Feelin’ hot hot hot

Feelin’ hot hot hot

The summer heat is here – the plants are wilting, helicopters hover overhead laden with water for forest fires and the wind feels like a giant hair dryer. Just the kind of heat that makes you crave a dip in a cool river beach. Hurrah! then for the numerous river beaches in central Portugal – another fantastic one we were taken to the other day. No salt, no chlorine, just clear, fresh water and some amazing scenery:

The heat has meant all garden work is done early in the morning after a spot of bird watching. The birds haven’t always been welcome visitors though and CDs and aluminium foil have been hung up around the runner beans whose flowers are all disappearing. The swedes and turnips will have to be sown again having been eaten by flea beetles and a cat has dug up the chard seedlings. However, more carrots have come through, more onions are in the ground and, in lots of little pots, cabbage, calabrese and cauliflower are waiting to go in the old legume bed (rotation, rotation). We’re now eating the dwarf french beans – from seed to stomach in seven weeks – so I’m hoping that this ignoring the seed packet sowing dates will work for everything else as well.

One buttercup squash refuses to die which is great as we’ve already eaten quite a few of them already. The flowers are always open in the morning to greet me and the bees:

It’s been great collecting the day’s produce. The courgettes plants have come alive again and so we had courgette fritters for lunch (which were fantastic) and the courgette cake was a success too. We were also really pleased with our second melon. The first one wasn’t quite ripe and so we waited a week and had another go. Looks like melon for pud for the next few weeks…

Our chillies are eventually turning red (but, stubbornly, not the sweet peppers). Initially I’d put them in a metal dish (as recommended on a UK website) to dry in the sun only to discover that they’d cooked! Hanging them up in the hot air seems to be working much better:

Richard has been making a great som tam salad using courgettes instead of papaya although the chillies so far haven’t been quite as hot as he’d like. The barbecued aubergines make a great moutabal too, I’m hoping the tahini we brought over with us from Jordan is ok still! Oh yes, we’re eating quite a few of the sprouts. Here’s hoping there’s enough growing for Christmas!

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