We were rapidly approaching day 90 the road, 5 countries, 2,900 miles since we’d set off from Norwich in September. The egg-timer was rotated when we left Norwich and the trip-counter set to zero. It’s been a bit busy just recently, I know what you’re thinking, that having nowt to do all day, is classed as ‘busy’, but it can seem that way on the road. The cycle of get up, pack-up, planning where to go and what you can do when you get there, driving to the next stop, getting settled, unpacking (a few bits) and getting out…it all takes a toll day after day. Sometimes, as with all things, even paradise can become ‘samey’, wise words kick in, one particular set of words, “a change is as good as a rest” and we both feel it’s time to break the routine, if only for 24 hours, rent a hotel room for a night and enjoy a bit of space and luxury.
All that space, an endless supply of water, and electricity, it seems like another world. You can get some pretty great deals at this time of year, empty hotels vying for the last stragglers of winter drop prices by more than half. So a four star spa-hotel suite set in the hills of Alentejo was found on ‘Booking.com’ (other hotel search engines do exist), and we packed our little suitcase with a full hotel-room-pic-nick. It looks a little more classy than marching in with 4 Lidl branded shopping bags (the film Black-ball comes to mind), but the contents would be the same, Laptop (to spank the free wifi), Wine, Beer and all the food for our ‘Hotel-room-pic-nic’. Friday night & we are the only guests in the hotel until 6pm, we have the small indoor heated pool, Sauna, Steam-Room and Jacuzzi all to ourselves, we were in there a good couple of hours, not giving in until were were looking a bit prune-like. This is as far from life in a MoHo as you can get and ‘just for a change’ …it’s great!
South of Lisbon, things seemed to have changed a bit. There’s very little in the guide book except fantastic surfing and the odd unspoiled fishing village, but we’re good with that. We trickle down the west coast of Portugal, in search if inspiration, but to be honest, other than superb empty beaches, natural beauty, we find nothing to report. It’s a craggy, rocky tree infested land with the occasional ‘fantastic’ surfing beach thrown in, but the weather’s just right, so how can we complain? We read reports of storms and snow in the UK & count our blessings. Spending many hours walking along deserted beaches, at Sines, Porto Covo, Zambujeiravdo do Mar, Odeceixe (how do you pronounce that?) and Carrapateira, all top class surfing beaches with large car parks, miles upon miles of deserted sand, and almost no light pollution at night.
With the lack of large towns and streetlights, there’s very little light given out, I found myself standing out in the middle of the car park at midnight, almost every night star-gazing. As well as providing superb views of the universe, this area produces 50% of the worlds cork. The trees look a bit strange, stripped of their bark right up to the first branch junction, they live for about a hundred years & are ‘farmed’ about very 5 years, the bark grows back thicker every year. Since the introduction of plastic corks, the industry has taken quite a hit, but most of the sandy cork forests are still here and still being harvested, so the cork must be going somewhere.
COOKING:- We’ve both been looking at adding a few of our favorite meal recipes to the bottom of the blog post, after all, food is an important part of our trip and we seem fairly unique in that we have a slightly choice diet, we don’t eat meat. So here goes for the first recommendation. One our old favorites…Frittata. Please let’s have your thoughts.
It’s just as easy to make in a double skillet, on the gas-top, as it is in our favorite, the Remoska. If you’ve never heard of a Remoska read here.
Here goes with the Remoska version:-
3 Pre-boiled (edd-sized) potatoes until just al-dante, sliced.
1 Medium onion, chopped.
1 Medium pepper, sliced.
5 Large mudrooms, sliced
1 (small) Courgette, sliced.
3-4 Large cloves of garlic, chopped.
6 Medium hens eggs.
1 Ball of Mozzarella, drained and sliced.
100g (aprox) Feta or Cheddar cheese, grated or sliced.
1-2 Tablespoons of veg/olive oil.
Teaspoon of Mixed herbs and Pepper (to taste)
Using the oiled Remoska pan on a gas ring (no lid yet), slowly fry the chopped onion, garlic, pepper, courgette and mushrooms, just for a few minuets until beginning to soften. Empty out the contents and set to one side.
Meanwhile, using a measuring jug, beat the 6 eggs & mix in the spices. Pour the mixed eggs over the contents of the Remoska.
Cover and heat with the Remoska lid and cook for aprox 40-50 mins until beginning to brown. Empty out onto a plate and flip back over onto another, to set it the correct way up.
Like an omelet, you could add just about any vegetable you want to, it spinach, carrot, sweetcorn, peas etc. It’s a very forgiving, hard to get wrong and it’s delicious hot or cold. Producing the same outcome in the double skillet is exactly the same, but you also get the opportunity to flip it over halfway through the cook time. Enjoy and do please let us know if yours came out great too.
A nod to Catherine of Lobster fame for the recipe.
Soon be the weekend.
Kindest…Wayne (this time, with a lot of help from Angie)