Saturday, May 30, 2009

45 ~ Dia De Canarias

girl cutting gofioGirl in Canary costume slicing gofio
(click to enlarge photos)

Today is the day when Canary Islanders celebrate their heritage. Dia de Canarias, Canary Islands Day, is celebrated every 30th of May in each of the seven islands that make up this archipelago. Local people decorate their towns and plazas, display Canary products in shops and markets and put on their traditional colourful costumes, their trajes de mago for dancing and folkloric events throughout the day and evening. Firework displays will surely put a noisy end to the night.

3 girlsThree girls in their Canary costumes

As I'd heard that a nearby supermarket would be offering free samples of local products today, I went there this morning to find a group of young ladies in their trajes de mago behind a makeshift food counter in the shopping centre. They were busy slicing crispy baguettes and spreading on a soft chorizo as well as passing out small cups of red wine and soft drinks. Other foods laid out on paper plates included rosquetes de vino, a type of round small doughnut, crispy with sugar, several types of cakes, pickled fish, tuna croquettes, frangollo...a cornmeal and raisin pudding, and other typical Canary foods.

2 girls cutting cakeAs I hadn't yet had breakfast I didn't hesitate to try what they offered.

Here are more photos I took there:

group & bread

pouring wine Pouring a wine sample

rosquetes de vino Rosquetes de Vino (Wine Rusks)

preparing chorizo Preparing bread & chorizo

chorizo Bread and soft chorizo

croquettes A hand reaches for a tuna croquette

gofio close Gofio as never before

I have tried gofio on several occasions since living in the Canary Islands but never have I see it in this fudge-like form and never has it tasted so good! Gofio is a nutritious food made from toasted maize or other flours which has been a staple of the Canary diet for centuries, being put even into a bottle of baby's milk or served in a restaurant mixed with broth as a type of porridge. Many Canary people have powdered gofio spooned into a glass of milk for breakfast.

More about gofio and how it is made is
on an earlier post of this blog. But this was so good I think I took three pieces. It tasted toasty, nutty and fudgy all at once. It would make a perfect snack food, because it tastes like a rich treat and yet it's healthy!
I must find out where it is sold in this form.

cutting gofio Serving gofio

serving frangolloServing frangollo

Frangollo was a treat today since it had been well made and was full of raisins, which I love. Frangollo is a custard type of dessert made from yellow corn meal, flavoured with cinnamon and lemon and topped with raisins, cinnamon and sometimes syrup. Simple to make, it is however a tasty dessert. And so popular here that the corn meal is sold ready for preparing this dish.

my frangollo My serving of frangollo

frangollo Frangollo

FRANGOLLO - Canary Maize Pudding Dessert
Frangollo is a typical dessert from the Canary Islands which has many variations, sometimes made with milk, other times with water. Here is one recipe:

1 quart milk or water
1/2 lb coarse sweet corn (maize) flour -- (approx 225 grams)
grated lemon rind
piece of lemon peel
a few almonds -- peeled & ground or chopped finely
1 handful raisins
2 Tablespoons sugar -- more or less to taste
1 teasp cinnamon & more for sprinkling over top

Put the milk (or water) in a pot together with the piece of lemon peel and a pinch of salt.
Put on the stove.
When it boils, remove the lemon peel and add the corn flour, sugar, raisins, cinnamon, ground almond and grated lemon rind.
Stir constantly and cook until the mix separates from the sides of the pot.
This can take around 20 - 30 minutes of constant stirring.

Pour into a deep glass dish and allow to cool.
Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, raisins and if desired, a little syrup or honey.
Serve cold or at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Skywatch Friday

(click to enlarge)
Welcome to my world in the Canary Islands.
This photo of the Tenerife sky shows the volcano Teide, the highest mountain in Spain, silhouetted against a creamy skyscape of billowing clouds. The photo was taken in February 2009 from my neighbourhood.

To see more Friday skies of the world, click here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My World Tuesday 2

sand painter (Click to enlarge)
An artist drizzles onto the ground the natural coloured volcanic sands from the Tenerife volcano Teide to create a sand painting such as are made every year during the celebrations of Corpus Christi in the villa of La Orotava.
In 2006, five Tibetan monks came to add a small portion of the sand carpet with their mandala, which was created on a wooden platform at one corner of the main carpet. Here is a photo taken by Jose Mesa when he went to visit the Orotava site where the monks were making their mandala in 2006.

monks Photo by Jose Mesa

To see more places in the world, click here.

44 ~ Fiestas de Corpus: Romeria

la orotava(click to enlarge photos)

Every year during the June Celebrations of Corpus Christi in the beautiful old town of La Orotava on the north west coast of Tenerife, there are some events which are rarely equaled elsewhere in the world for their uniqueness and high level of craftsmanship. One of these events is the formation of an enormous sand carpet mural, this year 870 meters square, made from natural coloured volcanic sands taken from the caldera of the island's volcano, El Teide.

alfombras de arenaSand Carpets from 2007

At the same time, on the last day of the fiestas, flower carpets of intricate designs are made from fresh petals to cover the streets of the town. These are the famous 'alfombras' of La Orotava. I will show some photos of these soon as this year's celebrations are already underway and will continue until 30 June, 2009.

floralesMaking the Flower Carpets

But one celebration which is especially enjoyed by locals and visitors is the procession of the Romeria during the fiestas of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of agriculture, also held in June. Here is where the local Canary people dress in their traditional costumes, with slight differences in the style and colour which denote the town or area from which they come.

cartThe procession is formed by dozens of oxen-drawn carts, each one decorated with farm implements, fruit and vegetables, wine barrels and little stoves on which sausages, kebabs and other meats are cooked before, during and after the procession, as it moves from the highest point where the oxen and carts are assembled down through the streets of the town.

cartIt is a joyous event with much music, singing and dancing. The regulations for participating are quite strict and those in the procession must adhere to the traditional dress of their ancestors with no modern embellishments such as watches or sunglasses.

Here is a slideshow of photos (full screen) that I took during the fiestas of 2007, when I spent a morning watching the preparations before the procession, taking candid photos of the participants, their oxen and carts.
Small version of slideshow here below.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My World Tuesday 1

(click to enlarge)
A German delicatessen in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
To see other parts of the world click here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

43 ~ Under the Sea

Here is a magnificent video entitled...
"The Canary Islands Under The Sea" photographed by Rafa Herrero with music by David Gonçalves, produced by Aquawork on Vimeo. If you like underwater scenery you will surely love this one. Watch it full screen!
The first screen in Spanish says "Seven Islands in the Atlantic to swim underwater".

The Canary Islands under the sea from Rafa Herrero on Vimeo.

Friday, May 15, 2009

42 ~ Friends & French Cuisine

 salad & nasturtium (click to enlarge photos)

Yesterday I attended a lovely charity luncheon sponsored by the Friends of Tenerife, a group whose purpose is to sponsor money-raising social events to benefit needy persons and charities on Tenerife. The luncheon was held in La Orquidea, a French restaurant which has been a favourite of mine for some years.

outside restaurante I arrived early so I could take a few photos for the club's event albums and was able to watch while the finishing touches, including bouquets of fresh roses and menus were put on the tables.

menuYesterday the money raised was going to the Association of Apanate Norte, the group established to aid parents of autistic children in the villa of La Orotava.
Present were representatives of the Association, José and Mari, to whom a cheque of two thousand Euros was presented on behalf of Friends of Tenerife by the president, Helen Jameson.

José & Mari José & Mari
Helen JamesonHelen Jameson

The chefs were busy in the kitchen preparing what was to be a superb first course salad, complete with edible nasturtiums bordering each plate.

chef & salads As members arrived, they were greeted by Helen and vice-President Jean Pennington.
members arriveHere is the magnificent salad, a work of culinary art, with shrimps wrapped in three shapes of phyllo pastry: beggar's purses, triangles and wraps, topping a lovely plate of greens with caviar, smoked salmon, salad herbs and accompanied by lemon and a sweet mixed chutney sauce.
salad As a second course I chose the Coq Au Vin, a French classic of chicken cooked in red wine with bacon, onion and carrot. It came with baked potato, the insides mashed with butter and cream and placed back into the crispy skins.
coq au vinDessert was yet another treat for both eyes and palate. A slice of chocolate tart with gourmet ice cream and a miniature strawberry cream puff. Ohhhhhh!
dessert plate Here the president of Apanate Norte, José Luis Barquin Diez holds a photo of the new residence for the Association, recently ceded by the municipal government of La Orotava as a new center for the work and activities of Apanate.
José LuisAnd here a closeup of the new centre.
foto centreWell that was a lovely lunch and afternoon. I was able to catch up on news chatting with a good friend of mine who had just returned from a long holiday. The next Friends of Tenerife event will be an evening dinner with Canary Folk Dancing on Dia de Canarias, a Canary Islands holiday celebration at the end of this month. I may just make it there as well. It should be an interesting evening!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

41 ~ This Morning's Garden

pink rosebud (click to enlarge photos)

I couldn't resist running back into the house for my camera while strolling through the garden this beautiful Sunday morning to see what had changed, if anything, since last evening. It's so good to see the sun after our rain and cloudy days. Everything growing is responding with such vigour that we have to cut back masses of bougainvillae and hedges just to be able to pass by. But this is the month when flowers are at their best and I have one particular rose which is putting on an outstanding performance. Anabell, a cluster-flowered floribunda has put out thirteen blooms on a single stalk.

anabellHere you can see from the side, that enormous cluster rising from one cane.

anabell stalk I think that might be a record for my garden. I've had this one for over ten years and it seems to be perfectly suited to our warm climate. It's a rose created in 1972 by the German breeder Kordes and the catalogue name, if anyone wishes to know is KORbell.

So I will show you the rest of what I saw this morning. The dark mauve blooms are Brunsfelsia, a lovely little bush that puts forth masses of my favourite coloured flowers.


brunsfelsiaThe white rose is Iceberg, a faithful and popular floribunda which creates masses of white blooms on a medium rounded bush which also does well in this warm climate.


icebergThe pink rose and bud were a gift to my garden and came without a name. I have that bush in a flowerpot where it does well in full sun.

pink roseThe cala lilies spread so easily, we now have a whole bed of them. They started as one plant that was given to us by a neighbour.

calas A moth alights on a white osteospermum.

moth on osteoAnd learning to keep watch over the dish of dry cat food, is one of our baby blackbirds. He makes sure the cat doesn't climb the tree to steal breakfast!

baby bird(I'm buying more dry cat food for the blackbirds than I am for the cats!)


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