Peter's Blog

Iberianspices spicesiberia

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Garden progress

In the summer sun the ground dries  out so fast, it takes me longer everyday just to get everything watered. If i got up early i would even water my plants in the morning as well as i do in the early evening as it gets cooler.

Tomato's are looking good but i don't know just what type they are. Once they start to ripen  i will be able to see what they are. I do know they are not cherry tomato's. One looks like a plumb tomato and the other is a round tomato.

Black chillies only two but there are more growing and are not showing yet but it won't be long till they grow like the two i already have. 
Are these a type of chilli that is medium or a hot type of chilli?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Spuds up.

Over the last few days i  noticed that one of the potato plants seemed to be dying.  I decided to have a look so i started to expose the roots by using my hands to remove some of the soil.

The picture shows the two potato's that i found under the Plant that looked like it was dead.

Now i have to decide what i am going to do with them, what can you do with just two Potato's.

One idea i was given was to make Crisps with them, i am not to sure about that. To make Crisps i would have to use to much Olive oil.

I could wait a week and dig another plant up to see what i would have then. But for now i am proud to have got what i have, it's more than i have ever done before. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Henry R.I.P

For what had started of a really very good day turned out to be a very sad day.

A long time ago when i opened my off license it soon became obvious that i would need more storage space. I had plans drawn and approved and all that was needed was to find a builder. I was lucky to find a builder and one who made sure at every stage that i understood what was being done and at the end of the job i had a store room that was fit for purpose in every way.

I got to know my builder and the last job he did for me was a new bathroom at a house that i was having renovated in Liverpool. He did an amazing job i didn't have to worry i just told him what i wanted and he did just that.

Tonight i was told that Henry had passed away. I don't know how old Henry was but i do know from our many talks he  had a full and varied life. When you leave to start a new life you don't  realize that at some point friends may move on to another life as well.

Henry where ever you may be i hope your new life is as good as the one you left behind. It was my pleasure to have known you for so many years.

Henry R.I.P

Now this is really a good day

Today was a great day it really was. It started when i was at home and someone i knew who wanted to see a house here in Vale boa arrived. Before the viewing we went up to a house that has just been finished at the top of the village. We where lucky that my friend Derek came and took use into the house so that Phillip could see the work that the builder had done. After looking around the house we went down for the viewing of the house that is for sale. The viewing went well and Phillip seemed happy with what he saw in the house and what it could become after a renovation.

Afterwards when we finished the viewing we met Donnaellise who had another local lady with her. Last week while i was talking to Derek about my chickens a local Portuguese man approached use over an issue with my land boundaries. It seems that the land boundary i had been shown when i got my house was not in the place it should have been. It's common for the land to have markers at various places to show the boundary  and it seems that one of mine was in the wrong place.

It looks like when i built the Chicken run i put it in the wrong place. I could only go by the boundary markers i had been shown. At the end of the discussion with the person we thought was the owner it seems that it is his daughters land but she is happy to sell the land for her. The price was what was a surprise to me 50€. Wow 50€ for a piece of land that takes my boundary down to the edge of the lane but also it gives me space to extend my Chicken run and give them plenty of space to run free. All i need now is to wait for the lady to come around with her daughter and get the land signed over to me. A result happy days.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chicken food

I ran out of Chicken food the other day, i went down to the local Co-operative where i get my feed from. Sadly they where closed so no feed. I had just started to get my own dinner ready so the chicks got the potato and carrot peelings boiled up. I use my Rice cooker a lot as i can cook three portions at a time for the chicks in it, so rice cooker on. Last but not least i always have a cabbage in that they get in there diet so it was a good helping of cooked rice, boiled potato and carrot skins and cabbage.

Today after last nights dinner i had a load of peeling again so it's rice, peelings and cabbage again. If nothing my chicks get a varied diet. Due to the feed i buy in what i give them is as near to organic as i can get. When the day comes that i start to get eggs at least they will be as organic as they can be.

I am now hopefully only a few weeks away from the chicks from starting to lay eggs. I now have to change there feed to a layers feed, whatever that is. We are now approaching the next stage in the keeping of my chickens.

Friday, 22 June 2012

A copper coil and now lets Distill some wine

It's been my intention for a long time to make wine and distill it into a spirit. Anybody can make wine it's as easy as painting by numbers with all the help on the internet.

I had been looking at a number of video's on Youtube about distilling wine into a spirit and in one you are shown how to make your own Still.  I have a spring that a plumber would use to bend a copper pipe, not wanting to lose the spring in the copper pipe i asked my mate Richard how would i make a coil of copper pipe without losing the spring inside of the copper pipe. 

Richard did no more than disappear for a few minuets and came back with a coil of copper pipe and a tube to bend it on. I could never have been able to make anything like this also he put a piece of tube on one end that is a special heat resistance tubing that will be connected to the pan that will be used to heat the wine till in produces a vapor that will then condense into a liquid.

The vapor travels down the white pipe and goes through the coil and changes from a vapor to a liquid. The coil sits is a bucket of Ice, it's the ice that being cold causes the vapor to change to a liquid. That liquid then is a Spirit in this case the first that i will do will be the Cherry wine and it will become a Cherry Spirit.

That's the plan.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

It did start off a good day.

The day started of nice, i was up early, cup of tea and breakfast of Egg and cheese on toast. The bread i make myself and this one is a fruit loaf with lots of big Sultanas in it Mmmmm.

I planned to go to the Market at Arganil as i have two big water containers to sell. The containers are on an open trailer and look like new so they should sell no problem  well i hope so.

When i got to Arganil i found that some of the roads now are one way but around the Market  barriers had been put up to keep traffic away. It would have been easy to find somewhere to park my car but i had a big trailer behind me. After much driving around i had to give up and go home.
 These containers are not easy to get in this area and i have two. I don't want these two i just want to sell them.
These pictures show only one container but i do have two. I am going down to Gois and i will park up and leave my car and trailer on show so hopefully i may get someone to buy these of me.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tomato's, my tomato's are starting to grow

I went out to water my plants today and found my first Tomato's. The only time i had anything to do with Tomato's was when my Dad grew them. If i saw any side shoots i had to remove them and when i was old enough i was allowed to go to the nursery to get them. Normally 6 Moneymaker and 6 Alicia Craig or Alicante.

Below is a few pictures  of my Tomato plants with Tomato's on them these are only the start of things to come.

I will be watching these daily to see how they progress.

I must give credit to my friend Richard whose help and advice has been in valuable. I now have a compost heap thanks to Richard.

In the center of this picture are two Tomato's it seems that everything will grow here, roll on the coming months.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Today was a great day more like this would be welcome

It would have been nice to have had some pictures of today but i haven't. The day started at 10am i was to take someone who is renting a house to Coimbra for the day sightseeing. I regret not having my camera with me and that was a big mistake  i won't do that again . Coimbra is a very old city and full of history some of the building are beautiful and maybe i will get the time to really have a good luck round one day.

When i got home  time was still not my own. Something i have been wanting to try for a while has been to grow mushrooms. I have been helping a friend with his mushrooms for a good few weeks, well at the moment they are just logs of wood. What you do is cut logs to a certain size and drill a number of hole in them and then put dowels in the holes and then put hot wax over the dowels to seal them. On Sunday we drilled about 100 logs with about 40 holes in each log but this time we had extra help to get all the logs done in one go. Once this has been done they are left for anything up to 12 months before they start to produce mushrooms. The ones my friend is growing are ones used medically not for eating. 

I am going to be growing White and Blue Oyster mushrooms but getting started was a problem. It's easy now after being shown what to do to get started but first you need to get all the ingredients together Coffee grounds, these are what's left after the Cafe bars have used them to make Coffee it's the bits left over. Next you need to sterilize cardboard and sawdust in a microwave.

Being told what to do is not the same as seeing it done,  now it's done i know what to do next time and i can do it myself. I do  have to admit that i had help well ok it was done for me but i am glad i have such a good friend who knows what he is doing. Thanks

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Cherry wine whatever next

As much as i pick the Cherries from my trees there seems to be just as many. Today i picked more again well in  fact what i am doing is just cutting down branches as it is easier to pick them from a branch. It's better this way than climbing up trees at my age.

I picked about 4 lb and decided to make some wine. I had all the stuff i needed sent from the UK well a shop in Liverpool. My sister Jackie's friend Cathy has just been over here in Portugal with her brother. I had seen them both at a car boot sale and a few days later they called with some bits in case i could use them or get rid at another car boot sale.

This is the steamer and juicer that Cathy gave me. She could not have known just how much use i will get from it As each fruit season comes in i will be making wine.
 This is the juice being taken from the juicer to the bottle. A clear bottle would have been better but as this is all i have it will have to do.

This is it juice in the bottle and all that's needed is to top it up and away we go. Pity it's not a clear bottle but as it's all i have it will have to do for now.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Car Done

Well it has been a while since i finished getting my car made legal here in Portugal. It was all the better in that i did it all on my own. Since i finished the process i have had a long wait for the new insurance documents. I could have had them emailed but i wanted the originals so if i was stopped by the police i would have the correct papers to show them. The photo is not my best but this is when i drove off for the first time legal. 

Ok the car needs a good clean and it was inside but i never got round to doing the outside before i took these pictures.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Freedom day has arrived

A favourite song of mine is Freedom by Richie Havens this was the opening track played at Woodstock in 1969. Today was also Freedom day Freedom day for my Chicks and Cockerels. The series of pictures start with the first getting a taste for life outside,
The family are now big enough to be able to roam around outside. I saw the people who breed Chickens today and they said it time to let them out a little, to start in the evening about 7pm and they will go back in on there own. Sorry i couldn't wait for them so i had to get them in instead of waiting for them.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Cherries and what to do with them

Progress has been made, it's not just Cherry Vodka. Cherry  Aguardiente and Cherry Remy Martin VSOP.

If only people from where i used to work could see me now.  As a massive fan of Cognac i would never think of mixing Cognac with anything. If a customer came in for example a bottle of Remy Martin and 2lt of Coke i would put the Remy in a bag and tie the bag so they couldn't put the Coke and Remy together.

When i moved into the house i found in the cellar a 5lt bottle part full with some kind of spirit. It turns out to be something called Aguardiente a local home made fire water. Below at the end of this post is a section i found on the Wiki site explaining about Aguadiente.

In three months when it's time to take out the Cherries what are they next going to become. I am going to use them again but for what you may ask. The Remy Martin Cherries will go into a Christmas cake. The Cherries from the Vodka and those from the Aguadiente i am open to ideas of what to use them for. Last year i used 6 mini bottles of Remy Martin VSOP in my last Christmas cake. The year before Martell again well if you are going to the trouble of making a cake for Christmas then make one to remember.

Left Aguadiente next Cherry Vodka and lastly Cherry Remy Martin.

Portuguese aguardiente has several varieties. Aguardente vínica is distilled from wine, either of good quality or undrinkable wines. It is mostly used to fortify wines such as port, or aged to make aguardente velha (old burning water), a kind of brandy. Aguardente bagaceira is made from pomace as a way to prevent waste after the wine season. It is usually bootlegged, as most drinkers only appreciate it in its traditional 50% to 80% ABV. A common way to drink it is as a liqueur coffee made with espresso coffee; this is called café com cheirinho (coffee with scent).

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Plaster board now on the ceiling where it should be.

The Kitchen has for a while been on hold for one reason. The plaster boards are big and heavy. To heavy for me to lift on my own, i had offers of help but stupid me wanted to do it on my own. In the end i had to admit defeat and get help. Cathy and Gary where over from Liverpool and Gary was kind enough to offer and i had to give in and accept help.

This is one half of the ceiling now with the plaster board up and the holes cut for the lights.

Next i have to put tape over the joints and then skim over the tape. Paint the ceiling and fit the lights and that's done.

Cherries more Cherries and all mine Mmmmmm

Some will be used to make Remy Martin Cherry Brandy. I have a bottle of Remy about half full and i will use that to make some Cherry Brandy just for me and not for sharing sorry.

Some will go to make jam.

What else at the moment i am not sure.


More what's growing

Below is a series of Photos of Potatos, Blueberry, Strawberry, Red cabbage, Orange, Lemon, Lime and Cherry. I know that the climate here in Portugal is good for getting things to grow. It may not be difficult to get things to grow but it's an achievement for me to do what i have done. I hope you enjoy the photos.

 Potatos and in the bucket a Blueberry
 Orange tree
 Lime tree
 Lemon tree

The warm summer sun is making so much happen.

It's time to update with how all that's growing is getting on. The summer sun and the warm weather are helping everything to grow. The potatos, Strawberry's, Blueberry, Lemon, Lime and Red Cabbage i will take pictures and update soon but for now I hope you enjoy how things are coming along.

 As you can see from the first picture the washing machine is doing well Tomatos are looking good so are the Lettuce.   
 In front of the house are lots of plants in Pots of various types. From left to right Lettuce, front tomato,runner bean and lastly and yellow pepper.
 Here are some Tomato plants or various types
Again from left to right a tomato, yellow pepper, two chilli plants and another pepper.

Left to right Tomato, yellow pepper and two chilli's.      

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Just how i want to finish my kitchen.

It seems that almost everybody i come into contact with has a trade or a skill and sometimes i feel a little jealous or the skills of others. Allison is one such person a welder she can use a forge she is someone who on the face of it can do more than me. That's nothing new.

This picture is about the background. You can buy tiles like this is some places i have seen in the UK  but i haven't seen any like this in Portugal.
These are all hand made and cut to fit.

You can see from the pictures just how good an effect can be made from just doing something a bit different. I took these pictures because someone from Liverpool was busy when i went to take these pictures. On reflection this is how i want my kitchen to look when it's finished. I think that this above the work surface will look the business.