Tag Archives: Andalucia

Fill your #Kindle with ebooks – why not try the Identity Detective series

No exciting books under the Christmas tree? Are you bored already? Fill your #Kindle with new ebooks by authors new to you. Or start that book you’ve been meaning to read and haven’t got around to buying? Or try the Identity Detective series.Identity DetectiveSo what’s my ‘Identity Detective’ series all about?
Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. And each new challenge makes Rose re-live her own adoption story, each birth mother and father, adopted child, and adoptive parent she talks to, reminds her of her own birth mother Kate. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother, her hopes and anxieties, her guilt and fear, and her longing to see her baby again.

Here’s what some readers said about ‘Ignoring Gravity’ 5* “Ignoring Gravity is a very enjoyable read from beginning to end. The warm story will tear at your heart strings one moment, and make you smile the next.”
5* “I gave Ignoring Gravity 5 stars out of 5 for being a thought-provoking read on a sensitive and sometimes difficult subject. Knowing who you are and where you came from is important whether you are adopted or not.”
5* “This book genuinely surprised me. Reading the first couple of pages I almost put it down but I am really glad I didn’t make that mistake because as it drew me in I found it increasingly difficult to stop reading. I love books about secrets and this was no exception.”
Amazon UK 
Amazon USA

 … and about ‘Connectedness’ Sandra Danby5* “This is a novel that I found hard to put down as it swept me along on a roller-coaster of an emotional ride. I had to pull myself together not to burst into tears. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a very well-written story about a family saga.”
4* “This novel is deftly plotted with vivid characters and a mesmerizing story. I truly loved the way Justine’s past was woven into her present, reminding us that we are all, like her art, collages made from the memories and experiences we pick up on our travels and via the people we meet.”
5* “A beautiful book on so many levels. The title and the stunning cover drew me in and the prologue took my breath away. I had to read on to know why, what, who. I felt for Justine – her ache, angst, grief, her quest for answers – all so realistic, so sensitively portrayed.”
Amazon UK
Amazon USA 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Fill your #Kindle with ebooks – why not try the Identity Detective #saga series https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xq via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Blue #29

Wild borage is flowering at every corner of the valley. May 17, 2014 

I use this book to help identify wildflowers in the secret valley… Common Wildflowers of Spain by Austen Colwell. Amazon UK

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Wild borage = everywhere in May #Wildflowers #Andalucia https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xv via @Spanish_Valley 

Fifty Shades of White #8

White vinca, growing wild and clambering up the hillside. February 11, 2015

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
White vinca, growing wild & flowering #Gardening #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2c2

Salmon and new potato traybake

This is a versatile supper dish that, with a few seasonal amendments, works well throughout the year. And it is very tasty! In spring add asparagus, in the winter use leeks and frozen peas, add baby broad beans in the summer and in the autumn try Brussels sprouts. If you can get lightly smoked salmon fillets, they work well too.

Serves 4
2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
750g baby new potatoes
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves [I used a combination of tarragon and dill]
juice and zest of a lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve
175g leeks, trimmed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 tbsp crème fraiche or natural yogurt
1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
4 fillets salmon
200g frozen peas, gently defrosted

Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan/ gas mark 7. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin and out in the oven to preheat.

Cut the potatoes into evenly sized quarters and out into the heated tin. Add 1 tbsp tarragon and half the lemon zest. Season well and toss well to coat in oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the leeks in a bowl and cover with freshly boiled water. Set aside for 10 minutes, then drain. 

For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, crème fraiche, capers, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1tbsp tarragon and 1 tbsp water (to loosen the mixture). Season to taste. After 15 minutes, remove the potatoes from the oven and test. They should be almost tender; if they’re not put back into the oven for another five minutes. If they are almost tender, add the drained leeks, toss briefly with the oil then place the salmon fillets on top. Over the top sprinkle the remaining tarragon and lemon zest, check the seasoning.

Scatter frozen peas on top then return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

To serve, drizzle with the dressing and squeeze the lemon wedges. From a recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine.

If you like this, try:-
Mint, lime & lentil salad
Punchy leeks on toast
Roasted cauliflower salad

5 to remember
el estragón – the tarragon
un filete de pescado – a fillet (of fish)
agotado – drained
a lloviznar – to drizzle
un trozo – a wedge

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Salmon & potato traybake: a versatile supper dish that works well throughout the year #Spain #Recipe by @GHmagazine https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2mk  via @Spanish_Valley

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Bird song: Nightjar

I know someone who once saw a Nightjar in Spain at dusk in the summer.

[photo: Mull Birds & Jim Bevan]

I have never seen one, but I have heard them sing. Such a strange, haunting song ‘churr-churr’ which can vary from a soft purr to a harder wooden rattle. It flies at dusk and dawn, on the hunt for moths and insects, with its mouth wide open.

Actually, I may have seen a Nightjar but thought it was a Cuckoo or Kestrel. It is similar-sized and shaped, with pointed wings and a long tail. All sorts of ancient myths exist about Nightjars, principally that they steal milk from goats. The latter belief led to the Nightjar’s nickname ‘goatsucker’.

Listen to the Nightjar’s song at the RSPB website.

5 to remember
tal vez lo he visto – I may have seen
de tamaño semejante – similar-sized
de forma semejante – similar-shaped
último – latter
la creencia – the belief

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Red-Legged Partridge
Wren
Woodpigeon

 

Our most used bird book?
Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you recognize the song of the Nightjar? #Birds in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2aI

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#Christmas is coming… give someone a signed paperback

Are you planning your Christmas present list yet? If you know an avid reader who loves the touch and smell of real books, why not give them a signed paperback copy of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ or ‘Connectedness’? ChristmasSimply click the link below to order at my website. Payment is quick and secure by PayPal and you can specify your personalised dedication.

It couldn’t be easier! Available in the UK only.

Order ‘Ignoring Gravity’
Order ‘Connectedness’

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Give a signed copy of IGNORING GRAVITY or CONNECTEDNESS as a #Christmasgift https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2wF via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Gold #41

Giant seedhead of the century plant. July 1, 2014

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Giant seedhead of the century plant #Countryside in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2bX

The javelina, or is it?

The name of this orphan has caused some confusion. Our neighbour Pablo, whose son stumbled on the baby during a hunting trip in the hills, calls it a javelina. In fact javelina is another name for a peccary, a medium-sized hooved animal, part of the pig family. But the new occupant of the vacant hen house looks more to me as if it is a wild boar piglet, the clue being its distinctive stripes which have faded over the last two to three weeks as it has grown.

I suspect the confusion has arisen because the peccary/javelina is often kept as a pet or raised on farms as a source of food. Needless to say, Pablo had his family have no plans to eat their javelina which at the first opportunity is out of his pen and into the house. Cheeky and curious, when missing he is apparently found most often underneath the bed. No word on their plans for him when he is older!

5 to remember
un huérfano – an orphan
la confusion – the confusion
talla media – medium-sized
enganchado – hooved
distintivo – distinctive


Collins Photoguide: Complete Mediterranean Wildlife [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The javelina: an orphan, now a cheeky addition to ‘la granja’ #nature in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2nx via @Spanish_Valley  

Sweet potato pie

This pie is a real winter treat when you are starving hungry and it is cold outside. Easy, quick and with wonderful overtones of lemon and thyme. Serves 6
For the lentil mixture:-
Olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, bashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked [reserve some for the topping]
400g tin of tomatoes
400g Puy lentils
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mash:-
5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced [I used ¼ red onion, finely chopped]
grated zest of half an unwaxed lemon

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7.

Start with the mash. Cook the sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-bottomed casserole [which can go from hob to oven] and add a glug of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions and garlic and let them sizzle on a medium heat for 10 minutes until everything has softened a little.

Next add the spices and thyme, stir and cook for two minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, adding 2 empty tomato tins full of cold water, next add the lentils. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are cooked and the sauce has thickened. You may need to top it up with water from time to time. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the sweet potatoes, mash with olive oil, spring onions, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spoon the mash on top of the lentil mixture, and sprinkle with the reserved thyme leaves. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

We like to eat this with a side of wilted spinach.

 

This recipe is from ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ by Anna Jones [UK: Fourth Estate]

 

 

5 to remember
maravilloso – wonderful
los armónicos – the overtones
no encerado – unwaxed
ha engrosado – has thickened
es posible que necesite – you may need to

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Smoky spring onions and asparagus with lime
Cauliflower salad with spinach yogurt
A cassoulet of aubergines

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sweet potato & lentil pie #Spain #Recipe by Anna Jones @we_are_food https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2fN via @Spanish_Valley

Green shakshuka

This is one of those one-pan supper dishes that looks impossibly healthy and also tastes great. The colour combination of green and egg yolk yellow is vibrant and never fails to make me feel hungry. You can vary the type of mixed greens or herbs used, but the eggs and potatoes are essential elements. If you’re really hungry serve with a side of roasted sweet potato wedges, or toasted sourdough. This time we had some spare mushrooms in the fridge so we browned them first in a separate frying pan then added them to the greens. As we used spring greens, which take longer to cook than spinach, we boiled them briefly in a separate saucepan before adding.

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
300g new potatoes, cooked and sliced
300g mixed spring greens, chard and spinach
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
a small handful each of fresh mint, fresh parsley and fresh dill
200g frozen peas, gently defrosted
4 eggs
natural yogurt, to serve

In a large frying pan (a wide one with a lid), heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the potatoes for five minutes until turning golden.

Add the mixed greens and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until wilted. Stir in the garlic, cumin seeds, fresh herbs and peas. Taste for seasoning. Then cover and cook for a few more minutes until the greens are tender.

Take 4 eggs. Make 4 wells in the vegetables and crack an egg into each.Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes until the whites are just set. Sprinkle with a few more herbs, check the seasoning. Serve with a dollop of natural yogurt on the side. This recipe is from Good Housekeeping magazine.

If you like this, try:-
Brazil nut pesto pasta
A courgette and halloumi feast
Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger

5 to remember
vibrante – vibrant
suavemente descongelado – gently defrosted
una amplia – a wide one
un poco mas – a few more
una cucharada de – a dollop of

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Green shakshuka: a beautiful combination of green & yellow which makes me hungry #Spain #Recipe by @GHmagazine https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2mF via @Spanish_Valley

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