By The Lazy Tigers

Well, the sun is here, the beach is here, the cafes and restaurants are here, and most of the shops also. We now have the best part of the ingredients for summer.

We all know that this is going to be the `socially distancing summer’, but with some care and a little bit of ingenuity, we can have a whopper of a time here in Lagos. At London Tiger Coffee, we are seeing lots of people from Porto and Lisbon who have made the trip already to existing holiday homes or just for a short break. We have also had a sprinkling of visitors from further afield who have come because they know that Portugal is one of the safest and cleanest places to visit in the world right now. If there is a better place on earth to enjoy the beach at a safe distance from your neighbour than Meia Praia, we don’t know where it is!

Right now is a great time to go out and eat, which we Lazy Girls prefer, and it will never again be easier to score a hot table in July! However, if you just want to chill on your own balcony, we have a couple of Portuguese nibbles to get you started. Portuguese carrots make a great veggie starter and home marinated olives are much nicer than anything you can get in the shops.

There is nothing nicer than a long gin cocktail, especially one that is easy to make. So why not try a Limoncello Collins for a change?

Enjoy your quiet(er) July and come and see us all at London Tiger Coffee.

Marinate your own olives

Makes four small dishes worth:

  • 1 regular sized jar of olives (we use whole green ones, best quality in the shop)
  • 1 or 2 lemons (the unwaxed kind)
  • 150 ml of very good extra virgin olive oil
  • A handful of green herbs that you like (thyme, coriander, oregano, etc. NOT mint)
  • 2 big cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)

Drain the olives and put in the box or dish in which you plan to store them. Add the juice and half the zest of the first lemon plus the olive oil. Add the herbs and the thinly sliced garlic. Decide if you need to use the second lemon. This process is very touchy-feely, so try different herbs and amounts of lemon the next time. Put in the fridge and leave overnight, or at least a few hours. These will also keep for ages.

Traditional Portuguese Carrots

Makes four small dishes worth:

  • 5 or 6 good-sized (but not huge) carrots
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 fat sweet cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil (the good stuff)
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar (cider, wine, any vinegar but malt!)

Give the carrots a good clean but don’t peel them. Then chop them into discs. Boil for about 5 – 7 minutes with the bay leaf in salted water. The carrots should be tender but not soft.

Before the carrots are ready, thinly slice the garlic and mix with the olive oil and vinegar. Drain the carrots and immediately put them into the vinaigrette. Make sure every carrot is covered in the marinade and occasionally stir while they are cooling. This dish will keep for days in a tight container in the fridge.

Limoncello Collins

Makes two:

  • 100 ml of Limoncello (or similar)
  • 75 ml of gin
  • 50 ml of lemon juice
  • Some paper-thin slices of lemon (about a lemon’s worth)
  • Ice
  • 100 ml of soda water
  • A handful of fresh mint

In a cocktail shaker or jug, combine the limoncello, gin and lemon juice, cover and refrigerate for an hour or so, if you have the time! In 2 Collins glasses, press 3 to 4 slices of the lemon against the sides.

Add ice and the well-stirred or shaken mixture. Add the soda water to taste and garnish with the mint.