Monday, June 28, 2010

A new sweet place in Granada - pasteleria Rey Fernando

It's always exciting for me to discover a new place has opened in Granada especially if it's a pastry shop. You know what a sweet tooth I am and how little I can resist to good pastries...Well that is just the problem...Good pastries are not easy to find in Granada. I guess, sometimes I have to forget about my frenchitude and just accept that croissants can be baked without butter and the same for crème pâtissière. Since I live in Andalusia, it took me quite a while to find a decent croissant (at Pan y Chocolate) or a good café éclair (at Casa Ysla). A few days ago, I was walking on calle Reyes Catolicos and discovered that a former clothing shop had been transformed into a very chic and minimalist designed pastry shop and the cakes presented looked absolutely alluring. So sorry, but there is no photo to show you because my camera battery was too low...arrgh...So these pics are from the pastry shop Rey Fernando web site. When I passed by, I just had a delicious solid lunch with a friend at Japanese restaurant Zakuro and although my stomach was full I couldn't resist to a cone of raspberry ice cream and bought a fig mousse to share it later on with Monchéri at home. The description written on the presentation shelf sounded very promising : purple fig mousse on vanilla flavored biscuits with berries and coated with white chocolate.... the end it was everything but promising....the texture was a bit chewy for a mousse and nearly tasteless but, never mind I'm still ready to go back to the brand new pastry shop in town, first to take some pics to share with you and naturally try more cakes !

Now, what I do like is the branding and packaging. I kept the cone slip paper because I found it really cute and I now use it for my little gourmand tableaux in the kitchen.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Preparing mint tea on the roof terrace

The heat makes me melt and my will to blog with it...I meant to post these pictures last wednesday and the lazy Andalusian half in me whispers ...oh surely you can leave it till tomorrow...Mañana is the magic Spanish word which has an answer to everything, especially in summer. However mañana, I wouldn't mind sitting on Gym's roof terrace, sipping a mint tea, chatting and flipping through magazines.
This is how Gym boils the water on a Moroccan earthenware dish placed over a gas fire.
Gym set up a Moroccan tent on the terrace, a few years ago and dismounts it every year during the rain period, then puts it back on every summer. It was nice to have the walls down that day as there was a pleasant breeze.
And we can see the nice views around of the neighboring tiles roofs and the valley.....
and with just the tent roof over our heads where Gym placed a Moroccan lamp.....
......quite a blissful moment, I tell you !
Have a wonderful week end !!

ps : now about my own roof terrace...slowly but surely it gets organized...that is Monchéri..bless him..started to paint yesterday and finishes this week end..yes mañana as always

Monday, June 21, 2010

I think you would love Camel Stop shop....

As I told you last friday, once you enter Gym's shop, you want to stay there for hours ! Originally, Gym restored an old building and transformed it into a house with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, painting studio, patio and roof terrace but then she decided to use it for her antique shop. She opens it on appointment only usually during week ends, so I went with Monchéri on sunday. While he was helping Gym to put back the top of the Moroccan tent up on the roof terrace, I could wander to my heart's content, discovering her latest finds.
And now, I let you discover it...welcome to Camel Stop shop!

This is the little thing I brought back for an afternoon tea lover...Isn't it cute ?
Actually, we then had mint tea on the roof terrace under the Moroccan tent, without the walls though as it was nice to feel the breeze. I will post the pics next wednesday.

Wishing you a serene start of the week !

Friday, June 18, 2010

Treasure hunting at Gym's shop

I need to find a little gift for a special person and I can't find of a better place to go than my dear friend Gym's shop. I so wish you could come with me because once you pass this door you'll discover a wonderful place ! It's a while I haven't been to Gym's shop and I can't wait to go tomorrow or sunday. And on monday, I will have more pics to show you. The shop is on three floors plus an adorable roof terrace where you can see fragments of paintings Gym made on the walls.

Have a wonderful and sunny week end !!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spaguetti del mar y sonata

There are three fishmongers in the village and my favorite is a tiniest shop with before 1pm has barely nothing to sell. But today I got lucky, there were still some tellines (small clams) left and I prepared them hastily with lots of garlic and spaghetti on the side.

But what made my lunch extra special today was listening to a wonderful CD I received this morning from blogging friend Susanna. Susanna is a young Spanish woman who speaks fluently Chinese and English. She lives near Barcelona with her husband Sebastian See-Schierenberg who is a virtuoso violinist. They work together which of course I find so romantic.....Sebastian is regularly asked to give recitals and master classes especially in Asia and Susanna is a fabulous concert presenter. Sebastian has just released an album with pianist Alfredo Oyágüez Montero which is a compilation of classical themes (Debussy, Bartók, Fauré), the delightful intermezzo de cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and three pieces by Astor Piazzolla which I simply adore.
Once again, I'm really blown away by the encounters I make on blogland. I find it so fantastic ! Now I hope Susanna will organize a concert in Granada soon !

edit to post :

Dear blogging friend Gina asked me if I could be a bit more explicit about how to prepare the tellines. And I'm very happy to comply...I'm sorry, actually I didn't realize I've been a bit elliptic about their preparation !

So, first here are the ingredients I use :

- 3 spoonfuls of olive oil

- 4 tomatoes (pear shaped ones) (no, you don't to have Raf ones at all cost!)

- half green onion

- 2 garlic cloves

- minced fresh parsley

- tellines (1 quarter of a kilo per person) (i guess it might a pound)

I start by rinsing the tellines at least three times in plenty of water.

Then I heat up the olive oil in a big frying pan, add the diced onion and garlic and let them fry gently. I add the tomatoes also cut in dice.

At the same time, I put a big pan of salted water to boil for the spaghetti.

Then, I add the the tellines in the frying pan and let them cook gently until they open. I do not cover them. Also I do not add salt, as they're naturally salty, just a bit of black pepper.

Ideally, it's great to have them ready by the time your spaghetti are cooking. (I count 8/9 mn for al dente spaghetti)

I add the minced parsley on the tellines only at the end.

Place the spaghetti on a plate and then the tellines on top. Bon appétit !

Monday, June 14, 2010

Indecisive week end

Do you have days like this when you plan to do something but then comes laziness, rain, more laziness and you end up not knowing what you want to do ? Well, this was more or less how I spent last week end, in a phase of indecisiveness. At least, nature follows its course and I was so pleased to say hello to my very first lavender flower in the patio this morning. I actually wanted the type of lavender my mother grows in her garden in France but well this one is nice too. The truth is my knowledge of the different types of lavender is very poor, so of course I got mixed up with the names.
I didn't have the pleasure to see Monchéri painting the patio, like last week as we had rain which forced us to retreat inside
Saturday morning my friend Ellie invited me to join her at a private hairdresser's from London who now lives in the Lecrin valley and is brilliant with scissors and layers. I declined but then regretted it. Instead, I read a book written but the most famous Spanish hairdresser Luís Llongueras about his encounter with Salvador Dalí in the 60s and their ongoing friendship and collaboration (Dalí ordered him the famous giant wig for his Mae West room) until the painter's death. It reads pleasantly, just like a very nice and lively conversation with your favorite hairdresser.
When the sun came back on sunday at 6pm, I felt the urge to grab a broom and clean compulsively. Well it only lasted one hour. I can't see the connection between dusting and Sex and the city, but there I was, spending the next hour toying with the idea of rushing to Granada to watch Sex and the City2 (even dubbed in Spanish). The idea was far from attractive to Monchéri. Ok, I must say after reading some critics I wasn't too keen but the girlie in me wouldn't mind the fluff and the glamour.
Anyway, we were seated in the bookroom downstairs in front of my favorite painting, an abstract representation of a garden by English artist and friend Stuart Briggs. And I thought, this painting deserves to be in a nicer place. Yes but where ?
Upstairs, the colors are all mute and various shades of brown and ivory.
In the end, I nagged Monchéri to hang the painting in my workshop but it didn't work either so it went back to its original place. And we both concluded that at present time, it would stay there. Just like the hats which have nothing to do in the kitchen but I love them there!
Here's to a great beginning of the week !

Friday, June 11, 2010

My summer notebooks in Granada

I'm very pleased to show you my summer notebooks which you can now buy at my favorite paper shop Papela in Granada. And of course, as Granada is quite a long way to come, I will also reopen my Etsy shop and put them for sale in a couple of weeks. Blogging friend Gina, a very talented ceramist left me a comment yesterday which made me smile. She suggested I should put seeds of Raf tomatoes in my cards or notebooks...actually it would be funny to design recipe books with seeds in them ! Hum...but then if I send them overseas, I'm not too sure the customs would agree....
This series of notebooks is mainly in yellow and blue and refers to my favorite Mediterranean destinations, Andalusia, Portugal and Morocco.
As usual, they're manually bound and the pages inside are in white vergé paper.

Wishing you plenty of sunshine and a wonderful week end!


Horno de Abad, 5

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tomatoes RAF for ever....

I was tempted to say, right now I live on air, water, love and tomatoes Raf...But you wouldn't believe me, would you ? Yet, one thing is true. Since I discovered this type of tomato at Antonio's shop in Granada, I have them all the time. Salads, pizza, gazpacho, tomato sauce...I see my little reserve depleting with a bit of anxiety. I now ask my friends who grow their own vegetables if they grow this type of tomato and the answer is invariably no. You see, like Antonio explained, you need a certain soil to produce them and apparently, Almeria is the best area to grow them. I promise you their natural sweetness is incredible!
In fact I could even have my pizza with raw tomatoes. I like to make minimalist pizzas. I brush some olive oil on the base, place the tomatoes, sprinkle some thyme, a bit of salt and add very little cheese in the end and basil.
but well, Monchéri prefers it baked

I make gazpacho by processing a dozen of medium tomatoes, one small cucumber, a medium red pepper, one onion, salt and pepper. I forgot to add a bit of olive oil but it was delicious even without.
After you finish processing the ingredients, add a few ice cubes to keep the preparation cool and make it more liquid.

I thought perhaps you would like to know more about this Spanish Rolls Royce tomato.
Here is some information I found on this site:

"The Raf Tomato

The Raf tomato plant is not a hybrid or a new variety as it was first cultivated in the sixties and seventies. However, it matures and deteriorates very quickly and, as a result, it has not been cultivated on a commercial level until more recently.

The Raf is visually recognisable due to the creases or wrinkles in the skin and its colour which varies between green and red. It is mostly known, however, for its sweet taste which is reminiscent of how tomatoes used to taste "in the good old days".

The Raf tomato varies depending on whether it is grown in autumn, winter or spring. In autumn the fruit is a flattened but rounded shape and is nicely firm. In winter it is flattened and the skin is full of creases and is a very dark green colour. Experts believe that winter is the best time to eat this variety. In spring it is flattened and smooth and it loses some of its characteristic colour as well as some of its firmness.

The Raf is a unique product that is produced in Bajo Andarax and Campo de Nijar, in the province of Almería (Spain). "

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lace making in Granada

I met fascinating women last saturday in Granada. They came from various parts of Spain to celebrate the art of lace making. They gathered on paseo de Salon for the 4th National Encounter of lace makers. I was so thrilled to see them seated at their tool which resembles a soft typewriter on which they pin thousands of needles. Oh my...what a work of love and patience !
This is the making lace tool and the wooden bobbins needed to hold the threads
Then you need a pattern
I love this lady's caplet !
Can you see how complicated it is ? In Spanish, we say bueno...eso es encaje de bolillos (this is like lace making) to say that something is really complex. Honestly even with the good will in the world I couldn't possibly produce 1 cm of lace...It does look terribly complicated. How not lose the thread?

And you know what I liked most ? They were women of all ages and it was a real pleasure to see old and young hands busy intertwining the delicate threads and continuing such a lovely tradition.

edit to post:
I just wanted to thank you for your comments...I'm so glad you enjoy these sneak peeks at this labour of love and patience...
I'm a bit behind commenting and visiting your blogs but I will definitely catch up with you tomorrow!
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