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Journey To A Dream

In May 2002 my wife and I journeyed from Huddersfield in England's industrial north to rural Galicia. Join us on our journey and immerse your senses in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this remote and little known region of Spain.

The Some-day Supplement - issue 10
09 November 2017

Note from the editor This week’s Some-day Supplement will make you feel on top of the world with a trip to Castro Caldelas and with less than fifty days until Christmas we bring you a gift idea when we interview Elizabeth Varadan author of Dragonella – a children’s bedtime story with an important message. But first …

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Canabal Cuisine presents – Portuguese Tarts

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg yolks (large)
  • 115gms caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour 
  • 400ml full fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry

 

 

Method

  • Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
  • Pre-heat the oven 200°C
  • Put egg, egg yolks and cornflour in a pan and mix well. Gradually add the milk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the pan on a medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil.
  • Remove pan from heat and add sugar and vanilla extract. Adding the sugar at this stage prevents the custard from burning. If the mixture goes lumpy you can rescue it by blending it with a hand blender.
  • Put the custard in a bowl and cover with cling film to prevent a skin forming.
  • Cut the pastry sheet into two pieces and place one on top of the other. Roll the pastry into a log and cut into 12 even sized pieces.
  • On a lightly floured board, roll each piece into a disc. Press the pastry discs into the muffin tin.
  • Spoon in the cold custard.

 

 

  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack but if you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait that long.

 

 

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TRAVEL

 

Castro Caldelas – Feeling on top of the world

 

History, romance, and outstanding scenery, Castro Caldelas has it all. The next time you’re visiting the Ribeira Sacra in the heart of Galicia, make sure to spend a weekend in this charming inland town.

 

 

The drive from Monforte de Lemos to Castro Caldelas is one of the most spectacular in the area. It heads south along the LU-903 to the village of Doade. Staring out across the valley, the town of Castro Caldelas is clearly visible on the other side of the canyon of the river Sil. From Doade the road drops steeply down the side of the gorge, twisting and turning as is carves a route through terraced vineyards.

 

 

The scenery across the river is very different. Ancient woodlands cling to the side of the valley. Vineyards are sparse, restricted to a few south-facing patches of land. As the road climbs it passes through the picturesque villages of A Abeleda and O Pomar.

 

The focal point of the town is the main square, Praza do Prado. On one side of the square is the impressive twin towered 19th century Santuario de los Remedios. On the opposite side, towering over the urban landscape are the ramparts of the medieval castle.

 

 

Legend has it the town was named following a military defeat. The ruler of the ancient castro (fortress) surrendered his reign to the Lord of Lima and to save himself and his family from certain death he offered the Lord one of his three daughters as a prize. The Lord asked ¿cal delas? (which one of them). From that day forth the place has been known as Castro Caldelas.

 

Legends aside, this mountainous area has been inhabited for over 4500 years: a fact supported by the discovery of megalithic burial chambers. During the Roman occupation, between 137 BC and 19 BC the town became an important stopover on the Via Nova (The Roman road from Braga in Portugal to Astorga in Castile & Leon).

 

 

The castle was built between 1336 and 1343 by Pedro Fernández de Castro. Its strategic importance can be gauged by the numerous coats of arms above the entrance: the Osorio (two wolves), the Castro (six circular forms), the Kingdom of León (a rampant lion) and the Kingdom of Castile (a castle). Even the Greek letter tau, symbol of the Order of the Knights Templar, is inscribed on the clock tower.

 

 

Views from the castle ramparts are stunning, mile after mile of rolling hills, deep valleys, and distant mountains fading into an endless sky. From the clock tower on one side to the keep on the other, every aspect affords outstanding views over the Ribeira Sacra and the Sierra de Mazaira mountains.

 

The torre or keep, houses the oldest written document in Galicia. Dated 1228 and signed by Alfonso IX, it granted certain privileges to residents of the town. Its discovery was extremely significant as all other historic documents were destroyed in 1809 when Napoleonic troops set fire to the castle in retaliation for a local uprising.

 

 

The roof of the torre is probably the best place to appreciate the Iglesia de Santa Isabel (Church of St. Elizabeth). Dating from the 16th century, it’s the oldest church in the town and stands at the edge of an outcrop overlooking the canyon of the river Sil.

 

Today, Castro Caldelas is a quiet, friendly town with breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside but its long and turbulent history makes it a fascinating place to explore. 

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Author Interview

Elizabeth Varadan

 

Elizabeth divides her time between Midtown, Sacramento and the rural village of Trasulfe in Galicia, Spain. Elizabeth loves the written word.

 

“I can never leave a library or book store empty-handed and have been scribbling stories all my life.” she tells us. 

 

Her work for children has been published in Story Friends and Ladybug Magazine, and Skipping Stones Magazine. Even though she writes mainly for young people, she has also had a number of short stories and flash fiction for adults published in various magazines.

           

Her most recent publication is Dragonella, a picture book, released by Belanger Books. It’s her third published book, the others being The Fourth Wish, a Middle Grade fantasy she self-published in the fall of 2008, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, a Middle Grade mystery set in Victorian England; involving Sherlock Holmes and published in 2015 by MX Publishing.  

 

 

Elizabeth tells us more about Dragonella.

 

"Dragonella is the only dragon at her new school. Other students - trolls, griffins and ogres - are frightened when she breathes fire. The teacher isn't happy when Dragonella's laughter melts the filing cabinet. But when Dragonella's flames save the day during the class party on Legend Day, the teacher and other students learn they shouldn't be quick to judge someone who is different."

 

To order your copy of Dragonella or find out more about Elizabeth Varadan, follow these link: - https://www.amazon.com/Dragonella-Elizabeth-Varadan/dp/1978037821

http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com
http://victorianscribbles.blogspot.com/

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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for - Question Time – this is when our roving reporter asks Elizabeth ten challenging questions.

 

1. If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?

 

I cannot imagine anyone making a movie of my life. And, at my age, they would probably have at least 4 different people play me. For the later years, I suppose Olympia Dukakis. I’ve always liked her (and she’s holding up pretty well.) For the “under 25” years, maybe Chloe Bayliss. She’s brunette. (The resemblance stops there.) As for the in-between years, your guess is as good as mine.

 

2. If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?

 

I would donate a lot of it to various organizations that help others. Right now, a huge chunk of it would go to Puerto Rico. They still have contaminated water and no electricity. But there are so many areas of need, I would love to have that million and spread it around.

 

3. What is your least favourite thing about humanity?

 

Self-centeredness and greed. It seems the more people have these days, they still feel they haven’t enough. I’m always heartened by the people out there who are doing good and offer a counter-balance, so to speak. But it really repels me to see how in many cases, those who have the most don’t want to share any of it and seem chronically discontent.

 

4. If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?

 

Advice? or Experience? If advice: Work hard, persevere, give thanks, be kind, and help others. We’re all in this boat called life together. If experience, I’d hope I’d had the chance to take them traveling, because travel broadens one’s life and enriches one’s understanding of people. I’d also want to make sure they had access to language lessons in at least one other language.

 

5. You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?

 

Cilantro. It’s used in the cuisine of so many different cultures, and I love getting to know different cultures.

 

6. In fewer than 50 words, how does the internet work?

 

Um . . .

(You did say fewer than 50, and that does sum up what I can tell you.)

 

7. How can you tell if someone is a nerd?

 

Well, today’s “nerd” used to be yesterday’s “bookworm”, and it was easy to spot them, sitting apart, curled up with a book, oblivious to the hub-bub around them. Today? I don’t know. Everyone seems hooked to their smart phone, which is also their computer, their health monitor, their map, their appointment calendar, their messenger to FB, etc. I suppose the “nerd” is the one who really knows how to operate that thing beyond making routine phone calls.

 

8. If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean?

 

Splabulous. It means “splendidly fabulous”. The Spanish translation is “splabuloso.”

 

9. What undiscovered technology will transform the future?

 

A dimension machine. It will take you into other dimensions, so that you can find out what’s really going on outside of our three familiar ones. I’m secretly sure that’s where “ghosts” come from, along with those little gremlins who mislay your car keys . . .

 

10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?

 

Hmm. The fact is, everything I (we)) own has either a practical use or special memories attached, and I either like to use them, look at them, reminisce over them, or read them. I don’t really want to get rid of anything except when my bookshelves finally overflow, and then I take the excess books to the library or to a thrift shop.

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And finally - #normalwisdom

 

 

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This edition of the Canabal Chronicle, Some-day Supplement was brought to you by Craig Briggs, (with a little help from his wife Melanie) author of The Journey series of books.

 

 



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The Some-day Supplement - issue 9
26 October 2017

Note from the editor – In this week’s issue of the Some-day Supplement we take a trip abroad and hop across the border to Melgaço in Portugal and sitting in the author hot seat this week is Scottish author Les Cowan whose crime thrillers are set in Scotland and Spain. But first …

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Canabal Cuisine presents – Canabal Courgette Loaf

Ingredients
 

  • 250gms courgette
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125mls sunflower oil
  • 250gms caster sugar
  • ¼tsp vanilla extract
  • 375gms self-raising flour
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60gms walnuts (or you can use an extra 60gms of courgette)

 

Method
 

  • Pre-heat oven 180°C

 

  • Coarsely grate the courgettes, put them in a sieve and leave for about 30 minutes to drain.

 

  • Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add the sunflower oil, vanilla extract and sugar. Add the courgettes and mix lightly until combined.

 

  • Sift the flour and cinnamon into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in the courgette mixture and stir to mix thoroughly. Stir in the chopped walnuts if using.

 

  • Pour the mixture into a greased and lined 1kg loaf tin.

 

  • Bake in pre-heated oven 180°C for about 50 minutes until firm.

 

  • Turn out onto a cooling rack.

 

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TRAVEL
 
Melgaço – A historic border town

Melgaço is one of a number of small towns that run along the border between Northern Portugal and Galicia in Spain. It’s dominated by a 12th century medieval castle and torre or castle keep.

 

 

Once a year, on the last weekend in April, the town hosts the Alvarinho wine fiesta. Tens of thousands of people flock there from both sides of the border to taste the deliciously crisp and fruity white wines. One our favourites was Toucas from the Touquinheiras winery.

 

 

For the rest of the year, Melgaço is a sleepy town made up of narrow streets and picturesque cottages.

 

 

The torre which dominates the town is now a museum. From its roof, visitors are treated to an amazing panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside. For an admission fee of one euro, it is well worth a visit.

 

 

There are two other museums of note, the Solar do Alvarinho (wine museum), where visitors get the opportunity to sample the locally produced wines and the Museu de Cinema de Melgaço (museum of cinema). This museum was established by the French film critic Jean Loup Passek who gifted his extensive collection of cinematic objects to the municipality.

 

 

My recommendation for lunch would be Restaurante Chafarix in Praça Amadeu Abilio Lopes (+351 251 403 400). They serve an extensive range of traditional Portuguese dishes. One of my favourites is contrafilé (tenderloin of beef) washed down with a glass of Pomares, a delicious red wine from the Douro valley.

 

 

Although small, we found it easy to while away the day in Melgaço but if you find yourself at a loose end, why not visit the towns of Monção and Valença just a short drive away.

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Author Interview
Les Cowan

Like many novelists, Les initially wrote just to see if he had that legendary novel inside and if it could be coaxed out into the open. What eventually became Benefit of the Doubt took about a year in first draft and was then improved on and off for the next six years before the fateful decision to send a few chapters and a synopsis to Lion Fiction. The response was positive and the rest is history...


The sequel to Benefit, All that Glitters was written in the second half of 2015, the third volume in the series over a few months in the autumn of 2016, volume four in the spring of 2017 and volume five is currently about half way through…


As well as the David Hidalgo novels, Les was a regular columnist for Orkney Today newspaper over five years (columns subsequently pulled together and published as Loose Talk Collected - available direct from the author) and has also written a cyclist's travel guide Orkney by Bike (available from the author in PDF format).


Les has been married to Fiona for 36 years and they have two children. Time is currently divided between Galicia in northern Spain, Edinburgh and Orkney. 

 

 

Les tells us more about his first novel.
 
Benefit of the Doubt is a love story, a quest, a puzzle, a challenge, a dilemma and a journey of self-discovery and restoration. What happens when life doesn't follow the script? In the midst of confusion does life still deserve the benefit of the doubt?
 
It was a warning. Back off. Stop helping the addicts. Stop undercutting demand. He had believed they would be protected. But they took her – the girl in the raspberry beret – and by the time they were done he was broken. So David Hidalgo flees Spain for his native Edinburgh. Now he must work out how to live again and lead others when his faith has been ripped away and all that’s left is doubt. In Edinburgh David finds friendship, disturbing and unlooked for romance, and respite from the pain. That is, until a young girl is abducted and it becomes clear that it’s not so easy to leave the past, or danger, behind. David knows he must set aside his doubts and act. But what will the cost be this time?
 

To order your copy of Benefit of the Doubt or find out more about Les Cowan, follow these links: -
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072VR57FC
https://www.worldofdavidhidalgo.com/
https://www.facebook.com/worldofdavidhidalgo/

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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for - Question time when our roving reporter asked Les ten challenging questions.
 
 
1.    If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?
 
I’m tempted by Groucho Marx since some misguided family members think the Groucho bit might fit. However, I’ll probably settle on Fred Astaire and make it a musical.
 
 
2.    If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?
 
Since more time isn’t for sale I think intensive saxophone lessons. It would probably take all the cash to get me past intermediate.
 
 
3.    What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
 
The temptation to power and abuse. Also, fondness for country music.
 
 
4.    If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?
 
I think from life’s experiences I’ve learned that don’t give up is pretty important. Also, you’re never too old for adventures. Finally, look after your parents.
 
 
5.    You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?
 
Since I have a strong tendency to try to bring order to chaos I’d probably try to be the rack itself - but if that’s not allowed then oregano for more pizza, bolognese and lasagne in life.
 
 
6.    In fewer than 50 words, how does the internet work?
 
The internet is a repository of incredibly powerful information and ideas but also a soap box which seems to encourage abusive and opinionated rants regardless of knowledge or credentials. It’s a lift that often heads to the basement instead of the top floor where the view is very much better. 
 
 
7.    How can you tell if someone is a nerd?
 
They despise both Mac and PC users and insist that Linux will eventually rule the galaxy.
 
 
8.    If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean?
 
Rather than actually adding a word I’d like to redefine “civilian”, “civilisation” and all its variants to mean being at least civil to each other. This would become a basic qualification for employment, running for political office and communication with other human beings.
 
 
9.    What undiscovered technology will transform the future?
 
Probably the diet pill which will removes all consequences from gluttony. Hurray.
 
 
10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?
 
I’ve tried to dump my childhood teddy bear multiple times but my wife keeps rescuing it (sorry Roger). I think it’s all in an effort to grow up but since it’s not working maybe I should just try to enjoy it. Scalextric anyone?
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And finally - #normalwisdom

 

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This edition of the Canabal Chronicle, Some-day Supplement was brought to you by Craig Briggs, (with a little help from his wife Melanie) author of The Journey series of books.

 

 



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Canabal Chronicle - Issue 9
19 October 2017

Note from the editor – Here at the Canabal Chronicle we like to concentrate our editorial efforts on the lighter side of life. Occasionally, events dictate otherwise. This week saw devastating wildfires engulf large swathes of Galicia and Northern Portugal claiming lives and destroying property. The countryside will eventually recover but lives lost can never be replaced. Our thoughts are with all those effected.
 
To help cheer us up, this week’s author interview is with Michelle Damiani whose passion for central Italy will have you dusting off the suitcase and searching for your passport.
But first …

 

A Chip Off the Old Block

Warm, sunny days and cloudless blue skies make it easy to forget that winter is just around the corner. The first appearance of Jack Frost is a timely reminder of what might be in store.

 

 

For many of our village neighbours, preparing for winter begins much earlier in the year. The noise of a chainsaw can often be heard drifting across the fields on a warm summer’s evening; followed by the crack of an axe as logs are laboriously split by hand. Not everyone follows this traditional routine. Buying logs is much easier.

 

 

In this instance, stacking them neatly in the bodega (cellar) is the only chore. With the help of willing neighbours, this pile of firewood will quickly disappear.
 

The Autumn Collection
Shorter days and cooler nights hasten the appearance of autumnal colours.

 

 

Before long, golden leaves will break free from their hosts and float to the ground like a tickertape parade. In the vineyards, decaying leaves breathe new life into natures colourful palette.

 

 

Creature Camouflage
It’s true to say that some creatures are more adept at blending into their surroundings than others. Take Slawit for example. Her attempts to hide on the back terrace didn’t go unnoticed.

 

 

The same couldn’t be said for several new arrivals to the village. Can you see him?

 

 

Later in the day two more were spotted hiding in the undergrowth. Locals were advised to mind their feet as they made their way through the undergrowth.

 

 

A Lucky Escape
For many residents of Galicia and Northern Portugal, the last few days brought anxious times as giant conflagrations ravaged the countryside. Here in Canabal we avoided the worst of it but the smell of wood smoke and blanket of ash eclipsed the sun for over twenty-four hours. The following two photos were taken on consecutive days at 2:30 in the afternoon.

 

 

During the day-long eclipse, an eerie silence descended on the village as birds took flight. Even village dogs fell silent. Thankfully, this corner of Galicia was spared and life has now returned to normal.
 

Messing About On The River
A trip to Galicia wouldn’t be complete without a cruise along the river Sil. Described in many travel guides as fjord-like, the Canyon of the river Sil is spectacular beyond imagination.

 

 

A number of boats ply their trade along the river but no one could ever describe the waterway as busy.

 

 

Our personal favourite and Canabal Chronicle recommendation is SilTrip. Owner/operator, Alex, provides a personal service which includes a history of the canyon, its people and their livelihoods. He even offers passengers a wine tasting as the boats drifts along the river.

 

 

The next time you’re visiting Galicia why not book a seat on this ten-person catamaran and treat yourself to an unforgettable journey along the great river Sil.

 

 

For more details of this special event or to buy a ticket, visit SilTrip facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/siltrip

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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for …
 

Author Interview
with
Michelle Damiani

Michelle Damiani is a freelance writer, clinical psychologist, and food lover currently living in Charlottesville, VA. Her heart however, is in Spello, Italy. This is where she and her family spent a year growing accustomed to being fish out of water, grappling with the hardships of parenting on foreign soil, and ultimately cleaving into the soul of Italian village life. Before that year abroad, Michelle wrote short fiction - one of her stories was recently awarded first place in the Hook Short Fiction contest, juried by author John Grisham. While in Italy, she used the time that her children were in Italian public schools to write a blog about their experiences. The blog, Il Bel Centro, was awarded the bronze award for best Italian blog by Expatsblog. Once back in Charlottesville, she transformed the blog into a book, Il Bel Centro: a Year in the Beautiful Center, now available in print and e-book.

 

 

 
Michelle tells us more about her book.
 
Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center is the profoundly moving story of Michelle and her family's adaptation to the people and culture of Spello, Italy. Part searingly-honest memoir, part celebration of Umbrian life, Il Bel Centro is a page-turner with a beating heart. 
 
Michelle Damiani brings fresh perspective to the American-abroad story, and creates a sense of place so authentic that readers feel they, too, have strolled the pink-hued alleys of Spello alongside the Damiani family.
 
Vivid descriptions evoke the pleasures of medieval village life, from the scent of almond pastries curling into morning fog, to olive trees tossing glints of silver into the achingly blue sky.
 
At once hilarious and wise, this spellbinding journey will feed your soul and your wanderlust. Il Bel Centro will sweep you into the heart of Italy, where for bakers, pants are optional, and a good lunch will take you straight through till dinner.
 
"I was not prepared for Italy.
Luckily, Italy was waiting for me anyway."
 
To find out more about Michelle Damiani or purchase a copy of Il Bel Centro, follow these links:
http://michelledamiani.com/
https://www.amazon.com/Bel-Centro-Year-Beautiful-Center/dp/0692480110/

 
And now the moment you’ve all being waiting for when Michelle’s chance to answers our ten challenging questions.

1.
If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why? 

Gal Gadot would be an excellent choice. Mostly because the majority of my life seems to be spent folding laundry and typing madly on my computer and she could make both of those dull activities appear impossibly fascinating. 

2. If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy? 

Easy! A cottage with a bit of farm just outside Spello, Italy. We’d buy ourselves out of our day jobs and raise goats and make plum jam and roll pasta. With leftover money I’d buy plane tickets. Sometimes it makes me breathless how much of the world I haven’t yet seen. A million bucks would go a long way towards alleviating that anxiety.
 
3.
What is your least favourite thing about humanity? 

The difficulty empathizing with another person’s experience. So many times we hear about people who have cold attitudes towards the LBGT community or drug addicts, only to “see the light” when their children are revealed to be gay or struggle with an addiction. It’s wonderful that they find room in their hearts to embrace their children, I suppose, but what would be truly wonderful, what would change the world in fact, is if we could treat everyone like family. If we could instantly empathize with each other. If we could assume a person’s best. Then maybe there’d be more outrage when Boko Harem attacks on the other side of the world, or more reaching out to families fleeing persecution in their homelands.
 
4.
If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them? 

The experience of walking down a street with the conviction that the world owes you nothing.
 
5.
You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why? 

A mixtures of ground kosher salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and porcini mushrooms. Adds a kick of umami to just about anything! Insipid soup becomes nuanced, boring chicken becomes transcendent.
 
6.
In fewer than 50 words, how does the internet work? 

I don’t want to embarrass others with my vast understanding of the internet, but since you asked. There are jibs and jabs in different pockets all over the world and there’s this magic sauce that connects them and when our computers utter the correct incantation, sprinkles of information fall then rise to the screen by means of sunshine-hued magnets.
 
7.
How can you tell if someone is a nerd? 

If they know the difference between Jango Fett and Boba Fett.
 
8.
If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean? 

Solvide: The feeling of being gobsmacked with surety that we are all connected and the world is an endlessly lovely place.
 
9.
What undiscovered technology will transform the future? 

Instantaneous travel. When we are able to see up close other cultures, with less cost and bother, I feel like we’ll deepen our understanding of humanity. I firmly believe that the more flavors we try, the more our minds are opened.
 
10.
What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t? 

Cat allergies. My cats are allergic to something, no one can say what it is, and it’s made them groom the hair clean off their legs. They look ridiculous, like cats with chicken legs. I’m sure I’m supposed to offer a profound response here, but every night I’m distracted for hours by the sound of cats licking their fur clean off and to own the truth, I feel like I can’t be profound when my sleep is laced with aggravation.
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This issue of the Canabal Chronicle was brought to you by Craig Briggs, author of The Journey series of books.

 

 



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The Some-day Supplement - issue 8
12 October 2017

Note from the editor – In this issue of the Some-day Supplement we take you on a tour around the rescued remains of Portomarin and interview one of the UK top crime writers, Diane Dickson. But first …

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Canabal Cuisine presents – Luxury Enriched Dinner Rolls
 
Ingredients
 
450gms strong white flour
15gms fresh yeast
225ml tepid milk
1 teaspoon salt
50gms butter
1 beaten egg

 

 

Method
 

  • Blend the yeast in the tepid milk. Set aside until it starts to bubble.

 

  • Rub the butter into the flour and salt.

 

  • Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg, bind together into a dough.

 

  • Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

 

  • Cover with the bowl and leave to rise.

 

  • Knead the dough again and divide into 50gm pieces.

 

  • Shape into rolls, knots or plaits.

 

  • Leave to rise again.

 

 

  • Bake at 190°C for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

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TRAVEL
 
Portomarin – Rescued from a watery grave

 

Portomarin is the most northerly town in the Ribeira Sacra: a region in Galicia famed for its excellent wine, historic heritage, and places of outstanding natural beauty.
 
This bustling little town lies on the French route of the Way of St. James (El Camino Francés de Santiago). Throughout the year, pilgrims from all over the world arrive in search of overnight accommodation before moving on.

 

 

At first sight, the historic centre displays all the features you’d expect of a medieval town. The street leading to the main square is lined on both sides with ancient porticos. The square is dominated by the Iglesia de San Juan (Church of Saint John). This distinctive temple-fortress was built in the 13th century by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. It’s unusual in that it has design features of both a church and a castle.
 
Look a little closer and you’ll see that everything is not quite as it seems. The first thing you’ll notice is a complete absence of urban dereliction: not one crumbling building or abandoned home. The medieval porticos leading to the main square are perfectly symmetrical; as perpendicular today as the day they were built.

 

 

Another clue to the town’s recent history can be found in the name of the main square: Plaza Conde Fenosa. The title of Count of Fenosa (Conde de Fenosa) is a Spanish peerage created in 1955 by the late dictator Francisco Franco. The first Count of Fenosa, Pedro Barrie de la Maza, was a Galician businessman. Along with other business interests he owned one of the country’s leading energy suppliers, Fenosa. But perhaps the biggest clue to Portomarin’s recent history is inscribed on the stone blocks of the Iglesia de San Juan: a sequence of numbers which helped builders recreate this life-sized 3D jigsaw in its current location. 

 

 

Despite appearances, the town of Portomarin is less than 60 years old. The original town developed around a Roman bridge which spanned the river Miño. In 1956 plans were unveiled to build a hydroelectric dam downstream at Belesar, threatening to submerge the town.
 
Preparations began in earnest to save its most important landmarks. A new site was chosen, several hundred metres above the existing town. Over the next six years every monument deemed of historic importance was moved, stone-by-stone, to its new location. Relocating Portomarin represents one of the largest architectural salvage operations ever undertaken in Spain.

 

 

After a long, dry summer, remnants of the old town reappear as water levels recede. The medieval bridge that replaced the earlier Roman crossing can once again be used. Towering above it, the new concrete bridge reminds summer visitors of the weather to come.

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Author Interview - Diane Dickson

Diane M Dickson writes mostly crime fiction with just the odd romance creeping in from out of the blue. Most of her work has been published by The Book Folks but there are some self-published things still available from the days before she was lucky enough to be taken on by a publisher.
 
Born in Yorkshire and grown up in Lancashire, Diane left school with no qualifications to speak of – (unless you count swimming certificates!) She worked as a veterinary nurse for the RSPCA in Liverpool and didn’t see the need for bits of paper – then again this was the sixties, things were different then.
 
In 1980 Diane, her husband, son and daughter went to live in Saudi Arabia which they all enjoyed immensely. Though the children had to return to the UK for their education it was twenty years before Diane and her husband moved back permanently. During that time they lived in many parts of the Middle East, some more difficult than others, but all of it a great experience. She now lives for part of the year in the Dordogne and part of the year in the West Midlands in UK. 
 

Diane is an insatiable reader and writes every day.

 

 

Diane’s novel BONE BABY it is set in the present-day cities of Bath and Portsmouth in southern England and is the eleventh novel to be published by THE BOOK FOLKS.
 
It tells the story of Lily and her partner who for many years had kept a terrible secret. When her partner dies, this secret becomes her burden alone. Soon it becomes an obsession.

Having worked alongside her more flamboyant partner in the publishing industry in London, the more sensitive Lily was used to playing second fiddle in their enigmatic social set. But their nice life hid a dark truth, one that she does not want to carry to her grave.

Many years ago, Lily and her partner covered up a crime. They took something precious that didn’t belong to them and lost it. Lily has had to live with the consequences of her actions until she is given the chance to repair the damage she has done.

This leads Lily down a dangerous path into the past. Disorientated, paranoid, and scared, she uncovers a far graver crime. What she contemplates next is unthinkable.
 
To order your copy of Diane Dickson’s, Bone Baby, follow this link-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/BONE-BABY-chilling-emotional-suspense-ebook/dp/B073V1GRTT

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for - Question time our roving reporter asks Diane ten challenging questions.
 
1.    If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?
 
I have a horrible feeling it would be someone like Miriam Margolyes – I do admire her very much, she is outrageous at times and rather irreverent. For choice it would be Dame Judy Dench but I have a feeling she is much too refined.
 
 
2.    If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?
 
I am very lucky in that I have reached a stage in my life when I don’t feel that I need to ‘buy’ much any more except for essentials.  I’d probably end up giving it to my children.
 
 
3.    What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
 
Cruelty in all its forms, verbal and physical and I include in that cruelty to anything that is alive, animals, plants, everything.  
 
 
4.    If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?
 
It’s not that far away really and I hope I have taught my son and daughter that there is no point in worrying about little things because what seems like a problem today is only a memory very soon.
 
 
5.    You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?
 
Cajun Seasoning because of the heat – I hate being cold and even the smell of that says hot!
 
 
6.    In fewer than 50 words, how does the internet work?
 
A web of electrical pulses carrying metadata through the stratosphere or it could be magic – yeah, I think it’s probably magic.
 
 
7.    How can you tell if someone is a nerd?
 
It’s very difficult because they sometimes hide under cover of normality and that’s how come I am often ambushed and have to feign intelligence and interest. Although I reckon my son-in-law probably qualifies and he’s lovely.
 
 
8.    If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean?
 
I think I’ll leave that for Sir Terry Pratchett he was the master of offering a new word with absolute conviction, and they were all totally logical.
 
 
9.    What undiscovered technology will transform the future?
 
Time travel – Oh but wait, maybe it already did!!!
 
 
10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?
 

A collection of crystal animals. For some reason people got it into their heads that I collected them and bought me them as gifts. So, because they were gifts I love them but they are a nightmare to clean and so I have to keep them in a cupboard and it all seems a bit pointless.

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And finally - #normalwisdom

 

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This edition of the Canabal Chronicle, Some-day Supplement was brought to you by Craig Briggs, (with a little help from his wife Melanie) author of The Journey series of books.

 



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Canabal Chronicle - Issue 8
05 October 2017

 

 

Note from the editor – For those with a penchant for passion, the Canabal Chronicle is delighted to bring you an interview with one of New Jersey’s leading romance authors, Jessica Lauryn. But first …

 

 

Galicia Warming
When it comes to climate change most observers are singing off the same hymn sheet. It’s the causes that create division. As a long hot summer in Galicia finally succumbed to autumn we too are seeing a change.

 

 

It would appear from the lack of rain and daytime temperatures that no one told Mother Nature of the change.  
In a year when local wine producers started harvesting grapes earlier than at any time in recorded history, perhaps it’s time to take note.
 
“So what?” some might say.
 
With a 2000-year history of local wine production, the sample time period would seem long enough to make a reasonable assumption.

 

 

Here in the village of Canabal, the vine leaves are still green, flowers are in full bloom and cloudless blue skies accompany unusually warm days. Wells have run dry and many villagers are praying for rain. Only time will tell if this is a unique year or the new norm.

 

 

The Gate Escape
When our neighbour Meli takes a break from village life, Melanie and I are recruited to act as chicken-sitters. For those unfamiliar with the role, chicken-sitting is the ornithological equivalent of babysitting. Needless to say, the task has its rewards. Fresh eggs every day never go amiss.

 

 

Everything was going fine until six days in to our twelve-day posting, we faced a rooster revolt as the chickens made a bid for freedom.

 

 

The cause of this unexpected breakout highlighted the shortcomings of using a recycled gate secured with half a brick and a broken broom handle to enclose the otherwise secure chicken run.

 

 

Once free they headed straight for Meli’s kitchen garden. Persuading them to leave fell on deaf ears. For those familiar with the Hollywood blockbuster Rocky I’m sure you’ll recall the scene when Rocky’s trainer developed a programme to increase his speed and mobility around the ring. I can tell you from personal experience that chickens are undoubtedly the most difficult prey to catch.

 

 

If the sky hadn’t been blue when I started, the air was by the time I’d coaxed them back into the chicken run. Forget wearing a Fitbit and buy yourself some chickens.
 

Fiesta Feast
What could be better than delicious food and great wine? I know, free delicious food and great wine.
 
The final evening of Sober’s four-day fiesta produces one of the rarest sights in Spain – an organised queue.

 

 

When free food and wine is on offer, everyone is happy to wait their turn. At the head of this patient assembly was Sober’s mayor, Luís Fernández Guitan, keen to ensure that everyone got their fair share of local red wine, either that or he was jumping the queue.

 

 

The main event was billed as Gran Paellada Xigante (Gigantically Big Paella) and looked like it could feed the 5000. However, this was Galicia not the Golan Heights and Galicians know how to eat.

 

 

The cost of staging the event was reflected in the evening entertainment which ran to a duo called the Witching Hour belting out tunes from the back of a converted transit van.

 

 

But even they couldn’t dampen the spirits of the locals who enjoyed all the fun of the fair.

 

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And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for …
 
Author Interview
with
Jessica Lauryn

Jessica was born and raised in New Jersey, where she lives today. “Coming back from a vacation, NJ always feels like home” she remarks.
When Jessica isn’t writing she likes nothing more than spending the weekend browsing antique stores in search of pretty, Victorian treasures.  She’s worked in a variety of jobs and incorporated some of the characters she’s met into her stories. She’s also obsessed with 80’s music but chooses to listen to classical while reading and writing. “I find it less distracting, and also, greatly inspiring!”

To find out more about Jessica, follow these links:
Website: www.jessicalauryn.com        Newsletter Sign-Up: eepurl.com/ck5-O9
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5081732.Jessica_Lauryn
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicalaurynauthor/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaLauryn_
 

 

 

 

Jessica tells us more about her novel, An Amorous Dance.
 
When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater's late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah's antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah's suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.

Evan Masters's dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn's former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn's daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.

But Evan's feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart. 
 

Follow these links to purchase a copy of An Amorous Dance
BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/book/an-amorous-dance
Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WW7ML4B
Barnes & Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-amorous-dance-the-rabourn-theater-2-jessica-lauryn/1125841876?ean=9781682957813
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jessica_Lauryn_An_Amorous_Dance_The_Rabourn_Theate?id=uJkwDgAAQBAJ
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/an-amorous-dance-the-rabourn-theater-2/id1209533909?mt=11
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/an-amorous-dance
 
Question time – our globe-trotting reporter asked Jessica ten challenging questions.
 
1. If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?

I think Anne Hathaway would have to play me.  I’ve had so many people tell me I look like Anne that we’ve become cosmically connected.  Of course, I’d be honored if Anne would play me – she is an incredibly talented actress.  I can easily relate to the majority of characters she’s played.
 
2. If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?

That would certainly be a nice thing to have fall into my lap!  If I suddenly found myself with a million dollars, I would purchase my dream home, a large country-style mansion on a mountain and/or in the woods, complete with in-ground pool and backyard that looks as though you’ve just stepped inside Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden. If there was anything left over afterward, I’d save it.
 
3. What is your least favourite thing about humanity?

I probably would have answered this question a little bit differently at each point in my life, however, my answer would have always revolved around the same point.  First off, I’ll clarify that I do not believe that any of us were put on this planet to judge others.  I try to meditate on this idea every day and if I find myself doing it, I’ll stop.  (IE Don’t judge lest you yourself be judged.)  That said, I think there is one thing that we could all use a bit of work on, that being, we need to appreciate the joy in life, to celebrate it and to look for the best in those around is. A quote that illustrates this nicely, which I keep with me always, is, “When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will.”
 
4. If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?
 
That’s difficult to predict at this point in my life as it probably hasn’t happened yet, but I hope to pass on to my children and grandchildren the values of family, play, passion, hard work and most importantly love.  
 
5. You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?

I must be ginger – some combination of sweet and spice, which probably describes, not only me, but many of the authors I know!
 
6. In less than 50 words, how does the internet work?

Sign on and search.  If there’s a problem, contact IT! 😉
 
7. How can you tell if someone is a nerd?

I’ve never been a fan of this label, though in this day and age many consider being called a “nerd” to be rather like a badge of honor.  I suppose in this sense that anyone who has a passion that they pursue and might be labelled as such.  In my humble opinion, passion makes the world go ‘round!  It isn’t hard to spot those who have it either – they wear their passion with everything they say and do and they are often the happiest people you’ll meet.
 
8. If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it
mean?
 
No particular word comes to mind, but, as I’m writing, I’ll often think of words that don’t really exist, variations of words that do exist and are better suited to the sentence I’m crafting. I sure would like to add a few of those to the dictionary – it would make my writing life a whole lot easier! 
 
9. What undiscovered technology will transform the future?
 
I’m often saying that it won’t be long before we can teleport from one place to another, which would eliminate the need for all transportation vehicles and probably, exercise as we know it. Considering how quickly things are evolving, I imagine I might very well see something like this happen within my lifetime.
 
10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?
 
I’m great about purging what I no longer need, so I’m pretty happy with what I currently own.  But, if I came across something I wish didn’t own, you can bet I’d put it aside for charity.
 
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This issue of the Canabal Chronicle was brought to you by Craig Briggs, author of The Journey series of books.

 

 



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The Some-day Supplement - issue 7
27 September 2017



Note from the editor – This weeks Some-day Supplement is proud to bring you an interview with George Mahood, the funniest indie author in the world - probably. For those with a sweet tooth, this week’s Canabal Cuisine features the most indulgent torte you will ever taste and our travel feature brings you a hidden gem in the heart of the Galician countryside. But first …
​-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canabal Cuisine presents - Chocoholic’s Torte

Ingredients

 200gms plain chocolate
100gms caster sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons brandy
570ml double cream

Method

  • Line a 20cm loose-bottomed or spring-form tin with cling film. If you don’t have one, why not use a cake tin.​
  • Break the chocolate into pieces and drop into a food processor. Blend for one minute or until just a few pieces remain in the otherwise powdery chocolate (you can grate the chocolate by hand if you wish).
  • Put the sugar in a small pan with 90ml of water. Heat gently over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally. Turn up the heat and boil briskly for 3-4 minutes or until it becomes a thin syrup.
  • Set the food processor running and add the hot sugar syrup through the funnel into the chocolate so that it melts and becomes liquid. Add the egg yolks and process for a few seconds before adding the brandy. If you are not using a food processor beat all the ingredients together.
  • In a separate bowl beat the cream to a soft floppy consistency, then fold in the chocolate mixture.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared tin, level the top with the back of a spoon.
  • Cover with cling film and transfer to the freezer for a minimum of four hours.

To serve, remove from the freezer, release from the tin and transfer to a plate.
Allow to soften. You can decorate with icing sugar and sliced strawberries.
Serve with a little single cream.
 
This really is a very easy, rich dessert that can be made ahead of time.

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TRAVEL
 
Chantada – A hidden gem waiting to be discovered

Chantada is an unassuming town in the heart of Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain. It lies along the Camino de Invierno (winter route) of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), the pilgrimage route ending in the city of Santiago de Compostela.
 
Over the last fifteen years, Chantada has undergone a transformation. Buildings of architectural significance have been restored, public spaces refreshed and a sweeping footpath created along the banks of the river Asma.

The old part of the town is characterised by cobbled streets lined with medieval porticos that merge on a small square. From here, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways criss-cross the town centre. Hiding within this maze of lanes and shaded passages are a host of cafes, bars and interesting shops. On warm summer evenings roadside cafés spill out onto the streets and locals gather to enjoy raucous conversation over a glass or two of local wine, inky-red Mencia or lively Godello white.

Unlike many Spanish towns, the meeting between the old town and the new is not an architectural collision but a smooth transition. If you arrive early enough, you’ll come across shops selling a vast range of fresh fish, landed in the morning at the port of Vigo and on the plate by lunchtime.
 
Dining in Galicia is as much about opinion as taste, and in my opinion Resturante Centro has one of the best Menu del Dia’s in the town. A hearty, three course lunch including a bottle of the best house white in the area, it costs a miserly nine euros. On our visit I chose Merluza a la Romana for my main course, a succulent fillet of lightly battered hake served with chips and salad.

After lunch, we stretched our legs and followed the road out of town until we reached a bridge across the Rio Asma. At the far side of the bridge a pathway leads down to a footpath at the river’s edge. We followed the course of the river with Chantada on your left and Galicia’s lush green meadows on the right.

Before long a modern suspension bridge slices dramatically across the river. This stunning piece of architecture fits comfortably into its ancient surroundings. A few hundred metres further and we were back where we’d started.
 
The next time you’re passing through the area why not stop for lunch in this hidden gem?

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Author Interview - George Mahood

Melanie and I have lived together for thirty-one years. In that time she’s read upwards of 30,000 books. Out of all those books only one made her laugh uncontrollably out loud. That’s how funny George Mahood’s writing is. So, who is this master of comedy?
 
George Mahood is an award-winning writer. Specifically, he was placed third in the Little Brington Village Fete's limerick competition (Under 11s category) in 1988.
 
He studied Communication Studies and English Literature at Leeds University. After spending a year travelling in the USA, he worked for several years in a variety of jobs including charity fund-raising and garlic bread making. He’s been the lead singer and guitarist of a rubbish band and the chairman and midfielder of an awful Sunday-league football team.

Author of the bestselling ‘Free Country’, George’s latest release, ‘Not Tonight Josephine’ tells the story of two Brits, George and Mark, who set off from New York City to explore the back roads of America.
 
In this calamity-ridden travel tale, George sets out in true clichéd fashion to discover the real America. Throw in plenty of run-ins with the police, rapidly dwindling finances and Josephine – the worst car in the world - and you have all the ingredients for a classic American road trip. Will George and Mark make it all the way to California?
And then there is Rachel, George’s girlfriend, left back in England. Would travelling to the United States without her turn out to be the stupidest decision he had ever made?
 
To find out more about George and his writing, click the following links:

www.facebook.com/georgemahood
www.twitter.com/georgemahood

 
Question time – our roving reporter asked George ten challenging questions.
 
1.    If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?
 
I would cast an obscure unknown actor to play an obscure unknown author. My stories all involve tales of an everyday guy, and they wouldn’t be suited to the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood actor.
 
2.    If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?
 
I would spend it on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I would just squander (credit to George Best for that one). I would buy a modest house and then use the rest to set up some sort of community project/charity that I could devote time to when I wasn’t writing.
 
3.    What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
 
All forms of hatred. And those all-in-one hand drier, water and soap dispenser things that you get in some toilets. 
 
4.    If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?
 
Don’t be prepared to work hard in a job you don’t want, to pay for stuff you don’t need.
 
5.    You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?
 
A magical jar of undo powder. It undoes the taste of the previous spice you added, for those instances when you put in too much of something or the wrong thing entirely.
 
6.    In less than 50 words, how does the internet work?
 
Pedants sit behind computers all over the world, dishing out criticism to others. For example, suggesting that this question should read ‘fewer than 50 words’, not ‘less’. 😉
 
7.    How can you tell if someone is a nerd?
 
They can tell you in less (or fewer) than 50 words how the internet works.
 
8.    If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean?
 
Lob-a-lot. It’s a meal my mum used to cook all the time when I was growing up. It involved her lobbing a lot of whatever was left in the fridge into a pot and transforming it into something edible (with the help of the spice rack). I now regularly cook lob-a-lot for my family. If only I had the undo powder.
 
9.    What undiscovered technology will transform the future?
 
An all-in-one contraption that dispenses soap, water and then dries your hands. Wait…
 
10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?
 
A dominant procrastination gene. Better get back to work! Thanks for this. It has been fun.
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And finally - #normalwisdom

-----------------------------------------------------------------

This edition of the Canabal Chronicle, Some-day Supplement was brought to you by Craig Briggs, (with a little help from his wife Melanie) author of The Journey series of books.

 



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Canabal Chronicle - Issue 7
21 September 2017

Note from the editor: Due to the overwhelming success of our ‘Author Interview’ slot in the bi-weekly Some-day Supplement, we have decided to add this popular feature to the Chronicle. Today’s interview is with David Workman, author of the highly acclaimed Letter from Alabama. Also in this issue, we’ve added another new feature ‘The caption competition’. But first …

THE FOOD OF LOVE
Local residents were questioning whether dietary supplements are to blame for the rise in amorous liaisons after a group of local birds were seen nibbling on an unidentified substance.

By the time local authorities arrived to investigate, the mysterious morsels had been devoured. The birds seemed ecstatic with their treat which fuelled speculation as to the contents of the bowl and the intentions of the mystery donor. When rumours circulated of an unlikely village romance, photographers from the Chronicle were first on the scene to capture this unexpected rendezvous.

Further investigations by the Chronicle’s cyber division shed light on the murky world of online dietary dating sites. After hours of browsing, strictly for the purposes of investigative journalism, researchers came across this local advertiser on one of the world’s most popular websites, catch.com. Speculation mounts that Tom Boy could be the Mr Big of the Canabal passion food scene.

SHADES OF AUTUMN

Misty mornings and changing colours suggest autumn is in the air. Before long residents will be unpacking their winter duvet and switching on the heating.

The Chronicle’s tip for keeping warm is roast some chestnuts and enjoy a glass of red wine.

LOCAL LANDMARK
 
The town of Monforte de Lemos forms the beating heart of the Ribeira Sacra, a Denominación de Origen that produces excellent wines that are recognised throughout the world. It’s situated in the Val de Lemos, a vast undulating plain in the south of Lugo province, Galicia and is less than ten kilometres from the village of Canabal. The town boasts many historic monuments including the Torre da Homenaxe and the Monasterio Benedictino de San Vicente del Pino.

Perched on a hilltop in the centre of Monforte is the Torre da Homenaxe or Homage Tower. Built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries it dominates the skyline. The tower is 13 metres square with walls over 3 metres thick and stands 30 metres high. The views from the top of the tower over the town and surrounding countryside are outstanding. There are exhibitions inside including arms and furniture from the period. Visitors can also buy locally sourced handmade products.

The Torre da Homenaxe shares its hilltop position with the Benedictine monastery of San Vicente del Pino. Its origins date back to the tenth century. Today’s building was constructed in the sixteenth century in the neoclassical style. Ten years ago, after extensive restoration, the monastery opened its doors to the public as a luxury Parador hotel.

The cafeteria provides a wonderful location to enjoy a coffee and cake or sample a glass of the local wine.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author Interview
David Workman

David Workman is an American writer and editor with family roots in the U.K., the Netherlands, Alsace, and Germany, among other places. He was a journalist at several newspapers, then entered public service as communications director for several state agencies in Washington State. He was executive editor of state-published books and websites on natural resources, environment, and social and health services. He operates Workman & Associates, a communications consulting and publishing firm. In 2015, he released “Letter from Alabama: The Inspiring True Story of Strangers Who Saved a Child and Changed a Family Forever.” In 2016, he released "An Author Tells All: Surprises and Revelations from Publishing My Story."


David's life could turn out very, very badly. His mother dies suddenly when he is an infant. Then at age two, he is gone. Vanished, with his father, and abandoned in a far-away place. His future hangs on a Letter from Alabama, a piece of paper that must travel hundreds of miles in an envelope. Then it must land in exactly the right place in a busy office where nobody is under any obligation to read it or pay any attention to it. This is the true story of that letter, and all that will transpire because of it. It's the story of human failure, and human triumph. Forgiveness and redemption. It is a testament to, and a prayer of thanks for, good and decent people everywhere who stand up for a child when they don't have to-when they have nothing to gain and perhaps much to lose. It's a tribute to those who see the potential in a young person and give that person a chance to be the best that he or she can be. They are the heroes for whom this story is now committed to writing.
 
Follow one of these links to get your copy of ‘Letter from Alabama’

US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VQIIODK
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VQIIODK

 
Question time – our globe-trotting reporter asked David ten challenging questions.

1.    If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?

I pick Brad Pitt. Why? Because he’s Brad Pitt!

For young David, I would go back to the 1950s and choose Jon Provost, the child actor who played Timmy Martin on the CBS TV series “Lassie” from 1957-64. Jon was a really cute towhead, and (I thought) really cool. ​Also I loved Lassie, and all the collies that “played” her.


3.    If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?

This is a decision I would make with my wife, in conversation with our children and grandchildren. However, my first instinct would be to use about half the money to take care of personal / family matters. The other half, I would want to put to a greater good – for example, an important environmental project or a scholarship for the next generation.
 
 
3.    What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
 
I wish people would stop being mean – intentionally hurting and tormenting others. I especially dislike mean people in positions of power over nations, tribes, cults, terror groups, and families.
 
 
4.    If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?
 
I hope to get there! I do have children and grandchildren, and they light up my life, and make this world a better place. I want them to know what I learned from the family who took me in after I was orphaned and abandoned. I want my children and grandchildren (and theirs) to know, unshakably, that they are deeply and unconditionally loved. I want them to know they have the capacity to let that love shine in the dark corners of life.
 
5.    You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?
 
Salt. Sea salt. I love oceans and seas – especially tropical seas where you can see forever beneath the surface. Also, salt preserves, and it persists long after fickle water evaporates.
 
6.    In less than 50 words, how does the internet work?
 
People connect without going anywhere. If they’re not careful, or if they’re unlucky, they connect with the wrong people. They need to connect with the right people, and the right information.
 
 
7.    How can you tell if someone is a nerd?
 
If they’re anything like me, they could be nerds.
 
 
8.    If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean?
 
Ecam. It would be shorthand for the lesson that I learned from the people, including strangers, who saved me: Every Child Absolutely Matters.
 
 
9.    What undiscovered technology will transform the future?
 
Using all available means – old, new, and yet unknown – to seek and find objective fact, truth and reality. And valuing fact, truth and reality over self-satisfying propaganda, political rhetoric, and self-delusion.
 
 
10.    What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?
 
A dandelion puller. I wish those darn dandelions would go somewhere else besides my yard.

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And finally …  
The caption competition


Write a caption to the following photo and win an ebook copy of your choice from ‘The Journey’ series (books 1 to 4). Post your caption in the comments below and the winner will be announced in the next issue of the Canabal Chronicle.

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This issue of the Canabal Chronicle was brought to you by Craig Briggs, author of The Journey series of books.

 

 



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The Some-day Supplement - issue 6
14 September 2017

Note from the editor – In this week’s Some-day Supplement find out which town we nominate as The Prettiest Town in Spain. This week’s author in the hot seat is Sine Thieme whose bestselling memoir ‘Kilimanjaro Diaries’ will whisk us off to the east coast of Africa. What will this global adventurer make of our probing questions? But first …

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Canabal Cuisine presents – Briggs’ Baked Beans

Ingredients


750gms dried white beans
Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion
1 tablespoon thyme or sage or mixture of both
2 cloves of crushed garlic
5 cups crushed tomatoes (passata) I use a big tin (You can use fresh)
2 cloves
4 tablespoons Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco (I don't use that much)
Half a cup of sugar or to taste
Salt

Method

Soak the beans overnight in water
Wash and drain them. Add the bicarb and salt. Cover with cold water. Cook for about an hour, medium heat, until tender.
Drain them.
In a big pan, heat the oil and saute the onion for about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped herbs and crushed garlic. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, Worcester sauce, cloves, sugar and salt.
Simmer for 20 minutes and then puree the sauce.
Add the beans and cook for about 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

This is a great recipe if you need to feed 5000 or like us, you can divide them into portions and freeze them.

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TRAVEL 

Puebla de Sanabria – Possibly the prettiest town in Spain

The town of Sanabria (Puebla de Sanabria) is located in the province of Zamora, close to the border with Portugal, Galicia, and Castile and Leon. The town boasts a railway station with journey times from Madrid taking a little under three hours; by car it’s a little over three.

This small town is situated on a natural butte at the confluence of the rivers Tera and Castro. Its strategic location close to the Portuguese border made it the scene of many great battles. The medieval castle dates back to the second half of the 15th century with most of its walls remaining intact. Within the outer defences is an enormous castle keep surrounded by a moat and protected with a draw bridge. Next to the castle is the church of Nuestra Señora del Azogue which dates from the latter part of the 12th century.

The town’s charm is undeniable. Tourism is low key and the visitor experience is all the better for it. Wandering through the narrow streets feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Most village houses are immaculately maintained with architectural wonders hiding around every corner. Granite stonework, slate roofs and hardwood window frames take you back in time to a lost era. Potted plants hang from iron railed Juliet balconies and intricately carved coats of arms are proudly displayed on the façades of ancestral manor houses.

The area around Puebla de Sanabria is one of outstanding natural beauty. There’s a five-kilometre river walk along the banks of the river Tera and nearby you’ll find Lake Sanabria nature park. Formed during the last ice age, the lake covers an area of 368 hectares and reaches a depth of 55 metres making it Spain’s biggest glacial lake.

The area around Puebla de Sanabria is one of outstanding natural beauty. There’s a five-kilometre river walk along the banks of the river Tera and nearby you’ll find Lake Sanabria nature park. Formed during the last ice age, the lake covers an area of 368 hectares and reaches a depth of 55 metres making it Spain’s biggest glacial lake.

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Author Interview
Sine Thieme

Sine Thieme's debut travel memoir is equally poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. Part guide book, part travel memoir, and part history lesson, her story will keep you hooked until the last page - whether you're a seasoned hiker nodding your head in recognition, an aspiring Kilimanjaro trekker searching for tips, or an armchair traveller revelling in adventure stories from the comfort of your home.

When expat blogger and mother of four Eva Melusine Thieme first harbours the idea of ringing out her three years in Africa on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, it sounds easy. In fact, it has all the trappings of a dream vacation: no cooking, no fighting kids, and an army of porters to lug everything up the mountain. What can go wrong?

Tag along as Eva takes you on her journey up the slopes of Kilimanjaro together with her teenage son and a group of hilarious South African friends. From planning the trip to shopping for supplies to trudging uphill wishing with all her heart for an ice cold sip of water untainted by chlorination tablets, you will follow her step by step on her quest to scale the world's highest free-standing mountain. But the list of challenges is long: sub-zero temperatures, blistered feet, long drop toilets (of which, you may learn, the drops are not nearly as long as they have once been, if you get the drift), and the ever-threatening altitude sickness no one can quite escape from. Eva's climb turns into the most difficult test she has ever faced, and ultimately she must make a fateful decision on that mountain.
 

Click this link to get your copy of Kilimanjaro Diaries https://evamelusinethieme.com/
Or take a look at Sine’s blog about living in South Africa http://www.joburgexpat.com

 

Question timeour roving reporter asked Sine ten challenging questions.


1. If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?

 
Oh boy, I am so bad at this question! The biggest compliment I’ve ever gotten was when my daughters said my hair looked just like Jennifer Aniston’s. So maybe she could play me, as long as they just shoot her from behind.

2.
If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy? 


First, a badass new car. I am SO tired of my minivan after decades practically raising my four kids in one. Second, I’d replace all my furniture. After moving it around the world 6 times, I’m kind of tired of it. I’d probably want a new – but smaller – house to go with it, less to clean. That can be my third wish. I honestly can’t think of another thing, other than every single book I come across since I’ll now have all the time in the world to read them, what with not having to hustle up more money.

3.
What is your least favourite thing about humanity? 


Stupidity. Or wait, hypocrisy? People always want to tell you how to live, because they think they know better. I don’t think animals do that. So there, that’s my least favorite thing about humanity, the urge to control other humans. 

4.
If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them? 


Oh good, that means I’ll get almost 30 more years to figure that out, exactly. From my vantage point now, I’d want to pass on this: Don’t fret about what might happen before it actually has happened. Once it happens, you will have plenty of time to think about it. Don’t make yourself miserable thinking about things that may never even occur. I guess I’m with the guys who played in the band on the Titanic. Plus, the worst stuff that happens makes for the best stories. Just think of how great the telling of it will be one day. You won’t be talking about all the days you’ve had your feet up and relaxed! Oh, and also: Be kind. Oops, I just reread the question and it asked for an experience, not advice. The most important experience? The one you have no idea where it might lead you.

5.
You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why? 


This is even worse than the actress question. I really have no idea. Does lemon peel count as a spice? I’ve always loved to bake things with the scent of lemon. And I do tend to make lemonade when dealt lemons (see answer above). So I’ll just declare lemon peel a spice and I’ll be that.

6.
In less than 50 words, how does the internet work? 


I have no idea how the internet works, other than with wifi. And boy is it a crisis when the wifi is out. It’s the only time our kids come out of their rooms to talk to us. If yelling “Mom, the wifi isn’t working!” is considered talking.

7.
How can you tell if someone is a nerd? 


I suppose if they won’t stop talking about a single topic that fascinates them but is boring to most of the rest of the world. Oh, and also if they wear Birkenstocks with socks.

8.
If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean? 


Is #clusterfuck already in the dictionary? If not, it should be added to describe the current American presidency.
 
9.
What undiscovered technology will transform the future?  

This is sounding more and more like a college essay. I have no idea if it will transform the future, but I’ll tell you what’s yet undiscovered: A machine that will take my laundry from the dirty laundry bin, through the washer and dryer and folded back onto my shelf without lifting my finger. I have a feeling though that it will remain undiscovered. I mean, we’ve split the atom, and fused it to another atom, we’ve found a plethora of teensy particles much smaller than the atom, we’ve build a hadron collider to accelerate them to ungodly speeds, but we are still standing there over the kitchen sink every night cleaning the dinner plates. Weird.

10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?  

Have I told you yet about my minivan?

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And finally - #normalwisdom

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This edition of the Canabal Chronicle, Some-day Supplement was brought to you by Craig Briggs, (with a little help from his wife Melanie) author of The Journey series of books.

 

 

 

 



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Canabal Chronicle - Issue 6
08 September 2017

Note from the editor: Welcome to the latest edition of the Canabal Chronicle. In this special issue, we invite our readers to take advantage of an amazing limited time offer. Plus, an in-depth report into the practical side of Galician winemaking.

On Sunday evening, Mother Nature treated the residents of Canabal to a magnificent display of light and sound. The performance lasted well over an hour, in which time barely a spot of rain fell on the spellbound audience.
​-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
GRAPE EXPECTATIONS

For the residents of Canabal, this year’s vendimia (grape harvest) was a none event, three days of heavy frost at the end of April saw to that. The cold snap decimated the young grapes wiping out entire vineyards. Fortunately, the nearby region of El Bierzo was not affected. Following a telephone call to a local wholesaler, we agreed to purchase 350 kilos at a cost of 80 cents per kilo. The red, mencia grapes were the same variety we would have grown had Jack Frost not intervened.

After the official weigh-in, work began in earnest. Tradition is one thing but if you’d ever smelt my wife’s feet, you’d know why investing in a modern crusher was worth its weight in gold.

The crusher removes the stems making this part of the process quick and efficient.

A shower of grape must tumbles into a waiting bucket.

From bucket to vat in a continuous stream. This is where a willing labourer comes in handy. Having sampled the fruits of our efforts, Melanie is only too happy to lend a hand.

The first day’s work draws to a close. While the willing worker cleans the equipment, the vinatero (me) takes precise measurements and calculates the must’s properties using mystical formulas. A specific gravity of 1105 indicates an alcohol content of 14% by volume – perfect.

The addition of potassium metabisulfite stuns the natural yeast and helps protect the must from unwelcome bacteria. Enzymes assist the breakdown of the grape pulp to ensure maximum juice extraction.

After resting quietly for a day, a starter yeast is added to the must. The next twenty-four hours are critical. If the fermentation fails to start, it’s back to the drawing board. Thankfully, we had no such problem and the miracle of turning grapes into wine began.
 
Four days in; the fermentation was two-thirds complete. Time to separate the liquid from the solids.

Once the young wine has been transferred from the fermenting vat into the storage vat. The solids: grape skins, seeds, and anything else unfortunate enough to have fallen into the crusher, can be removed.

To make sure every last drop of wine is extracted the must is pressed.

Pressing grape must is a great way to build up a thirst.

The result is a weighty cake of pressed skins and seeds which makes great fertilizer but is more commonly used to make aguardiente, the local firewater.

The end result is a 250-litre vat, full to the brim with red wine. All we have to do now is wait six months, hope for the best and fingers crossed.

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THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Book four in ‘The Journey’ series is available to pre-order from today but who exactly is Craig Briggs?
 
Life began on the 12th of July 1962, in St. Luke’s hospital, Huddersfield: Craig was the second child, and only son, of Donald and Glenys. Donald was a humble lathe operator working for one of the town’s largest employers. A telephone call from the hospital informed him of the new arrival but all was not as expected. Young Craig was not a ‘normal’ baby. He was born with congenital feet deformities: I cannot imagine a crueller phone call.

On my first birthday, I received a gift that would change my life forever. A unique present that gave me what the Vespa had given to the youth of the 1950s; freedom and independence. As you can see from the photo, my first shoe wasn’t quite as stylish as the Italian built scooter but from now on, Master Briggs was on the move.

Over the next five years a series of surgical procedures changed the way I moved. Early recollections are few but these infant experiences undoubtedly coloured my future life. In the 1960’s NHS visits were restricted to one person for one hour per day. The anguish of a young mother listening to the tortured screams of her young son begging her to stay are unimaginable – it wasn’t much fun for me either.

When the time came, mum walked me to school like any other proud mother and Dad gave me his first and only piece of worldly advice. ‘If anyone hits you, hit em back’. With one exception, my mind was sharper than my boxing prowess. School life and education didn’t really do it for me; I found it difficult to concentrate on anything that didn’t interest me. 


​I left comprehensive school with mediocre exam results and drifted aimlessly to sixth form college. In May 1980, my education came to an end and I entered the employment market. At the time, Margaret Thatcher was busy dismantling British industry and unemployment was running at a post war record high. I signed on and spent the summer lounging around the house watching the Wimbledon tennis finals on telly. In September that year, during one of my many visits to the job centre, a notice caught my eye, ‘Wanted trainee retail managers’. The idea of becoming a manager sounded quite appealing so I applied.
 
There were 560 applicants chasing 6 places. I pleaded my case and found myself one of the lucky half dozen. After a two-week training course in the seaside town of Southport, I passed with honours achieving the rank of assistant manager. When asked where I’d like to apply my new-found retail skills, I chose London – the city paved with gold.
 
I left Huddersfield a naïve child and returned three and a half years later a wiser and more mature young man. A brief period of letting my hair down followed, catching up for lost time and lost youth. During these wild and hedonistic few months, I won the greatest prize of all - love.  After weeks of persistent pestering, the young barmaid at my local pub finally agreed to a date, a date that changed my life forever. That beautiful young barmaid was Melanie.

My career in retail lasted six and a half years. On turning 26 I decided to go it alone and resigned. My ambition of owning my own shop came to an abrupt end when the bank refused to fund my plan. That disappointment led me to reinvent myself as a self-employed financial consultant. My, ‘Big Break’ came two years into my life as a death insurance salesman. I stumbled across two young men running an ailing printing business. They needed financial support and asked if I was interested in joining them. Against all professional advice I jumped at the chance, re-mortgaged the house and bought an equal share.
 
Finally, I’d found my true vocation. The business was losing money hand over fist; the bank had taken a second charge on each partners home and called in the overdraft. Whilst others worried about our impending doom, I applied myself to resolving the problems. We weathered the storm but casualties were high. After 13 years of blood, sweat and holding back the tears, I ended up owning and running a modestly successful business. Later that year a chance remark to the company accountant led to discussions about a buyout, the opportunity to realise my dream finally presented itself.

On the 6th of May 2002, with the car laden to capacity, me, Melanie and our dog Jazz set off for Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain. The contrast between our lives in England and our new life here couldn’t have been greater. We’d leapt into the unknown and in our wildest dreams could not have imagined the rewards.
 
Our new life wasn’t without its challenges but we met them together and gradually settled in to our new surroundings. Two years into our new life I started writing about our experiences for an online magazine. Several years later I began writing my first travel memoir ‘Journey To A Dream’ which was published in 2013. The latest book in The Journey series ‘Opportunities Ahead’ continues that story.

​To thank everyone who’s been following our story and to encourage those who’ve yet to start, I’m offering my new book ‘Opportunities Ahead’ at half price but hurry, this is a limited time offer which ends on the 15th of September.

Follow the link below to pre-order your half price copy of

Opportunities Ahead

 



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The Some-day Supplement - issue 5
31 August 2017

Note from the editor – This week’s Some-day Supplement is a Food & Drinks Special In additional to our regular features, guest cook Elle Draper shares two mouthwatering recipes taken from her recently released cook book ‘Spain Recipes’. But first … 

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Canabal Cuisine presents – Melanie’s classic white loaf recipe

Ingredients

 
450gms Strong plain flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
15gms butter
2 teaspoons dried yeast
300ml lukewarm water
Milk or beaten egg for brushing

Method
 
Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Sift the flour and salt.
Rub in the butter.
Add the liquid to the flour. Mix together to form a firm dough.
Knead on a floured board for about 10 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a greased plastic bag or the mixing bowl. Leave to rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven 230°C
Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until firm.
Grease a loaf tin. Shape the dough and place in the tin. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise until double in size.
Brush with beaten egg or milk.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the loaf shrinks away from the tin.
Turn out onto a wire cooling rack. 

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And now for the first recipe from Elle Draper - Buñuelos de queso (Cheese balls)
 
Buñuelos de queso are bite-sized buns of flavour and thankfully are really easy to make (if a little heavy on arm work). So give these a go, but beware... they're not kind to your waistline.
 
You can deep-fry these babies instead of oven baking... but obviously that's not as healthy. But who cares?! Just do them in batches and drain them well on kitchen paper before serving. The photo shows them fried.

Ingredients (makes a good batch)

  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 100g of strong cheese such as Cheddar or Manchego - grated
  • 4 eggs plus an extra yolk - lightly beaten
  • 500ml water
  • Teaspoon mustard - smooth not grainy OR half a teaspoon of mustard powder
  • Teaspoon of pimiento picante OR 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 240g plain flour

 
Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7
  • Put the water, butter and salt (if using) in the saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Okay - now this bit needs to be quick...
  • Tip the flour into the boiling liquid and stir like a banshee with the wooden spoon
  • It will firm up - keep stirring
  • Gradually add the eggs, ensuring it mixes well
  • Now add the mustard, pimenton and the cheese
  • Keep stirring!!!!
  • If your arm gets tired, yell for reinforcements.
  • Once it's all melted in and well mixed, take it off the heat
  • Put spoonfuls of the mixture onto greased baking trays and pop in the oven
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Now turn the heat down and continue baking for around 10 to 15 minutes or until browned
  • Wolf these bad boys down the same day.

For more information on Elle’s recipes, follow these links:
To Buy the Spain Buddy Recipe Book: http://www.spainbuddy.com/the-spain-buddy-recipes-book
The Spain Buddy website: http://www.spainbuddy.com
​--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Travel
 
Tordesillas – A town with a past searching for a future.

Tordesillas is a small town and municipality in the province of Valladolid in Castile and León. It developed along the banks of the river Duero and has a population of 9000. The town is serviced by an excellent road network making it an ideal destination to add to a tour of the region. North and south runs the A6 from La Coruña to Madrid, the A62 takes you east to Valladolid, Zamora to the west is accessed along the A11, and Salamanca in the southwest is reached via the E80.

The town has two claims to fame, the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494 and the Toro de la Vega. The former was an agreement between Spain and Portugal aimed at avoiding ownership conflicts over the newly discovered lands in the Americas. The latter was an annual fiesta that until 2016 saw a bull harried through the streets of the town by horse mounted lancers’ hell bent on stabbing the beast to death. The individual who delivered the fatal blow was granted the privilege of cutting off its testicles and parading them through the streets of the town on the point of his lance. No prizes for guessing why regional authorities banned the slaughter. As for the morality of allowing the chase to continue, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

It’s not the prettiest Spanish town you’ll ever visit but there is an honesty to its buildings. One such architectural treat is the Carmelite Convent (El Convento del Carmelo) located in the Plaza del Cristo Rey. The convent closed its doors to worship in 2010 when dwindling numbers saw the nuns join those of the Carmelite order in the nearby town of Medina del Campo. Today, there’s a programme underway to covert this abandoned 15th century convent into fifty, one and two-bedroom apartments for retirees. A lack of ambition springs to mind.

Walking north from the central Plaza Mayor you’ll find the church of Santa Maria. Construction began in the early part of the 16th century in the Gothic style. By the end of that century tastes had changed and the top of the tower is more classical. Other than this, the church is quite unremarkable with one exception, the main altar. In 1665 Pedro de la Torre was commissioned to design and build the altar. The result was so impressive that he was asked to build the baldachin (altar canopy) for the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. His aim was to rival that of the Vatican.

Tordesillas has a charm and character that many Spanish towns have lost. It’s not somewhere you could spend the day but if you were in the area it would be a shame to miss out on its authentic charm.

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Before enjoying this week’s author interview, with special guest Elle Draper, why not mix up one of her thoughtfully prepared cocktails and put your feet up. They look and sound delicious.

Spanish Flirtinis

Flirtinis originated from the hit television series, Sex and The City. The series tells the story of Carrie Bradshaw (and her friends Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha) as they shop, eat, drink and shag their way around New York. At a party one night, Samantha gets the ladies drinking Flirtinis - a potent mix of vodka, pineapple juice and Champagne.
Not to be outdone - here is a version I make that is perfect for these hot summer evenings. But be warned - these cocktails are a lot more potent than you would think!

Ingredients (Serves 1)Keep the ratio but mix as much as you like.

 

  • 50ml vodka
  • 50ml Cava
  • 100ml lemonade or gaseosa
  • Large glass full of ice (and wedges of lime which is optional)
  • Two or three slices of lemon or lime

The ratio should always be 1 part vodka to 1 part Cava to 2 parts lemonade (or gaseosa) - regardless of how much you make.

Method

 

  • Mix all liquid ingredients together
  • Serve in tall glasses over lots of ice and the lemon or lime slices
  • To save time, just pour each ingredient straight over the ice in turn (watch that the lemonade doesn't froth over) and stir with a straw or swizzly stick thing.


Spain Buddy tips

  • For an extra treat - mix in a dollop of lemon flavoured ice cream or sorbet per serving. You can always make up larger measures and mix it all in a blender.
  • I use fizzy lemon and lime rather than just lemonade - but then I love a lime kick!
  • People keep telling me they'll try this with gin instead of vodka, but as I can't stand the stuff... I can't vouch for the taste. Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

​------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And now for the main event.

Author Interview
Elle Draper

 
Elle’s book ‘Spain Recipes’ contains over 120 easy to follow recipes that will inspire you to explore the delicious and distinctive flavours of Spain.

Elle Draper lives with Alan and their three dogs in a beautiful village in the hills of Almería in southern Spain. Together they run Spain Buddy, a website full of information about this amazing country they are proud to call home.
 
Elle loves to work miracles (although she came unstuck when trying to turn water into wine) and sometimes wears a superhero cape. She loves dogs, wine, a wide variety of cuisine and her “Alan” (although not necessarily in that order). She’s been known to throw shoes and half the stationery cupboard but is generally very chilled out.
 
She is a devoted friend, but a lethal enemy and her bite is far worse than her bark.
 
Elle has a geeky side too and gets very excited about Doctor Who. She is also unashamed to admit she loves a bit of trashy telly.
 
Elle describes herself as one of those sickeningly chirpy optimistic people. She sees the best in everyone. When others view their glass half-full, she sees hers as an opportunity to top-up with more wine or vodka and usually gets a round of shots in while she’s waiting.
 
Her book was inspired by the amazing range of ingredients in Spain. Some recipes are authentic, while others draw inspiration from their ten years living here. All are designed to bring a taste of Spain into your kitchen.
 

For more information on Elle’s recipes, follow these links:
To Buy the Spain Buddy Recipe Book: http://www.spainbuddy.com/the-spain-buddy-recipes-book
The Spain Buddy website: http://www.spainbuddy.com

 
Question time – our roving reporter asked Elle ten challenging questions.
 
1.    If a movie was made of your life, who would play you and why?
 
It would have to be Catherine Tate. A number of friends have said we are alike in personality. Both of us are “in your face” and bubbly. We don’t really look alike – but I think she could play herself and still be a convincing “me – although I’m a little less “ditsy”
 
2.    If you won a million pounds/dollar/euros etc, what would you buy?
 
I’d buy a townhouse in Vélez-Blanco where we already live and do a “Grand Designs” on the interior, whilst keeping the outside looking like its neighbours. I’d help friends and family and do a lot more travelling. I’d also force my hubby to retire – he’s done enough to earn it now. I’d still keep SpainBuddy.com going though.
 
3.    What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
 
I despise racism and bigotry in all its forms. Sadly, we see it all too often.
 
4.    If you were 80 years old and had children, what’s the most important experience you could pass on to them?
 
To learn languages and then go and explore the world.
 
5.    You’re a new addition to my spice rack, what are you and why?
 
I’m probably a blend of ginger, chilli and garlic. At first you get a warm feeling like ginger, then I hit you with a spicy chilli kick (in a positive way) and then I stick around for quite some time in your memory (much like garlic).
 
6.    In less than 50 words, how does the internet work?
 
Oh Jesus! I do “the internet” for a living so I struggle to keep it under 50. Erm... it’s an amazing tool for knowledge and connections but is also filled with a lot of “white noise”. Is that fewer than 50 words?
 
7.    How can you tell if someone is a nerd?
 
I don’t know if you always can. I believe we all have a bit of an “inner nerd”. I’m a Doctor Who nerd for example – but not too geeky with it hopefully.
 
8.    If you could add one word to the dictionary, what would it be and what would it mean?
 
Ooer – erm... how about “Twattery”? It’s the act of being a complete and utter twat.
 
9.    What undiscovered technology will transform the future?
 
Holographic conversations. You’ll be able to put your smartphone or other device on a flat surface and have a 3D conversation with loved ones or knowledgeable people.
 
10. What is the one thing you own you wish you didn’t?
 
Oh my! I live a lean life – and am pretty brutal about clearing out unnecessary nonsense. Can I say my wrinkles?

 
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And finally - #normalwisdom

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​This Canabal Chronicle, Some-day Supplement was brought to you by Craig Briggs, (with a little help from his wife Melanie) author of The Journey series of books.

To purchase copies of my books, click these titles:

Journey To A Dream - Beyond Imagination - Endless Possibilities

 

Find out more about Craig, and Galicia or look him up on Facebook

 

Craig and Melanie also own and operate a luxury farmhouse rental property called Campo Verde. To find out more about a stay at Campo Verde and Galicia in general, visit their website getaway-galicia

 



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