland to look forward to). It was great and I want one.

Then today reading news on the web I found an article from May 2013

basically it says

"Apple has tried to ban the Tab 10.1 in the Netherlands because they said it infringed their design patents. They said it was a rectangular shape with rounded corners.
The Supreme Court said in the verdict: Apple’s design right is valid, but the protection it offers is very limited due to earlier similar designs, also known as prior art.

Because the shape and form are in many more products manufactured by many other companies this limits Apple’s design right.

“Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners,” “No company should have a monopoly on general designs,” Samsung stated."

Come on!! Apple -  the quadro ardosia looks like a iPad/Tablet even works like a tablet, you write on it, you take notes on it.
Instead of spending money suing, reduce the price of your products, do something good for the world, be NICE!!
Let innovation flourish, and creativity triumph.

So Samsung, visit and buy a quadro ardosia to take with you to court as evidence -
you can even take down notes with it while you are there.


OR the next time you get sued by apple for infringing the look of an Ipad -
 just send them a link to my website, and with the costs you save,
you can give me a Galaxy note 8.0.
BTW Samsung its my birthday in a few days (subtle Hint) you can contact me via my blog

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Faial update

 There is no excuse for the lack of updates but sure laziness. Often friends are asking for updates and we  forget that our daily activity which becomes our norm and perhaps uneventful to us, is still interesting to the flip side of this life.
Sandrine shared some corn seed she had ordered on line. I planted the seed and with in a day or two the birds had filtered the earth and enjoyed these jewels. I was fortunate to save a few and these were the results. They were too beautiful to eat, so I will save the seed for next year and try again.

Sitting outside a coffee shop I noticed the crossword on a public wall. While enjoy the warm sun, my mind found a few Portuguese words in this block of letters which I think is some cryptic clue.

What you are seeing is the dump, where household rubbish and garden and building material are disposed of. When we first arrived, we made regular visits for treasures, we found many useful items, either sculptures for the garden or furniture to be restored. Now look at it, flat, nothing. I did not explain too well that the household and garden have two separate sections, this is the building section and there is nothing. Everyday they must bulldoze it flat but the big question where are they pushing it to? The mountain behind is Praia do Norte.

I was just too slow with the camera but this was a gorgeous site. A farmer was coming round the corner and this lady he knew was coming out the shop with her shopping and he offered her a lift - in the back of the tractor.

A rogue fennel plant emerged in our garden, so I let it be, it did well and produced many heads. We picked and then by rubbing the florets the seeds fall out. This is time consuming but we must of harvested close on 1kg. I use it for a digestive tea mix, add it to our homemade muesli and the Portuguese make a great flat biscuit with cornmeal flour, butter, sugar and fennel seed and cook it slowly, in the forno which has cooled down after baking bread. I love these biscuits. I can not remember their name right now. Cheese is a great accompaniment too.

After a storm it is always interesting to visit the beach, to see its transformation and the treasures mother nature has washed up. Most of it is a sorry site, dead birds, a lot of plastic, many shoes and fair amount of driftwood. But on this occasion there was Sargasso seaweed and that was like finding gold that our garden would value. We gathered what bags we had a filled them up. It was not light work and the car was not close by. They recently put up beacons to stop cars coming down onto the beach. It was still worth the hard work.

Good way to sell more chillies - DO YOU KNOW PEPPERS ARE AN APHRODISIAC

The most  rewarding tree in our garden. We have planted, plum, orange, lemon, apples, fig and this tree a Tamarillo. I love it. Fruiting happens from November - December and they almost look like Christmas lights. So after a years growth we have fruit. We have since planted two more.

You might remember my birthday gift of various seeds, these were the carrots. Sweet and Delicious. Best advice if you are going to cook them and want to enjoy the two tone colouring, boil them whole, otherwise you loose the colour. Another definite for next year.

This sheep was constructed from old bits of polystyrene and there were other up cycled animals around the store and closer to Christmas they came together for the nativity scene at the entrance of the store.

On the 8th of December the shops were open in the evening, making special Christmas displays. The evening was perfect and there were many families out enjoying the crisp night. Different organisations and fregusias put their craft work out to display and raise money for different causes. The items to the right come from our village.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Attention Faial Property For Sale

If you are viewing our blog, please take a look at the headers and click on Faial Property For Sale.
We have friends wishing to sell their properties. We would be happy to help those who have a serious interest in buying property on Faial.

Tobacco Leaves Ready To Roll

Our tobacco leaves have been drying and are at the leathery stage and have now lost their stickiness.
This is how we did it and if you grow and harvest your own tobacco all comments and suggestions would be helpful. Firstly we cut the vein out the center then rolled a leaf really tightly then kept on adding more leaves until we had a tightly rolled cigar and glued the last leaf with a little honey. Last year we had read to roll this tightly then put it in a bag and allow it to ferment but a local guy said his father use to roll it tightly with honey. Well it turned out better to use as chewing tobacco rather than smoking tobacco. This year we have got as far as just rolling it tightly, without so much honey, so this is where we would appreciate any input.