Zero sugar sweet cake

A cake for a sunny Spanish Wednesday morning.

Two over-ripe, ready for the bin bananas, raspberry tea-soaked cranberries and raisins, olive oil, flour, baking soda and two eggs. Mixed to no recipe, using guess-timates and my #Lidl stand mixer. I did take care to add the eggs one at a time and to fold in the flour.

Cooked in the #Weber BBQ, for just 10 minutes, regulating the temp at 180 degrees by using a bowl of water in the bottom, and opening and closing the lid. Really sweet, despite no sugar, as the bananas were so ripe. Okay, practically rotten. But it tastes good!



Just one glitch – having kids at college, so there’s no-one to lick the bowl ūüė¶

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā


©carol m byrne

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


© carol m byrne

Oi, Blondie. You’re sooo sweet!

Brownies we love, that ooey gooey-ness and chocolate craving satisfaction. Spanish cakes just don’t make the grade, too dry, nuh-uh. So the pleasure is plugging in the shiny mixing wizard and pre heating the oven. Books I have yards of, and cookery books too are no exception to my literary rule – they’re a bit of a guilty pleasure and we’ve accumulated rather a lot.

But not too many ‘dessert’ related ones. Occassionally I come across a droolable one, and have to have it – we use The Book Depository or Awesome Books for free worldwide delivery and the best prices ¬†– the latter has some brilliant secondhand bargains.

Last year, on ‘postre’ mission – I nabbed a copy of One More Slice by Leila Lindholm. The blurb of Sourdough bread, pizza, pasta and sweet pastries was just enough to entice my overworked Paypal details. Oh, I am such a pushover!



And so to her Blondies:

450g softened butter

200g sugar

200g muscovado sugar

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

zest of 3 lemons

500g flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

300g white chocolate (I substituted dried red mixed berries)

Oven 180 degrees


Mix it all together beating the eggs in one at a time, and fold in the flour and baking powder. Add the chocolate (or berries) and slap it in the oven for 25 minutes. Cool, slice into squares. Be quick – it won’t last!

José was painting the house and enjoyed a couple on the scaffold! Miguel happily mixed one with his ever present snot and smile. I got a little one! My version of Leilas recipe below:


Postre – dessert

*The author has no affilliation nor taken payment from any business, company mentioned in this article.



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 ‚ā¨ 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  Рof 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


I feel for her!

Horchata de Chufa – yeuch!

Yeuch because it’s not for me. But perhaps you love it.

What is it?

Horchata de Chufa. A Spanish staple. A creamy drink, white, and apparently very refreshing at this time of year. More

Dildo Soup

See, that got you interested…

I may be the eldest in our household, but am also to the delight of everyone known as the most gullible, many a laugh has been had at my expense.

Picadillo soup is of course what I mean, our favourite Spanish soup, discovered shortly after moving here to Andalucía and featured on the ubiquitous Menu del Día.

Stan had me order it, telling me it was called Pickadildo – and of course I fell hook, line and sinker, to the sniggering amusement of our fellow diners.¬† I’m also not known for a quiet voice.¬† Haha very funny, I was not amused, it has taken a while to see the funny side.

Anyway, it contains neither Dildos nor Picks – I said Picks – and is delicious, we make our own these days.

It’s essentially a tasty chicken broth, salty and cloudy, like a good Jewish mother would serve if you had the sniffles.¬† Next time you roast up that chicken boil up the bones and make your own stock.

Then it’s just an assembly job.

In a bowl, chopped hard boiled egg, crispy bread croutons, Jam√≥n trimmings, cooked chicken or pork, or even boiled ham, placed around the bottom.¬† Then the diner just pours over stock to taste, and that’s it.¬† Vary the ingredients, according to whatever is left over in the fridge – no one will turn a bowl down.

It also cures hangovers!


Thanks to Tsubaki for the pic from Flickr creative commons


What is it?¬† It’s¬† a LOQUAT – and here are hundreds of them around at the moment – like figs in Autumn they grow like weeds here in Andaluc√≠a.¬†

BIBASSIER in France, WOLMISSPEL in Germany, NISPERO here in Spain. In England? The delightfully named MEDLAR.  Indigenous to Central China, I had my first taste for breakfast this morning, Pedro next door bought them at the monthly market mistaking them for Apricots Рan easy mistake, they look for all world like an Apricot, but are quite different inside.

Lots of shiny jewel like seeds, a tough often blemished skin and a soft fruit that’s packed with pectin, so jelly and jam, crumbles, ice cream, chutney, put them in Moroccan dishes with Lamb and Chicken, with curries, or just eat them as they are!



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