Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Sights Around Town

Until we are able to get a car, we are doing things by foot.  It is good exercise, plus, you get to see things you might miss if you are driving.  Especially if you are driving over 120 km/hr as many here do.

Here are some things in our town within walking distance:

There aren't a lot of parks, but this one is really nice.

It is located in Parque de Carmona, known locally as "Peacock Park."  And yes, there are peacocks roaming around.

This is a Japanese food store.  Probably it supplies the Japanese restaurants.  We can also get Japanese goods at the grocery store.  It's nice to know it is here, although I cannot imagine paying over 6 Euros ($8) for umeboshi!

It's a good thing the local food is delish!

Also, they don't have mugi-cha, so we might need someone to send us some when our supply runs out...

This is "Cascais Villa", a shopping mall.  The shops are a bit high priced as it is located near the tourist stops.  Still, it is free air conditioning!
Right across the street is Jumbo, which is one of our favorite places to get things we need.  It's like a Walmart.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Days

School starts soon (for teachers anyway), so we thought we would check out the beach. 

It's a nice beach (although we've been spoiled by the beaches in Hawaii & Okinawa), but the water was pretty cold!  Still, the girls enjoyed building sand castles and collecting shells.

The sun gets pretty hot here so we didn't stay too long.

In the evening we had some friends over for dinner, so we bought a watermelon.  They are so inexpensive compared to Japan: 1.30 Euros (less than $2)!  Mmmm, sweet watermelon.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Belem (Bethlehem)

Today we decided to visit Belem, about 30 minutes away by train.  Belem is Portuguese for Bethlehem, which tells you something about the rich "religious" heritage of Portugal.

We first walked past the "Discoverer's Monument".  It's hard to tell from the photo, but this thing was huge!  It depicts the many famous explorers from Portugal (Magellan, de Gama, etc.), as well as other prominent people (Francis Xavier).

Then we headed over to Jeronimo's Monastery.

Built in the 1500's, this monastery is also the final resting spot of Vasco de Gama.  Pretty cool, huh?

It was an impressive building and we only saw a portion of it.

Afterwards we tried another famous thing in the area: "Pastel de nata."  These rich custardy partries were created by nuns from the monastery in the 1700's and are now popular all over Portugal.  They were delicious

It was a fun, educational day!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Curry from Scratch

One thing that we miss about Japan is the food.  We used to eat a lot of fresh tofu, goya and curry, but those items are not available here.  Solution: make your own curry roux!

We love curry; Thai, Indian and Japanese.  This was our first attempt at homemade Japanese Curry.

It turned out pretty good-- I'd say a B+ for taste (room for improvement) and an A for effort.

Well, here's the recipe we tried in case you'd like to give it a go.  Or perhaps you have some advice on improving it!

Japanese Curry

1. Cook up your meat and veggies as usual.

3 TBSP Butter
3-4 cloves Garlic (more is okay, too)
1/4 cup flour
2 Tspn Curry Powder (or Garam Masala)
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
Bit of chocolate
1 TBSP Ketchup
1 Tspn Worster sauce
Black Pepper

2. Fry up crushed garlic in butter.
3. Meanwhile, add just enough water to curry powder to make a thick paste.  In a separate bowl, mix flour with just enough water to make a thick paste.  Add curry paste and flour paste to garlic.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients to your tastes.  We added some chutney to make it sweeter for the kiddos.

Well, if you try it, let me know how it came out!