Saturday, October 31, 2009

69 ~ A Tenerife Beach - Playa San Marcos

Play San Marcos Restaurant at Playa San Marcos

Come join me and my English friend Anne for a drive down the north west coast of Tenerife to a little black sand beach where there are some fish restaurants where we have been going for many years.

Let's stop here along the way and take some photos of the picturesque coastline. In the foreground you can see fields of banana plantations with the occasional palm or drago tree.

coastYou see here one of the many tunnels in the road to the south of the island.

Anne and I both love to visit garden centres so let's make a stop to browse around at this one near the base of the mountain.

garden centre This side of the island is greener than the south due to the prevailing north east trade winds which cause clouds to form on the north side of the Teide volcano, keeping the area cool and more spring-like.

lush mountainAfter passing through the town of Icod, we take a turn and soon arrive at San Marcos Beach, where there is natural black volcanic sand.

San Marcos beach
black shiny sand We are heading for Casa Maria which years ago used to be one of the little chiringuitos or open air restaurants at the far side of the beach. Maria was a little lady who ran one of the simple beach restaurants which are so popular in Spain. We used to sit there in damp bathing suits with our feet in the sand and order local fish dinners or paella after an afternoon of swimming and sun bathing.

beach & restaurant But now it has been relocated and modernized. The bamboo and grass roofs have been torn down and there is no sand underfoot in these new constructions.
Let's go inside. Can you smell the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen? There is a scent of garlic and fresh fish with lemon. Look at this one ready from the kitchen for someone's dinner.

whole fish We'll order one filleted with head and tail removed shall we. And how about some of those Canary salted wrinkled potatoes with green mojo sauce: Papas arrugadas con mojo verde. But first let's order a mixed salad as a starter with some red wine, local bread and ali oli garlic mayonnaise. Sounds good doesn't it! And now let's go to the kitchen to pick out our fish. Here are some the local fish: Vieja (parrotfish), Dorado (Mahi Mahi), Cherne (Sea Bass).

fish in kitchen How about this one? I think it's a Vieja.

this one?Anne's gone outside to pick out a table for us.

Anne gets tableHere's the wine, salad, bread, and ali oli.

salad, bread, ali oli & wine I hope you like the green mojo on your potatoes, as well as the fish. Here's your plate.

fish & green mojo Now for dessert let's try their homemade lemon soufflé!

lemon souffle Too bad we have to leave now. I hope you enjoyed your lunch and will come back here again with us!

Click here for a slideshow of where we've been with some more images!
Goodbye for now and ¡Hasta la Vista!

And now the RECIPES:

papas arrugadas
PAPAS ARRUGADAS (Canary wrinkled, salt potatoes)

There are many ways to make these potatoes. Here is the manner which is the easiest and most used:

1. Cover the unpeeled potatoes with water (if it is seawater, even better). For every kilo (2.2 lbs) of potato,
add a bit more than a half pound of salt. It doesn't matter if we add even more as the potatoes will take only the salt
they need.

2. Put the pot on the stove and cover it well with a cloth or tin foil and place the lid on top of that.
Cook for twenty minutes to half an hour, until the potatoes are done.

3. Tip off the water and drain potatoes well.

4. Without removing the potatoes from the pot, pour a handful of salt over them, and place them
back on the stove, shaking the pot for a while until they are covered in salt.

5. Serve in their skins with two mojo sauces.

Source: translated from:
Cinquenta Recetas Fundamentales de la Cocina Canaria,
Cabildo de Tenerife


3 or 4 hot green peppers
1 small head garlic
flat-leaf parsley

1. Put the following ingredients into a mortar and pound together:
1 teasp cumin, the garlic and salt to taste.

2. Remove the seeds and veins from the peppers and add with some chopped parsley to the mortar.
Pound the contents thoroughly.

3. Finally, combine with some oil, vinegar to taste and water.


1 head garlic
1/2 hot red or green pepper
1 bunch fresh coriander

1. Lightly toast a teaspoon of cumin and pound in a mortar. Add the garlic, coriander, seeded pepper and a little salt, blending all these ingredients thoroughly.

2. Pour in half a cup of oil, vinegar to taste, a little cold water, and mix well.


3 or 4 hot red peppers
1 small head garlic

1. Lightly toast 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and pound in a mortar.

2. Soften the peppers by soaking for a while in hot water. Remove the seeds and veins.
Add to the mortar and pound with the cumin.

3. Put the garlic and salt into the mortar and crush with the contents, adding a small glass of oil, vinegar to taste and a little cold water. Blend well and serve.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

68 ~ Autumn Garden

garden collageJust a few more photos from today. It was overcast all morning, but when the sun came out sporadically in the afternoon I was out with Bibi wandering around the garden in search of colour.

Acalypha Wilkesiana

moss basket
gold medal rose
Rosa Gold Medal

buddha pot
We don't have those splendid displays of autumn leaves seen in higher latitudes but we do have a year long show of bright and exotic flowers, with roses blooming throughout the winter until we prune them anywhere from end of December to beginning of March.

la minuette
Rosa La Minuette


And I have to add in my favourite little bush of which I never tire....the Dama de Noche, Cestrum Nocturnum, whose evening scent is the sweetest and most exotic perfume I have ever encountered, so I wrote a poem and dedicated a post to her, the Lady of the Night.

In the next days we'll go on a short drive down the island to a black sand beach where we'll have a fish lunch with papas arrugadas (Canary Island wrinkled salt potatoes) with mojo sauce, and I'll write down both recipes for you.

¡Hasta la Vista!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

67 ~ Sunday in the Garden


What a beautiful morning it is today! Blue skies and warm sunshine. I've put on my shorts and a sleeveless top and have just made us some fresh coffee so let's go sit outside on the patio and watch the parrots in the trees while we drink it. Then I'm inviting you to come for a wander through the garden with me to take a closer look at what is growing.

parrot The parrots aren't native to here but are escapees from a local parrot conservation park. They are quite happy to live in the free outdoors and congregate here in the mornings just outside my bedroom window making enough noise to wake me. This one sits in the Jerusalem Thorn tree. (Parkinsonia Aculeata.)
Look over there at the Opuntia cactus with the sun behind it.

opuntia Here are some of the empty flower buds after the petals have fallen.

opuntia buds The cat seems quite happy over there on the grass.

Bibi The little Yellow Palm (Areca lutescens Bory) from Madagascar has put forth a branch of seeds.

palm seedsI love the way this little palm forms a cluster of thin bamboo-like trunks topped by the characteristic curved palm fronds. It looks like we need to get in there and do some pruning at the base so the trunks are more visible.
Everything grows so quickly here, our main garden work is pruning and cutting back the bougainvillae and succulents such as aloe.

I planted this wild grass years ago and although it becomes rampant on waste ground, it has been kept in check in our garden by neighbouring aloe and bougainvillae plants.


wild grass

old man's head Cleistocactus straussii from Bolivia, although I refer to it as 'old man's head' after I heard it from someone.

Let's walk around to the front garden shall we. The Piccabeen palm tree there still has some strands of seeds hanging although the little blue tits have been doing a good job of cleaning them off.

piccabeen palm I never tire of admiring the flowers of the white mandevilla.

mandevilla And in the dim shade of a tangle of palm leaves and jasmine is a stag horn fern (Platycerium.) I like to photograph the dark surrounding shell with sunlight behind.

stags horn fern And who could ever tire of bougainvillae; I always love to see its constant blooms.

bougainvillae Well that's the end of our garden walk today. I'm going back in the house to make us some breakfast while you take another look at the roses, strelitzia and yellow winter jasmine. I hope you've enjoyed the visit.

breakfast patio
Breakfast is ready!

breakfast tray

I look forward to your next visit. Until then...Hasta la Vista!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

66 ~ Street Walking

African Tulip 1 African Tulip Tree (Spathodea Campanulata)

I'm taking you for a little walk around part of Puerto de la Cruz in North Tenerife and if you don't mind I have to stop and take photos of the African Tulip trees which are blooming in rows along some streets. Here's a closeup of one flower cluster:

African Tulip closeup The tulip tree is native to tropical Africa and blooms profusely in the sub-tropical climate of the Canary Islands.

Another African tree which grows well here is the Flamboyant, (Delonix Regia) native to Madagascar and also known as Royal Poinciana. Its beautiful red flowers bloom here usually in June. This one has such an unusual whimsical curved trunk. The flamboyant trees are popular for planting along avenues to provide shade with their wide spreading branches.

flamboyant Here's a row of street dummies, offering their Indian cotton garments to passing tourists:

street dummies Shall we look at shop windows? I rather like that top necklace with the turquoise beads.

window 1 I think any of these would complement the appropriate matching outfit:

window 2 Would these costume jewellery items be considered retro? I know rhinestone brooches were worn in bygone years.
I don't wear one now.

 window 3 That's a pretty vest. It's typical of what is worn here in winter by the female 'swallows' who come down from Europe for a few weeks to escape the cold. That is when they aren't by a pool or on the beach.

gold vest What about some 18 carat gold and opal jewellery. Opal is one of my favourite stones. Many shops here are designed to appeal to the German tourists, so shop signs and menus will always include the German language along with English and Spanish. Russian tourism is also gaining in popularity but more in the south of the island.

jewellery Would you like to look in the art gallery or an exclusive boutique?

gallery If you're hungry for a tapa we could stop here at the German deli where they're now serving snacks of wurst sausages, and German salads:

deli Or how about this other place a few steps away where we can sniff the roses and watch the passers by while we have a nice strong espresso:


cafe cortado Mmm a nice strong cafe cortado. Just right after our little walk. Next time we'll have to go a bit farther and see more.
Thanks for your company! Hasta la Vista.


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