Social media snacks

Log on to any of your social media pages and you’ll be tripping over links to fast food recipes, many of them are healthy and nutritious, we’ve had a fair bit of success replicating some of those BuzzFeed quick recipes. I’m unsure whether we are generally losing our attention span for reading recipes, but those fast how-to videos are fun to watch and full of great ideas for lunchtime.

Facebook friend Matthew Hirtes (The Hon Mr Gran Canaria) highlighted one yesterday, a veggie burger using red beans, so I gave it a go today with moderate success, and a little frustration!

Basically, my error lay in changing a few of the ingredients, that old problem of available pantry stock and living in the middle of fecking nowhere. Here’s what we did: (in brackets are my added extras)



©carol m byrne

Blend a jar of cooked red beans, soaked Quinoa (I used Bulgur Wheat) seasoning, herbs, chopped onion, (garlic, chili flakes and a drop or 4 of hot sauce) sesame seeds, lemon juice. Shape into patty rounds and fry in a little olive oil.



©carol m byrne

BUT…My mix was too wet, so I also rolled them in dried breadcrumbs.

Fry in a shallow griddle pan in olive oil with a little more patience than I had 🙂


©carol m byrne

Basically, then eat as you would with a burger and the usual relish, toppings and whatnot. Thanks Matthew. I think. 🙂


© carol m byrne

Leftover magic under the Spanish sun

I was working hard this past week, travel articles and organic beauty were in fierce competition with the upcoming Mijas Rocks Málaga Music Festival, which I’m promoting like a dervish, as well as looking forward to!  My Twitter feed has swelled to incorporate tweets from movers and shakers, and a few head-bangers – all good!  I’m just waiting for Jon Bon Jovi to ask my advice on his leather trousers. Ahem.

So, meanwhile, Stan cleaned and washed and he’s a pretty good ‘housewife’ – well, basically I’m pretty crap at it, probably the most disorganised one you should ever meet…

And he cooked. He’s pretty inventive too. Some leftover Keema mix from his delicious Samosas were transformed into this, hmmm, let’s give it a Spanish angle and call it Picante Picada con Huevo.  That’s what it is, and it would be just as easy to use up some Bolognaise or Shepherd’s Pie filling – but we do like a bit of spice at our house… 🙂

A couple of flatbread strips on the side for dipping.  (Flour and water, griddle, hey presto)


He added some home-made Triturate (cooked and sieved tomatoes) to the Keema mixture. Then added a couple of sheets of Filo, or Brick, as layers, and in a centre hollow dropped in an egg to each cazuela.  Baked until the egg whites were set but yolks still runny  – and we ate lunch in the little tat-filled courtyard we grandly call our garden.  The simple pleasures of leftovers and sunshine!  And a glass of vino too of course!  Ah, the rock star life…lol.


Canal Sur Cometelo and Murtas


Stuffed calamari with mushrooms and asparagus and a visit to our village of Murtas – for the wine, of course!


A Full Larder

Pretty good at the moment, eh?  Vegetables and fruit as cheap as chips – cheaper actually. A carrier bag of this or that for a single € down at the market.

Even if you have a sneaking suspicion some sellers might scavenge from the greenhouse skips on the coast…no,no, put that thought right out of your head.Image

The garden is looking good, growing stuff in sunny Spain is so easy, and leaves you with a crop or twenty of HUGE vegetables  – of a size to inflict lilliputian hallucinations.

No Mad Hatters to spoil the crop, just the odd wild Boar armed with a bottle of salad cream, we’re lucky as our borrowed plot is protected by a deep barranco, so unless they also have carabiners we’re fairly safe.

I’m currently the proud possessor of 200+ cookbooks, mostly middle eastern and Spanish related, collected over the last 7+ years here. Also, spices to rival a street market in Delhi – which have outgrown their 6ft wooden rack, I need to think about re-homing them soon…

Newly discovered Kindle downloads mean a whole new world of recipes, but I have to admit they’ll never replace the much loved printed matter with their delicious and drool-able photographs.

So, pondering web pages and flicking through the books, our imaginations fired and tastebuds tantalized….what did we whip up for the weekend?

Fish finger sandwiches.


Photo By Rotget (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Waiter, there’s a snot in my milkshake…

Love the pig!

Love the pig!

Well, you just never know, do you?

This Horse-y hoo ha that has smothered the news lately makes you think. Think about what you eat, because after all, we are what we eat. Simple.

Cheap meat equals cheap content, and ambiguity – where did it come from? How many air miles are on it? How fresh is it?  And now….WHAT is it?

We’ve been to France, we’ve probably eaten horse, that’s not the argument really.  It’s knowing we’re eating it, and being happy about it.

Here in the Alpujarras, we wince at the pig being killed at Matanza – but enjoy the chorizo, morcilla, longaniza, and other tasty porcine entrails – we know where it’s from.

The wine we drink is the one from the grapes we harvested, to help our neighbour. No fish guts, no nasty preservatives.

Our olive oil is first press, green, from Carolina, I can point you out her trees close to Torviscon.

Our bread is freshly baked over wood, daily. Sometimes it would be nice to have something different, but that’s what the Panadero bakes.

We could buy all these things in Dia, or Aldi – cheaper, but inferior.

Next time you’re on your dwindling UK high street – doesn’t matter where, they all look the same –  then pass by the growing number of charity shops and betting shops – seek out your local butcher or baker – and do yourself – and your digestion – a favour.

Old Mother Hubbard’s pasta

I’ve looked, and looked, there’s nothing there…

Not a fairy tale, but the reality of the plaintive cry from the nearly 18 yr old son with no brain.  Honestly, that’s a bit harsh, but just a bit.

There’s always something in my cupboards, after nearly 7 years on my Alpujarras mountain I have learned to keep basics in, to remember that the M&S food hall is not 5 mins walk away like it used to be, and to regret that the take away will not deliver 1114 metres up the mountain.

But, it has made me a better cook, and I throw away nada. Ever.  I can make a bolognaise into a lasagne, or a chilli, and even carry on with empanadas if there’s anything left.  Stews and casseroles morph into pies, mash becomes fishcakes, stuffing gets rolled up in pastry with any cooked meat to make a sausage roll with a difference.

There’s usually a plated up meal or two in the freezer, but the pop-it-y-ping (microwave to you) went bang over Christmas and I can’t afford to replace it just yet…

So, lesson 1 and 2 for can’t cook- won’t cook son.

Fishy pasta

Boil the pasta – doh.

Sauté garlic, onions, halved cherry tomatoes, add a splash of the undrinkable vino from the butcher – don’t ask, it’s a long story –  I only sent Isobel for firelighters.

Add tomato frito, mixed herbs, salt and pepper, a few black olives to be pushed to the side of the plate, a tin of tuna, or those tasty mackerel fillets that sound like horse or onion or something in Spanish – stir it together. Grate over Parmesan.  Eat.

Ask your mum to put the plate into the dishwasher.


Bacon creamy pasta.

Boil the pasta.  Sauté the onion and garlic again, add bacon bits, lardons or a few rashers of bacon snipped into small pieces.

Add a little frito, a tub of cooking cream – nata para cocinar – herbs, black pepper, no salt as the bacon is salty enough.  Stir the pasta through the hot sauce and serve.

Repeat the steps with the mother and the dishwasher.

Sunday Lunch

…with friends. An invite to Sunday Lunch here in Las Alpujarras is less of a Roast Beef affair and more of a trip to a Bodega, tasting the new wine….

and an enormous bubbling pan of Arroz.

A sort of  Paella with more liquid, crab, elvers, prawns, mussels, and squid compete with garlic, onions, vibrant peppers and golden saffron.

People drift in and out, a glass and a plate always proffered, plates of olives, capers, chorizo and cheese for a long sobre mesa first course…Rosario cooks the best Arroz…who would want Bisto when you can have this?!

serving up