mooninspain

Food, Travel , Life and more Food in Spain

Archive for the tag “Home”

The Madroño, it’s not just a legend…..

Everyone who has visited Madrid has seen, photographed or met up with friends at the famous Bear and Madroño Statue.  A cute little bear trying with his paw to grab a bit of this unusual and fairly unknown fruit.  This symbol, along with the seven stars that have been known to represent either the Ursa Major Constellation or seven castles that used to surround Madrid, make up the Coat of Arms of this capital city. There are many different versions about why the bear and tree also became part of the Coat of Arms. Some say it is the symbol of possession and power.  My favorite interpretation so far was one that my sister Denise was given late one night in a bar in Madrid.  Something about bears molesting trees. Anyhow, I would imagine that for most visitors this statue in the Puerta del Sol is their first and last contact with a Madroño Tree. But, they can be found all over the country.

The other day we went for a walk with friends near the Alhambra.  We eventually found ourselves wandering through the Carmen de los Martires.  “Carmenes” in Granada are typical homes with beautiful garden areas.  Sometimes Granada is referred to as The City of Carmenes.  This particular Carmen is  very large and open to the public at certain hours during the day. There are beautiful views of the city, extravagant gardens and even peacocks.  It is the perfect place to enjoy peace and quiet or read a book.  With three kids in tow we had less peace and quiet but we did enjoy the views and had fun tasting the funny fruit off the Madroño trees.  I heard once that if you eat too much of this fruit it can actually intoxicate you.  We didn’t have time for that but it was fun to taste.


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glam meets flan dedication………… with the best intentions!

perfect fall snack………

My homemade quince paste went perfectly with a sharp Manchego cheese and a bottle of Protos from Ribera del Duero.  We added a light salad with pomegranate seeds and walnuts to round off this perfect snack.

tastes like a kiss

walnuts....mandarin oranges...quince...pomegranate

walnuts...mandarin oranges..quince...pomegranate

One of my favorite sayings in Spanish is  “uvas con queso saben a beso” or “grapes with cheese taste like a kiss”.  My daughter even learned this in her Pre-school at snack time.  The combination of grapes and cheese really do bring to the mouth the taste of a (nice) kiss.  But in reality, here in Spain there is another flavor that is most typically combined with a nice cured Manchego cheese.  Dulce de Membrillo. Quince turned into a firm jelly brick.  Sounds strange I know, and even I thought it was pretty odd the first timed I was offered a piece. The truth is that a chunk of quince paste with a slice of cured cheese accompanied by a glass of Ribera del Duero is an absolute delicacy.

I was just finishing my Part 2 on Toledo when I was completely distracted by gifts of fall fruits.  Luna and I helped an older gentleman, Miguel, with his car the other day and so he showed us his gratitude with a bag of walnuts and pomegranates.  Then, my friend Ofelia handed me a huge bag of quince last night as I left her house.  Luna sat happily at the table and attempted to crack nuts while I cleaned and cored the quince hoping for some possible chance of producing  “dulce de membrillo”.  And so I cut and I peeled without losing a finger and then I boiled and cooled and rinsed and boiled again forever and ever with sugar, lemon, and vanilla.  And now it is supposed to harden a bit.  I left it chunkier than it is supposed to be because I thought it might be nice that way.  We will see. Tomorrow I will have a bit with some cheese and wine.  It hasn’t hardened quite yet but the flavor is amazing!!!!

Dulce de Membrillo

rainy weekend fun………..

The weather has finally changed in Granada.  It seems like a bit of a miracle.  This morning there was actually thunder and lightening.  This called for some indoor activities.  Decorating for Halloween was the first on our list.  Cutting out and stringing up paper pumpkins and making bats out of egg cartons took up most of our Saturday morning.  In my neighborhood the children actually trick or treat which is something that came to me by surprise on our first Halloween in this house.  For the past two years I have been more prepared.  Next Monday between 9 and 10 p.m.  (this is Spain after all) we will have a small procession of masks and costumes passing by our door.

Then, this morning we made some really delicious cookies.  I mixed two recipes.  One that my neighbor Wendy gave to me a few months ago and another that I found on a great blog called fifteenspatulas.  I was missing a few ingredients from both recipes so we added almond butter and some french cocoa powder to make up for them.  I’m happy to say that most of these delectable discs will be devoured by a beautiful group of  5 year olds tomorrow while I am busy practicing  yoga.  🙂

eating well at home…….

banana apple bread of love

banana apple bread of love

We are still waiting for fall to arrive in Granada.  I’ve gotten way to used to putting on shorts and a tank top everyday and I regret postponing the purchase of new sandals until next Spring.  But, last night at least the air was a bit cooler, cool enough to turn on the oven that is.  We had been gifted some great apples from one of Luna’s friends grandparents and we also had three bananas that were screaming ” TURN US INTO BREAD”!!! And so we did just that.  Apple Banana Bread with all local and more or less organic ingredients.  Luna thought that baking it in the heart pan would make it just perfect. It turned out both beautiful and decadent.

While the bread was in the oven, Luna prepared her special crunchy chicken breasts. She enjoyed hers with sauteed mushrooms and a green salad and the adult version was a chicken salad with feta and a spicy dressing.  Yum!!

Even though I love to go out and try new food and new restaurants, one of my favorite things to do is cook at home with family and friends whenever possible.  Here in Granada it is fairly easy to buy local produce just about anywhere.  The co-op where we shop always has great seasonal vegetables and we take full advantage of them every week.  Sometimes a great dinner can be made of simple and delicious veggies with a great salad of beets and avocados.  I also love to buy vegetables, flowers, and herbs from the guys who set up along the river by our house.  This morning I bought two bags of the best smelling oregano from a wonderful man.

the herb man

the herb man

As I write I can hear the sound of a slide whistle going up a down my street.  This can be heard all over Spain.  The knife sharpener. Right at your front door.

New Moon

Well, cheers to the New Year.  I can’t say that my New Year’s Eve was the most exciting to be had but it was enjoyable, relaxing and more or less healthy.  Luna and I and a dear friend enjoyed our leftover homemade seafood ravioli’s with spicy vodka sauce. Of course Luna preferred her ravioli’s with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. Luna and I ate our mandatory 12 grapes at about 8 o’clock with our friend making the chimes of the clock and then Luna was asleep by 8:30 and my friend went out with the “normal people”.  My partner is out of town working and I kindly turned down all invites by friends.  There was something soothing about starting the New Year  on my couch with a glass of Cava and a movie.  And as an insightful friend said, “you are not a loser, you are a cool Mom”.  So this is how Luna and I began 2011, relaxed, happy, and together.

There will be a New Moon on the 4th of January along with a partial Solar Eclipse.  So said this will bring us good fortune and happiness.  More than anything I hope it will bring some necessary change in the world. For me personally I could definitely use some inspiration and good fortune.  Last summer I promised myself I would finally start my book about great Spanish food and hidden restaurant treasures.  Needless to say I have done plenty of research in the past 16 years but I need to get it together.  So, this blog I am hoping will help me along a bit.  Little by little I plan to share my research along with other experiences of my life here in beautiful Southern Spain.

Happy New Year and Happy New Moon!

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