No black pigs?

An oak grove, in autumn, without black pigs? What’s going on? oak field1 10-10-14oak field2 10-10-14oak field3 10-10-14oak field4 10-10-145 to remember
un bosquecillo – an oak grove
en otoño – in autumn
sin - without
los cerdos negros – the black pigs
¿qué pasa? – What’s going on?

A trio of terrapins

On an autumn walk we came across three baby terrapins sunning themselves on a rock, they dived for the pool before I could get my camera out. But one of them crawled back onto the rock and I got a quick snapshot. terrapin1 10-10-14Each looked about 6cm diameter. In another pool we saw an adult, floating on the surface of the water, about 20cm diameter. Every now and then it would sink out of sight, cooling itself presumably in the deep water, before returning the sunny surface.

[photo: Wikipedia]

[photo: Wikipedia]

There are two types of terrapin in Spain, both grow up to 20cm. The Striped-Neck Terrapin [above] has a striped neck and an oval, flattened shell. Older animals have a scarred shell, caked in silt if they are sun-bathing. The shells of younger Stripe-Necked Terrapins have red or yellow patches.

[photo: Wikipedia]

[photo: Wikipedia]

The European Pond Terrapin [above] is similar but without the stripes. It is likely this is the one we saw as it is reportedly very fond of sunning itself at the water’s edge.
5 to remember
un galápago – a terrapin
se tiró – it dived
un foto – a snapshot
el diámetro – the diameter
el bordo – the edge

A nutty, cidery, cabbagey thing

This is one of those recipes which doesn’t photograph well but smells great in the kitchen and is tasty on the plate. It’s on a scruffy piece of paper torn from a weekend newspaper supplement, I don’t know which, and it’s been hanging around for ages on our ‘must try this’ pile beside the cookbooks. It was the thought of roasted hazelnuts which tempted me. chamomile teabag 21-10-14So, try it. Don’t put it off, like I did. It really does taste great. Check out our ideas on how to improve it, below. cabbage - close-up 21-10-14Serves 8
250 salted butter
5g dried chamomile [from a good quality teabag]
100g hazelnuts, toasted and crushed into large pieces
2 savoy cabbages, quartered [if they are large, cut them into eighths]
150ml cider
½ tbsp acacia honey
150g girolle mushrooms [we used chestnut]
The leaves from 8 sprigs of lemon thyme
½ lemon, zest and juice plateful 21-10-14Heat the butter gently and add the chamomile. Leave to infuse somewhere warm for two hours.

Heat the chamomile butter in a wide shallow casserole [we used a Le Creuset] and add the cabbage wedges. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, so the cabbage colours very gently on one side and is light golden and softened. Turn over the cabbage and repeat.

Add the cider and honey, and bring to the boil, swirling the pan to emulsify the sauce. add mushrooms to the pan 21-10-14Add the mushrooms and thyme, cook for another three minutes until everything is just softened. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir. Scatter with toasted hazelnuts. hazelnuts, toasted 21-10-14in the pan 21-10-14We ate it with onion rice.

What would we do differently next time?
Serve it with mash, not rice.
Brown some chopped onions in the casserole before adding the cabbage.
Add a handful of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in a little hot water. Add the mushrooms and the soaking water when the cabbage goes in. mushroom - close-up 21-10-14Throw in a few thin slices of peeled dessert apple with the cabbage, to complement the cider.
Remove the core of the cabbage, although this will mean the cabbage falls apart as it cooks it will make it simpler to eat on the plate.
Serve it in a large bowl rather than a flat plate, to contain the tasty sauce.
If you have any other suggestions on how to adapt this recipe, I’d love to hear them. lovely cidery sauce 21-10-145 to remember
una sugerencia – a suggestion
el centro – the core
se le deshace – it falls apart
plano/a – flat [surface]
seco/a – dried

Gold-tipped sky

Sometimes here we get the hint of a sunset, as if the clouds are tipped in gold. Or apricot jam. sky1 12-10-14sky2 12-10-14sky3 12-10-14sky4 12-10-145 to remember
a veces – sometimes
la pista – the hint/clue
la mermelada de albaricoque – the apricot jam
aquí - here
las nubes – the clouds

East-West dip

We all live global lives today, don’t we? This beany dip symbolises modern life. It’s an Italian recipe, eaten in a Saigon hotel made by a Vietnamese chef, and now it is a regular supper dish for us in England and Spain. It couldn’t be simpler, it’s one of those dishes you can make from the cupboard and the fridge when you think you have nothing to eat. parmesan, chunk 1-10-141 tin white beans [we used cannellini]
Large chunk of Parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil
½-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper cannellini beans 1-10-14Drain and rinse the beans, and put into a food processor with chunks of Parmesan. There are no amounts for this recipe, so I suggest you add what you think is the right amount of cheese then add to it when you test the flavour. We like black pepper as a seasoning, so we added 1 tsp, but you may prefer to add ½ tsp first and a little more on tasting. Finally add a really good slug of olive oil. ingredients in food processor 1-10-14Whizz it in the processor, then take the lid off for a taste test and a stir. If the mixture is too stiff, add more olive oil. Keep on adding olive oil and whizzing, until the consistency is as you prefer it. This might depend on the accompaniments. If you are eating it as a spread on bread or biscuits, it can be thick. But if you want to dip in crudités, add more olive oil to make it thinner. olive oil, bottle 1-10-14Check the taste again, adding more cheese or pepper if required, then serve chilled. It keeps really well in a sealed plastic bowl in the fridge. plateful 1-10-145 to remember
global - global
simboliza – it symbolises
moderno/a – modern
la vida – the life
el Vietnam – Vietnam