Into each life a little decadence should fall . . .

The Boss and I have changed a lot since we moved to live in rural Mallorca. I hope for the better . . .

For a start, living in such beautiful surroundings has made us more environmentally aware. Some of this is due to the practicalities of our ‘off the grid’ life. For example, if we’re careless in our use of electricity, the chances are that our solar system will do the equivalent of screaming “Woah! I need a little generator support here!” And diesel, apart from being rather unfriendly in environmental terms, is also quite expensive.

So, we think carefully about usage, and would never dream of running the dishwasher, the washing machine and the iron all at the same time. And I try to do jobs that require a good slug of electricity on days when our 16 solar panels are basking in sunshine. If we’re lucky with the weather, we don’t have to rely on the generator to keep us in clean ironed clothes.

We’re similarly careful with water usage: we have to be, as it’s delivered by tanker to our cisterna, 12,000 litres at a time.

I must confess that I probably wasn’t so careful about these things when I lived in the UK, even though we had quarterly bills to pay for such services. The bathroom  tap would run while I was cleaning my teeth (now a ‘sin’ in our household), and lights would be on in unused rooms, just for decorative effect. Everything was ‘on tap’ and available – even if it meant bigger bills for less careful use.

A zest for cooking . . . and gourmet goodies 

Happily, my writing keeps me fairly busy, but I do like to find time to do things such as making  bread, biscuits, and preserves. In the early days of living here, I’d have been slightly overwhelmed by a generous gift of lemons – wondering how many G&Ts we’d have to drink to use them all up! Now, I head for the kitchen (where, it must be said, I am quite a messy but reasonably successful cook) and turn these gifts into preserves.

Friends who came for lunch last Thursday brought us a large basket of organic lemons and grapefruit; this summer, we’ll be spreading the resulting marmalade on our morning toast, thinking of our friends in their home in New York, and remembering a sunny January day when I spent most of one joyful morning shredding the peel from a small mountain of citrus fruit.

But within this changed girl remains a part-time hedonist: when the opportunity is there, I love dining out on fine food and wine, and I get little-girl-excited when I discover previously untried gourmet foods and ingredients.

So, when we opened a parcel yesterday – a generous gift from our lovely friends Duncan and Kristina in Oxford, who have visited us annually since we moved here, and probably love the finca as much as we do – we were thrilled to find some delicious Fortnum & Mason gourmet goodies within. And among the wrappings was a jar of F&M Majestic Marmalade. And, I kid you not, it’s flecked with gold leaf: it lives up to its name, looking like something a princess – or her servant – would spread on her morning toast (crusts removed, no doubt).

Our breakfast toast may be rustic in style – crusts intact, and with the bottom of the loaf slightly burnt, due to our thermostatically-challenged oven – but, when it comes to the marmalade that will be gracing it for the next week or so, all that glitters is definitely gold . . .

A decadent start to a day in the Mallorcan countryside

A decadent start to a day in the Mallorcan countryside

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7 thoughts on “Into each life a little decadence should fall . . .

  1. Love your blogs, they mirror our life here in a rustic Finca complete with the generator, solar panels and even thermostatically challenged cooker! Only difference we have a well for water… That sometimes runs dry in the summer… And I leave the marmalade making up to hubbie, enjoy your treat J2o were also doing a fruit juice drink with gold flecks in for New Year!

    • Thanks for enjoying my blog, Jo! We have a well too, but it’s halfway down the side of the valley and hasn’t been used for donkey’s years. In fact, there could even be a donkey at the bottom of it (but I seriously hope not – more likely to be
      rabbits and small rodents), as it’s an open hole in the ground with no walls around it! One day we might just get it sorted so we can use it to water plants . . .

  2. Why not make a lemon pie? They are delicious. The only problem here on Mallorca is that we like it with wipped fresh cream and you can´t find fresh cream on the island! At least it has been easy to find fresh milk lately.
    Anders

    • That sounds a delicious idea . . . and we have an opened jar of Cornish clotted cream (purchased from the British supermarket in Pto Pollensa before Christmas) that would go well with it. We had two fresh milk machines in our vicinity, but both have now gone – I guess demand wasn’t there.

      • Yes we also notised the disappearance of the fresh milk machine at El Cruze but now our local Hiper in Porreres often have fresh milk.
        Anders

  3. Another tip if you are off-grid is to use LED-bulbs, which use far less energy for the same amount of light.
    In the winter months you can get both light and heath using a kerosene lamp. We have some Danish designed (Stelton) kerosene lamps, which apart from light and heath are beautiful to look at.
    A lot of the electronic equipment such as the TV-set and satellite receiver are usually on stand-by when not used. The amount of energy used on stand-by can be significant! So switch off!
    Anders

  4. Thanks, Anders. The Stelton lamps sound interesting … will Google those. Yes, we’ve been wise to the stand-by usage of appliances for a while. You’re right it does make a difference!

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