Still unpacking

Still unpacking

After two weeks in the house we still haven’t finished unpacking. And no, we haven’t just been lazing around enjoying our new home. In fact I think we’ve been busier these two weeks than ever before. Jackie has finished painting and I have finished the shelving – not only the mammoth bookcase in the lounge but various shelves in the kitchen and a bit of work in the bathroom. My electric drill has been a constant buzz around the house.

bookcase is still standing after a day

We have also completed shelving for the pantry which now holds a whole raft of various preserves, chutneys etc in addition to home grown veggies including some rather large prize-winning (but possible inedible) marrows.

This weekend saw us down in Lisbon where we were once again very well taken care of by our friends Jo and Nigel. Not a complete jolly however, as we needed some stuff from Ikea. Mainly lights for the bathroom and bedroom but also various other necessities that only the big city superstore can provide. Of course, sod’s law took over and they were all out of the lights we were after but still we managed to spend almost 400 euros. We spent 700 last time and on neither occasion did we buy any furniture (except for a kitchen table and TV stand).

With the shelves up, all Jackie’s kitchen stuff is organised and our books unpacked. So all that remains are our clothes (the carpenter still hasn’t finished the wardrobe) and then the final thing will be to hang the pictures and find room for our knick knacks – sorry, objets d’art. Oh and there is still a bit of work for the hired hands – the local blacksmith has to put in the main gate and the builder install the “Pombals” – pottery pigeons which adorn the corners of the roof and which is a local tradition.  I think only then can we say we have really moved in.

Veggie update: We’ve been eating sweetcorn almost every day as it has ripened and can’t be stored fresh. Needless to say it is absolutely delicious. The salad stuff is going strong and I can’t believe it but the fruits of another plum tree have ripened. That’s five varieties and all taste very different.

tomatoes going strong
a couple for "That's life"

The chillies are turning red and the aubergines are coming on. This is the moment that Jackie has been waiting for – to prepare a meal totally from garden produce – it will be a ratatouille, with aubergines, courgettes, onions, olive oil, peppers, garlic and herbs and if I have any say, a red hot chilli pepper as well . We shall see.

4 thoughts on “Still unpacking

  1. Wow – I am so envious of your vegetable garden!

    I love the challenge of growing vegetables and then there is nothing more rewarding than researching and cooking recipes using all your own produce!

    I am just experimenting with chutneys and pickles at the moment, do you have any tried and tested recipes you could share?


  2. Thank you, Piglet! Although it’s looking a little sorry in places now – the courgettes and squash have finished and most of the beans. Second batch coming through!

    I found a chutney recipe that suggested substituting plums for tomatoes, and included courgettes, which was great as I could use up both those. Will fish that out and send it to you. Not ready for three months but we had the leftovers and it tasted nice.


  3. That’s great thanks :))

    What are you planning for your winter crop? I grew some leeks last year and they were really successful.

  4. The chutney recipe I used this year came from the River Cottage Handbook no 2 Preserves (which is excellent) and it’s their suggestion to try plums instead of tomatoes (also in the RC Cookbook). It tasted really nice but have to wait a little longer for it to mature. Not too dissimilar to the chutney recipe on your blog, but with apples and sultanas too. They also have a pumpkin and quince variation that I might try with our winter squash.
    We have over 50 leeks in the garden already, plus sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli. I’m thinking of adding winter cabbage, calabrese and cauliflower – although have no idea yet if I can sow those now. Turnips and swede growing already too and may try again with parsnips – only one worked from the spring attempt!
    Meanwhile I decided to have another go with all the beans. Last month was not at all the time to sow them but in this heat and with plenty of water they are already growing at an amazing rate and flowering. I reckon the autumn here is about the same as a UK summer so hope to have plenty of beans for September onwards. Let’s see…

Leave a Reply