Tag Archives: living abroad

A sliver of silver

Until I lived here I don’t think I appreciated the beauty of monochrome colours. Previously I had applied the term ‘monochrome’ to the white/black/grey palette but in fact it refers to all tints, tones and shades of a single colour. Darken it by adding black, grey or a darker colour; lighten by adding white. So isn’t nature clever, producing this silver/white/grey display at dusk?

As the clouds moved and the sun set, the display was ever-changing. At times, the glint of silver was almost like liquid mercury, reminding me of a sculpture at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona: ‘Fuente de Mercurio’ by Alexander Calder [below]. The drip of liquid mercury seemed to defy reality: liquid? metal? The colour was so pure. 5 to remember
los colores monocromos – the monochrome colours
siempre cambiante – ever-changing
casi como – almost like
una escultura – a sculpture
el mercurio – the mercury/quicksilver

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A sliver of silver: like liquid metal? The sky at dusk in #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2dA via @Spanish_Valley

Broccoli and avocado salad

Yes, this is a healthy salad, but it also tastes great. If you have never eaten broccoli in a salad before, I urge you to try it. It is excellent, but only if you pre-cook your broccoli so it is slightly crunchy – over-cooked limp broccoli does not work in a salad! I added toasted walnuts for protein, you can simply omit these or substitute with your favourite nuts.

Serves 4
For the salad:-
1 ½ heads of broccoli
3 ripe avocadoes
a handful of fresh coriander [I used parsley]
a handful of walnuts
For the dressing:-
Juice of 3 limes [about 30ml of juice]
2 tbsp tahini
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey or maple syrup [I used maple syrup]
a sprinkling of salt

First prepare the veggies. Cut the broccoli into small florets, bite-sized pieces. Steam them in a steamer for about 7 minutes until cooked but a little crunchy. Alternatively you can boil them, but watch over them so they do not over-cook. Drain, cool in cold water, drain again and set aside.

Slice the avocados in half, remove the stone and peel. Cut the flesh into small cubes

Chop the coriander into tiny pieces.

Mix all three ingredients together in a large salad bowl.

If using nuts, heat a small frying pan over a high heat then add your nuts and dry-toast them [doing this without oil helps to release the nuts’ natural oils and enhances the flavour]. Add the nuts to the salad bowl.

To prepare the dressing:-
Squeeze the limes into a bowl, then add the other dressing ingredients. Stir well, then drizzle over the salad.

If you are hungry, serve with a side dish of roasted sweet potatoes. Simple peel and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges, put onto a baking tray, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, toss the veggies to mix, then roast in a hot oven [about 180°C] for around half an hour until the sweet potatoes are going brown around the edges. I check them halfway through and stir. Be sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the baking tray.

If you like this, try:-
A Mustardy Leeks Vinaigrette
A Sweet Creamy Frittata
Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

5 to remember
saludable – healthy
sobrecocido/a – over-cooked
si tienes hambre – if you are hungry
las patatas dulces – the sweet potatoes
a medio camino – halfway through

 

This recipe is from Deliciously Ella by Ella Mills [UK: Yellow Kite]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A healthy broccoli & avocado salad #Spain #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-25x

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Lentil and thyme casserole

We’ve become fans of these big pot stews, casseroles, call them what you will. They are hearty, tasty, filling, and they last more than one meal so are great when you have a busy day later in the week. Just store in the fridge in a bowl with a lid, and either reheat gently in a saucepan or gently in the microwave with the lid loosely on top. When reheating it may help to add a splash of water, to loosen up the sauce.

This casserole features fresh thyme, which we always have loads of, and my favourite earthy lentils. Eat with a spoon.

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp smoked pimenton
½ tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 medium carrots, sliced [about 200g]
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable stock
2 courgettes, thickly sliced [about 300g]
2 sprigs fresh thyme
250g cooked lentils, green or brown, not split [if you are using dried and are cooking your own, we work on the basis that dried lentils are approximately half the weight of cooked]

First cook your lentils, if you are cooking your own rather than using a tin.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onions and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic, spices, dried thyme, carrots, peppers and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, courgettes and fresh thyme and cook for 20-25 minutes. Take out the thyme sprigs, stir in the cooked lentils. Bring back to a simmer for a few minutes so the lentils are heated through. Serve in a bowl.

If you like this, try these:-
Asparagus and horseradish pasta 
Very cheesy pie
Golden drops of salt cod

5 to remember
la mitad del peso de – half the weight of
sin semillas – deseeded
hasta que se suavice – until softened
el tomillo seco – the dried thyme
calentado a través – heated through

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Eat this with a spoon: lentil & thyme casserole #food #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2iE via @Spanish_Valley

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¡Aquí está! ‘Connectedness’ is here

Here it is, my new novel Connectedness is published today. And for my readers based in Spain, it features a lot of familiar things. Read it and see what you recognise!

Art✔
Romance✔
Picasso✔
Love and Loss ✔
Tapas✔
But most important of all, is Málaga ✔

Here’s what some of the early reviewers have said:
5* “Although this is a follow-on novel from the first, Ignoring Gravity,  it could equally be read as a standalone. Danby does not rely just on the story of the search carried out by her identity detective, Rose Haldane, but builds up a detailed and believable picture of the life of her main character Justine. Well written with realistic characters and the setting out of the story in a carefully and balanced way, I would highly recommend this novel.”

4* “There are deep thoughts on life and surroundings that are recognizable to all of us. Eventually all comes together in a heartfelt ending. Connectedness  is a gripping story of love, loss and the human struggle to be your one true self. An amazing read.”

To celebrate the arrival of ConnectednessIgnoring Gravity  is free to download here. TODAY only.

So what’s ‘Connectedness’ about?
TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

If you like the novels of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore, this might be for you. Click here to read an extract.
Sandra Danby

‘Connectedness’ by Sandra Danby, [#2 Identity Detective series] [Beulah Press]

5 to remember
aquí está – here it is
una novela – a novel
un seguimiento – a follow-on
gratis para descargar – free to download
una lectura increíble – an amazing read

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
CONNECTEDNESS by Sandra Danby  #Kindle #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2k9 via @Spanish_Valley

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Sticky tomato & onion bake

What a discovery this is. It sounds so simple it can’t be delicious, right? Wrong. Combine ordinary looking onions, cherry tomatoes and salad potatoes and roast. The magic of the oven turns this combination into a moreish sticky sweet feast.Sticky tomato & onion bake | Notes on a Spanish Valley blog… Living in rural Andalucía | food | recipesThis quantity is supposed to serve four, we ate two-thirds of it and could have polished it off. Nice with a side salad of rocket tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Serves 4
500g baby onions [we used ordinary white onions]
750g large cherry tomatoes
750g new potatoes, washed and halved
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
one 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
a small bunch of fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 210°C / fan 190° / gas 7.

If using baby onions, put them into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a slotted spoon to fish them out and peel back the skins which should be loosened by the hot water. Cut any large ones in half. If using ordinary onions, peel and cut into quarters or eighths. Sticky tomato & onion bake | Notes on a Spanish Valley blog… Living in rural Andalucía | food | recipesPut the onions into a big roasting tin. Add the tomatoes and halved potatoes. The tin may be full but squash everything in; the potatoes will be cooked in the juice of the tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper and pour over a little olive oil. Toss so everything is coated in oil.

Roast in the oven for one hour, tossing everything every 15 minutes. Sticky tomato & onion bake | Notes on a Spanish Valley blog… Living in rural Andalucía | food | recipesAfter an hour, remove the tray from the oven. At this stage, the onions should be soft and slightly browned in places, the tomatoes blistered. Add the drained beans and basil, stirring the beans into the vegetables [we didn’t and the beans on top were a little dry]. Put back into the oven for another 15 minutes. Sticky tomato & onion bake | Notes on a Spanish Valley blog… Living in rural Andalucía | food | recipesSticky tomato & onion bake | Notes on a Spanish Valley blog… Living in rural Andalucía | food | recipesServe with a lemon-dressed green salad.

5 to remember
un descubrimiento– a discovery
frijoles cannellini – cannellini beans
en este punto – at this stage
ligeramente dorado – slightly browned
ampollado – blistered

Notes on a Spanish Valley blog… Living in rural Andalucía | food | recipesThis recipe is from ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ by Anna Jones [UK: Fourth Estate]

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
A cassoulet of aubergines
Sweet potato and butter bean lasagne
A rosemary risotto

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sticky tomato & onion bake #Spain #Recipe by Anna Jones @we_are_food https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2kn via @Spanish_Valley

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Connectedness: coming soon

I drank hundreds of cups of coffee in Málaga, walked the streets of the Old Town and La Playa de la Malagueta, I’ve sat on benches in Paseo del Parque and eaten plates of fried fish. As you’ll gather, it was hard researching the Spanish element of my second novel, Connectedness! Book two in the ‘Identity Detective’ series, Connectedness will be published on May 10, 2018. This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga. Sandra DanbySo what’s it all about?
TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING
Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

If you like the novels of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore, this might be for you. Click here to read an extract. Sandra DanbyAbout the ‘Identity Detective’ series
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. Sandra DanbyIn 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. Read an extract of Ignoring Gravity here. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother, her hopes and anxieties, her guilt and fear, and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz, and how the now elderly woman is desperate to know her story before it is too late.
Sandra Danby

‘Connectedness’ by Sandra Danby, [#2 Identity Detective series] [Beulah Press]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
CONNECTEDNESS by Sandra Danby  #Kindle #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2jV via @Spanish_Valley

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Fifty Shades of White #6

Plum blossom. April 5, 2015

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The fruit is coming… plum blossom in the #secretvalley in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2b4