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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 5
31 August 2017 @ 10:00

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
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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!

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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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2 Comments


anthomo16 said:
02 September 2017 @ 10:14

Have just downloaded your first book Journey to a Dream looking forwardto reading it


CraigBriggs said:
02 September 2017 @ 10:57

I hope it lives up to expectations. That first year in Spain was by far the most difficult. I can't give too much away at the moment but if you keep an eye on my facebook page over the next few weeks, you will be able to add to the series at little if any cost. https://www.facebook.com/craigbriggs.spain/



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