Monday, 5 September 2016

Conquilhas...

...or tiny clams, are definitely better than shoes!

I have rules when it comes to food: I don't eat anything that is not entirely dead (so, no oysters, thank you), I don't eat food that comes with it's house (snails, yeah, that kind of stuff) and I don't eat food that comes from inside other food (offal is out of question). Also, I don't like to get acquainted with my food before eating it, so no, I do not want to choose my lobster, thank you, you do it and then cook it and then present it to me on a plate, please, I'm not a monster!! (OK, slight exaggeration there...)
Oh, and I don't eat anything I don't like, life's too short for that and my mother does not control me anymore...

So when I first came to Portugal, nine years ago, and was presented with one of the local delicacies of the Algarve, the "conquilhas", my initial reaction was "no, thank you, it comes with it's little house"... But, I was assured by my boyfriend that it was entirely dead, cooked and all, and that it was really delicious and I was going to like it. I believed him. I usually do. At least enough to give it a try. And that was it... I fought him for the last one! And since then, they have become the symbol of my Portuguese holidays!

They are tiny, they are cooked ever so quickly in olive oil and garlic and fresh cilantro and lemon and the sauce they come in is just devine! You need a lot of bread, forget the diet; the conquilhas have very little meat anyway and, in all honesty, they merely serve to help the sauce travel into your mouth while adding a suttle hint of the sea to it. Just the right amount of sea, their flavour is not strong as that of bigger clams. You need bread, did I mention that? And you need to dig in with your hands, pick the minuscule clam, suck the deliciousness out of it and wipe out every little drop of sauce from the plate with your bread... Oh, believe you me, it's sooooo good! 

If you add to that you most probably you will be enjoying them while at holidays by the coast in the beautiful south of Portugal with the spectacular views it has to offer, you will be in your flip flops, you will have a cold, cold beer to accompany them and after the meal you will take a nap (yep, try them at lunch, that's my advice), you will find yourself in heaven! 
And you will agree with me that they are indeed "better than shoes" 😉

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

kindness...

... is better than shoes!

I'm writing this after reading some gruesome news from my home country... Yes, I know, I have said many times that I should stop doing this because it is all always bad and it only makes me miserable or angry, both feelings that I do try to avoid consciously... But I did read and I do keep being interested and oh, well... I cannot change who I am...

So I read, not just the article but also the comments from the other readers and I realise that people have lost all kindness! No, really!! Everyone is so quick to accuse, to judge and condemn, to point the finger, to refuse to even accept a shred of doubt about ones "crimes", to throw the criminal in jail and even worse and deny them all rights even those basic human ones...

No, I am not saying that criminals should walk around us free, no, they should be justly tried and if found guilty the should pay back society for the wrongdoing however, hold your horses people, don't be so ready to volunteer for the inquisition, don't have the firing squad all prepared before the trial is over! And even if the accused is guilty, please award them their rights even if your emotions say they are not worth it... judge with logic, not emotion...

A society in my view is being judged not by the way it treats its best members but by the way it treats its worst ones! Even criminals have rights and those should be respected! That's what a society is all about, respecting and protecting everyone's rights and responsibilities, maintaining justice, providing for education, social services, health and yes, punishing crime too. But no crime in my mind is worth the capital punishment, no punishment should be bigger than the crime and justice should be served for all equally and independently! But above all, let's just find it in our hearts to be kind to those who have hurt us, who have hurt the society, stop the vicious circle of violence and give a chance...

I mean, it's almost Christmas, people!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Remember how it's like to be a kid!

If my kindergarten teacher was correct, I never actually was a child... Yep, she had in fact said it to my mom... But I don't think she was right, looking back. At least, I hope she wasn't! No, I was a kid once, even though not an entirely carefree one, not one of those amazing little creatures who look their parents in the eye and exclaim "but... I'm only a kid"! No... Those words never came out of my mouth, for goodness sake no! No, I was responsible! For almost everything! But, a kid nonetheless!

I was innocent. And I was naive! Very naive! And I had happy moments. I did play outside, even if only when we were on our family summer holidays, always in that same little village by the sea. I was a tomboy who spent all morning in the water and run on my bike with the guys all afternoon and played Asterix (we loved the role play, I was the chief's wife, possibly the only point my femininity would be hard to escape) and stayed on the beach almost until midnight, until the sand would feel cold under our bare feet and we could not keep our eyes open anymore... Yet, we would complain anyway when told it was time to go to bed :)

And I was positive and sociable and hopeful and, though I loved to play, I would not "play games", not even when the "game" with the boys started, very late admittedly in my case. No. I was honest, always followed the rules and could never stop saying exactly what I was thinking! I was a kid. And if I could remember more often how it was to be a kid, if I could mentally recreate today, in my 40s, that sense of simplicity and innocence and honesty and belief in all that's good and that everything will be ok eventually, oh, wouldn't that be so much "better than shoes"!!