Archive | May 2015

Pizza Makin’

My son LOOOVEEES pizza! So he decided to learn to make his own.

They are really quite easy to make once you learn how. The only thing that takes a long time is how long you have to wait for them to bake in the oven!

Pizzas Raw

I’m a foodie. Ie. I LOVE to eat. Especially good food haha. But I’m not at all into blogging about food. Ie. I love to read food blogs, but I don’t love to blog about food myself or put up recipes on the blog. Too much work haha!

But okay, since I really wanted to showcase what a giant little chef my son is becoming, I might as well put up the recipe too.

This is from a recipe by Jamie Oliver, with a little bit of variation that I made up myself from experience with making other breads. Sorry can’t put up the link to his recipe, don’t remember where I got Jamie’s recipe from. The recipe I put here isn’t the same as his. But here is Jamie Oliver’s website.

I use about ¾ kg. of normal flour or strong flour. Strong flour is better for making leavened breads because it has more gluten and holds the dough together better. Of course if you are allergic to gluten you can’t use this flour.

You can always replace this flour with other flours if you’re allergic to gluten, or you prefer not to eat gluten. Or you can make a mix of flours using some wheat flour and some other types of flour, like semolina flour, rye flour, spelt, corn, etc.

This amount of flour produces about 10-11 individual pizza bases. So use more flour if you want more pizzas or larger pizzas, and less for less pizzas.

I add a pinch of salt into the flour and mix it around a bit in a bowl.

Then in a cup I put one envelope of yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2-4 tablespoons olive oil. Add in milk or water at room temperature to fill about half the cup.

I use dried yeast in envelopes because it’s what I could find. It’s hard to find yeast in Spain! Dunno why, I s’pose there’s just such a grand variety of bakeries here, like five on every block, that there’s just no need for people to make their own bread.

Anyways I was able to dig up some yeast at Eroski. Mercadona didn’t have any.

Don’t forget the sugar, or your dough won’t rise! The yeast needs to feed off the sugar.

I used 2 spoonfuls of olive oil cuz we’re on a bit of a budget. If you’re lucky enough not to be on such a budget you can use more.

You can use milk or water for the dough. Milk produces a softer dough and water a crispier one.

Pour the liquid mix into the dough and knead it around until it’s smooth and silky and doesn’t stick. If it falls into pieces add more water. And if it sticks, throw in a handful of flour. Form a large ball. Cover it with some oil (like a light sunflower oil) and put it in the bowl with a damp towel over it, or aluminium foil.

Then leave it someplace warm for an hour or so. If you’ve got a kitchen with sunshine (we don’t! cuz we live on a ground floor facing north with a tall high-rise building just in front!) you can just put it in the sunshine. Since we never have sunshine, I put it in the oven at 50 degrees.

It should rise up nice and fluffy. When it’s big, punch it down and knead it some more.

Then form small round balls about the size you want your pizzas. We make small individual sized pizzas because those allow you to personalize each one. And because we only have a small oven pan to put it in!

Small pizzas are also good if you only have a small toaster oven.

Roll the pizzas out with a rolling pin into round bases and put them on your pan. Make a few holes in them for the steam to come out using a fork.

You can then cover them with whatever topping you like. Bake at 180 degrees for…… Well it depends on your oven. I leave them in for about half an hour. If it turns dark before then remove it earlier. And if it’s still kinda raw after half an hour, leave it in longer.

This is my son the pizzero. (He’s missing the hat I think.)

Son Making Pizzas

Sorry bad lighting. I did say we don’t get no sunshine in here.

You can use just tomato sauce from a can. But this time I happened to have some tomato sauce left over from yesterday’s meatballs, so I used that. This is how I made that sauce:

In a bit of olive oil I fried onions and my favourite spices. Then I added a dash of white wine and boiled off the alcohol. Pour in plain tomato sauce. Add in salt and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Finally, add in a good load of herbs, like oregano, parsley and basil. I give them all a good simmering and it’s done.

I don’t usually make something this elaborate just for pizzas. But I happened to have this sauce left over, so I used it.

Pizzas don’t take a long time to make, but they do take a long time to bake! So settle down and find something comfy to do while they’re bakin’. Like writing blog posts!

Pizza Cooked

One of my main gripes with bought pizza is that they never put in enough onions and peppers for my taste, not even at great chains like Telepizza or Domino’s. So here was my chance to remedy this!

Ah if you were looking hard you might have noticed that there is only one pizza in this photo, whereas in the original photo there were two. Well, the little pizza lovers in my home pounced on the other pizza and snatched it up before it occurred to me to take photos!

Have you ever made your own home-made pizzas? How did they turn out? Tell me! I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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Cordoba

Following last week’s post on the Patios of Cordoba, in this post I’ll put up other things to see and do in Cordoba.

Cordoba Mosque

Of course EVERYONE has heard about the Mosque of Cordoba. It’s right in the centre of town so if you head straight to the centre, you won’t miss it.

Cordoba Mosque

The mosque used to be, well, a mosque! That is, a place where Muslims went to worship, built during the centuries of Moorish rule in Spain. So of course, the architecture is typically Arab, similar to what you can also find in the Alhambra of Granada and other Moorish sites and monuments.

Cordoba Mosque

It was built over several centuries by a bunch of Moorish Caliphs with lovely Arab names but unless you’re really into this, I won’t repeat their names here. You can find their names in the pamphlet that they give you when you go to visit the mosque. Or in Wikipedia.

Cordoba Mosque

After the Reconquista, that is, when the Spanish Christians fought the Moors and regained control of the peninsula, the Mosque of Cordoba was turned into a cathedral. The cathedral itself was actually built inside a small section of the large mosque, respecting the rest of the building and its architecture and designs.

Cordoba Mosque

It’s a historic monument, like a museum, so of course entry is not free. It’s not very expensive although I don’t remember how much exactly. We went to Cordoba with not a lot of money because we went on a tour where everything was paid for (breakfast and lunch as well as, of course, transportation to and from the city, + entrances to all the winning patios from the patio competition I talked about in last week’s post). Even so I had no difficulty paying the entries to the mosque for the three of us.

Cordoba Mosque

This was an attempt to capture the original, old entryway to the mosque (NOT the huge mass entrance through the courtyard where everyone must go now to access the monument, where the ticket office is located) – without capturing the heads of hundreds of tourists walking all around it and posing!

(Okay it’s true, we were tourists too – but we didn’t pose haha!)

Cordoba Mosque

I’m sure the whole world must be familiar with these arch-famous coloured arches, and you’ve probably seen more than a dozen photos of them all over the place. Well here I regale you with a few more!

There’s also a very nice river, with a Roman bridge, that passes through Cordoba. It’s the Guadalquivir, actually. The same river that passes through Sevilla. Anyways, I didn’t remember that the Guadalquivir passes through Cordoba too, but later I remembered it.

Cordoba Roman Bridge

Cordoba is also the city where the movie Carmen with Paz Vega was set. So if you’ve ever seen Carmen…… you’ve seen the city haha! (Okay, not really.)

There’s a synagogue (not a current one in use, the one that used to be used by the Jewish community before the Reconquista) as well, but it was only open in the mornings. So we didn’t get to see it because the visit to the patios was in the morning.

I had lots of photos of typical streets in the winding Arab historic centre, but they were jammed with tourists! This was the only pristine photo I managed to capture.

Cordoba Typical Street

We had time to browse through some souvenir shops and grab an ice-cream. The ice-cream was really necessary as the temperature was over 40 degrees! And it was only the beginning of May.

Although it might seem corny, I do rather like to wander through souvenir shops. I don’t usually buy anything. But I do enjoy seeing what strange and funny relics are available. There’s always something weird or original to catch your eye!

Cordoba Abandoned Building

Okay, clearly this was not taken at a souvenir shop haha!

Finally, you can also listen to Medina Azahara crooning masterfully about Cordoba on YouTube, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9vE8zFvG78

Have you ever been to Cordoba? What did you do during your visit? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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Patios of Cordoba

I thought I’d get this post up before the appropriate time of the year had already passed.

Patios of Cordoba

Every year they have a patio competition in Cordoba, to see which home-owners have the most drop-dead gorgeous, beautifully designed and decorated patios. These patio owners REALLY go all out to get their patios up into tip top shape.

Patios of Cordoba

So these are the patios that won the competition. (Although they’re from last year hehe. I’m a little behind on the posts methinks……)

Patios of Cordoba

I don’t know about you, but I woulda had the most terrible time trying to choose the winner from among all these stunning displays.

Patios of Cordoba

Unfortunately, it was impossible to get away from the swarms of tourists while taking the photos. The patios are only open to the public for a limited number of hours each day, so basically the whole country and much of Europe and North America packs itself into these patios during these few short hours. It’s impossible to catch a pic of these beauties without loads of tourists about – unless you just happen to be a reporter, of course, and you get invited to snap photos for a newspaper or magazine!

Patios of Cordoba

So nuff talking. I’ll just let these wonders speak for themselves.

Patios of Cordoba

On many patios they had these tiles with wise or witty sayings. (Click on the photos to see them close up and if you know Spanish, you can read them!)

As you can see, this is a well. In the “olden days”, before modern plumbing, people relied on these wells for their water supply. So now you know. If the public water supply were ever cut off, these lucky blokes would have no problems.

Check out the eyes painted on the upper blank wall!

Next week I’ll continue some more with our exciting visit to Cordoba. So check it out, if you haven’t already!

What about you? Have you ever been to Cordoba? Did you get a chance to visit the patios? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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Just a Short & Silly Post

Well this is just a short and rather silly post. There’s no theme to it, and not much point to it either, really.

I always wonder, when I read about people living in faraway countries, what it is that they see every day when they leave their houses and go about their daily business. What are streets like in other countries? What do the buildings look like there?

So this is a typical street in my neighbourhood. Nothing extraordinary about it. It’s not a neighbourhood that stands out for anything in particular. It’s not a place tourists come to browse around. It’s not an especially luxurious neighbourhood. Just a typical working class street in Malaga.

Malaga Street

How does this street compare to streets in your city or town? Please do leave me a comment, I lurrve to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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Paleo Paleo Boom Boom Boom

I just found a diet by chance that lots of people are raving about. In theory it sounds like a nice, interesting diet, that has a lot of health benefits. But in practice it’s full of foods that I hate and you can’t eat the foods that I love.

It’s called the Paleo diet and its premise is that people should eat like cavemen did because we evolved to eat what cavemen ate.

Paleo diet drumsticks

So cavemen ate mostly meat, roots and fruits and berries. And that is what is in the diet. You can eat any veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds. You can eat olive oil and butter and coconut oil. So far so good, I like all these!

But you’re supposed to fill yourself up with meat all day long. And you can’t eat cakes or pies or burritos or bread or oatmeal. I HATE meat (except maybe chicken wings).

They say that cereals and grains have lots of toxins and people were never meant to eat them. Cavemen didn’t eat them. People didn’t have flour until they started growing crops.

People who follow the paleo diet report lots of health improvements like greater flexibility and mobility, their pains are gone, if they had illnesses especially chronic ones these illnesses are much better or gone, they have no digestive ails……

The thing that surprises me the most, though, are the photos of paleo children. They all look so radiant and healthy. Vegetarian children, on the other hand, tend to look rickety.

Well I’d read that children need to eat lots of protein because they are building themselves and they build themselves with amino acids. But adults? Unless you’re a weight lifter or something……

And what about all the nitrates from eating too much meat? And what about all that uric acid that forms kidney stones? Don’t paleo eaters have those problems?

Well I dunno. I read the interviews with some of the longest lived people in the world. A 114 year old Scottish grandma said she owes her great health to never having remarried (after she was divorced or widowed, can’t remember which) at an early age, and to eating oatmeal every day of her life. And a 114 year old man in the US said he ate a banana a day all his life. On the other hand, a 114 year old Italian lady attributes her great health to never having married and eating 2 eggs every day. She also eats pasta every day because all Italians eat pasta every day. (Well all Italians that I know, anyways, so no one accuses me of stereotyping!)

A 114 year old granny here in Spain attributed her longevity to eating only foods that she loved and never listening to what scientists said you should or shouldn’t eat. Her favourite food was crispy fried bacon and she admitted to eating a plateful every day. The employees at her nursing home confirmed it. They said every day they prepared a plate of crispy fried bacon for her, which she enjoyed with relish.

(Okay, I know it sounds like they were all 114 years old. The truth is I don’t quite remember their exact ages. But they were all around 114 (maybe 113, 115……).)

Anyways, if you think about it, cavemen were all short and muscular. But after agriculture and learning to make bread, people became tall and willowy and skinny.

Also, humans making the evolutionary leap to growing crops and making flour is what has permitted all the evolutionary development that we have enjoyed since then. It’s quite clear that as long as cavemen were spending their whole lives chasing buffalo around all over the place, they could never develop anything like civilisation, the arts or written language.

Cereals and grains are the basis, as far as I’m aware, of just about every society on earth. Even if a culture doesn’t eat much wheat, they do eat SOMETHING that is a cereal or grain: millet, rice, corn or maize.

So I don’t think something that is eaten every day by people all over the world, and has been eaten by people all over the world since prehistoric times, could be that bad for you, could it? If cereals and grains were that toxic, you would think that humanity would have been extinguished long ago.

I think it’s quite clear that the paleo diet is something that could only have been invented in the United States and it will probably never become a big hit in Spain. Because BERRIES feature prominently in that diet. And guess what? Berries don’t grow in Spain!

You probably didn’t know that. And I lament it a lot. Because berries are my favourite food!

But it’s too hot for berries to grow in Spain. Only up in the north, where the weather is similar to North America or France or other northern European countries, they have berries. But in the rest of the country it’s citrus fruits and citrus fruits and more citrus fruits. And olives, of course. You can’t believe how much Spaniards LOOOVEEE their oranges and lemons!!

And strangely enough I don’t love oranges or lemons very much. My theory is that you acquire your taste for food at an early age, you’re not born with it. And you acquire a taste for the food that you eat the most at that age. So in Spain everyone eats oranges all the time, because it’s what there is. Here berries are imported (at exorbitant prices) from northern countries – and no one likes them!

Anyways, an interesting theory, that of the Paleo diet. But I really don’t think I’m very much up to it. I just can’t STAND the sensation of a fillet or thick chunk of beef. Ugh! Gives me the shivers and the creeps when I imagine chewing away on one of those.

Besides which there is nothing tastier in the whole wide world than a good chunk of freshly baked bread, soft and spongy on the inside and crispy and aromatic on the outside. Mmmhh!

Pan con aceite

What about you? Do you follow or believe in any special diet? Please don’t hesitate to leave me comments. I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

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