Saturday, August 29, 2009

1st Attempt at Pear Sauce

I felt it was time to get something made with all the pears my neighbor had given me. They came from the orchard behind our neighborhood. She said the owner had her drive her car around, and he filled up her trunk! So nice of her to share with us! I first thought she was bringing us a huge box of Portuguese wine (as you can see).She told us these are pears with a name that meant rock, and that they were. You're supposed to let them ripen for at least a week before eating them. My neighbor and my mom said I needed to set them out in a layer so they'd last longer. So they've been outside on 2 trays the last week. I finally decided to try a recipe for Pear Sauce, since I didn't have any pectin on hand to make jam.

It turned out really well! I asked my husband if it was sweet enough, and he answered positively. I was loving that since I hadn't added any sugar yet! Here's a close up of the finished product: I don't have canning supplies now (maybe a future buy with all the fruit around us), so freezer canning will do for now. The jars I use for our homemade salsa still have a faint salsa aroma (and I even run them through the dishwasher--does that happen to you?). So I had to bust out the Bonne Maman jars I was saving for a future project. Makes it look cute though!
Now to that second tray of pears...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scarring News

I had a hard one to swallow today--something that is somewhat silly to be concerned about. The really friendly English speaking nurse told me that our girls would need tuberculosis vaccinations to be up to date with vaccines in Portugal. I had to ask, "That's the one that leaves the scar?" Yes.

My internal response has been interesting. My flesh rises to say, "They wouldn't need that if they lived in America," and "Oh, how I don't want their nice skin to get such a scar!" But I know that this is one of those ways we choose to lay down what we want when we agree to follow what we feel called to. I know this is really NOT a big deal, it just feels like it at the moment. I trust my Father that He knows what is best for them.

And I certainly want them to be protected from such a disease. I had to take the antibiotics for TB for 9 months after I had a new positive skin test back when I was working--not any fun to be checked monthly at the health department. Looking at the internet, I am reminded at how devastating this disease can be (how can I forget all those videos they made us watch back in our internship and at work inservices?).

Anyway, thanks for reading. It's nice to share it with you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

One of the Best Finds

About 15 minutes north of us in Caldas da Rainha is a fabulous find. What is in the place that is so great? I wish you could be here to let me show you! Hopefully a few pictures will give you an idea.
This is the Bordallo Pinheiro pottery store and factory. They make majolica like pottery I've always admired. We saw some old and expensive pieces in an antiques shop right after we arrived in Portugal. I was thrilled to know the new and very affordable pieces are just up the road! I just bought some plates to hang up for 1.75 Euros a piece! Here are some close-ups from the store:
These bunny platters are 2.45 Euros a piece--amazing price, huh?! Here just a few of the Christmas pieces they have. I hear they have more closer to the holidays.And for the fall: lots of leaves, turkeys--sorry no pics of those-- and pumpkins (have you seen these pumpkins at Pottery Barn?).We have a friend who has her wedding registry at Pottery Barn. Her plates look like a few I've seen here, and her's were made in Portugal. Who knows if we've found the spot?! We'll be happy with this pottery goodness regardless.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


We arrived on the scene in Bombarral expecting the yard area around the house to be taken care of quickly. It took over a month to see the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise.

Green weeds and wasteland (sorry I don't have a better pic than with our first load of clean laundry hanging out like the Portuguese do) to ...

dead weeds and wasteland to...

workers with dirt (yeah!) to ...

water (no pics of the sprinkler man, just the girls enjoying the mud) to...


Monday, August 3, 2009

Eating in a New Land

When we visited Portugal in February, I had to take a picture of this at the grocery store:

This is salted dried codfish called Balcahau. People stand in line for it and have it chopped different ways by a machine. It was very puzzling to me to think how this could be prepared into a dish.

The very first night we stayed in Portugal after our move, we ate at a small cafe in downtown Bombarral. I decided to go for the Balcahau a Bras after it's high recommendation from the English-speaking waiter we had (who was also the cook). Here's what came out:

It actually smelled good and really tasted great. I think I would have enjoyed it more as a side dish than a whole plate of it. The waiter/cook said it is made from the fish, potatoes and eggs. I may be wrong, but I think people may use shoestring potatoes to make this. They sell a lot of shoestring potatoes here too.

With a little googling, I found 1000's of Balcalhau recipes listed (in Portuguese) and this bit of information about it in English. So maybe I'll give it another shot to try in a recipe at home when I'm feeling adventuresome again (and the line at the store is not long!).

I didn't get to take any pics of the snails people were eating that night at other cafes. This came as a bit of a surprise after our girls had been collecting the same ones off the exterior walls of our home. In the past, we have thought of them as a menance to some of our plants. Portuguese people eat them. Quite an education for our girls seeing people eat them and then for sale in the fish area at the store that week.

One restaurant we ate at that I had to take a picture of when we were in the Algarve last month:

...a little bit more like home.


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