Back in time for tea

Travelling the world, hopefully with a cuppa in hand

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Recipe for Torte de Limao

Our first attempt at torte de limao

It hasn’t all been hard work. On Sunday Jon’s sister invited us all around for Sunday lunch. We thought we’d try making a torte de limao which we’d tried and loved in Brasil. It’s kind of a cross between lemon cheesecake and lemon meringue pie, sweet and creamy, and can be made with lemons or limes. It went down very well after Karin’s superb lunch and so we thought we’d share it with you all.

Torte de Limao

The base
250g crushed ginger nut biscuits
75g melted butter
chopped stem ginger to taste

Mix all the base ingredients together and using the back of a spoon, press down into a greased, 22cm, loose-bottomed, deep flan or cake tin.

The middle lemon cheesecake layer
2 tins condensed milk
200ml double cream
juice and all the zest of three lemons (or five limes)

Mix (don’t whisk) lemon cheesecake layer ingredients together until the mixture stiffens (due to a reaction between the lemon juice and the condensed milk). Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and place into the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.

The meringue topping
3 medium egg whites
150g caster sugar
juice of half a lemon (or lime)

Preheat an oven to 160 degrees C (gas mark 3). Using an electric whisk on a high setting, whisk up the egg whites until stiff. Then continuing to whisk, add in a spoonful of sugar at a time and also the lemon juice. Check that the meringue forms soft peaks and spoon carefully onto the top of the cheesecake filling.

Place the tin on a rack in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes, checking carefully throughout cooking, then turn the oven off and leave the torte in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

After this time, remove the torte from the oven, cool and then chill until it’s time to serve. The torte will serve approximately 12 people.


A house update

Well the house shenanigans are continuing. We hope to be moving in on Wednesday but still haven’t had this confirmed by the lettings agents (even though we’ve booked a van and have a sofa to pick up on Wednesday morning). With any luck it should all be confirmed by tonight. We’re keeping all our fingers crossed and are looking forward to breathing a big sigh of relief once we’re in.

In the end, after a few days mulling over the different options last week, we decided to go for one of our back-up houses – a house we’d seen while down in Cambridge at the same time as the cottage that fell through.

The house is nice and roomy with a garden and importantly for us it’s in one of the villages in south Cambridgeshire so we can try out some village living. Unfortunately it’s not a very villagey location being on one of the main roads into Cambridge and opposite a fuel station; we’re just hoping that it isn’t too noisy. The house is a bit dated inside, complete with old fashioned electric storage heaters, but hopefully will look great with all our stuff in. There’s also a really nice summer house in the garden that we both loved and intend to make use of in spite of the English winter. Most importantly we should be able to move in before Lou starts work on Monday.

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Counting our chickens too soon…

Well, all our cosy cottage dreams came to an abrupt end this morning when we found out that there had been a second application made on our little house. The final decision rested with the landlord and he chose the other applicants. ‘What?!’ we hear you cry, but sadly it’s true and now our cottage dreams are no more. We’re really disappointed as we feel the letting agents messed us around from the beginning. If they’d got their facts straight we’d have been able to view the property on Thursday and so we’d have been first on the list. Despite submitting our application ahead of the other couple, they’d viewed it on Friday, a day earlier than us and unfortunately Jon’s temporary unemployment also counted against us. Big pants.

We have a couple of other viable options that will do, even if they don’t quite fulfil the dream, so we’re waiting on the answers to a few questions and then I guess we’ll make a decision then.

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Fingers crossed…

We have a house!!!!!

Well almost.

After a long weekend of house hunting we finally found a house to rent near Louisa’s work to the south of Cambridge. We saw quite a wide range of places and we could have lived in any of them really but this was the only one that had something special. One of the things we’d decided while travelling was that we’d like to try some country living and the cottage is in a small village with two pubs, a post office, a village shop, a yarn shop and not much else. It’s close enough for Lou to cycle to work and hopefully well placed for lots of country walks. We’re already really excited about living there but we have to wait until the end of the week to know for sure. The landlord has to agree to have us as tenants and then there are the usual credit and reference checks that take five days. Once we know for sure we’ll add a photo and more details.




A very scottish wedding

Kirsty and her dad

Hello everyone,  we’re back in the UK and have had a busy few days since flying back from Borneo.  After getting back into Heathrow on Thursday morning we took the train to Northallerton, and then drove up to the Kyle of Lochalsh, near Skye in Scotland for James and Kirsty’s wedding. It was all a bit of a challenge, getting Lou’s car on the road again (thanks Lou’s dad) and finding all our smart clothes for the wedding which had been carefully boxed away a long time ago. We decided to wear some of the clothes we’d acquired on our travels – Jon a suit and shirt from Vietnam and shoes from Bolivia, and Lou with a dress from Thailand and shawl from Malaysia but unfortunately we forgot to take a photo of us both to show you all.

The drive up was amazing with beautiful scenery. From Northallerton, we went over the Penine hills via the A66, and then up the West coast via the M6, past Carlisle and Gretna Green, Lockerbie, Glasgow, Loch Lomond where we stopped for a flask of tea, Fort William and Ben Nevis, the Glen Coe ski region and through the Highlands. We came back down via the East coast, finding time to fit in a quick whisky tour and tasting at the Dalwhinnie distillery. Our route took us past Perth, over the Forth Road bridge, through Edinburgh, and then down the A1 past Berwick to Newcastle.

Eilean Donan castle

To describe the main event; the wedding itself was lovely. Held in the grand Eilean Donan castle on the shores of the Loch Duich, the Groom and Bride looked really happy together and we’d like to wish them a wonderful honeymoon in Greece, and every happiness in their future together. As befitting a scottish wedding there was piper and a céilidh with folk music and we ended up dancing late into the night, finishing with Auld Lang Syne before stumbling back to our B&B down the road.

We were planning on making a short break of it in Skye but were put off by the rainy weather and forecasts of hurricane-like conditions. The previous day we had managed to fit in our first Munro (a Scottish hill), but it hadn’t been the best hike ever. It was very wet and boggy all the way around and we got soaked. We still have some very soggy and smelly hiking shoes in the boot of Lou’s car to show for it.

For those of you starting to suffer from Blog Loss Syndrome, you’ll be glad to hear we plan on continuing to blog for at least the next four weeks or so as we settle back into real life. Before work starts again at the start of October we still have to find a place to live, move all our stuff back in and Jon’s also got a job interview. We’re really looking forward to this next part of our lives and being able to do things we haven’t been able to do in a long time: catching up with all our friends and families, having our own house, cooking for ourselves, enjoying autumn walks, running and other sports, dancing tango, unpacking our music and books, playing the piano, gardening and yes, even getting back into work.

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