Friday, 24 December 2010

Spanish Christmas

This is what greeted us at the entrance to the supermarket this morning. Their finest local Gloria Moscatel......lovely. There was also an impromptu Spanish flamenco troupe singing, guitars and a drum making a lively foot-stomping sound.

This is to wish everyone a Feliz Navidad and Año Nuevo, especially to two magnificent women bloggers, both of whom have battled cancer this year and each - in their own inimitable way - have blogged about it with great humour. You are in for a treat if you visit and
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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Wild and windy Costa de la Luz.

It's a busy life at the moment with Readers' Group, International Women's Group, local Women's Breakfast Group, Spanish lessons, more visits to the hospital for skin cancers, dentist and, of course, always something to do in the garden.

We don't have post delivered to our house as we are out "in the campo" but have to go down to the local beach La Barrosa, to Mail Boxes Etc., a totally secure office with dozens of post boxes, stationery suppliers and internet cafe. We drove back via beachside and spotted these kite surfers in the rollers. My, the air was bracing! What an exhilerating sport it looks.
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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Aracena, in Huelva Province

Our women's breakfast group had a day trip to Aracena last week - a beautiful town north of Seville.  For health reasons, I didn't go to some of the attractions so let me tell you what Rough guide to Spain says:  " Set in the Sierra  Morena (the largest of Spain's mountain ranges) the town's southern flank is topped by the Iglesia del Castillo, a 13th century church built by the Knights Templar around the remains of a Moorish castle.   Its principal attraction is the Gruta de las Maravillas, the largest cave in Spain, discovered by a local boy when searching for a lost pig".

For me, the outdoor museum of contemporary sculpture was the most appealing.  This small town has dozens of fine works donated by Eduardo Chillida and Carmen Perujo.

I had a long, leisurely yummy lunch of stuffed sirloin of pork (prunes and ham) for which the area is famous.  This is, after all, the jamon-producing area.  Also famous for wild asparagus and mushrooms.  I don't normally drink so two glasses of excellent Rioja later found me buying an art-deco type tea service that I didn't need but loved....and it was very cheap at 46€.

Now I'll try to do my slide show

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Soh Pek's Asian cooking lessons

Yesterday was the last of Soh Pek's cooking lessons: we have toured Thailand, Malaysian, Singapore and China through their cuisines. Every month, we paid 15€, Soh Pek bought the ingredients and we helped prepare the dishes. Our last meal included Garlic Prawns, family recipe Chilli Chicken, Spicy Beef with Brandy, Steamed Salmon and Chinese Fried Rice. It's been a wonderful way of learning new things and then sharing food at the end of it. Best of all, having to track down ingredients from Seville or Gibraltar has been fun and then trying dishes at home. My first effort was a disaster and had to go in the bin. I hadn't written down the quantity of Green Thai paste and instead of 3 teasps. I added 3 tablesp........completely inedible - it not only blew our socks off, but everything else as well! I eat salmon steaks regularly, cooked in the microwave.

What a difference when I used my Chinese bamboo steamer instead - sublime. The steamer had been sitting in the cupboard for the last 15 years as I wasn't sure what to do with it; then it got forgotten. Now it will be a regular feature.

The prawns, chicken, beef and salmon were all marinaded overnight. I learned that the light soy sauce is saltier than the dark, but the latter used more for colour. But most important of all, heat up the wok/frying pan/pot thoroughly before adding oil - oh, and it must be vegetable oil so as not to alter the "Asian" flavours: a disappointment to us in southern Spain where olive oil is first choice, but it really makes a difference.

Contact me is anyone wants the recipes.

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Saturday, 17 April 2010

What happened!

Can I really not have posted anything here since last year. I find that extraordinary. I've been racking my brains to try and remember what I might have written and it's got lost, but nothing comes to mind.

This lovely kaftan was recently made for me from material that has moved with me from place to place over the last 30 years. It was given to me by a Palestinian friend who bought it at a centre for people with disabilities in Jerusalem: it's all handwoven and is so comfy to wear (plus it disguises all the bulges).