Tag Archives: doce de amêndoa

Hot and dry

Terrano Bonito

Hot and dry- but rain promised over the next few days - if the BBC have got it right :). I have been busy clearing the land to comply with the law to reduce the risk of bush fires. I feel I am in a good place now. It was a bit challenging as I had only the Bosch strimmer to work with and a large area to cover. I should have invested in better tools and machinery when I was able but I did not have the experience and knowledge at the time.

The Bosch AFS-23-37 is an outstanding strimmer. Bosch can be proud of themselves. I have certainly pushed it to the limits of it’s standard specification and it has managed to cope admirably. I am using heavier 4mm gauge nylon cord and it didn’t complain. It’s on it’s 3rd year warranty. The motor will eventually burn out but it’s all good for now. I can highly recommended this electric strimmer/brush cutter.

Bosch AFS-23-37, , Solar P:V, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Bosch AFS-23-37 running on Solar energy.

Manual irrigation takes up a lot of my time now. But I had expected this as a lot of my trees do not have a drip feed irrigation system. I am also trying to train the young olives I have recently planted and still planting , to become drought resistant.

O tempo a terra é mais seca, manual irrigarion of young olives, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
O tempo a terra é mais seca

I had some favas (broadbeans). About half the amount I had last year from the same area and amount of seed. I planted the second batch a bit late and there was hardly any rain in spring.

favas / broadbeans , Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
favas/ broadbeans

I had a decent amount of louquats/nespiras from two small trees. Not sufficient for jam though. I have another 2 trees growing so hopefully I will have more later on. And my sister thought it was all rubbish 🙂 Bless.

nespira/louquat e flores da ameixa preta árvore Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
louquats/nespira e as flores de ameixa preta árvore.

The variety of louquat ‘Americana’ produces very large pear shaped louquats. I got the tree from the senhora’s stand at the monthly market in Monscarapacho a few years back. I will try to graft it. Speaking of grafting I am trying to top graft my carobs – again. Fingers crossed.

Monscarapacho first Sunday of the month, monthly market. Comprar árvores e muito mais. - Feira - Monscarapcho
Nespira americana

Something went wrong with the almonds and apricots this year. I am not sure if is all over the Algarve. The trees did not flower for some reason and as a result there are hardly any apricots or almonds to be had. Thankfully I have a couple of sacks of almonds in reserve. I have become used to having almonds in my porridge, making cakes with almonds and of’course almond toffee. 🙂

To break the almonds I am using this hand tool by "Dali Nut" I got from amazon. Fitted a rubber cushion to make the stroke a bit shorter. This tool works really well. Nut by nut 🙂 .

"Dali-Nut" feremente para quebra as  amÊndoas, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
"Dali-Nut" nut cracker - quebra as amÊndoas noz com noz 🙂

Tomatoes aren’t going well. They started off very well but then petered out. The two control plants I kept growing in pots under some shade are wilting too. It doesn’t look like it is due too a lack of water, so I am stumped.

Popped some potatoes in the ground after watch a video by Alan Titchmarsh on Gardeners’ World. They are growing very well. I just keep the soil consistently moist. I have no idea what variety they are. Got them from the local supermarket in Fuseta. They don’t seem to mind the heat.

potatoes, batatas - Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
potatoes and the lemon tree is growing much better.

I have a few pepper and chilli plants in the greenhouse in pots. They are doing well.

pimentas/peppers - Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal

Been getting by eating my weeds. 🙂 Wild fennel and wild oniony things were to be had in spring. Now there is Portuguese basil (manjericão) that grows like a weed. Less this year due to the dry conditions. I have to grow some in pots to ensure a regular supply . I got these from amigo Jorge and his parents up north.

funcho selvagem e tipa alho frances selvagem Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
funcho selvagem e tipa alho frances selvagem? o_O 😀 Yes, wild fennel and oniony things

This is 100% organic growth. 🙂 Not growth through an acquisition. I have grown these persimmon trees from seed as well as a couple of guava trees. It will take them about four years before they fruit. I like permission more in comparison to guavas because they are tasty to eat and easy to process. Separating the seeds from the flesh of guavas is hard work. If anyone knows of a good method - please do tell!

diospiros de sementes/persimmons from seed, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
diospiros de sementes/persimmons from seed

and finally

espero por meu girrasol em Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
meu girrasol ´ta bonita - aquela Bonji também 🙂


jessica-riço, Jéssica Riço, Jéssica Alexandra Riço, - Good Girl -Carolina Herrera, Algarve, Portugal

Wintery January

It is green here but cold. On some days I keep the home fire burning all day. No quite sub zero but we have had morning frosts and it's predicted to get colder next week. I often wonder how people back in the UK are getting on. My gut feeling is that many struggle to keep warm. I don’t think electrical heating is an affordable option anymore in Portugal. Trying not to be political here, but it appears to me that some governments are committed to imposing higher energy and food prices on the people so that they can keep the war going in Ukraine.

Even with the exorbitant prices of electricity it’s worth investing in an electric blanket. The parents of my Portuguese friend, Jorge, understood that I would not survive in my badly insulated cottage. Very kindly they gave me one. It served me well for years but conked out last winter. I got a Russell Hobbs 90W double electric blanket from amazon.co.uk which really helps me through the cold nights.

Besides the small amount of wood I bought, I am managing to get by with wood collected from pruning my trees. The problem is that I now have mainly green wood to burn. This means low caloric value , not to mention being trickier to get the fire going in the first place.

Favas and LE 300 wind turbine,Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Favas and LE 300 wind turbine

Sowed my favas (broadbeans). We need some rain now. The LE 300 wind turbine is doing it’s bit to keep the lights on.

Burning piles of cut branches, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Burning piles of cut branches

Managed to burn the first lot of my piles of brush. You have to schedule it via the ICNF online system now.


The burnings made some hedgehogs homeless. I have built them a dedicated brush pile to serve as their home. There seem to be quite a few hedgehogs at my place. Conan and Chubbs find them on our night walks and I give them a tickle. I probably will give them a snack of dog food like Claúdia Afonso does up in the north.

Hedgehog House / Casa do ouriço,Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Hedgehog House / Casa do ouriço

Still pruning the old almond tree slowly. I don’t think I will cut it right down as I have seen an owl nesting in it. The 12” , 36V Wesco 8303 battery powered chainsaw is doing an outstanding job. It cuts through 6 inch almond trunks without any quibble. I put a little extra oil on the chain before I start on dry wood and larger pieces to prolong the life of the chain and bar.

Wesco 8303 battery powered chainsaw sectioning 6inch almond trunk, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Wesco 8303 battery powered chainsaw


coasters of almond wood, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
making coasters of almond wood

Almond is a pretty wood. I cut a couple of thin sections to act as coasters. I think the orangy colour will fade as they dry.

Almond toffee /doce de amêndoa, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Almond toffee /doce de amêndoa

Still breaking my almonds slowly with the hand tool by Dali Nut. It is very good. I try to put in 30 minutes a day of this. I make small batches of almond toffee which is excellent. I first made some back in 2015 for meu girrasol, Jéssica. :).

Orange cake /bolo de laranja, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Orange cake /bolo de laranja

Made an orange cake after a long time. I cheated and used lemony lime juice instead of orange juice as I ate the oranges. Algarve oranges are quite sublime if you get hold of good ones and not those force grown. I used candied orange peel in the mix. You can’t taste the lime at all which is perfect. It is a bit crumbly as I didn’t use any eggs, just a bit of olive oil. I am trying to find an alternative binder. Still no oranges of my own but I am hopeful.

Until the next blog. 🙂