Tag Archives: Sandra Danby

Whose tail is this?

When I opened the door I stepped back, at first glance I thought this was a long, dried-up, dead worm. On closer inspection it was something more fascinating: the tail of a lizard. lizard tail 14-5-14Six inches long, so its owner must have been a fair size; say 10-12 inches in total. Before his loss. I’ve heard that lizards lose their tails in pursuit, in danger, in panic. It is said that the tail continues to wriggle after it is shed. For sure, something large and hungry was chasing the tail’s owner. We will never know the full story.

5 to remember
a primera vista – at first glance
reseco/a – dried-up
un gusano – a worm
en una inspección más cercana – on closer inspection
en persecución – in pursuit

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Is it a worm, is it a snake? No… #Wildlife in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1rn

Roasted cauliflower salad

This winter salad is so much more than its individual elements. Once you get over the idea of putting warm cauliflower into a salad, this will quickly become a favourite. With everything assembled and ready to go as soon as the cauliflower is cooked, the combination of melted blue cheese, walnuts and cranberries is moreish. The original recipe calls for dried sour cherries which we didn’t have, but cranberries provided a good sweet/sharp kick. There are many variations of this salad possible, if you alternate the type of nut, salad leaf and dried fruit.

Serves 2
1 cauliflower, broken into florets about the same size
2 tbsp olive oil, & extra for drizzling at the end
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small bag of baby spinach
100g blue cheese, crumbled [we used Roquefort]
A handful of dried sour cherries [we used dried cranberries]
A handful of walnuts
Cherry vinegar [we used Jerez sherry vinegar]

Heat the oven to 180 [deg]C/200 [deg] C non-fan].

Put the cauliflower into a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender when tested with a sharp knife and has crispy bits. Rinse the spinach and arrange in a large serving bowl. Top with the roasted cauliflower, cheese, cranberries and walnuts.

Drizzle the vinegar and extra oil, as much as you prefer, and serve warm.

If you like this, try these salads:-
A mustardy leeks vinaigrette
Waldorf salad with Brussels sprouts
Salty and hot hot salad

This recipe is by Norwegian chef Signe Johansen, click here for her website.

5 to remember
las cerezas agrias – the sour cherries
los floretes – the florets
aproximadamente del mismo tamaño – about the same size
los trozos crujientes – the crispy bits
noruego/a – Norwegian

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A salad with roasted cauliflower #food Recipe by @SigneSJohansen #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Xz

Salty and hot hot

I didn’t realize until eating this warm salad, but it is really a jazzed up version of a Greek Salad. Cucumber. Feta. Olives. Tomatoes. Oregano. Except the feta is baked in the oven with garlic and chilli so it is crispy and hot. Delicious, and different. salad-bowlpepinos1Serves 2

200g feta cheese, crumbled
1 small red chilli, finely chopped, or ½ tsp lazy chilli
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano or dried basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out, and sliced
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
½ Spanish salad onion, or red onion, thinly sliced
200g green and black olives, pitted
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 180°C/200°C non-fan. feta-ready-to-go-into-the-ovenPlace the feta on a baking tray and sprinkle with the chopped chilli, garlic and oregano. Drizzle with the olive oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare all salad ingredients and place into a serving bowl and toss them together until well combined. Season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. olives-addedcheese-just-out-of-the-ovenAs soon as the feta is crispy, remove it from the oven and place on top of the salad. Serve immediately. This is more filling than it looks, if you are very hungry eat it with crusty bread and unsalted butter. plateful5 to remember
al horno – baked
salado/a – salty
flojo/a – lazy
el orégano – the oregano [the herb]
longitudinalmente – lengthways

Fancy a fruity pudding? Make this:-
Plum and ginger compote
Apricot and peach compost crumble
Plum and pecan crumble

eat-live-go-by-donal-skehan

 

Adapted from a recipe by Donal Skehan from ‘Eat. Live. Go.’ [UK: Hodder & Stoughton]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Very salty and very hot: try this Greek salad #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1S7

Galls in springtime

As summer approaches, it is almost time for gall wasps to lay new eggs. But last year’s galls are still around. I’ve written about galls before, in the autumn before and after hatching. Galls are tough, they hang onto trees through winter storms, or fall and bounce. These are galls which have over-wintered, day-by-day being hidden by the fresh green growth on the holm oak trees. They are mysterious objects, like small packages containing a secret. Which of course they did. There are about 1300 different species of gall wasp, and 70% choose a type of oak tree as host plant. The holes may be either exits, or attack holes by predators such as woodpeckers.

Read more about oak galls in the #secretvalley, before and after hatching.

5 to remember
resistente – tough/resilient
antes y después de – before and after
día a día – day-by-day
misterioso/a – mysterious
un secreto – a secret

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Oak galls survive the winter in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1U3

Leaves and sun

An April day, spring sunshine and the green of new leaves: it is like no other green. I struggle to name it, except that it is made of fresh growth. Leaves appear green because of the chlorophyll they contain, chlorophyll is the part of the leaf that uses carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to produce sugar.

A leaf with plenty of chlorophyll masks other pigment colors. Chlorophyll, an essential component of photosynthesis, is a green pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants. Leaves often show as a vivid green when they are close to other leaves, because the light people see bounces off the green leaves before it reaches the eyes. Chlorophyll utilizes mostly red and blue light energy, while the green energy passes through or bounces off the leaves and reaches a person’s eyes so leaves appear green.

As autumn ends, plants and trees produce less chlorophyll because light regulates the production of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has a constant decomposition rate so the green colour of leaves begins to fade when chlorophyll starts to decompose.

5 to remember
el dióxido de carbono – the carbon dioxide
la clorofila – the chlorophyll
un pigmento – a pigment
para utilizer – to utilize
la descomposición – the decomposition

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
What makes leaves, green? #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1TS

Springtime: old and new

This is the time of year when new young energy pushes aside the tired, the old and fading. New growth next to dying or dead. Fresh bright green next to browns, blacks and greys. Spring is relentless.

5 to remember
este es – this is
la energía – the energy
desvanecimiento/a – fading
muriendo/a – dying
muerto/a – dead

Spring patchwork

At no time during the year does the landscape change more than during the spring. A day of sun or rain alters things dramatically. Overnight, buds of tightly-woven almond blossom burst open, winter-sown wheat takes on a deeper more luscious tone of green, and the fields of peas seem to grown centimetres within hours. And so the agricultural patchwork of parcelas changes from pale greens and browns, divided by the haphazard lines of silver-grey stones and paler dried earth, to deeper tones, helped often by a night-time sprinkle of drizzle.

5 to remember
en ningún momento – at no time
el paisaje – the landscape
dramáticamente – dramatically
durante la noche – overnight
los campos de guisantes – the fields of peas

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Spring draws its patchwork of colours & textures in #Spain #countryside via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Pw