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This is a very special site for me. I can express this way my perception of reality through these photo image creations and share them with you as if you were at my home.

Another succulent dish from the south of Spain
01 October 2018

      Today I would like to share with you a very Andalusian recipe: "Abajalá de Algeciras".

      These are the Ingredients, for 4 people:

1 kg. of mixed fish (monkfish, sea bream, sea bream, hake, tuna, mackerel, ..)

2 ripe tomatoes

1 onion

250 grs. of hard bread

1 glass of white wine

1 dl. of olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 litre of fish stock (can be made with concentrate pills)

Parsley and pepper

Saffron

Salt and water

Some Ingredients

     Now you have to cut the fish, into large pieces, and cook it, in the broth with the wine, for 10 minutes. Then, apart from the saucepan, take out the fish and reserve it. Apart, prepare a sauce with onion, garlic, tomato and parsley, all chopped, and add the broth from boiling the fish. Let cook for another 10 minutes.

Cooking the soup

      Make a side dish with a clove of garlic, black pepper, saffron and a little olive oil and pour into the broth (reserving 150 cl. Apart) together with the bread with pinches or thin slices, giving a boil of about two or three minutes. Remove the soup and serve hot, as a first dish.

      And this must be the result of the soup:

The soup of the Abajalá

      From the second dish, the fishes are placed, accompanied by a sauce made with a little of the previously reserved broth, a mashed garlic and enough oil, put on the fire, already emulsified and heating it with the fishes.

      These are two examples of the second dish:

One example of Abajalá​​​​​​​

Tapa of Abajalá in La Canalla​​​​​​​

      This is the restaurant “La Canalla”, in Algeciras (Cadiz. South of Spain).

La Canalla​​​​​​​

      And these are the first and the second dishes together:​​​​​​​

The two dishes together

      Well, I hope that you will like this recipe.

      Until my next post, kind regards

Luis.

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Another Spanish saying and proverb 81
26 September 2018

      Today I would like to tell you a very funny Spanish expression: "El chocolate del loro” ("The chocolate of the parrot").

      This expression is said, ironically, to describe as ridiculous those saving measures that, in reality, do not save anything. Like the one that, according to the saying, the lady of the story took, depriving the poor parrot of his daily ration of chocolate.

The chocolate of the parrot

      Or that expensive Duke, who put on alert by the administrator, about the progress of his estate, he thought and after a while said: "Very well, here, indeed, you spend too much and you need to make savings. Let's see: Baptist: when the Duchess and I go out at night, the two lanterns on the fence are lit, until we return; well, from now on, with only one light, it's enough. Issue concluded”.

A small latern

      Well, I hope that you will like this saying.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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​​​​​​​



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The most important Queen in the History of Spain
24 September 2018

      Today I would like to speak to you about a very important Queen for Spain: "Isabel I de Castilla".

      Isabel I de Castilla was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres (a village that belongs to the province of Ávila), on April 22, 1451; and she died, in Medina del Campo (Valladolid), on November 26, 1504.

Madrigal de las Altas Torres

Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, birthplace of Isabel I de Castilla​​​​​​​

Medina del Campo​​​​​​​

      Isabel was Queen of Castile from 1474 to 1504, Queen consort of Sicily from 1469 and Aragon from 1479, by her marriage with Fernando de Aragón. She is also known as “Isabel la Católica”, a title that was granted to her and her husband by Pope Alexander VI, through the bull “Si convenit”, on December 19, 1496. Therefore the Royal couple is known as “Reyes Católicos” (The Catholic Kings),

Isabel I de Castilla​​​​​​​

Fernando The Catholic​​​​​​​

Isabel and Fernando, Los Reyes Católicos​​​​​​​

      She married on October 19, 1469 with Prince Fernando de Aragón. Because they were second cousins, they needed a papal bull of dispensation that they only got from Sixtus IV, through his envoy, the Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, in 1472. She and her husband Ferdinand conquered the Nasrid kingdom of Granada and participated in a network of marriage alliances, who made their grandson, Carlos, inherit the crowns of Castile and Aragon, as well as other European territories, and became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Carlos I de España and V de Alemania​​​​​​​

      Isabel and Fernando took the throne after a long struggle, first against the King Henry IV and, from 1475 to 1479, in the Castilian War of Succession, against the supporters of the other pretender to the throne, Joan. Isabel reorganised the system of government and administration, centralising powers previously held by the nobles; reformed the system of citizen security and carried out an economic reform to reduce the debt that the kingdom had inherited from her stepbrother, and predecessor on the throne, Henry IV. After winning the war, in Granada, the Catholic Kings expelled the Jews from their kingdoms and, years later, also the Muslims.

      Isabel granted support to Christopher Columbus, in the search of the West Indies, which led to the discovery of America. This event would result in the conquest of the discovered lands and the creation of the Spanish Empire.

      Isabel lived 53 years, of which she ruled 30 years as Queen of Castile and 26 as Queen consort of Aragon, next to Fernando II. Since 1974, she has been considered a Servant of God by the Catholic Church, and her cause of beatification is open.

      Isabel de Castilla, daughter of Juan II of Castile and his second wife, Isabel de Portugal (1428-1496), was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Ávila), on April 22, 1451, Holy Thursday, in the Palace that today occupies the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace. No one thought how important that child would be in the future. At that time, Madrigal was a small village, in which her mother lived, Isabel de Avis, and from her she received the name, which was not frequent in Spain. Two years later, her brother Alfonso was born in Tordesillas.

      Five lustrums before, fruit of the marriage between Juan II of Castile and Maria de Aragón, and therefore brother of Isabel on the part of father, had been born Enrique (1425), who would accede to the throne, in 1454, as Enrique IV.

      Isabel de Castilla was the granddaughter of Catherine de Lancaster. Let's see:

      Catalina de Lancaster was born in Hertford, on March 31, 1373 and died, in Valladolid, on June 2, 1418. She was the daughter of Juan de Gante and his second wife, Constanza de Castilla, and Queen consort de Castilla, his marriage to King Enrique III of Castile.

Catalina de Lancaster​​​​​​​

Juan de Gante​​​​​​​

      On the father's side, her grandparents were the King Edward III of England and his wife, Felipa de Henao. On the maternal side, her grandparents were the King Pedro I of Castile and his wife, María de Padilla.

Eduardo III of England​​​​​​​

Felipa of Lancaster​​​​​​​

      Catalina of Lancaster was sister of the King Henry IV of England and grandmother of Isabella the Catholic.

Enrique IV of England​​​​​​​

Isabel I of Castile​​​​​​​

      As granddaughter of the deposed King Pedro I of Castile, Catalina was educated in her own home, as an heiress, and entered into Spanish politics when her father, Juan de Gante, claimed the throne in the name of his wife, Constanza, and his daughter, organizing an expedition with the help of Richard II of England, who landed in La Coruña, in 1386.

Ricardo II of England​​​​​​​

      To resolve the conflict, under the Treaty of Bayonne, Catherine de Lancaster contracted betrothal, with her cousin Enrique de Trastamara, on September 17, 1388, in the Cathedral of San Antolin of Palencia. Enrique was a member of the House of Trastamara, bastard branch of the House of Burgundy. Her husband, Enrique, was granted the title of Prince of Asturias, since then the title was used by the heir of the Castilian crown and, later, by the heir of the Spanish crown.

Enrique de Trastámara in the Fortress of Segovia​​​​​​​

      This link put an end to the dynastic conflict between the descendants of Pedro I of Castile and Enrique II of Castile, establishing the House of Trastámara and establishing peace between England and the Crown of Castile.

The coat of arms of England​​​​​​​

The coat of arms of the Crown of Castile​​​​​​​

      The formal marriage between Catherine de Lancaster and her husband was held in the town of Madrid, in 1393, and Henry III was King of Castile.

Enrique III de Castilla

      Upon the death of her father, in 1454, Isabel was sent with her mother and her brother Alfonso to the village of Arévalo, where she would see her mother's mad attacks. This is a time of difficulties, even economic ones. During this time, Isabel devoted herself to reading religious books. She also struck up a friendship with Beatriz de Silva (1424-1491), who would later help in founding the Order of the Immaculate Conception and to which she donated the palaces of Galiana, in the city of Toledo. Other important people, at this time and in general in her life were, in the Toledo area, Gutierre de Cárdenas, his wife Teresa Enríquez and Gonzalo Chacón.

      In 1461, Isabel and her brother Alfonso were transferred to Segovia, where the Court was located, because the birth of the daughter of the kings, Miss Juana de Castilla, was near. Soon, the enemies of the king, nicknamed her Juana "la Beltraneja", spreading the rumor that the father was a courtier, Beltrán de la Cueva.

Beltran de la Cueva​​​​​​​

      In 1465, a part of the nobles clashed with the King Enrique, formed a side around his stepbrother Alfonso, only twelve years, and came to depose Enrique in the "farce of Avila". Isabel remained at Alfonso's side, during this time. However, in 1468, Alfonso died in Cardeñosa, perhaps poisoned.

      In spite of the pressures of the nobles, Isabel refused to proclaim herself Queen while Enrique IV was alive. On the contrary, she got his stepbrother to grant her the title of Princess of Asturias, in a disputed ceremony that took place in the Toros de Guisando, on September 19, 1468, known as the “Concordia de Guisando”. Isabel was constituted as heir to the crown, ahead of Juana, her niece and goddaughter of baptism, to whom part of the nobility did not consider legitimized to occupy the throne, because of the doubts that there were about her fatherhood. From this moment, Isabel goes to reside in Ocaña, a town belonging to Don Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena. The king initiates diplomatic contacts with other royal houses to achieve a marriage agreement that will give him benefits.

Juan Manuel Fernandez Pacheco​​​​​​​

      The support of the San Juan eagle with nimbus was already used, in 1473, on the coat of arms of Isabel, being still a princess. The motto or mmoniker "Tanto monta ..." explained the personal badge of Ferdinand II of Aragon, who adopted a yoke with a knot cut in allusion to the Gordian knot, which gave so much (both mounted) to untie it as to chop it. The Queen's own motif was the bundle of arrows. After the union of crowns, these two elements passed to the common crest, which took heraldic elements from the two consorts.

Combined arms of the Catholic Kings​​​​​​​

      Since three years, Isabel had been engaged to Fernando, son of Juan II of Aragon.

      However, Enrique IV broke this agreement, six years later, to compromise her with Carlos, Prince of Viana. The marriage did not get to consolidate, by the determined opposition of Juan II of Aragon. Enrique IV's attempts to marry her with the King Alfonso V of Portugal, Elizabeth's second-degree cousin and almost twenty years older than her, were also unsuccessful. In 1464, he managed to reunite them in the Monastery of Guadalupe, but she rejected him, citing the age difference between the two.

Alfonso V King of Portugal​​​​​​​

        Later, when she was 16 years old, Isabel was engaged to Pedro Girón, 43 years old, Master of Calatrava and brother of Juan Pacheco; but Giron died of unknown causes, while making the journey to meet his fiancée.

      On September 18, 1468, Isabel was proclaimed Princess of Asturias, through the Concord of the Bulls of Guisando, Henry IV revoking in this way the previous appointment of his daughter Juana. After the ceremony, Isabel went on to live in Ocaña, in close contact with the Court. Henry IV again agreed the link between Elizabeth and the Duke of Braganza and King of Portugal, Alfonso V, since in the Treaty of the Bulls of Guisando had been agreed that the marriage of Elizabeth should be held with the approval of the Castilian monarch. The proposal also involved the project of marrying his daughter, Juana, with the Crown Prince, Juan, son of Alfonso V of Portugal. In this way, Isabel would be transferred to the neighbouring kingdom and, on the death of her husband, the thrones of Portugal and Castile would pass to Juan II of Portugal and his wife, Juana. But Isabel refused.

      After this, the king tried to be married to the Duke of Guyenne, brother of Louis XI of France; but Isabel refused again. The French monarch then asked the hand of Juana for his brother, the Duke of Guyenne; Louis XI wanted to take the duke away from his surroundings, because he was a threat to him. The betrothal was performed in 1470, in Medina del Campo, but the duke died in 1472 of tuberculosis, 12 years before meeting the bride.

      Meanwhile, Juan II of Aragón tried to negotiate in secret with Isabel the wedding with his son Fernando. Isabel and her counselors considered that he was the best candidate for a husband, but there was a legal impediment, since they were second cousins (her grandparents, Fernando de Antequera and Enrique III, were brothers). They needed, therefore, a papal bull that exonerated them from consanguinity. The Pope, however, did not sign this document, fearing the possible negative consequences that this act could bring to him when the enmity of the kingdoms of Castile, Portugal and France attracted, all of them involved in negotiations to marry Princess Isabel with another suitor.

      People from Isabel's environment falsified a supposed bull issued, in June 1464, by the previous Pope, Pius II, in favour of Fernando, in which he was allowed to marry any princess with whom he joined a blood relationship of up to third grade. Isabel accepted and signed the marriage agreements of Cervera, March 5, 1469. For the betrothal and fearing that Enrique IV aborted her plans, in May 1469 and with the excuse of visiting the tomb of her brother Alfonso, who rested in Ávila, Isabel escaped from Ocaña, where she was closely guarded by Don Juan Pacheco. For his part, Ferdinand went through Castile in secret, disguised as a mule waiter of some merchants. Finally, on October 19, 1469, they married in the Palacio de los Vivero, in Valladolid.

Fernando II of Aragon The Catholic​​​​​​​

      The marriage cost Isabel the confrontation with her half brother, the king. In 1471, Pope Sixtus IV sent Cardinal Rodrigo de Borja, to Spain, as a papal legate to settle various political affairs, in the peninsula, including this wedding. With him, he brought the Bull of Simancas, who dispensed from consanguinity to the princes Isabel and Fernando. Borja negotiated with them: he would give them the bull, in exchange for them granting the city of Gandía to his son Pedro Luis. Isabel and Fernando would fulfill their part of the bargain, in 1485.

      When Henry IV died, Isabel was proclaimed Queen of Castile, on December 13, 1474, in Segovia, basing its legitimacy on the Treaty of the Bulls of Guisando. Then the War of the Castilian Succession (1475-1479) broke out between the supporters of Isabel and those of her niece Juana. The Treaty of Alcaçovas ended the conflict, recognising Isabel and Fernando as kings of Castile, in exchange for certain concessions to Portugal. After the war, Isabel ordered the construction of the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.

Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes

      Isabel instructed her sons that they had obligations for their rank as sons of Kings, and that they should sacrifice themselves for that reason. She took them with her, during the military campaigns, but she also always watched over their well-being, as their courage proves before the mutiny that took place, in the Alcazar of Segovia, in 1476. The kings had installed the court there and lived there, in the fortress firstborn Isabel, under the protection and care of her friend, Beatriz de Bobadilla, and her husband, the warden Andrés Cabrera. He was of Jewish origin, which at that time was a source of racial tensions, and he was accused of wanting to take advantage of the trust, that the kings had for him, in addition to accusing him of embezzlement and tyranny. The tumult turned into a riot, when some provocateurs, disguised as peasants and with concealed weapons, harangued the population to dismiss the warden. Towards the Alcázar, a mass of furious people came, armed with tools of peasants, sticks and stones. The Queen was with Cardinal Mendoza, when he learned what happened, but neither had enough troops to defend the square. Fearful of the risk that her daughter could take, the Queen climbed on her horse and, accompanied by three guards, rode 60 kilometres to Segovia. At the entrance, the bishop tried to stop her, because of the great risk that she ran, but Isabel ignored the advice and advanced to the Alcázar. She went in and left the doors open, for all the mutineers to come in to expose her the complaints. After studying the complaints, she keeps Andrés Cabrera in the position. The people of Segovia kept her faithful, from that moment.

      During the military campaigns of Fernando, the Queen was always in the rear, accompanied by her children and pending to provide what was necessary. Her help was decisive for the Castilian-Aragonese victory, in the Granada war, as evidenced by the facts of the surrender of Baza (Granada). It happened that the city had been fenced for a long time, but the population did not want to surrender and the Christian soldiers began to be demoralised by the long siege. The King Fernando asks his wife to appear, on the battlefield, to raise the morale of the troops. Isabel does this, being accompanied by several ladies and her eldest daughter, Isabel. The impact of her presence was immediate, not only for the Christian troops, but for the besieged population, that began its surrender, but not before the warrior king, but before the courageous Queen. In addition, Isabel was the precursor of the field Hospital , to be accompanied by medical personnel and assistants, to attend to the wounded, in the battlefield.

      She believed in the projects of Christopher Columbus, despite the many criticisms and adverse political reactions of the Court and the scientists. During the common reign, with Ferdinand, there were events of great importance for the future of the kingdom, such as the establishment of the Holy Inquisition (1480), the creation of the Holy Brotherhood, the incorporation of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, as well as the religious unification of the Hispanic Crown, based on the forced conversion of the Jews, under death penalty or expulsion (Edict of Granada, 1492) and later of the Muslims.

      After the discovery of America, in 1492, the process of evangelization of the indigenous natives began, entrusting this task to the Hungarian Pauline monks, who left for the new lands, in the next voyages of Columbus. The kings were concerned about the conversion and treatment fair of the Amerindians. They limited the enslavement of the Indians, initiated by Columbus, to the cases provided for in the Castilian laws of the time and prohibited, with little success, the distribution of Indians among the Spaniards settled in the Caribbean. After the death, the Governor Ovando took advantage of the power vacuum to establish the institution of the Assignment on Española Island. Isabel and Fernando signed the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) with Portugal, which delimited their spheres of influence, in the Atlantic Ocean. At the wish of the urban merchants, he created the Holy Brotherhood, the police force for the repression of banditry, creating much safer conditions for trade and the economy.

      For his military campaigns, she relyied on the service of Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba (the Great Captain), who took part in the conquest of Granada (1492), in the first two Wars of Italy and in the taking of Kefalonia (1500).

Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba

      Given the historical implication of the Crown of Aragon in Italy and for another series of reasons (their Christian virtues, the conquest of Granada, the expulsion of the Jews and the crusade against the Muslims), Ferdinand and Isabella received the title of Catholic Kings, granted by the Pope Alexander VI, through the bull “Si convenit”, of December 19, 1496. This title was inherited by the descendants on the throne (both Austria and Bourbons), currently being owned by the King Philip VI of Spain. The Pope Alexander VI awarded him the honorary distinction of Rose of Gold of Christianity, in 1500.

      At the end of their days, the family misfortunes were primed with her. The death of her mother, Isabel, her only son and the abortion of his wife, the death of her eldest daughter and her grandson, Miguel (who was to unify the Kingdoms of the Catholic Kings with that of Portugal); the alleged "madness" of her daughter, Juana (who openly defied her mother in Medina del Campo) and the snubs of Felipe el Hermoso; the departure of her daughter, Maria to Portugal, after marrying Manuel I of Portugal and the uncertainty of her daughter Catherine, after the death of her English husband, plunged her into a deep depression, that made her wear a severe mourning for the rest of her life.

      Well, I hope that you will like this article.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

Please click below:

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Message of encouragement for Alzheimer's patients from Spain
21 September 2018

      Today is World Alzheimer's Day and I want to send a very affectionate memory for all Alzheimer's patients, their families and their caregivers.

      I hope the scientists continue to investigate to completely eliminate this disease someday.

    Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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The pink tomato of Alcolea: a sweeter vegetable from southern Spain
14 September 2018

      Today I would like to talk to you about a vegetable grown in Andalusia (South of Spain): “El tomate rosa” (“the pink tomato”).

      The tomato was brought, by Columbus to Spain.

Tomato came from America

      But, after the Discovery of America, its use was not immediate. It arrived to Spain in the sixteenth century, but for a long time it only served as an ornamental plant, because it was thought to be poisonous. And so until the eighteenth century, which progressively spread from here to other countries, whose kitchens would be almost orphan without tomatoes. They would probably be very good, because here the imagination is inexhaustible, but they would be others. Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, most European countries, even non-Mediterranean countries, North Africa ... have incorporated tomato. And above all America.

      The tomato is not only good for its properties (The tomato is rich in vitamins and minerals: this vegetable provides vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant, as well as vitamin A, K, iron and potassium. The tomato protects the eyesight: it contains vitamin A, which helps protect our eyes from degenerative diseases or night blindness), but also allows us to make a variety of dishes: with it, we can make gazpacho, salmorejo, sauces, stir-fries. It combines perfectly with chicken, egg, veal, pork and cod stews. Pizzas, lasagna, cannelloni, spaghetti, macaroni ... In salads is essential. And it also adapts, like any other fruit, to marmalade and jams. Tomatoes can be stuffed with tuna, Russian salad, sausages, rice, mushrooms.

Red tomato​​​​​​​

      If you want to make a “Gazpacho”, you have to do this one: Put, in a large glass of blender: Garlic, salt, vinegar (usually apple), tomato, olive oil and whisk everything with that blender. Keep in the fridge, so that it is cold, which is better.

Andalusian gazpacho​​​​​​​

      But today I would not like to talk about the red tomato, but the "pink tomato". In Spain there are many places, where pink tomatoes are grown; but above all there are 3 famous places: Barbastro (Aragón), Los Palacios (Seville) and Alcolea (Córdoba). Today I want to talk to you about the Alcolea tomatoes.

      Alcolea is a neighborhood of Córdoba.

The map with the area around Cordoba​​​​​​​

An aereal view of Alcolea and the Guadalquivir river​​​​​​​

Alcolea close up​​​​​​​

Another angle of Alcolea close up​​​​​​​

      In Alcolea, there are 3 types of tomatoes: the Pink, the Hybrid and the Copado. But I want to talk to you about the pink tomato.

      A farmer from Cordoba says that this year, in general, the tomato harvest has been delayed, due to the cold that it has been.

      The “pink tomato” or “maiden skin” is not known only for its characteristic colour but also for its interior, which becomes almost reddish and thin skin.

The Pink tomato from Alcolea​​​​​​​

      Some tomatoes weigh even 3/4 of a kilogram.

      Among the multiple characteristics, that those who consume it say about it, they find that it is very meaty, juicy and sweet, and also has few seeds. The low acidity and taste are also prominent among its consumers. This fruit, which prevails in Cordovan fruit shops during the months of July and August, is grown in the province of Córdoba. In particular, the pink tomato of Alcolea and La Carlota is known. It is a food that adapts well to high temperatures and allows this product to be exported every day throughout Spain. And that even comes to be used were from the border of the Iberian Peninsula. Michelle Obama herself, during her visit to Madrid in June, was able to enjoy this food so characteristic of Cordoba. It was during one of the meals that they made at the embassy, where the American claimed this fruit because it is the only type of tomato that she eats, according to the owner of the Frescum organic supermarket, Carlos Pérez.

Michelle-Obama eaten pasta with tomato​​​​​​​

      "Many people come every day looking for the pink tomato", explains the saleswoman of one of the fruit shops, in the market of the Plaza de España, María del Carmen Cañete. The greengrocer says that the taste is different and that is why it is so claimed among the people of Cordoba, despite the fact that its price is somewhat higher than the rest. Cañete says that this product is available in her establishment during "almost the whole year", but especially during the summer season. The clients of the commerce mainly use it for "salads", according to exposes the clerk. However, Cañete says that "lately it is being used to perform salmorejo".

Salmorejo from Cordoba​​​​​​​

      The same use is also given to this food by the customers of the fruit shop La Naranja, according to one of its employees, Manuel Martín. The fruit seller details that the pink tomato arrives from Alcolea, during the months of summer, since it is a "delicate" food, and that has a sale superior to the one of the others. "It has more flavour than those from outside", Martin argues. The seller notes that, when the season starts, the price is higher but that it decreases as summer ends.

      "A tomato chopped, with fat salt and pepper point", this is the preferred way to eat this product of Teresa, a Cordovan who regularly goes to the fruit shop to buy this fruit. "It is a food that spoils easily, so I prefer to buy less", she argues.

      Salmorejo, a classic from Cordovan summer and in which the tomato plays an essential role, is another dish for which it is increasingly used. Although it does not provide the characteristic colour, in this cold creation, the flavour is prime among those who prefer to use this tomato from Alcolea and La Carlota in the preparation of this food.

      Whatever the purpose with which the pink tomato is purchased, this product will continue to be a priority in the healthy diet of the people of Cordoba. A food that comes from the orchards of the province and that for its flavour is increasingly demanded by citizens. Its large size and the characteristic interior, in which the seeds are scarce, allow easy identification of the pink tomato in the markets or fruit shops, in the province. And although it still does not stand out internationally, among the more than 40 tomato varieties that exist, everything points to its taste that will make this product exported more and more to all parts of Europe and other continents.

       The pink tomatoes are ugly, with many scars derived from the fragility of their skin and a beautiful pink colour. They have nothing to do with the repeated tomatoes in series, that we usually find in supermarkets. When opening the tomato in half, we noticed the differences with the usual tomatoes. First, the tomato is cut without any difficulty since its skin is very thin. And second, the seeds are not grouped in independent cells as they happen with the others, but they are distributed throughout the surface. It has much more meat and less water. Therefore, although they have a slightly higher price, it is worth it.

      These tomatoes are so good that, with just a few grains of salt and pepper, they are already irresistible, but with the recipe that I am going to give you now, the aroma of white truffle and the flavour of garlic will make you have a dish of category, on your table.

      These are the Ingredients:

1/2 kg of pink tomatoes of Alcolea

3 garlic cloves

Essence of white truffle spray

Olive oil

Salt.

      Cut the tomatoes with a mandolin or a knife as thin as possible. Place it on a platter. Sprinkle with the essence of white truffle and sprinkle with fat salt on top.

      Peel and crush the cloves of garlic in a mortar. Heat oil in a pan and add the garlic. Move with a teaspoon until golden brown and crispy. Be careful because they burn quickly. Let temper a little and wash down the tomatoes with the oil and the garlic.

      And this must be the result:

Carpaccio with truffle​​​​​​​

      Well, I hope that you will like this article and hope that you will wish to try to cook this dish.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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The village with more bookshops in Spain
04 September 2018

      On August 18, I listened an interview on the radio to Teresa Crespo (owner of one of the 11 bookshops, in the village of Urueña, the bookshop is called "Primera página" = "First page") and today I would like to tell you about this interview, since I found it very curious what Teresa told us.

Interview to Teresa Crespo

      Urueña is a village located in the province of Valladolid, which in 2017 had only 192 inhabitants.

An aereal view of Urueña

Urueña close up from sky

The wall of Urueña

The hermitage Nuestra Señora de la Anunciada in front of the wall​​​​​​​

Another angle of the Romanesque hermitage​​​​​​​

The main door of the hermitage

Inside the hermitage​​​​​​​

The abse of the hermitage​​​​​​​

The Castle of Urueña​​​​​​​

The village with the wall​​​​​​​

A door through the wall

A narrow street parallel to the wall​​​​​​​

Walking on the wall​​​​​​​

Another narrow street beside the wall​​​​​​​

Another street of Urueña​​​​​​​

One more street​​​​​​​ with a church

A street and a church​​​​​​​

The church Nuestra Señora del Azogue​​​​​​​

      This village was declared a Historic-Artistic Complex in 1975. But, besides being one of the most beautiful villages in Spain –the last 2017, it has been visited by 21.000 people--, it has a very curious peculiarity: it is the village with the most bookshops in Spain --concretely, it has 11 and since 2007 it is the first Villa of the Book of Spain-- .

      The first bookshop in Urueña was named “Alcaraván” and its owner is Jesus.


Alcaravan in Urueña

Jesus and its bookshop Alcaravan​​​​​​​

      The bookshop Primera página, by Teresa Crespo:

Primera pagina​​​​​​​

      Another famous bookshop:

The bookshop La Boutique del Cuento​​​​​​​

The Boutique del Cuento inside​​​​​​​

       Another bookshop:

A small bookshop​​​​​​​

      Apart from the bookshops, you can find a Social Center, where you also can eat, with a good price.

The Social Center​​​​​​​

The famous Restaurant-bar Villa de Urueña

Inside the bar​​​​​​​

      If you want to stay and rest some day in Urueña, you can go to the largest literary hotel in the world:

The Literary man óbidos hotel​​​​​​​

The hotel inside​​​​​​​

A bedroom in the hotel​​​​​​​

      You can also go to another good hotel:

The rural Hotel El Pozolico beside the wall​​​​​​​

An entrance to the Hotel El Pozolico​​​​​​​

Facade of the Hotel El Pozolico​​​​​​​

Inside the Hotel

Patio of the l Hotel Pozolico

A small living room at Hotel El Pozolico​​​​​​​

A bedroom of the Hotel El Pozolico​​​​​​​

Another bedroom of the Hotel Pozolico​​​​​​​

One more bedroom at the same hotel​​​​​​​

The garden of the hotel​​​​​​​

      But, if you prefer, in Urueña you can find two famous rural houses: Los Beatos and Los Ilustres (Villa de Urueña).

      La Casa de los Beatos (The House of the Blesseds) is situated in the centre of the village, at the the Street Nueva, number 4.

      This House is dedicated to the blesseds and it is decorated with illustrations of some of the best known and notables.

Main facade of the rural house Los Beatos​​​​​​​

Hall of the Casa de los Beatos​​​​​​​

The living room of the Casa de los Beatos​​​​​​​

Another angle of the dining room and the living room of the House of Blesseds​​​​​​​

The kitchen of the Casa de los Beatos

A bedroom in the House of Los Beatos​​​​​​​

A bedroom with a similar colour in the House of Blesseds​​​​​​​

An another different bedroom of the House of Blesseds​​​​​​​

The garden of the Casa de los Beatos

      If you think to go to this house, perhaps you need this information: It has two floors of 170m2, with 5 rooms. All of them with full bathroom and TV, which can be booked individually or together. And it cost: € 500 weekend --2 nights-- full house for 10 people (see other possibilities). But you have another option: € 10 / day, extra bed - € 5 / day, cot. € 6 rent per bike and day. Free WIFI service.

       This is the telephone number:  626 847 133

       And this one the email:  casarural@villadeuruena.es

       The second house is this one:

The Casa de los Ilustres from behind and its garden​​​​​​​

The House of the Illustrious  close up from behind​​​​​​​

Hall of the Casa de los Ilustres​​​​​​​

The living room of the House of the Illustrious​​​​​​​

The kitchen of the Casa de los Ilustres​​​​​​​

A bedroom in the Casa de los Ilustres​​​​​​​

A double bedroom in the Casa de los Ilustres​​​​​​​

Another bedroom in the Casa de los Ilustres​​​​​​​

      This house, located on Street Parra, number 24, has these characteristics: the structure is quadrangular and on the ground floor it has a large living room with TV, DVD, games and fireplace. It gives way to a large hall, next to the well-equipped wooden kitchen with all its appliances and utensils for 10 people.

      The house has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. It also has 240 m2, with a garden of 200 m2. Smokers allowed, pets Allowed, children allowed.

      Price: 450 € Weekend, 2 nights, full house for 10 people

                  300 € One night, full house for 10 people

                    45 € Double room, 2 people one night

                      6 € Rent per bike and day.

      This is the telephone number:  626 84 71 33

      And this one the email:  casarural@villadeuruena.es

      Well, I hope that you will like this article and hope that you will ever go to Urueña. If you do it, please tell me it.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

Sponsored by Costaluz Lawyers.

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