Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunshine Again


Oh it's now a lovely Sunday morning and our sun has returned.  The temperatures are warming up after that cold spell.  Still plenty of snow on the mountain and the surrounding hills, but down here below it's good weather for sitting outdoors with a book, hanging out the laundry or going for a walk.

 These are some of my weather photos from the last days which include the birds that come to visit my bird feeder.

Looking out with a zoom towards the Orotava Valley:

Yesterday was sunny too.

Our red trumpet vine is growing like a weed after we had so much rain.

I was recently in the Botanical Garden and again marvelled at the size of the Ficus Macrophylla.  
Below is one of the many photos I've taken of the tree:

Ficus Macrophylla (Moreton Bay Fig)

Through the window:

Brugmansia this morning:

 This morning there was a flea market at the supermarket.

I had a good look at the brass ornaments and was tempted to buy a gazelle.  I have two lovely old brass camels which I bring out at Christmas time and have since been looking for a third one to complete the scenario of the Three Kings.  But I decided the gazelle really didn't look enough like a camel.

And so I bought two little pots of thyme for planting in my garden instead.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thanks for dropping by and do come back again for a visit.  Until then...¡Hasta la vista!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chilly in Canarias

Snow on the hills of Las Cañadas de Teide National Park

We've been having a cold snap lately as a low pressure area with very low temperatures has come to the Canary Islands and southern Spain.  Luckily it is now moving away but temperatures are still unusually cold for this time of the year.

Recently there was new snow on the Teide volcano with the snow level being the lowest ever, enabling local people to see and play in the snow, many for the first time in their lives.

The Teide volcano, the highest peak of all Spain at 3,718 meters

As a weather and cloud watcher I'm taking daily photos for a local forum.  
Here are some recent photos I've taken of our area.

The blackbird brings his lady friend to breakfast at my bird feeder.

And the dove also brings a friend along for some food

March rain on my back patio

A thunder storm approaches

Minnie listens to thunder

A double rainbow in a dark sky

Sun and large clouds during unsettled weather

Some brilliant sunsets after the rain

And with the sun again a blackbird sings in our garden:

Thanks for your visit..and do come again another day. ¡Hasta la vista!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lentil Stew

         Lentils stewed with chorizo - Lentejas Estofadas      
As we have rainy weather today I began thinking about warm stews and soups.

And since I haven't posted a recipe here for a long time, for a change today I'll show you a couple of dishes I make quite frequently:

One of my favourite Spanish comfort foods is stewed lentils.

Here in Canarias lentils (lentejas) and chickpeas (garbanzos) are frequently seen stewed with chorizo, potatoes and vegetables.

  These are delicious starters or full meals which can be found in local family-style restaurants where Canary cooking is served.  Often the wife is in the kitchen and the husband and children are serving the tables.  They are usuallythe best places for trying the local cuisine before making them in your own kitchen.

Here's a good recipe that I've used for making a wholesome lentil stew:

First the ingredients:

Ingredients for making a lentil stew

 Lentil Stew - Lentejas Estofadas

350 grams (1 1/2 cups) of small dark lentils - put them to soak the night before in water to cover
*Note: nowadays many  lentils are sold as quick cooking and don’t need soaking.
100 grams (3.5 oz) red stewing chorizo sausage - lightly pricked over with tines of a fork
50 grams (1.7 oz)  salted tocino pork fat - cut into large diced pieces
1 TBSP flour
2 carrots finely diced
2 medium leeks, using only white stems sliced finely in rounds
1 or 2 lg cloves garlic (optional but I wouldn't leave it out) - pass through garlic press
2 cups beef broth (or 2 Knorr beef cubes)
1 bay leaf
fresh rosemary - small sprig
olive oil - about 1/4 cup
extra water to add after 1st hour

1. Soak lentils the night before in water to cover.
*Note: some lentils are sold as quick cooking and don’t need soaking.

2. Next day drain and rinse lentils, put aside.

3. Heat olive oil in heavy cooking pot.  When sizzling, add carrots, garlic and leeks. 
Lightly brown while stirring.

4.  Add 1 TBSP flour and keep stirring for about a minute.

5.  Add lentils, beef broth,  whole chorizo, tocino, laurel and rosemary

6.  Put on lid and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 
Check after 1st hour and add more water if needed.

7.  Adjust seasoning and serve.

And if you're like me and sometimes prefer it as a puré, then remove the pieces of chorizo and put the stew through a blender or hand cranked puré mill and serve it with homemade toasted garlic croutons and a few snips of flat Italian parsley.

A red Canary wine and some crusty bread make this a wholesome dish!

Lentil puré

In another world away from Canary Islands  - and back to my part of west coast Canada:

If you are interested in artifacts and stories from the Pacific northwest, may I brag a little about my daughter Michelle's blog "Relics and Tales", where she has recorded some fine stories as recounted to her by her father-in-law, a man who has travelled the world on motorbike, collecting antiques and unusual items along the way. Together with Michelle's fine photography, I think they make an interesting pair, presenting some little known anecdotes from past and present.

Thanks for dropping by, and ¡hasta la vista!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Visit to The Botanical Garden

I've been trying to find out the name of this succulent plant which grows in several well tended outdoor planters in a nearby shopping center.

 I am sure it is a Kalanchoe but which variety?

It is healthy and a clear shade of jade green, and as most succulents do here in the Canary Islands, growing to a large size in the open air.

                               Unidentified Kalanchoe            

After browsing through my books on Canary flora and checking the web without any success I decided to head up to the local Botanical Garden to see if there was any planted there.      

As always, I became involved in having a look at some of my favourite spots inside the garden, but keeping an eye out for a plantation of succulents.

The orchid and fern bower looked inviting:

  Bromeliads, orchids and ferns

Anthuriums do well here in the shade tunnel:


The tree with hanging Spanish moss attracts visitors with cameras:

Not really a moss, the Tillandsia usneoides belongs to the Bromeliaceae family.

Waterlily blooming on the lily pond:

And up a few steps is the koi pond, A good place to sit and rest.
I was pleased when these two ladies came and sat down to complete the peaceful scene
for my photo.

Well I didn't have any success finding that Kalanchoe in the garden, but I found that I could consult with a specialist in the office if I returned the next day.  So I did that and after some checking with another colleague, the botanist told me that it could be a Kalanchoe Thyrsifolia.....but he wasn't sure.  
So the search will continue! Next stop - the garden centres in case I find one there.

And to add a little more from the jazz and BBQ event in my last entry, here's Maria at Alvaro's tennis club pouring the wine for our table during the barbecue lunch:

With good music and food we all had a wonderful time!

Papas arrugadas ....those Canary wrinkled salt potatoes and the famous sauces: red and green mojos:

Papas Arrugadas con mojos

And for dessert, a flan with homemade ice cream.

I'm still on the trail of identifying that Kalanchoe so there will be more about that soon!

Thanks for dropping by.  Come back again soon. ¡Hasta la vista!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Local Scenery

Viewpoint in La Paz, Puerto de la Cruz

Continuing to upload here some of the local scenery from this February.

The Lido downtown at Martianez Beach

Outside my window - female blackbird

Our front garden

El Duranzo and Las Arenas

Our back garden and Tigger

A good time was had by all last Sunday at Alvaro's tennis club jazz barbecue event.
I sat with friends and classmates from our Pilates group.
We had a lovely meal and the music was great.
Here's one of my photos along with a video clip of the jazz group made by John Debnam:
Abundant smoke can be seen in the clip from the BBQs cooking down at ground level!
There were papas arrugadas, those wrinkled Canary Island potatoes with mojo sauces, salads, sausages, chicken and pork steaks, flan dessert, wine and beer.

I'll post more of my photos from this day in the next entry.

Thanks for dropping by, and ¡hasta la vista!


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