The garden has useful refreshments

IT’S sweltering outside but with a breeze through an open door from a shaded terrace it’s bearable, with a cool infusion to sip while writing next week’s article. As explained below there are several things prepared from garden plants that are very enjoyable during the hot summer days.

Lemon verbena infusions

A few leaves of this attractively smelling and tasting herb in hot water, best not quite boiling, yields a very refreshing hot or cold summer beverage. It’s a good idea to keep a large jugful in the fridge for mid-afternoon drinking before and after a siesta.

Rosemary, mint, rose petal and olive leaf infusions

This a great mix for a healthy, reenergising and life extending breakfast cuppa. See the book ‘LIVING WELL FROM OUR GARDEN – MEDITERRANEAN STYLE for numerous other ideas.

Mint soup and infusions

Entertaining a group of friends last night we started with a soup that is very easy to make and immediately soothing on a hot sultry day or night. Just harvest, or buy, a moderately sized ridge cucumber for each person then put into a chopper/blender machine with unsweetened yogurt, fresh lemon juice, chopped mint leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Once a smooth creamy liquid is produced place in a jug or bowl in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

 

Tomatoes

Summer favourites include chilled tomato gazpacho soup, fresh baked bread with an olive oil, tomato and crushed garlic spread and an Andalucian Remojon salad made with thin slices of oranges and tomatoes, chopped salt cod, home cured olives and a dressing of olive oil and dry sherry or Moriles wine.

Coastal valley dews

When I leave at day break for a cool comfortable walk there is heavy dew on the leaves of shiny plants, paths and cars parked in the road. Overnight it had cooled off and rehydrated plants. However it is not sufficient to meet the daily needs of plants, so regular watering is a must for many plants with continuing drought conditions. By 8.30 am the dew has gone as an already hot sun rises over our local mountain.

By the way although central Spain has had a good few storms this summer the landscape around Madrid and Segovia were parched brown when I assisted two weeks ago week as a Volunteer at a Vaughan Town Week where Spaniards pay big money to practice talking English for 84 hours in six days. Volunteers are sought with a wide range of British and international English accents. By the way this is a good way to give something back to Spain for the good weather and gardens, and make new friends. Interestingly with only half the level of humidity and good breezes Madrid and Segovia were much more comfortable places to be than the holiday Costas, and everywhere roses were blooming heavily.

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