Tag Archives: spanish finca

A super green salad

This is my attempt to recreate a salad I ate for lunch in London recently. I had to substitute a few things but I was pleased with the result. I ate the ‘Avocado, Courgettes, Superfoods Salad’ at The Wolseley restaurant. Do give it a try. Its name does sound incredibly worthy, but it is very tasty on a hot summer day.

All the amounts are approximate, this salad served two. Feel free to add and subtract according to what ingredients you have. If the salad doesn’t look big enough for how hungry you are feeling, simply add another vegetable or handful of nuts. I resisted the temptation to add potatoes or tomatoes as the notion of a pure green salad was appealing, but don’t let that stop you.

Serves 2
A head of broccoli
Frozen peas
Rocket
Two handfuls of fresh basil
A bunch of asparagus
One avocado
A generous handful of assorted nuts [we used whole almonds]
2 tbsp of assorted seeds [we used pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and chia]
A generous helping of your favourite salad dressing [ours is traditional French, made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and a tsp Dijon mustard]

Heat a dry frying pan on a high heat and toss in the nuts [chopped if they are large] and seeds. Stir quickly until they start to brown then remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool.

Prepare the broccoli, separate into bite-sized pieces and cook quickly in boiling water. Be careful to remove from the heat while still crunchy, this salad does not work with over-cooked limp vegetables [eat them raw if you prefer]. Drain and rinse in cold running water. Set aside to drain completely.

While peas are cooking, prepare and cook the asparagus. As with the broccoli, be careful to undercook slightly. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the avocado, cut in half and remove the stone. Slice the flesh into bite-sized pieces.

Now assemble the salad. This is how I did it. First in the bottom of the serving bowl I put a layer of alfalfa seeds and fresh basil, followed by the cooked green vegetables. On top of that I placed the avocado then sprinkled the nuts and seeds.

Pour the dressing over the top, toss carefully to everything is coated, then serve. Alternative ingredients which would work well in this salad include:-
Courgette
Runner beans
Green beans
Salad onion
Cucumber
Raw spinach
Any salad leaves
Shredded raw Brussels sprouts
Sprouted lentils [from the chilled salad cabinet]
Edamame beans
Melon
Green apple
Any fresh herbs you have

If you like this, try:-
A mustardy leeks vinaigrette
Courgette flower frittata
Roasted chickpea Greek salad

Read more about The Wolseley and see its menus here.

5 to remember
mi intento – my attempt
recrear – to recreate
resistí a la tentación – I resisted the temptation
los ingredientes – the ingredients
alternativa – alternative

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A super green salad #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-26a

Dazzling summer sun

When we first moved to Spain, my sensitive Northern eyes needed sunglasses during the hot summer months. Now, my eyes have adjusted and some days I forget to carry my sunglasses with me. Pablo, who has lived here for almost seventy years, has never worn sunglasses and seems bemused by mine. It is rare to see the villagers wearing sunglasses, perhaps it is the sign of a fashion-conscious incomer.

5 to remember
deslumbrante – dazzling
las gafas de sol – the sunglasses
casi setenta años – almost seventy years
un recién llegado – an incomer
consciente de la moda – fashion-conscious

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Dazzling summer sun in the #secretvalley #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-23y

A field of sunflowers, growing

Who doesn’t smile at seeing a field of bobbing sunflower smiles turned towards the sun? Looking around the valleys here, it’s difficult to appreciate that the sunflower is not native. It originates in North America and was first cultivated domestically by native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico around 3000BC. They beat the kernels into meal for cakes and bread, and rubbed the oil into their hair. The sunflower plant didn’t come to Europe until 1550 and was originally used as an ornamental flower. Things changed in 1716 when the English patented a method of squeezing oil from the sunflower seeds. But it was Russia’s cultivation which transformed the plant into an agricultural crop, with early sunflower oil production starting in 1769.

The different Native Americans also used sunflowers for a variety of medical treatments. The Cherokees made an infusion of sunflower leaves as a treatment for kidney infections. The Dakota tribe used native sunflower infusions for chest pain and long problems, while the Navajo ate the seeds to stimulate appetite. The Paiutes used it for relief of rheumatism, while the Hopi believed it cured spider bites.

5 to remember
una infusión – an infusion
el dolor en el pecho – the chest pain
una infección renal – a kidney infection
estimular – to stimulate
el apetito – the appetite

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A field of sunflowers, growing #secretvalley #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-22q

Don’t miss a minute of sunshine

There are 12 hours of sunshine here, every day in the summer in Southern Spain.
Follow us at Instagram @HiddenAndalucia

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Catch every minute of sunshine beside the pool #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1XK

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

Drastic action

There is no room for emotions on a farm. At this time of year, once the olive harvest is in and the farmers settle down to wait for their local cooperativa’s pronouncement about this year’s price [based on the yield of oil from the olives, not on the weight of olives harvested] there is a small pause before the spring cut. In the typical pragmatic way of the Spanish language, the phrase used for pruning the olive trees is ‘to cut’. And boy, do they cut. Lopping off branches, spindly new growth, sometimes most of the tree. It looks brutal. But olive trees live and yield olives for hundreds of years.

5 to remember
una granja – a farm
en esta época del año – at this time of year
el pronunciamiento – the pronouncement
una pequeña pausa – a small pause
pragmatico/a – pragmatic

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Drastic action: the spring cut. Olive #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Q4

Smothering ivy

Winter, stripping back foliage as it does, reveals the nature beneath the canopy. Ivy creeps up tree trunks adding a welcome splash of evergreen against the winter grey of bark. In a garden, ivy growing like this may be trimmed back in fear that it will strangle the tree. But here in the valley, it seems to cause little damage. Where the ivy climbs high into the crown of the tree, it is seems to be in trees which are dead, dying or not healthy. Ivy is not a parasite and does not penetrate the bark, its short roots cling to the surface for support only, not nutrients. As well as winter colour, ivy growing through trees offers shelter for wildlife, birds’ nests, hibernation, roosting and hiding. Once its reaches the canopy of the tree, the ivy often produces shrubby growth with yellow/green flowers and black berries; all welcomed by birds and insects.

5 to remember
la hedera – the ivy
sofocando/a – smothering
desnudándose – stripping back
revelar – to reveal/expose
el dosel – the canopy

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Winter reveals the ivy around the #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Tq