Thursday, December 31, 2015

I Was Humming A Tune Drinking In Sunshine

Yesterday, I was walking along minding my business when I turned a corner and, flash, bam, alakazam.

An orange-colored view. And, of course, for the remainder of my walk I became obsessed with orange.

(Click any image for the full effect.)

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.





FUENGIROLA'S LOGO. IT APPEARS ALL AROUND TOWN.
SUNRISE: FLASH,
BAM,
ALAKAZAM... WENT THE SKY.


Love came and hit me in the eye...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Up The Ladder To The Roof

Traditionally in Spain, Santa Claus (Papá Noel) doesn't get much attention during Christmas — although he does gain ground (rooftop) with each passing year. Christmas Eve is a time for dinner with friends and family, but the gifts are often saved for Epiphany Eve. Epiphany is also known as Three Kings Day (Dia De Los Reyes Magos). You may remember my blog posts in the past few years about the Cabalgata de Reyes Magos (The Three Kings Parade). (Click here to experience our first Three Kings Day in Spain. I can't believe that was nearly four years ago.)

(Click any image to aggrandize the kings.)

DOING A DRY RUN?
STILL THERE IN THE MORNING.

Santa doesn't bring gifts (usually) to Spanish children. The Three Kings do. And they don't deliver the gifts until the eve of Epiphany, which means children here wake up to gifts on "Three Kings Day" instead of Christmas Day.


My Ephiphany:
"Yesterday's broken dreams. Don't you know they'll all fade away?"

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Feliz Navidad And God Jul, With Krumkake

Christmas Day, we were honoured to be included in a family Christmas celebration at the home of Mary and Foxy (so nicknamed because he's a Silver Fox... at least that what's HE says). Their son Jason and his wife Ana own Sandpiper, the restaurant that's our home away from home.

We were two of eleven people at the all-day feast. We didn't want to arrive empty handed — although we were told to — so San Geraldo went to work in the kitchen preparing one of his traditional Norwegian holiday specialties, krumkake.

Kake is cake/pastry in Norwegian. In Spanish, caca is pronounced the same way and means ... well cacka, poop, turds, etc.

So Spaniards find it hilarious whenever San Geraldo serves one of his Norwegian "kakes." What our Spanish friends don't find at all ironic is that peanut in Spanish is cacahuete. Why isn't that funny? Jason and Ana's 13-year-old son loved the krumkake, but loved saying the name even more.

Our hosts are English, but have lived in Fuengirola for many years. Their extended family is mixed, Spanish and English. They hosted a traditional English Christmas (except for the krumkake). It was a feast! (Click any image to make it even more delicious.)


MAKING THIS YEAR'S KRUMKAKE.
MARY, BACKGROUND, IN KITCHEN.
FOXY'S SPOT AT THE TABLE, FOREGROUND.
FOXY, THE 'GRUMPY OLD GIT' IN HIS 'BAH HUMBUG' HAT.
DOES HE LOOK LIKE A GRUMPY OLD GIT?!?
FINGER-FOOD FIRST COURSE — MINCE PIES, SAUSAGE ROLLS, AND MORE.
(KRUMKAKE BACK RIGHT.)
IT WOULDN'T BE CHRISTMAS DINNER WITHOUT THE QUEEN.
(ON TV. BUT WITH US, I'M SURE, IN SPIRIT.)
AN ELEGANT TRADITIONAL TABLE.
PLUM PUDDING (OUR FIRST).
CHOCOLATE PUDDING FOR THOSE WHO DON'T LIKE PLUM.
(OR FOR THOSE WHO LIKE BOTH!)

Making Krumkake
video


I did more than clean-up in the kitchen at home this time. I had two assigned jobs during krumkake preparation. 1) Hold up the handle of the krumkake iron when it was open because it no longer stays up on its own; 2) Quickly close the iron while San Geraldo rolled each krumkake, so the iron wouldn't get too cool. We made 50 krumkake.

A few times San Geraldo didn't even have to remind to: 1) "Hold it up"; and 2) "Close it."


A Christmas Tradition
(LEFT) SAN GERALDO 1957; (RIGHT) SAN GERALDO 2015.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Noche Buena (Christmas Eve)

San Geraldo couldn't stand to be out-done [by me] in the kitchen (see previous post), so he made a tremendous effort with his Christmas goodies. I do have to give him credit.

In addition to the best brownies I've ever had (every time he makes them), San Geraldo also baked his shortbread lemon-raspberry bars.

I'd ask him to marry me if we weren't already married.

We brought the treats to Tynan and Elena's on Christmas Eve. Other than those two "postres," it was a traditional Spanish Christmas dinner, and incredible. Elena knows how to host a feast and make it look casual and easy. And her sister Isabel makes the best croquettes (croquetas) I have ever tasted.

SAN GERALDO IN THE KITCHEN... BUT NOT FOR DUDO
(NO MATTER WHAT DUDO THOUGHT).
ELENA & TYNAN'S CHRISTMAS EVE TABLE, FIRST COURSE.
SAN GERALDO'S CHRISTMAS EVE BROWNIES.
SAN GERALDO'S CHRISTMAS EVE
SHORTBREAD LEMON-RASPBERRY BARS.
CHRISTMAS MORNING: TRADITIONALLY ON EPIPHANY EVE (JANUARY 5),
SHOES ARE LEFT ON WINDOWSILLS, BALCONIES, OR UNDER THE TREE
TO BE FILLED WITH PRESENTS BY THE THREE KINGS.

The first Spanish Christmas song I learned our first year in Spain (click here for a visit to our first Christmas in Sevilla, 2011). There are many different versions, but I love the lyrics of this one... (translation at bottom).



Thursday, December 24, 2015

I Am So Sick Of Cooking


Uf! The "holidays." It seems we spend all our time in the kitchen preparing our specialties. I've actually been cooking up a storm these past few weeks because I wasn't feeling well and needed to focus on eating healthy.


First, using the electric tea kettle our English family kindly left behind for me a few years back, I have been able to make proper[ish] tea. Cups and cups of it every day for a while. Without a microwave, the recipe is much more complicated. Boiling the water. Adding the teabag. Removing the teabag. Squeezing in some honey. Stirring. It is so worth the trouble. I've pretty much perfected the art[lessness] of tea.

MOST IMPORTANT (FOR ME): THE LABELS ARE COLOR-COORDINATED.

During the course of my un-wellness, I asked San Geraldo to pick up some honey and a loaf of sliced bread. Tea and toast sounded good. I told him to get whole wheat bread (called "integral"). He did, but of course purchased a very large loaf. Not wanting San Geraldo to consume too much bread himself, I had four slices every day until the loaf was gone. With all the other cooking I had been doing (remember the tea), I was finally too tired to bother toasting the bread. But I devised a variety of recipes. They all started with peanut butter (crema de cacahuete). From there, my culinary creativity went wild. As you'll see below, a lot of effort went into the presentation.

BREAD, CREMA DE CACAHUETE, AND ORANGE/ELDERFLOWER JAM (MERMELADA).
BREAD, CREMA DE CACAHUETE, AND RASPBERRY (FRAMBUESA) JAM.

BREAD, CREMA DE CACAHUETE, AND APRICOT (ALBARICOQUE) JAM.

San Geraldo has been back in the kitchen himself. Yesterday, he baked shortbread/lemon-raspberry bars. This morning, he baked his famous brownies. Right now, he's preparing traditional Norwegian krumkake. (There will be pictures). It's hard for him, I know. I set the bar so very high.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I Found The Ticket!!!

I have exciting news: Last night, I found a "Lotería Nacional" ticket in my wallet!

So much for my "safe place." I don't know what I was thinking. A wallet was certainly not the safest place in the world for a piece of paper worth €400,000.



The strange thing is, however, the ticket I found was not actually mine. I have no idea who it belongs to (to whom it belongs, I know), but the ticket I found is not El Gordo. And, as we all know, MY ticket was [El Gordo]. That's right. The Big One.

I went online and entered the number that appeared on not-my ticket and it, of course, came up a big goose egg. Zilch. Zip. Zippo. Squat. Naught. Nada!


I would love to know who swapped the tickets and is now out on the town celebrating.

I am extremely sorry to disappoint you, as I had planned on splitting the winnings evenly among us all. (Note: I do not plan to do so next year.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First Time With The Big One

I won the lottery!!!

You'll have to take my word for it, however, because I put the ticket someplace safe, which means (as is usually the case with my safe places) I haven't been able to find it.

Also, I have no idea what my ticket number is.

Other than those two minor issues, I'm sure I'm €400,000 richer at this very moment.

The ticket I purchased for €20 (the one that is now someplace safe) is for Spain's Christmas Lottery (in Spanish, Lotería de la Navidad, click here to learn all about it). Its nickname is "El Gordo," which means "The Fat [or Big] One" (although that really refers to the first prize, so the term is used in other lotteries here, as well).

STUDENTS FROM THE SAN ILDEFONSO SCHOOL (EST. 1543) DRAW THE WINNING NUMBERS.
ONE CHILD SINGS THE WINNING NUMBER; THE OTHER SINGS THE PRIZE.

The Spanish Christmas lottery has been running every year since 1812 and is considered the biggest lottery worldwide. The largest prize is €4 million, but the total payout is well over €2 billion.


The (my) winning number being drawn a little while ago. Now, where did I put that ticket?
(Oh, never mind. I'm sure they'll just take my word for it.)

Monday, December 21, 2015

When The Cat's Away, The Mouse Will Eat Tostadas

I'm finally getting out and about again... a bit. So, this morning San Geraldo had the pleasure of my company when he went out for coffee. We went to La Esquinita. Nestor (the bartender) said in Spanish, "Good morning," and then to San Geraldo, "The usual? Toast with butter and marmalade?"

Obviously, he had San Geraldo confused with someone else. The usual for us is simply cafe con leche. San Geraldo would never undo his healthy at-home breakfast by having a tostada, butter, and marmalade.

I began to say, "no," when I looked in San Geraldo's direction. The guilt was written all over his face. I indicated to Nestor that San Geraldo had just been busted. He laughed, apologised to San Geraldo for letting the cat out of the bag, and then prepared the tostada.

A TOSTADA — ON A LARGE DINNER PLATE.

In Spain, a tostada (which simply means "toast") is usually a loaf of bread sliced length-wise and then topped with something. My favourite is Iberian ham, olive oil, and a traditional tomato/garlic spread. San Geraldo's favourite (that he apparently had any day he went to La Esquinita without me) is butter and marmalade.

Marina (click here) then asked if we had ever had manteca colorá. We hadn't.

MANTECA COLORÁ (LOOK AWAY IF YOU'RE VEGAN OR WATCHING YOUR CHOLESTEROL).

"It's delicious and very Andalusian," she said as she pointed to my iPad and I looked it up.

Well, "manteca" is "lard." Manteca colorá (short for colorada) is "red lard," which is prepared by adding spices like bay leaf, oregano, and paprika and then cooking it with finely chopped pieces of pork. Marina brought us a bowl and then toasted some [more] bread.

It's popular as a breakfast dish. I had a taste and thought it was delicious. San Geraldo liked it, but didn't find it very appetising for breakfast.

The last time we were together at La Esquinita was shortly after I had written my blog post about Marina (and not taking Spanish lessons from her). When we arrived that next time, she ran out the door, returning a few minutes later with a beautiful poinsettia with a hand-written note attached. She placed it on our table, gave me a kiss on each cheek, and ran off. She made my day (again).

"ONLY A PERSON WITH A GOOD HEART
CAN DEDICATE SUCH BEAUTIFUL WORDS.
MANY THANKS. MARINA."

People like Marina make my heart 'more good.'

Saturday, December 19, 2015

She Used To Look Good To Me

Sirena means siren (or mermaid) in Spanish, and that's the name of our bit of beach. Ivo, our resident sand sculptor, has been creating a new collection of deities to replace the ones that were destroyed in the recent storm (click here; you'll also catch another glimpse of hunky Pablo Alborán). The first figure, although not yet complete, fits right in. (Click the images; they get bigger.)


LA SIRENA ON PLAYA LA SIRENA.
LURING SAILORS WITH HER CONCH SHELL MUSIC.
DUDO SAYS "HI."
MOOSE WAS IN THE SAME POSE ONE LEVEL DOWN. WHEN HE SAW THE CAMERA,
THIS IS WHAT HE DID. THE LITTLE SHIT. MOOSE DOES NOT SAY "HI."
THE SIREN CALLED ME TO THIS ROCK.
HER SONG IS SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE.


She's a powerful force...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

I'm Gonna Get Up, I'm Gonna Get Out

This barometric pressure/seasonal allergy stuff has gotten old. I really need to get out of the house.

But first, I really need to give some thought to what I'll wear in public.

MY COPY OF A COPY OF A COPY OF DIOR.
(TAKEN WHILE THE "STOPCOLD" MEDICINE WAS WORKING.)
MORE ACCURATE COLOUR. (TOO MUCH SUNSHINE EARLIER.)
NOT REALLY FAKE DIOR: GEOFFREY BEENE AND CHAPS.


There's gotta be something better than this ... outfit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Vampire's Diary

It's the season for my seasonal allergies to be at their worst. I know I'm allergic to leaf molds and, although living here on the Mediterranean Sea is not like living on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut (we're not surrounded by forests), we still have a variety of deciduous trees, rotting leaves, and seasonal plants. Sometimes, my allergies get so bad that I think I've got a cold or a virus or the flu. I've spent most of the last two days in bed. Miserable. Whiney.

But just after sunset both days most of my symptoms have become tolerable and I've been ready to spread my wings.

Is it a coincidence that San Geraldo just hung some fresh garlic in the kitchen?

Views from a recent daytime walk on the beach. Before I went all vampire.

I'LL MISS THE LIGHT.
SOME SHADY FISHERMEN. 
NO FANS OF "TWILIGHT" HERE.
WAITING FOR THE VAMPIRE SQUIDS OF HELL
(YES, THEY REALLY EXIST... JUST NOT HERE).


To believe that the tide's going to turn