Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Feliz Dia Andalucia!

Happy Andalusia Day! From Wikipedia... "The Día de Andalucia ("Day of Andalusia" or "Andalusia Day") is celebrated February 28 and commemorates the February 28, 1980 referendum on the Statute of Autonomy of Andalusia, in which the Andalusian electorate voted for the statute that made Andalusia an autonomous community of Spain.[1]

The above link shows the area of community.

On the domestic front, Bruce received the tooth he’s been missing for almost a year, having a dentist here is good but instead of waiting three months, it was much longer (the three month wait is to ensure the post settles in). He says it feels weird and now he has no place to store olive pits…

On the way back we asked Pepe stop at Ikea to get Bruce a sheepskin to sleep on, weary bones at night, this should help. 
Lexi likes it!
Pepe buys much of his home furnishings from Ikea for the apartments he rents out so is very familiar with the store. He has a “family discount”, knows how to search for whatever on their computer kiosks that are information centres. Goes to the 50% off section to see if anything is useful. Pepe had in mind smallish things he wanted to get so we did, and a print of the ocean caught his eye so he bought that too. The store is certainly customer friendly, with self checkouts and a person to help when needed, although I’m sure they also check that everything brought through is accounted for, cynic I am.

I used to be familiar with the one in Richmond, BC, but this one is probably double the size. A little hint, is that upon entering the store you are directed to the show room, with kilometres of show space, but if you go with something specific in mind you can avoid all that and go directly to the warehouse to actually buy what you want. At Richmond the door was almost secretive, tucked away, here, it just means entering the exit. My Polish friend Danuta and I would often go to Ikea for lunch at their cafeteria, she ate the pickled fish and lingonberries she couldn't get elsewhere. Great memories!
People are doing a major renovation in and outside a building next door. I missed an opportunity to photograph to show you the plank over the pile of dirt, with another coming down the slope. Workmen are manoeuvring wheelbarrows up and down this steep narrow slope. Thought I’d get a chance returning but there were three workmen inside at that point and it didn’t feel right to take a photo.

Dawna and Erwin are here for a visit and darn it the weather has turned to cloud and rain today. They came here and we went over to the art market. I am able to ask the partner of Olivia with enough Spanish where is she, she's been MIA for a few weeks, she's gone to Thailand, and that’s about all I could understand. Talked to Liz again, the market wasn’t even half full due to closing of the streets for the annual Zurich marathon. 

Procession down our street to return the statue of Jesus to his resting place in the church, they had likely been restoring it before Semana Santa. The men carrying it do not walk underneath like they do in processions, they are at the four corners. 
Blurry but much less so than the next...
The white is caused by the swinging of lanterns, added "just because..."
There are many bands around our area now also, while D & E were visiting we could hear them. They must have been practicing so not sounding coordinated at all, just producing noise.

I took the next two pictures on our return from Triana, read on.

Fountain built to commemorate Spanish explorer Juan Sebastian del Cano at the end of Los Remedios bridge

Queen Maria's sewing box or basket, local legend that she spent time sewing in the building, it was actually built after her death. In Spanish, Costurero de la Reina
Bruce’s ears were plugged with wax so Pepe took us to a Doctor, recommended by Ryan, in Triana, the other side of Seville, across the river, where the residents call themselves Trianans first, Sevillanos second. Honestly I think it is quite an ugly neighbourhood but it does have some nice parks. It’s full of low rise apartment blocks covered in brick for the most part, but people who live there say there is a real sense of neighbourhood. Anyway got into Pepe’s car and it’s covered inside with confetti! 

He’d taken people on a bodega tour and coming back ran into a large parade from the carnival in Cadiz. They were stopped and people threw confetti into the car from the parade. Cheerful but messy!

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

Here is a post from a couple who "collect" images of hearts, in building design and everywhere in their travels. 

Bruce and I do not "celebrate" this day, we are more spontaneous about showing our love. We did buy Rocio a box of chocolates and card, last week was a tough one for her, personal reasons, so we wanted to cheer her up a bit.

We owed a rather urgent bill to a company in Germany. I don’t understand and have complained before about this. Bruce had some updates done to his wheelchair about a month before we left Freiburg, we did not receive the bill and he offered to pay it on the spot but no go. So they finally send the bill and expect payment immediately or maximum 15 days, what? We can hardly remember what the charge is for! 

Pepe came over to install the bathroom light, before he got here I unwrapped the one we bought to discover a large crack in the casing, darn it! So Pepe goes to the store, same one we were at earlier in the day and picks up another. We take the cracked one back and have some trouble with language, the clerk gets frustrated with us which is unusual, maybe because it was a Monday morning?

We’ve been craving king crab after our wonderful dinner of it in Amsterdam, but wondered if it was available here and it is! So we bought a mess of it, frozen and invited Angela, Ryan and Pepe for a feed. 

Pepe is cutting down the side of the legs for easier access, Thanks Pepe! Angela's photo.
And a feed it was, served with melted butter, lemon and garlic bread. 

Me checking temperature, we steamed them. Angela's photo.
I put out tomato and cucumber but they will now be a salad for me, everyone seemed to keep their appetites for the crab. Very messy meal but very tasty. A treat for everyone.

Ryan's photo, Ryan's plate
I’d put the packages in the fridge to thaw overnight and they leaked all over so had a fridge to clean out before they arrived of smelly sea water. Now I’m learning how to make bisque from the shells but first had to look up what is bisque anyway? Fancy name for soup really, but typically refers to a soup made from shellfish.  I think I’ll make a chowder instead.

Bruce has missed several dental appointments due to lack of energy and upset stomach so this last appointment he was feeling better and went. Pepe picked us up and drove us there to Espartinas where the office is. Lovely drive this time of year through very green fields and orchards of olive trees. Appointment didn’t take long and Pepe had an hour to spare so he took us to LinoyFino - yah! Finally got there, but she has no stock! I did get two men’s shirts and she said she’s bringing all the spring stock in beginning of March so you can bet I’ll be back, her name is Yolanda. The spring colours she showed me are great! I expect this will be a productive and expensive visit, which I look forward to! I was in and out in about 15 minutes, doesn’t take me long, not with two men in tow. 

We take Lexi to the vet for a pedicure and have to wait so we admire the other animals in the waiting room, a beagle and a pug. We get the vet this time, not her assistant and she does an inspection of Lexi, ears, teeth, whole body through, and then does her nails, Lexi hissed once but was otherwise okay. We really like this vet and her staff, they are friendly, capable and the office is close.

Bruce wanted "Swiss Chalet" sauce, which I don’t like, never have, but made it just for him (after procrastinating about a week in hopes he would forget, he didn't). We left out the vinegar, all-spice and ginger, mostly because we didn’t have them in the house. Surprise to me, it tasted really great with the chicken we bought pre-cooked. Made another run of broth from the carcass. P.S. Swiss Chalet, in case you don't know, is a Canadian chain of restaurants serving mainly chicken with their signature sauce.

Went up to the Setas (Metropol) market, had lunch prior to going into the market, but by the time we were done the market was closing and couldn’t find the root vegetables (turnip, parsnip, beets) we needed for borscht soup. We'll have to wait for borscht when we get back to Germany where the vegetables are more widely available. Who has heard of Spaniards eating borscht anyway? Definitely not a Spanish dish. Went to El Corte and found ingredients for mushroom soup instead, which I'd never made before but turned out tasty. I found this bit amusing from the recipe:

"Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender's lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?"

From Reprinted with permission from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain with José de Meirelles and Philippe Lajaunie. © 2004 Bloomsbury
Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Spicing of Olives

Olive making! We didn’t grow the olives obviously, Ivan’s Uncle did. Earlier this week Ivan dropped off a large pot of raw olives with instruction to bathe them every day, dump the lot into a colander and rinse them for five days, that process softens them up. The pot is large and cumbersome but I did it with apron on, they splash into the sink.

Ivan and Lola came over to put the recipe together. First you have to smash them using the bottom of a beer bottle, of course you have to drink the beer first. See the pot on the left, full, lots of smashing! Sometimes they jump off the counter, flying olives, smashed garlic cloves also flew...

Here is Ivan's family recipe: Bitter orange juice, (the kind that grow in the streets here) two bitter oranges cut up, garlic, thyme, oregano, cumin, a bit of hot chilli pepper, stir well and let sit for a day and enjoy! Ivan brought all the spices including his Uncle's organic oregano. 

Garlic and bitter orange.
We have enough olives to feed an army. Everyone who comes to this house this next week will be going out with olives! 

Finished product.
It was great fun! Many families here do it and each have different recipes handed down by generations. Pepe tasted them and he would have added more spice, as his father does but he liked the initial flavour, Rocio liked them too. Pepe would add vinegar, as would Lola, whose family also makes their own. Pepe has never made olives with his father and maybe will do now to find out the favoured recipe. Of course it is to individual taste, and what you grew up with is also a factor.

Huge Thanks to Ivan and Lola for this great experience!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat who had no part in olive making.