Tag Archives: spanish finca

Adios y Gracias

It is time to say adios for the final time. This week we handed over the keys to the new owners and left our beloved house and olive grove in their care. The Spanish Valley is a special place and we know the new owners fell in love with at first sight, as we did all those years ago. So this is a farewell message from me, the last post you will receive from ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’. Thank you for following me, many of you since my first post ‘A Gift of Lemons’ published on February 27, 2013. I’ve enjoyed sharing the ups and downs, the twists and turns, of our Spanish adventure. We have left our Spanish Valley with heavy hearts and many tears. On the final morning as we drove away from the house, the sun was rising and the sky in the east was the most perfect pink. In our last week, as we packed boxes and said farewell to friends, the spring visitors started to arrive: cuckoos calling down by the river, a lone peregrine falcon circled overhead and a russet-red kestrel sat on a branch. It has been a wrench to leave, but life moves on and so begins a new chapter both for us and in the life of the Spanish Valley.

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You never know, a memoir of ‘Notes on a Spanish Valley’ may follow! It is also inevitable that we will visit Spain again and that future novels will be set in Andalucía. I already have an outline for the ‘Casa Melodía’ series of stories about the adventures of Melody who inherits a rundown house in the Spanish countryside in the 1960s.

Special Offer
Now I will settle down to write ‘Sweet Joy’, third in the ‘Identity Detective’ series. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something new to read at Easter, the ebook of Ignoring Gravity is reduced to 99¢/99p at Amazon from April 11 – April 18 … which is quite a #KindleCountdown bargain when you think the paperback costs £9.99. If you like the novels of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve, try it. A mystery with a touch of romantic suspense and a contemporary storyline.
DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE SECRETS? REALLY? ARE YOU SURE?
IGNORING GRAVITY, the debut novel by Yorkshire author Sandra Danby, is a compelling story about an ordinary family with a secret. Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it. The day she finds her mother’s hidden diary is the day she starts to search for who she really is.

A story about identity, adoption, family mystery and ultimately of love, IGNORING GRAVITY connects two pairs of sisters separated by a generation of secrets. As Rose untangles the truth from the lies, she begins to understand why she has always felt so different from her sister Lily.

★★★★★ Here’s what readers are saying about IGNORING GRAVITY:
“It took me a little bit to get into the book, but once I did, I could not put it down. I loved that this book brought some often-difficult issues: infertility, adoption, family relationship, and identity to light. An overall delightful read”

“I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns that accompanied the characters in this book. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, and knew who Rose’s parents were, the plot would take a sharp detour. I really felt as though I was with Rose on this journey of self-discovery, and when she finally unravels the secrets that have been decades in the making, I was as shocked as she was”

“I devoured the book in one go, unable to put it down despite the tirade of emotions it brought to the surface”
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Sandra Danby

Already read Ignoring Gravity? Then try Connectedness, second in the ‘Identity Detective’ series?
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
IGNORING GRAVITY ebook only 99¢ & 99p #bargain #KindleCountdown https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2AA via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Blue #28

The gentle lilac blue flower of the sage plant. April 20, 2015

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The gentle lilac blue flower of the sage plant #Gardening in #Andalucia via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2bT

Fifty Shades of Gold #40

A field of sunflowers ready for harvest. August 22, 2013

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A field of sunflowers ready for harvest #countryside in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2bP

Crunchy tahini green salad

If you have a selection of green vegetables and a jar of tahini in the fridge, then make this salad. It is greater than the sum of its parts. It works in winter, slightly warm, or in summer, chilled. And it’s a great way of packing in your servings of healthy green vegetables. This time I included a few sorrel leaves from the garden. It can be a served as a side to a main dish. Or, if like us, you want to eat vegetarian, simply add a pack of lentil seeds. We like to include three types of vegetables, crinkly ones such as cavolo nero and broccoli work well as they hold the dressing well.

Serves 4
For the greens:-
4 tbsp seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower
4 tbsp nuts, such as pistachios
1 tbsp maple syrup [optional]
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g mixed seasonal green vegetables [see below for suggested combinations]
For the dressing:-
2 tbsp tahini
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsps maple syrup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Suggested vegetable combinations:-
Winter – purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cavolo nero
Spring – purple sprouting broccoli, asparagus, sugar snaps
Summer – green beans, broccoli, peas
Autumn – shredded Brussels sprouts, winter greens

First, prepare the seeds. We prefer to toast them lightly in a dry frying pan, this gives the taste but saves on sugar. If you prefer the maple syrup seeds, first preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put the seeds and nuts on a baking tray, pour over the maple syrup and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss so everything is coated in syrup, then roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the ingredients with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Next, prepare the greens for blanching in hot water. As a general rule, purple sprouting broccoli [40 seconds], kale [30 seconds], asparagus [60 seconds], green beans [40 seconds], broccoli [40 seconds], shredded sprouts [30 seconds], winter greens [30 seconds]. The aim is for the vegetables to be al dente. Blanch each vegetable in turn by plunging into boiling water. 

Once the greens are blanched, drain and place in a serving dish. Pour over the dressing lentil seeds and toss so everything is coated. Top with the roasted seeds and nuts, and, if using, the lentil seeds. 5 to remember
una selección de – a selection of
un tarro de tahini – a jar of tahini
una pizca de – a pinch of
al dente – al dente
blanqueado – blanched

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

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Asparagus and lemon risotto
Sweet carrot salad
Roasted cauliflower salad

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Crunchy tahini green salad #Spain#Recipe by Anna Jones@we_are_food https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2kF via @Spanish_Valley

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Fifty Shades of Blue #27

Red buds of adelfa or oleander, against a pure blue sky. April 20, 2015

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Red buds against a pure blue sky #Gardening in #Andalucia via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2bL

Petals on the steps

Our house stands on a hillside. Beneath us is a terrace of three levels, filled with multi-coloured oleanders, roses, ivy, honeysuckle, tall grasses, iris, pyracantha, rosemary and lavender. Mid-way down the hill, a path of stepping stones leads along a ridge to the top of a flight of steps. These rustic steps lead down to the river, with wild hillside on the left and the fruit orchard on the right. Shade is provided by tall oleander bushes and wild pomegranate trees. At the bottom is a picnic bench where we sit to chill out with an early morning mug of tea or an evening glass of wine, listen to the waterfall, admire the valley, and check on the progress of the wild figs. Are they ready to pick? Will we eat them fresh with some soft local goats cheese, or poached in syrup with a vanilla pod?

5 to remember
una ladera– a hillside
de tres niveles– of three levels
multicolor – multi-coloured
los escalones– the stepping stones
salvaje – wild

 

I use ‘Mediterranean Garden Plants’ by Lorraine Cavanagh [UK: Santana]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Petals on the steps #Spain #gardening https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2pK via @Spanish_Valley 

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Fifty Shades of Green #22

Baby almonds, furry green nuggets. May 8, 2014

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Baby almonds, furry green nuggets #garden #Andalucia via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2bH