I’m going to be a little bit naughty today. You see, Su’s invited me to a tea party and, as usual, I’m totally unprepared. So what I thought I’d do is share with you my birthday treat last Thursday. Raspberry cheesecake with a chocolate base, anybody?
Let me set the scene. Heavy rain is threatened and a warning in place for electrical storms. I know I’m lucky to be able to go out to celebrate the day, but I did have such plans. A nice little spot overlooking a dam. Serene and beautiful. Sunset on the water, and a sunrise full of misty promise. But when the rain drifts in, visibility nil. Go to plan B. A restaurant I’ve been curious about for some time. Cha Cha Cha, in Olháo.
Initially we think, hop a train. A leisurely afternoon with fine wine. But the storm threatens and we jump in the car. Into a head wind on the waterfront. Will we make it before the storm hits?
Barely just! We have the place almost to ourselves. Heavy wooden doors bolt us in. A tiny outlook to a bougainvillea clad wall. Swiftly and firmly closed and the plum velvet curtains swished shut. The sound of drumming rain and the growls of thunder prowling the rooftops. We don’t mind. Secure and warm. And there’s cake! An atypical Algarve birthday, in an atypical year.
Now come on over to Su’s place for sumptuous food and a bit of a gossip.
Virtual afternoon tea, November 2020
It’s been a while since we shared cake, hasn’t it? Which kind do you like? Deep lemon meringue pie perhaps. Chocolate slice. Or that ‘oh so gooey’ marzipan confection. My excuse today is Su’s Virtual Tea Party and the need to share a few thoughts.
Here in Portugal a State of Calamity has again been declared. From today group sizes are restricted to 5 (an ‘awkward’ number), down from 10, and restaurant seatings adjusted accordingly. In the Algarve it’s another blue sky day in paradise. Figures are still low here and we’re hoping this is a precautionary measure. A swift adjustment to our thinking means we can still walk today in the countryside, as planned, and dine together afterwards, split between two tables. We are so lucky to have the climate that we do, and the warmth of friendship to share our troubles. Many of us have family abroad whom we struggle to see. But it’s put a brave face on, choose your beverage and slip on over to Su’s place. Even when she’s feeling down, she’ll pick you up. And you know you can always rely on Becky.
Now… about that cake?
Funny how different we are! My husband loves these little pinwheels coated in white chocolate, or a Kitkat. Me, I’m happy with a digestive. I can dunk it, or eat it covered in crumbly cheese. I really don’t mind. The one immutable is coffee, when I first get out of bed.
Don’t you love the tiny Portuguese cups? Ideal size for a bica, but seldom used in my home. If we have a tradesman at the house I always hesitantly offer coffee. Often the response is a rueful head shake. Sometimes a polite request for water. Leaving me in no doubt that my coffee making skills are far below par. How do they know? My reputation appears to have traveled.
The sturdy tray was decoupaged for me by my daughter, as a useful gift to carry my cuppa all the way up to the roof terrace. I am a bit prone to get two thirds of the way up, a cup in one hand, plate in the other and a book or two under my arm, and trip…. Ribbon cascades of coffee down white walls… not a good look!
So what’s new in the Algarve right now? Su started Teatime in the blogosphere to nourish and cheer us all up in gloomy times. I’m happy to say that gradually the gloom is rolling back, here. With caution. Our restaurants and cafés have been open for a couple of weeks, and we are becoming more relaxed about meeting in small groups. Masks are still mandatory in enclosed spaces. And still no touching, though I find it hard not to lay a sympathetic hand on an arm. Full blown hugs feel a long way off. Cake isn’t really a consolation for that, but it’s all I can offer, for now.
Do help yourself! I hope things are getting better in your part of the world?
There can be few nicer hostesses than Su, so when she offers Tea time in the blogosphere it’s hard to refuse. I’ll be a little more restrained this time, because I was definitely over the top last month. I’m a big fan of carob and orange cake, nor do I mind the odd custard donut. Perhaps you’d like to join me? Oh, how very rude! I seem to’ve started without you…. I’ll get it right next month- I promise!
I always get a bit nervous when people are coming for food. I’m not the best cook, and I certainly can’t bake! Cakes are easy, though- I can buy them, but I do tend to overcompensate. Can you tell? That one still in the box makes me giggle- reminds me of a Batman mask. No, honestly, I haven’t touched the wine yet! But I could get a reputation…
Please, do help yourself, even if it’s just a simple biscuit. Don’t know why I get so worried. We’re all friends here, aren’t we? In case you haven’t guessed, I’m joining lovely Su today, for Tea time in the blogosphere. She’s a great cook, and a lovely hostess. Oh, that reminds me of someone else who’s a wonderful hostess. Mustn’t forget #SquareTops! What’s your favourite topping? Wishing you all a great day!