Shedding the pounds…. 25/4/19

Fortunately or unfortunately …. I am not sure which but I am not talking about weight, instead the ever deteriorating exchange rate which isn’t doing us much good for the health of the wallet!

No surprises that nothing happened on the 12th April in so far as Brexit goes and it appears that everyone has decided to chill out, go on holiday and forget about it now they have the extension…. glad to see that its high up the priority list.

It is however good to see that the journalists can still do their jobs and find other news to report on as by now you would have thought that they had lost their touch.

With Brexit on hold though we are now being bombarded by Spanish politics in the lead up to their general election on the 28th April – whatever happens it isn’t going to be good but lets hope that they can do better than last time as this is their third general election in four years.  The only thing is that appears to be certain is that it will yet again be a hung parliament leaving the question as to which parties will join together to make up the government and whether they will actually manage to do it this year rather than like last time taking over a year and having to hold another general election to progress forward.

Anyway, enough of politics – I think we have had a lives worth of them in the last 6 months and life is here to enjoy …. so we have been doing our best!

Following on from my last blog no surprises in that we have continued along the same theme… lots of good food and good company!  We had Richard (Gonzo) over for a couple of days who is a self confessed foodie so we took him out for a lovely Paella, Keith tried out some new bits on the Bar B Q …. including some Calamare and Anchovies

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And we found a great new bar on his last night by mistake where the barman plied us with Jamon, Lomo and Queso (Cured meats and cheese) and a couple of extra free drinks too, restricting our movement enough to make us stay for just one more until they gave way finally enabling us crawl out of there at around midnight paying a measly 28 euros for the whole evening…. I guess we shouldn’t complain!

No surprises but we have also been ‘entertaining’, as well as ‘been entertained’ quite a bit – always trying to push the boundaries a little further with new recipes and ideas. As part of our ‘being entertained’ we were invited back to the campsite owners (Jorge) house a couple of Sunday’s ago for lunch which was almost an exact repeat of three years ago – although they separated not long after and is it wrong to say that Yolanda made some amazing Croquettes last time??!! – we still however,  had Octopus (caught by the eldest son), Mussels and an enourmous Seafood Paella… all of which were absolutely delicious!

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Keith has been trying out a few new ‘rubs’ on the BBQ, the first was a little raw, heat wise as it used chilli flakes, however the second was a definate success …. a homemade Louisiana Cajun Rub – just the right amount of heat and tingle along with flavour.

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I have also had a play at making bread on the BBQ today.  It is Moroccan Khobz bread and this particular version is made with a mixture of white and wholemeal flour which we cooked on the pizza stone once we had taken the pizzas off….. not bad for a first attempt if I don’t say so myself!

To divert away from food for a minute – as it will soon be time to eat again – we are back on track with the photo competitions.

Zak was away in the lakes and his picture for ‘One colour to fill the frame and create interest in your subject’ to go alongside my prawns from the last blog is the following …

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We then had the challenge to ‘It is easy to use leading lines to show the depth of an image or to lead the eye to a certain point – instead, use the leading lines to show the concept of infinity….

Zak’s using the trees to take you to infinity…

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I have chosen the tram lines which are bordered by palm trees as far as the eye can see….

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We then had the challenge of ‘using your mood as your artistic inspiration, take a photo that demonstrates the mood you are feeling today’.  My mood was tranquil and relaxed…. it was a corker of a day and we had just cooked lunch for some friends before heading down to the beach….

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A few days later however and the weather broke and we had a typical British Easter ….four days of torrential rain and strong winds, the complete reverse to the UK!

My beautiful scene of tranquility above turned into a warning for anyone contemplating dipping their toes in the rather rough sea….

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Our planned BBQ for friends from Madrid got changed to a Fish Pie that we took to Santi’s along with lots of other bits to munch on and thankfully Manolo, Sergio and Tania picked us up en route as I have never seen so much rain come down in such a short period.

Normal service has now been resumed and although the clean up process is taking a few days we are pretty much there and the only sights left of the storm are the huge amount of seaweed and debris on the beach with a bit of excess sand on the promenade.

I am not sure where the last couple of months have gone but it is difficult to believe that we are closing in on the end of our stay in San Juan….. only a couple of weeks until we set off in search of new places so we better get stocked up on all things Spanish before we head north!

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Pumpkins….. 1/4/19

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Well, we made it past the 29th March and haven’t yet turned into Pumpkins – although to be fair we have eaten rather a lot over the last few weeks so I do feel a bit like one….

We are still in San Juan Playa and have been making the most of the generally sunny (18 + degrees) days and cool (9 degrees) nights to catch up with friends and get back into a routine.

The Saturday market in San Juan itself is as good as always and we have got back into the routine of cooking lunch for Santi and Manolo after a trip to the market.  I think Santi’s mum must hate us – or perhaps love us, depending on how you look at it –  as whenever we are here he doesn’t see his parents anywhere as much as he does when we are gone!!  We have been the recipients of her rather good Tortilla, although are still awaiting the invite for the infamous Paella!!

Apart from using the BBQ a lot to perfect the Babaganoush recipe, Spatchcock more chicken, extend our repertoire with the pizzas – Keith has now gone Italian with an egg in the middle – And having a go at garlic bread to go with a lovely homemade lasagne.  We have also been cooking for the neighbours… a delicious Fish Pie, lots of soups, a few foccacias, many rounds of bread rolls,  cheesecake, a couple of crumbles, Belgian Fridge Cake, lots of Flapjack and a couple of batches of fruitcake muffins…. we certainly aren’t going hungry and nor are the neighbours!

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We have also been out to eat quite a few times, notably trying out a new Moroccan restaurant with our Spanish friends, revisiting the Cuchara del Carmen in Alicante which serves delicious food from Asturias with Mary and Melvyn and more locally, Casa Julio which is one of our favourite restaurants on the beach…. this time we opted for a mixture of starters which included calamari, some pretty sizeable mussels (although they were tiny in comparison to those in New Zealand!), a pretty delicious Monkfish and Clam Paella and dessert … which I have just realised would have been Zak (my Nephew’s) ultimate dessert plate as it contained Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge cake!!

Thankfully we have been keeping up with the running, exercise and walking as otherwise I would have definately needed a new pair of jeans by now!

I know it is odd but strangely, we have also fallen back into our routine of going to the cinema thus far, we have seen The Green Book – well worth seeing if you haven’t done so, Taxi to Gibraltar which was ok (and thankfully reasonably short) and Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria) which is a film by Almodovar which is also worth seeing if you like his style as he is a bit ‘Arty’ for some!

The photography challenge took a brief interlude as Zak was knocked out by tonsillitis, however he is fighting back and promises to have a couple of good photos for the next blog!!

My photo last week to ‘Fill the frame, using one colour to isolate the subject and create interest in the photo’ is the following …

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Let’s now see if the next couple of weeks changes anything with Brexit …. or not !