Tapas Thursday’s

If you follow my Fidgety Lil Instagram account, you will have noticed that I have been doing a Tapas Thursday feature instead of a Curry Friday spot. It seemed the right thing to do as we are staying in Spain for so long.

I decided to cook 4 Tapas dishes each Thursday. It has mostly worked, except the day I made Paella and I just did that. Making 4 dishes between 2 of us has meant that there have been a LOT of leftovers, but the upside is, we don’t have to cook on a Friday!

I have spent a quite a bit of money on ingredients but, as its a bit of a hobby, and we are on an extended holiday then it’s guilt -free! Mark gets to eat the dishes (and photograph them) so he doesn’t complain either.

I have been lucky that there is nice crockery in the villa, to use in the pictures too. Some of it is very Spanish but there are some lovely classic plain white plates and bowls, which I have also used for some of the photos. There is a lovely black Paella dish which I used to cook and display the Chicken and Chorizo Paella.

It’s not all been successes, there have been a couple of things I wouldn’t cook again. For example, the almond chicken I made this week, is just not right. The sauce is made from almond, onion, garlic, stock and bread – I used GF bread. The consistency wasn’t sauce like so I added more stock and a bit of cream but we just didn’t like it very much.  Also, the Russian Salad, although very easy to make, wasn’t very exciting, so we won’t be having that again.

 

My three favourites are the Chorizo and Chicken Paella, Langoustines and Saffron Mayonnaise and Tuna and Mango Salsa. I also love the Patatas Bravas and would happily make those every week.

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I have taken the recipes I have used from online sources (BBC Good Food) and a book I downloaded to my Kindle from Amazon. Hamlyn All Colour Cookery Tapas and Spanish Dishes

I haven’t decided on next weeks 4 dishes yet but it will probably include a fish I haven’t used before.

So today we will be eating leftover Red Pepper and Egg Salad and Tomato Rice and Chicken.

Happy weekend!

Spanish Sewing Project No 4 – Japanese Style Apron

This is the 5th apron I have made with this pattern. I bought the pattern at a craft fair in Leicester a couple of years ago. I had been looking for a Japanese style apron pattern for a while and so I spent a hard earned tenner on it. The lady who made it had one she had made on, which I admired. She said she had made it from an Ikea curtain. (Saved!) I duly went and bought a pair of the grey curtains in Ikea and made 2 aprons. They were made from grey linen but the material frayed quite a lot after washing, so not ideal as they get quite a lot of laundering.

The pattern is very easy to put together and there are only 3 pattern pieces. I can whip one up in a morning now.

The next one I made was using some denim material I bought from the Knitting and Stitching Show in October. I made one soon after and saved the rest of the fabric to make another whilst here in Spain.

The aprons are very good, because they cover a lot of you of you and look stylish, as well as keeping your clothes clean, whilst cooking.

The denim one was more of a success and looks pretty smart I think. I have reinforced the pocket edges more this time, as they came undone on the original ones. I also took more time to neaten the edges before I made the apron up. They wash much better.

Spain Sewing Project No 3 – Blue Top

8xz639l6qqemrzpuyfqvmwUsing another piece of Seasalt fabric, I made this top to wear over jeans and leggings. The colours go well with my Winter capsule and the red bits match my red jeans.

The fabric is a printed cotton viscose twill (Forest Collage Marine). The pattern is New Look 6871. I carefully read the back of the pattern and the instructions on the back with regards sizing. I didn’t quite understand but by looking at my actual measurements it made me a size 18. My initial  hunch was  to ignore this and perhaps go with size 16 to account for said boobs. But no, I pressed ahead with the next size up which was a mistake. It does fit my boobs but it’s a bit big on my neckline, so I have had to add a couple of darts. If I use this pattern again, I will use the size 16.

The fabric was a bit of a nightmare to sew, to be honest. The automatic tension didn’t work on the machine so I had to adjust it, to stop the fabric gathering when I sewed. I think it may also have been the thread too. I have found that cheap threads don’t work.

It didn’t take me long to put it together as there are only 5 pieces and no zips or awkward openings. I made it in a couple of mornings.

However, the upshot to all of this is that I don’t like it!  I have worn it but will probably just wear it around the house.

Spain Sewing Project No 2 – Making a dress – to fit my post menopausal shape!

Ha! I should be used to it by now but I’m not. I hate the huge boobs thing I have going on now and love the charming way that Mother Nature has dumped a load more fat round my middle section.  I get it though – being post menopausal makes us less shapely when we can’t reproduce, so that would make us less attractive to males. Thanks a lot MN. Actually I don’t care about the men bit. I am who I am, like it or lump it.

So back to the subject, the dress. I bought some lovely floral linen material from the Seasalt sale last year. Their fabric sales are great, almost a third off. the original prices.  I bought 3 metres, which I thought should be enough to make me a dress. I didn’t actually have a pattern in mind when I bought it but I already had a Simplicity pattern to try out, pattern number 2247.

I saved the making until we got to Spain. I wanted to make it without hurrying. Mmm not sure I managed that,  but I did try and go slowly, so I would make less mistakes.

The pattern instructions are very good. Basically you cut out all the pieces to the size you think you are and then machine tack it all together so that you can adjust it and have a perfect fit. I haven’t ever actually done this before. I have gone by which size I thought I was only to find that when I have finished the item, it’s a bit tight around my bust area. Fortunately, I have a lovely sister, who’s not so big on the bust as me and so I can pass them on to her.

Mark helped me with the fitting, it’s impossible to do it on your own. I forgot to buy the zip I the UK and couldn’t find a long enough one here in Spain, so I have used a shorter one and will replace it when I get home.

I am fairly pleased with the finished article. I haven’t yet tried it on with nicely done  hair and make up yet, which I think, makes a difference. Also, the shoes I have bought with me aren’t quite right either as they are too flat. I’m pretty sure I have some others at home.

So on to the next sewing project.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Spanish Adventure

1f011c47-611e-434c-b4b3-161722a9d40aOh it’s great to escape the British greys skies in winter for the blue skies of Spain. Even when it’s cold here the sun shines and the air is dry. Eating salads instead of soup, sitting outside the cafes for coffee instead of moaning about the weather at home.  You just can’t beat it!

We love space, so when we come to Spain we hire a large villa. The one we are in this year, in Estepona, is HUGE. It can sleep 14! It’s got loads of space inside and out and has the most brilliant kitchen with everything I need to cook. However, I did bring my Magimix though because I could!

The supermarkets here are so good. The variety of fresh fruit, veg, meat, cheese, fresh fish and seafood is immense. A lot of the fish is caught locally. I am going to make it my mission to try some of the fish I have never heard of before.

Today we stocked up and also bought fresh prawns and merluza (hake) which is filleted for you. They even give you the fish heads to make stock. Avocados and tomatoes are plentiful, ripe and full of flavour. There are large bunches of fresh herbs such as parsley and mint at a fraction of the cost at home.

The garden here has oranges, lemons which we can pick and use and there is even an avocado tree with fruits on.

Although we are planning to do lots of walking, we will also be doing lots of cooking with all the local produce. I am planning Tapas Thursdays to replace Curry Friday’s for a while.

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