Instant lunch

You know what it’s like, you come home, hungry, scroll down through Facebook, see a dish and have to have it? Yes, me, today. Back from a walk in the sunshine with the dogs and starving. I saw a plate of grilled courgette, and thought, I have to have those. In the salad drawer of the fridge I have a couple of those little round ones, no idea what the difference is, besides shape,  but if you know, do enlighten me.

Wherever I go I pick up some spice, a taste of an enjoyed adventure.

A recent trip to Ireland saw an addition to the ever growing spice shelf – Lebanese Baharat, a subtle mix of Middle-Eastern flavours. Not so Irish, eh?! Dublin is such a cosmopolitan place, there’s every kind of food to be sampled and enjoyed. I picked up that spice from Fresh ‘n’ Fruity, the amazing little greengrocer shop that is just steps from my mother’s house in Lucan.

So, today I coated the sliced courgette with olive oil, salt and the spice mix.


Grilled on the Weber for a couple of minutes each side for nice charred stripes, and enjoyed with a simple salad, fresh tomato, celery and lettuce – more oil, a splash of rice wine vinegar. The spice mix made all the difference, a subtle, aromatic taste.

Yes, the sunshine helps 🙂

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

So, describe your food!

A comprehensive list of often used Spanish Food words –  I found it really useful so am sharing with you! Pass it on…

tapas copyright carol byrne

Canal Sur Cometelo and Murtas


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


Put that down, you don’t know where it’s been!

With one of my bread and butter ‘paid jobs’ I’ve been writing about local food in Spain. A tasty trip around the country if you like, showcasing the real, local food and where to get it fresh. The links for the Spain Holiday posts are at the bottom of this post if you’d like to read them.Image

Happy at home

Hmmmm…..Got me thinking. I’ve always been amazed at the way they just seem to be happy here, in our little village, with the ‘in season’ produce available.  If it’s habas or habituelas, tomatoes or even vino tinto, whatever there is a glut of, the villagers – as we do –  just make the most of it.

Rather than be overwhelmed by a glut of something, the ‘upcycled’ jars are put to good use, and a stock of the same is laid down for leaner months.

You might think nothing of buying a punnet of tomatoes at Christmas, but a Spanish household will have jars of them instead, preserved while at their freshest…and probably tasting a lot better than your variety – still Spanish I dare say but probably grown under plastic on the Almeria coastline, not good.

Perfectly shaped too, nipped and tucked, rather than the carbuncle-like scarred and lumpy shapes that we are used to here.

And local produce here is so revered, they’re really proud of what they have, where it comes from, not least how to prepare it. Don’t dare to be the one to change it!

Eating as a family, revered meal times, long lunches, alcohol that always includes a bite to eat. Holidays that revolve around food. Customs too. Here in the Alpujarras, the Matanza that is outlawed by health and safety carries on regardless…bloody, gory, but hey, when it comes to eating the produce we know there’s not a sniff of horse in it. 😉Image

So, is it wrong to stick to the devil you know?

Should there be more choice here or would it dilute the culture and water it down too much?

Like the English language, watered down in the UK to an unintelligible lack of syllables and increased text drivel, in the same way, would the customary foods and cooking methods be lost in a sea of takeaway over traditional?

Would you like to see a Balti house or a Wok Buffet on every corner or are things just as good as they are?


More reading as mentioned earlier in this post:

Blog 1 –  Andalucía

Blog 2 – Galicia

Blog 3 – Valencia

Blog 4 – Basque country

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

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