Never Stop Exploring – Part 1

Never Stop Exploring – Part 1

Never Stop Exploring – Road tripping to the Silver Coast, Portugal

“life is a journey and we must live it”

The feeling of getting in a car and road tripping always makes us so excited.

Our life has changed completely in the past year. We recently moved from South Africa to The Algarve, Portugal where we are learning to embrace the Portugal way of life and live to its beat. For us life is all about experiencing new places, different foods and cultures. We love exploring this country called Portugal, with its small villages and winding roads that so often give you a sensation of time standing still. Whether you want a big city or quaint village feel, Portugal offers the complete package.

We usually get up pretty early when we travel so that we can embrace the freshness of the morning. A road trip is not a road trip if there is no picnic basket filled with great treats. Our basket was filled with   cured meats, fresh Portuguese Rolls, local cheeses and loads of bottled water.

“There are a lot of instances where words cannot be translated and “in Portuguese there is the galão. This blissful beverage that elicits instant effervescent happiness is simple enough in its composition but incredibly difficult to describe exactly how delicious and uniquely flavored it truly is. It’s the kind of drink that takes you aback and makes you want to say “you had me at first sip” as it’s the perfect balance of ¾ hot foamed milk and ¼ espresso that somehow just tastes completely different in Portugal than in it does when recreated anywhere else in the world.” Great article on the “GALAO”  http://www.themortonreport.com/home-away/travel/the-art-of-the-galao/

A must, after our light snack, is a Portuguese Galao with a treat of a traditional Pastel da Nata as dessert.

Heading towards the Silver Coast, north of Lisbon you drive over the breathtaking VASCO DA GAMA BRIDGE that spans the Tagus River.  For those that like a little detail: the bridge is 17km long and it was opened in 1998. It is currently the longest bridge in Europe and 9th in the world.

Adding to our great adventure was the two night stay at the Obidos Lagoon Wellness Retreat that is located in “old Quinta de Obidos forest Estate wedged between the Silver Coast beaches and the South Shore of the ancient Obidos Lagoon” For more information on this simple, yet elegantly designed Retreat:  http://www.obidos-wellness.com

An hour north of Lisbon is the spectacular Silver Coast with its quaint seaside villages and towns. We spent some time in the small seaside village of Sao Martinho do Porto, with its calm bay and shell shaped lagoon. Whilst holidaying in this area take the time to visit the other villages that encompass the Silver Coast, each with their own character and charm.

Our wedding anniversary spoil:  A massage, this beautifully decorated bedroom filled with rose petals plus a chilled bottle of bubblyJ  What more could a Girl ask for? My husband J

Thank you to the staff and owner of this perfectly located retreat.

The Obidos Lagoon Wellness Retreat offers various Spa treatments as well as a Hot Outdoor Sauna, Jacuzzi and a large Salt Water Pool.  We loved the Himalayan salt cave “where the air is naturally saturated with negative ions and essential invigorating minerals”.

Falling in love with the great hospitality, sumptuous food, glorious beaches, wonderful green belts and intriguing towns within the Silver Coast, was not very difficult to do.

 

TRAVEL is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer

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Never Stop Exploring – Part 2

Never Stop Exploring – Part 2

Never stop exploring… Live is a journey so live it (Part 2)

THE MEDIEVAL TOWN OF OBIDOS, what a find!!

Our next stop was the beautiful village of Obidos, built within the most spectacular castle walls with an amazing history that would take up most of my blog if I was to give you loads of detail. This beautiful quaint village if filled with winding cobbled roads and small shores offering a huge selection of traditional Portuguese products.

AND now for the best part…could you resist

As we walked into the Castle we came across “the blue lady” setting herself up to perform in an amazing alcove rich with Portuguese tradition.  Sadly we did not have enough time to listen to her but we will return to spend an evening in this beautiful village.

INSIDE THE WALLS….bursts of beautiful colour were darted all over this medieval village, from the beautiful potted plants to the colours of the houses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A must to taste is the famous Ginja D’Obidos (Sour Cherry Liqueur) that can either be drunk in a small tumbler or in a chocolate mold filled with the liqueur. You can guess which one we went for ….Chocolate and Ginja is the perfect combination.

Obidos is definitely one of those villages that deserves a second visit and night’s stay. Time to head back home…my FAVOURITE thing is to go where I have never been!!

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Summer, Coastal Tableware and Al Fresco Dining

Summer, Coastal Tableware and Al Fresco Dining

Summer, Coastal Tableware and Al Fresco Dining

It seems Al fresco is one those gatherings where friends linger longer…

IMPORTANT MUST HAVES…
  • Good quality white dinnerware.
  • A few additional dinner plates or side plates in soft shades of blue, mint green or patterned to add variety to the place settings. This allows you to layer your tableware.
  • Natural woven chargers or placemats to add texture
  • Coloured glassware to add a fun and relaxed feel to the table
  • White napkins always add a crisp look and feel. Add a personalized touch by using napkin rings or even a beach shell tied with some rope onto the napkin
  • Simple organic centerpieces: use greenery like succulents in beach sand or lanterns with candles and some beach shells added into them to add ambiance.

the food is always simple and the wine always flows.  A Portuguese girl at heart who absolutely loves spending time with friends and family. Our friends become family and family is always family. An Al fresco gathering signifies “out of doors and open air”. Al fresco, plan well and then you can relax with your guests and enjoy the moment.

A few essentials needed to style an AL FRESCO BEACH GATHERING. Don’t forget to decide what feel you want to give your guests. Will it be a rustic or an elegant experience??? Styling your table is half the fun of entertaining, then comes the good food and wineJ Dramatic hues of blue, white, mint green or aqua reflect the feel of BEACH so use these to add the softer touches to your table setting.

SIMPLE AL FRESCO FOODS to serve that can be easily placed onto the dinning table and passed around!!

A simple Tomato Mozzarella Salad

  • 2-3 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh ground pepper

 

Spinach & Orzo Salad (I have tried this salad and it’s so light and fresh)

  • Fresh baby spinach leaves {I use the bagged spinach}
  • 1 cup orzo pasta, cooked and drained; chill until ready to use
  • 1/2 purple onion, sliced into bite-sized strips
  • about 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta cheese
  • about 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

 

Combine all salad ingredients and drizzle with vinaigrette to taste. Toss and serve.

Grill some corn on a griddle pan and serve cold or warm

Lemon-Herb Chicken Grilled Breasts

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves {trimmed of fat}
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Lemon juice from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all marinade ingredients together in a large zip lock bag. Add chicken breasts and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat grill on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Add chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Remove chicken from grill and cover with aluminum foil to allow chicken to continue to cook, and for juices to settle. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.

Serve over a bed of arugula with slices of lemon for garnish

I found this awesome menu on www.celebrationsathomeblog.com

ROSE CHAMPAGNE SHAVE ICE

For 8 dependable on how big your champagne glasses are

  • 1 bottle rose champagne
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to the boil and boil till the sugar is dissolved.

Allow the sugar syrup to cool, then add the champagne. Pour into a shallow container and freeze for 2 hours, stirring regularly. Serve in small dessert cups.

 

Al fresco dinning is not only for hot summer nights. Transform the colour palette and menu and voila!! I Do you need some help to create a winter Al fresco gathering? Let me know, would love to help with some ideasJ

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