A visit to an ecological farmer…

Patria visits Roche-7“I don’t really have anything to show you! Just a lot weed!”was the first sentence Andrés uttered. Thomas and I looked disappointed at each other. “Really, just weed??” Through our chef, Nino, we had been introduced to Andrés and had arranged a field trip to see his ecological vegetable garden, orange- and lemon plantation. Excited as we were, we had invited our friend fotografer Kelly to shoot lots of photos of the produce. Was it all in vain?

But luckily it didn’t take long for Andrés to warm up, and soon his passion for the “garden” became very clear. It also became clear that his first allegation was very much an understatement. He showed us from plot to plot; peas, artichokes, medlars, cabbage, carrots, laurell, cauliflower, red cabbage, spring onions, chard, oranges, lemons, – and we tried it all. Even the limes; handpicked and halfed we drank the juice directly from the fruit. I wouldn’t normally drink lime juice, but this was so refreshing and tasty. He picked some nuts from a tree, opened them and we were enjoing the most full-flavoured pecan nuts ever. He pulled up vegetables, handpicked fruits, cleaned those that needed it and gave us piles and bags filled to the limit for us to bring home and try out. I tried guyava fruit for the first time and was gobsmacked!
Even though his land isn’t that big, it is a lot of hard work. The place was so well kept and the produce standing so healthy and fresh. And the weeds? – well, nearly nothing; that just shows how utterly modest many Spanairds are. I for one, know how many extra man hours you have to put in to grow ecological produce. Being a daughter of a farmer, I never forget the endless days in the sugar beet fields… My dad was determined that to hoe the sugar beet fields manually was the best way to get rid of the weeds. One of our neighbours even mocked him about it: “Why use all that time hoeing the beet fields, when you can kill all the weed by spraying in less than half the time? Man, you are too oldfashioned!” I hated helping out in the beet fields, – it was boring and very hard work. But it has also made me aware of why organic produce has to cost more than the industrial farmed produce.Patria visits Roche-27Patria visits Roche-19

Walking around with Andrés in his “huerta”(vegetables garden) on this warm, sunny February day, you could feel his pride and joy about his work and we just can’t wait to get his vegetables into our kitchen and serve them for our guests, – and off course make organic juices and lemonades of his fruits.Patria visits Roche-25

Mushy, old bananas make a great banana cake.

sorte bananerafterWe eat a lot of fruits, but sometimes the bananas get dark brown/black real quick, which doesn’t really encourage anyone to eat them. But instead of throwing them out, here is a easy recipe for a delicious banana cake:

 170 gr sugar
100 gr butter
3 eggs
125 gr flour
1 teaspoon bakingpowder
2 teaspoon vanille sugar
1-2 bananas

Whip the sugar and softened butter well in a bowl, add the eggs one by one until the mass is white and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar. Then add it bit by bit to the sugar mass, while you stir it gently.

Mash the banana(s) well and add it to the rest. When everything is mixed, pour it into a greased baking tin. Bake in oven for appr. 55 minutes at 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).banankagebefore

Enjoy!

   

No more plastic bottles!

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Since we moved to Spain we have bought and thrown out a lot of plastic bottles, and I mean A LOT!! The tap water has a distinct taste of chlorine and it’s not recommended to drink directly from the tap. Becoming more and more aware how much plastic we consume every day, we decided to try to make a small difference. To bring our own shopping bags and always decline the plastic bags in shops, supermarkets etc. Three months ago we stopped buying plastic bottles, but only glass bottled water. Now this week we took it a step further and invested in a water decalcification system (our tap water was measured to contain 35% calc). Futhermore we have had a reverse osmosis water system installed to remove large majority of contaminants from our water. Now we can drink water directly from the tap and tastes great.
I’m so happy that we finally had it done! But the big question is: “Why didn’t we do it years ago!?” I don’t know, but videos like one in the link below, made us realize it was time to make a change. Even though it is just a small drop in the sea, it’s better than doing nothing. And I enjoy my water more today than I did a week ago!

See video: https://vidozz.com/Uj

Getting into the Christmas spirit…

 

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One of the many squares of Jerez de la Frontera

When you move abroad you find yourself missing out on many of the special Christmas traditions of your home country. In Denmark; Christmas time is also the time of darkness, cold weather, snow and staying indoor. Therefore it can be a bit difficult to get into Christmas spirit living here in Southern Spain. This year even more; we still have temperatures between 16-22 degrees, blue sky and the sun is shining bright. Is Santa going to wear shorts this year? But we do our best and have keep the traditions that suit us the most: We bake Christmas cookies, decorate the Christmas tree, watch the yearly Danish Christmas television serie(one episode every evening until 24th of December) and the kids get a small gift every Sunday of Advent.
But we have also adopted some Spanish traditions. Celebrating the Three Kings on 6th of January, visiting nearby villages when they “dress up” as ancient Bethlehem. And from this year adding one more: ZAMBOMBA! A zambomba is an instrument, made out of a clay pot, fabric and a stick, that is used to keep the rythem while hords of people sing Christmas carols.

zambombaZambomba is also the decription of the sing-a-longs you can experience in Spain, and especially in Jerez de la Frontera during December. If you vist the town during the weekend you can’t avoid bumping into the Zambomba choirs on every corner of the bigger squares (Plazas). Young and old join in on the singing, clapping and even flamenco dancing. It is joyful and you can’t help yourself joining the party.

Visit Jerez de la Frontera and zambomba your way into the spirit of Christmas.

 

DIY: Mushroom season

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Autumn is mushroom season. This year I’m planning on going hunting mushrooms in the nearby woods. But while I’m waiting for the chance to go foraging, I’ve made these! To decorate my Christmas tree…DIY,svamp

You need: cardboard, fabric (red colours and beige), thin rope, thread, rice, cushion filling

 

   

November

While living in Denmark, November was always the month I feared the most. It gets colder, the countryside bare and dull and the darkness sneaks up on you way too early in the afternoon. Here in Spain November has become one of my favourite months.

In this area there is the huge difference in high season and low season, and November is the month where many aeroplane companies stop their flights for almost 6 months and the number of tourists drops drastically causing a lot of restaurants, hotels and tourists attractions to close down. Us included! We close in November & December every year.

Many ask us where we’re going to spend our holiday. And the answer is off course; HERE! November is a gorgeous month. It’s still quite sunny, the beaches and the roads are almost empty. The weather is perfect for hiking, cycling, walking the dog on beach, watching our son’s football matches, surfing and 90% of our lunches this month we have enjoyed outside on the terrace. But it is not just November, but all the winter months, there is like this. Yes, we do get rain, strong winds and the temperature might drop to 10 degrees(C) but mainly it is a beautiful time for outside activities. There is a reason for why this is called the Coast of Light.

I can not figure out why Costa de la Luz is such an overlooked coastline for active holiday during the winter months.

bølger

 

   

“The Cake Man” (birthday cake)

kagemand2015

Last week we celebrated David’s birthday and in our family we have a cake tradition, which we brought with us to Spain, to big amusement for our kids’ friends. This cake was very typical in our Danish childhood, where our mums made it. At a child’s birthday party there would always be a “cake man” or “cake woman”.

Thursday morning, when David was in school, I baked a big chocolate cake. It doesn’t have to be this exact recipe, but it is super easy and the kids love it! (You can find the recipe on the bottom of the page) When it had cooled of, I cut it in the shape of a boy. Obviously at Thea’s parties, the cake is shaped with a dress instead of trousers.

The first kids arriving help decorating the cake with candy. While I spread the icing on top of the cake, they are ordered to wash their hands, and then we are ready. They always have lots of fun doing it; two blue-coloured sweets for eyes, yellow for hair etc. to make it look like the birthday child.

pynte kagemand

Remember(!!!) to buy plenty of candy, because half of it goes on the cake and the other half in their mouths.

Where Thomas’ and my cake traditions divide, are at the actually part of eating it. In my childhood we would scream while we made the first cut into the cake. Yes, I know it is a bit barbaric. But again, it’s good to let out some steam sometimes, hehe…

Here is a small video of it: (you might turn down the volume!)

Chocolate cake:(for 15 -20 kids)

750 gr butter
1250 gr sugar
10 eggs
875 gr flour
5 teaspoon baking powder
5 teaspoon vanilla sugar
20 soup spoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3,75 ml milk
3,75 ml boiling water

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).

In a large bowl whip the sugar and softened butter well, add the eggs one by one until the mass is white and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar and cocoa and then add it bit by bit to the sugar mass, while you stir it gently and adding milk. When the batter is smooth, add the boiling water and again stir until smooth; the batter will be thin. Pour the batter into a pan prepared with baking paper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before you cut the shape of a boy/girl.

Have fun!