Since last November when we dispatched the pigs, their livers and kidneys stare at me every time I open the freezer to take out a more delicious cut – maybe a chop or a pork belly or a shoulder for roasting. No longer, for the offal are no more. I know some people are a bit squeamish and only like the boring, homogenized modern, (mostly chicken) liver pâtés but I am well chuffed to have produced a traditional, fairly lumpy, strong, and exquisitely delicious farmhouse pâté. And we have over 4kgs of the stuff! The kidneys weren’t spared either. I opted for the rather basic Delia recipe for pork kidneys in a chilli sauce. These were pretty tasty too.
Meanwhile, the garden has been putting on something of a show. A show, yes. A show garden, no. Some may even say our patch of land is little more than a partially tamed wilderness. As the difference between a flower and a weed is in the eye of the beholder we like to describe ‘the lawn’ as a resplendent carpet of gold. Others may just say we have a major problem with dandelions. Also providing colour is a profusion of red and orange (Californian) poppies and in fact, grass, which is still green. We will enjoy it while we can because in a few short months it will turn into an unforgiving dustbowl.
Apart from the flowers, I’ve been keeping a careful eye on the fruit trees. Unfortunately it seems that the plum harvest will be non existent. The flowers were all out in April but they got completely washed off by the torrential rain. There will be no plum crumbles, jam, or cordial this year . On a more positive note the apples have set and we should also get quite a few pears. (Oh, and there’s a nest in the pear tree so we’ll keep an eye and ear out for any little tweetsters). And there will be plenty of quinces as well, so all is not lost.
The heat of summer is not yet upon us and so the cool breeze often makes the courtyard a better option than the garden. Jackie has been hard at it repainting the blue bits and has actually added a stripe to the bottom of the main house which I think has made it even more Portuguese.
The ambiance is also certainly improved by a glass of chilled white and we are currently enjoying a few bottles of Casa Azul, 2012 vintage. Yes, it’s the elderflower wine which is a surprisingly fine drop. As the elderflowers are out now we had better get busy and prepare for the 2013 vintage.
Outside the realms of Casa Azul, we continue to walk the dogs every day and keep an eye out for the wild flowers of which there are many. Jackie has become an orchid expert and has managed to identify at least a dozen indigenous species. We’ve had a succession of different types over the last weeks and now it is the turn of the pyramid orchids…
And even a few mirror orchids…