Cooking with Languages

Come and meet the new kids on the (chopping) block!Say “Hi” or “Hola” to Cooking with Languages, a clever new way to help children – and grown ups – learn a language in a fun way.


Cooking with Languages is the brainchild of Lisa Sadleir who wanted to design an exciting and interactive way to learn languages. Not only do parents or teachers sow the seeds for bringing up bilingual children but they teach them to cook at the same time. A recipe for success, or what! Many of you will remember endlessly reciting verbs in French, German or Spanish classes while trawling through text books full of dreary families.

Well your children do not have to be subjected to this. Their language-learning will be full of colour with interesting characters like Arthur Apple and Nerea Naranja, who will soon be joined by Olivier l’Oignon, Klaus Kartoffel and Paola Pomodoro. (During the campaign you can vote for who comes to life next!)

Cooking with Languages is all about hands-on fun as children make easy (and scrummy!) recipes which you can help them to eat; play games and other activities; and listen and repeat from audios recorded by Lisa’s son Joshua and daughter Francesca, both bilingual in English and Spanish, who are the voices of Arthur and Nerea. Children learn by listening, watching and copying so the activity cookbook encourages them to listen to the audios, watch their teachers or parents, and get their hands dirty while cooking up tasty treats.

Their minds are like sponges so they’ll be soaking up new words while playing at Junior Masterchef in the kitchen. “I want to do for languages what Jamie Oliver has done for cooking,” says Lisa, multilingual herself and passionate about giving children the gift of languages. “We’ve had a lot of fun creating the materials as a family – trying out new recipes in our own kitchen, recording the audios and thinking up new ways to make learning Spanish exciting. And we’ve had some great feedback on what we’ve produced so far!”In the books you will find: ● content is in English and Spanish ● simple, scrummy recipes to make so children can get messy while learning languages ● fun assistants to help with the cooking ● games and activities to practise ● eye-catching illustrations to engage the children You can also be at the cutting-edge of this innovative way to learn by joining Cooking with Languages in its quest to raise £5,000 (about €5,800) by January 31st. Fundraisers can get a copy of the English/Spanish activity cookbook and other materials at reduced rates. There’ll be sneak peeks at new materials and the chance to have your own recipe printed in the book and dedicated to your own children.

But best of all, everyone who contributes will be helping to make language learning fun and give more children the gift of language. You don’t need much dough as contributions start from just £5 (about €5.80) and can be made quickly, securely and easily via PayPal.

Take a look at the Crowdfunder page for more information.
Basically, the more books ordered, the cheaper they are, which means more people or schools can afford them. With your support, Lisa and her family can produce more affordable materials and grow many more language-loving superheroes. Research shows there’s a lack of materials for young Spanish learners so Lisa is working with a pre-school and primary teacher in the UK to create materials to be used in the classroom. The sooner children are exposed to foreign languages the better. The dream is to produce all the materials in French, German and Italian in partnership with fellow collaborators and any other languages that people want.

Persian Chicken

Sometimes, you look at the chicken that you’ve taken from the freezer for dinner, and think; “What now?”. Yet another casserole, pasta dish or risotto seems like you have fallen into a school dinner rut – so be inspired and dust off a cookbook, which is what I did last week. Always short of time, I wanted to indulge myself with some spices – they always cheer me up and relax me –  and Persia (a whole shelf of my spice rack) seemed like a good place to start. So here’s the Persian chicken, which admittedly resembled cat sick, but tasted great. I’m not really selling this, am I?


Carol’s Persian chicken

Chicken breast

Cardomon 18 pods

Fresh ginger 1 tbsp

Cumin ground 1 tsp

Chili half a tsp

Onions about 6

Garlic – 2 cloves

Saffron threads 1 tsp

Lime  – fresh

Ras al hanout or Garam Masala – 1 tbsp

Yoghurt 250 ml – I used Greek

Single cream 125ml

Almonds, chopped or flaked.

Sautée the onions slowly, until they’re brown and slightly crisped. Not burnt, not sloppy hot dog, but sweet and caramelised. Remove and drain, cool and them pound with the saffron.

Fry the chicken in bite sized pieces until sealed, then add the cardomon seeds, taken from the pods and ground to a powder, chili, ginger, garlic, and half the cumin. Fry for a minute on a lower heat. Add the onion pulp. Mix the yoghurt cream a little salt and the rest of the cumin and add to the chicken. Squeeze over the lime. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, Add the ras al hanout and wait  – oh, 5 minutes or so.

Serve on basmati – I added raisins, and lime and orange zest to mine. Scatter over the almonds. It’s fragrant, delicate, with a back heat. Loved it. Some fresh coriander would have helped to make it look less like cat sick 🙂



Torrijas Malagueñas – the traditional sweet nibble of Holy Week in Málaga

From Tutus and Toronto to Tapas


All Malagueños love Torrijas during Semana Santa and they are widely available in most cafes and bars as something to have with your coffee to re-charge your batteries for the long evenings and nights whilst watching the processions. The sugar content certainly gives one a “hit” and boosts your energy!

I was given this recipe about 20 years ago by a lovely old lady who was a neighbour. She is sadly no longer with us, but I always think of her at this time of year as I get the pan out to make this very traditional dish.


A three or four day old Loaf of Bread (I find a Spanish “barra” is best)

1 litre of Milk (full fat 😉 )

5 Tablespoons of White Sugar

1 Cinnamon stick

Powdered Cinnamon

1 Glass of sweet Málaga Wine

6 Eggs

The peel of one Lemon

Olive Oil (good quality)

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Curry ‘n’ Chips – but not as you know it

We decided to have a veggie day once or twice a week to break up the meat-heavy diet that everyone – except me – seems so fond of.  I didn’t eat meat at all for 15 years until we came to live in Spain – blame the Jamón.

Anyway, we also try and cook and eat in-season ingredients – because: 1. They’re better for you and haven’t travelled miles to your plate and more importantly 2. They’re cheap.

When something is in-season here in the village – the neighbours usually give us bucketloads of the same thing, although the aubergines this year have been may colours and shapes – variety is the spice of life!

By Grey Geezer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Grey Geezer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Talking of spice – we really cannot cook without it – I have no idea how I survived as a child in Ireland on ham and potatoes and stew.

We just discovered a wonderful site, called my ginger garlic kitchen, with the best recipes – every one a winner so far. So Stan attempted the 3 bean thick Dal Makhani and for a side used James Martin’s aubergine chips. Little cubes of peeled aubergine, rinsed and drained and deep fried with plenty of salt thrown on afterwards.  Quick homemade flatbreads on the side.  A quick, economical meal – and delicious too!


Random Health… Are you in on the new birch sap craze?

Monsoon of Random

Do you remember when coconut water was the brand new health drink craze? Full of goodness, great for rehydration and the must for anyone doing any kind of exercise. Well, I think birch sap is going to take the market by storm in much the same way pretty soon, and I was sent some Nordic Koivu Birch Sap Drink to try – thanks to MyPure.

It’s been enjoyed by the Baltic and Nordic countries for many years, and now this mineral and vitamin rich tree sap is finding its way around the globe.  But it’s not just vitamins and minerals this luscious liquid contains – it’s packed with with a list as long as your arm of bio-available nutrients (enzymes, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, sodium, iron, vitamin C, fruit acids and amino acids), I really don’t see how it can be anything but good for you!


So, what does…

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Sticky Citrus and Marmalade Tray Bake


Chica Andaluza

My mum had a bit of a marmalade making session last week and gave us several jars of her delicious marmalade to enjoy. Thanks Mamma! Putting the marmalade in the cupboard, I came across a jar of my own marmalade from last year which I decided to use up quickly so that I could get onto enjoying the fresh batch more quickly. I decided to make a quick cake and at the same time try out a new baking tin I had just bought – well…why not?!

Going, going....nearly gone! Going, going….nearly gone!

A BBC Good Food recipe caught my eye, I substituted a mild olive oil for the butter which (I think) makes this cake suitable for vegans as it contains no egg. The vinegar in the recipe sounds odd, but don’t leave it out as it helps the cake to rise and it won’t taste of vinegar, I promise!

Ingredients (to…

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How to match sweet wines with desserts

Nice one – not always easy to match sweet wines, which we’re not short of here in Spain

The Wine Wankers

The most important rule to remember when matching wine and desserts is that a sweeter wine is always better.  Wine that doesn’t have ample sugar levels will invariably taste thin and tart.

Botrytis affected wines fit the bill nicely. Late harvest wines generally aren’t as sweet as their Botrytis cousins, but still offer excellent matching with lighter desserts.

Another wine you should consider is a Moscato.  This fruity sweet semi-sparkling white wine is low in alcohol (around 5 per cent) and is heaven when drunk with fresh fruit and other light fruity desserts.

wine wankers 20150120_185610 The ‘Chocolate’ – a crisp dark chocolate sphere filled with macerated cherries in cherry curd

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122 – Of Acorns, Olives, and Old-Andaluz

A Foot in Two Campos

122-1pigs1The pigs definitely won.  Out of everything in this amazing multi-cultural language immersion week, the pigs definitely won.  And the horses, the dogs, and the miles of rolling countryside and beautiful holm-oaks.  Or maybe the food?   Or perhaps achieving the challenge of a week without a single word in our own languages?   Or possibly …. no, never mind.   It was the pigs.

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Casablanca Apple pie and Ice Cream Casablanca

A pie is just a pie…! Loved this blog

ice cream magazine

autumn fruits : harvest3x3  pix©  apple pie ©

You must remember this,

a kiss is still a kiss

pie is just a pie,

the fundamental things apply

Straight too each thigh….?

From a purely architectural viewpoint a decent wedge of pie with its moon glow apple is, to my mind, a thing of great beauty. Once white and crisp, becoming soft, sweet and generous from being richly encased in warm, buttery, golden pastry. An apple pie takes ones figurative biscuit.

apples garden©  apple pie ©

I find, however ham-fisted-and-cobbled-together a home-made apple pie is a ponderous and wondrous thing. Bore within its chamber filled with, spiced or fragrant vanilla apple, sharp-sweet layers, soft-firmer slices engulfed in pastry, serve warm to cherished friends, accompanied by a cheeky glass of musty Muscat or with coffee, calvados and gossip for after-dinner perfection particularly as our wet and windy Autumn sets in her roots.

apple pie ©  apple pie ©

This post was notioned by a table of outré women taking luncheon in a Michelin starred…

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An inspiring collection of wine quotes

An inspiring collection of wine quotes.

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