Sunday, 26 October 2014

Verotoño and Chocolate

I posted on my facebook page the other day that I'd learnt a new word in Spanish - a combination of the word for summer 'verano' and 'otoño' for autumn. Of course, it hasn't made it into the Royal Academy Dictionary yet. It does, however, describe the kind of weather we've been having most of this month, which is more summer than fall.

To fully understand how warm it's been (unless you come for a visit), on Tuesday morning I went to our version of 'Harrod's'. Unless I'm in a hurry, I always walk there, because it's only two stops on the underground. Going was fine wearing my light jacket, but coming back I was sweating. It didn't help that the jacket was lined with that silky material. One of my Spanish friends the other day was saying how it had been so mild in her village up North that all the good wild mushrooms were full of worms. There are certainly enough insects out here. Surely the temperatures will go down to normal for this time of the year soon. It's great not having to put on the heating though.

Today we got an extra hour in bed, and our Sunday will have 25 hours. I woke up the time I usually do wondering why it was so quiet outside. As much as I enjoy having that extra hour (who doesn't?), I wish they'd just leave the time alone. I remember how my dog always told me when her internal clock told her it was time to go out. It must be as confusing for animals as it is annoying for some of us.

As I'm the social secretary for my group of friends, I've booked an Indian restaurant to celebrate our friend Chris's birthday, which falls on Halloween, but she'll be away then, so we're celebrating this week. I also have to make her two cakes to take to her work on Thursday. Have I mentioned that before? Anyway, it'll be a busy week for me. How about you?

The photo I'm sharing this week is of the Spanish hot chocolate I made last night. In case you're not familiar with this type of hot chocolate, it's a thick chocolate that people traditionally dip churros or porras into as these are just like unsweetened doughnuts fried in a lot of oil. 

I know some of you will have had a busy weekend, and I look forward to sharing your doings. Wishing you a good last week of October and hope Halloween isn't too scary.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Now I'm Cookin'!

Outside our weather is almost like early summer. Inside, however, it's chilly. As a matter of fact, my hands are a bit cold sitting here in front of the computer, and I must have got cold in bed the other night because I dreamt that I'd put on the heating (haven't yet). My solution is to start using the oven more, and what better way than to make something like banana nut bread from some too ripe bananas.

 I must admit that the banana bread in the photo is from a previous loaf, but I'll be making more goodies later on this month. It's my friend Chris's birthday on the 31st and she's requested two cakes to take to work - a chocolate cake and a pineapple upside down cake, so I'll need to buy more eggs and pineapple.

Just as soon as it cooled down, I made a batch of cornbread mix and made a pan full to enjoy for a few days, or I thought I'd be enjoying it for a few days. One night after work I took out a couple of squares to have with my dinner and discovered mould on all of it, which was more or less half the pan. I'm not sure if it was because I put the cornbread in a zipper bag and left it out or what. As I stated at the beginning, it's warmer outside than in my house. Anyway, the next time I make it, I'll store it differently. I'm grateful to one of my Multiply friends for sharing the link for recipes in a jar where I found the recipe for cornbread mix. Luckily, we can get cornmeal, because of the number of Latinos who live here.

Another one of my recipes that I'll have to put on hold is the recipe for my laundry detergent since one of the necessary ingredients is temporarily, I hope, out of stock. I'm sure I've mentioned before that borax is something that you can find only in very small quantities in Europe, because it's been deemed harmful to the environment. I've found a recipe that calls for citric acid, which is the ingredient I need. According to the internet, it can be found at supermarkets. Well, I haven't found it at any that I go to. It's something that I order from my homeopathic pharmacy.

My post today is going to be all about food and recipes. We met up for lunch yesterday at the place where my friends and I usually eat at the first of the month, which surprised them at the restaurant. There were only four of us, but one of our friends we hadn't seen since before summer. She's retired and goes to the beach for the whole summer. After lunch I'd been home about 2 hours when her husband called me to ask if I knew where she was. I told him she'd gone to see the new language academy with Chris. I called Chris and also sent her a WhatsApp, called Enrique back and gave him Chris's number. Apparently her telephone was switched off too. To make a long story short, he called me not long afterwards to let me know she'd finally come home. She'd been with Chris while she was cleaning up (they don't have anyone to do the cleaning yet), and anyway they live in another neighbourhood and she was using public transport.

That's my week gone. Hope yours was a good one and hope Monday doesn't come too soon for you. Have a good week.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Door Knobs and Double Troubles

Two of my favourite treats have to be door knobs and double troubles. Don't even think yuck before you know what they are! 

One day after school when I was about 11, my mother put a couple of what I thought were door knobs in my hand. I, of course, told her I didn't want those door knobs. I don't know if any of you in your houses had door knobs that were round and were made of glass or marble and were really pretty; in ours, they were a dark brown. Ever since that day, I've loved door knobs or devil's food chocolate cookie cakes. That's an empty box, by the way. I tried to ration them as much as possible.

Now for the double troubles named by my brother James, who is now called Jim by everyone except his brothers and sisters. We don't know know why he called fig bars by that name except the first time he saw them he said. 'Uh oh! Double trouble!' Or maybe because there were two rows of them. The only thing that has changed with Fig Newtons (and they have to be Fig Newtons) is they've shrunk greatly in size. Tell me, who couldn't eat a whole box? So there you have the explanation of this week's blog. Do you have special names for things, especially treats?

As you can imagine, the only topic on the news these days is Ebola. I don't know how the assistant nurse is doing, because I never watch TV or listen to the radio at the weekend. I did see on the internet a nurse in Texas has tested positive for it. I wonder what the story will be about how she contracted it. It all sounds fishy to me. I guess I'm one of those people who are always thinking 'conspiracy'.

Despite the sun being out, we've had our share of rain these past few days. I'm not thinking about going out today as I have too many other things to keep me occupied inside, but hope it waits until tonight to rain if it's going to. I've said before that October is a good time to visit Spain as it's not too hot, but maybe I'm wrong. I laughed the other day because I saw it was sunny in London and pouring in Madrid.

Hope everybody has a good week ahead. Can I say how quickly time is passing?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Feet and Feathers

Not a lot going on around me as I've just started classes again, and I've already seen how many of our holidays fall on a Saturday this course. Well, for the people who work on Saturdays that's good news, and here's some other good news I have to share.

The most talked about item the week I got back was the arrest of the 'paedophile of Cuidad Lineal'. Cuidad Lineal is an area of Madrid just crossing the bridge from where I live where this monster kidnapped and raped very young children. I'm sure I'd mentioned in another blog that one of his victims was a 6-year-old Chinese girl who spent nearly a month in hospital recovering from her physical wounds. He drugged all his victims (except the last one) and bathed them before leaving them near an underground station or a place where they would be found. This sicko is still not convinced that the police have any evidence against him. I just pray that one way or another he's punished. He's a violent criminal who needs taking down. I really wish they'd change the existing laws so people like him spend the rest of their days behind bars. At least for now he's off the streets.

The new English academy directed by my friend Chris is up and running in the area. Little by little, the word will get out that Briam, now under the name of Briam A+, is back in the neighbourhood, so I hope they do well. Our friend Cathy is also working here as her contract wasn't renewed at the school she worked at due to lack of students - very unfortunate for the higher level classes as she was the only native teacher there.

This is my feet and feathers (everything) for this week. The chicken is one of my brother-in-law's. She kind of blends into the driveway there. He has all kinds of different chickens and at least one with green legs and feet. Hope everyone's week is a good one.