Danish sweetened bread.

Last Sunday we served a Danish sweetened bread at our buffet. A guest asked if I could be persuaded to post the recipe on our blog. Well, of course. Here it is:

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Danish sweetened bread.

 2 eggs

 125 g soft butter

 50 g sugar

 1 teaspoon cardamom

 1¼ cups whole milk

 75 g raisins

250 g wheat flour

 2 teaspoons baking powder

Garnish:

Chopped almonds

Brown sugar

Begin with heating the oven to 200 degrees.

Then beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Take aside a bit of the eggs to glaze the bread before it is placed in the oven. Stir butter into the eggs with sugar and cardamom. Add milk and mix to a smooth paste. Turn raisins, wheat flour and baking powder together and add it to the dough. Stir until the dough is firm – add more wheat flour, if necessary. Use a spoon to scoop the dough onto a tray covered with baking paper, so it resembles a loaf of bread (approx. 10 cm wide). Glaze with egg, then sprinkle with almonds and brown sugar. Bake the bread in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

James Turrell changes the colors of the sky

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A couple of days ago, I was so fortunate to be invited to a light sculpture show, which I can highly recommend to everybody to experience.

Second Wind by the artist James Turrell(Los Angeles, California, 1943) is an underground architectural skyspace piece, not far from Vejer de la Frontera. Here the viewers enter an inner pyramid, via a tunnel. Inside is a stone stupa, surrounded by a pool. Stupas are circular domes used in Buddhist architecture, and whose shape and position have the effect of making the cosmos appear closer. The passageway into the stupa leads to a room with a circular hole in the ceiling, open to the sky. Here, you can sit down and watch the changes of light “sculpted” by the artist.  The color of the lights in the room makes you observe a change in colors of the sky. It is recommended to enjoy the “show” in twilight, when light is at its most intense and the colours of the sky are enhanced, altering the viewer’s perception of the sky as a space, a shape and an object.

The photos are taken of the same hole in the ceiling in a time frame of 45 minutes. In the twilight and by changing the colors of the lights inside, the color of the sky changes to various shades. I didn’t taken a photo while the red light made the sky turn green or later when the sky turned red, that you have to experience for yourself;-)

To enter: http://www.fundacionnmac.org/en/activities/second-wind

 

(NB. It would have been totally cool, if they had played Pink Floyds Shine on you, crazy Diamond during the show)

   

Danish confirmation in Spain; the Ceremony

We didn’t find a church, but our daughter could still have her confirmation, because (as mentioned in an earlier post) we were given permission to do the ceremony at home. Luckily the weather allowed us to have it outside on the restaurant terrace, though the morning started out with light showers.

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By moving away all the restaurant tables, we made space for the chairs to the guests and one small table with a white table cloth, which constituted the altar. The priest arrived with a crucifix, then came a saxophone player and at last our family & friends. It felt very special to have the ceremony at home. The priest spoke in Danish and in Spanish, so everybody were able to take part. The hymns were only in Danish though, – in the beginning the singing felt a bit strange, good thing we had the saxophone player to accompany us. The atmosphere was relaxed and still solemnly. In the end we were happy to have her confirmed here, where even our cat and dog joined in.DSC_8034

Photos by Kelly Lawlor

I need my internet!!!

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Exactly, what part didn’t they understand….?

I need my internet to work!!!

It is sooo frustrating to depend on internet and not having it! Since Monday last week, we have been calling our phone company complaining about the line.  Or let’s say non-line….then there is internet, and then there is not!!! And it all started with a nice service gesture from the phone company. They wanted to replace our old router with a new and better one, and since it has just been down-hill.

Today we had our fourth visit of a technician, and they all blame the other; it is a bad router, it is the cables outside and so on. And in the meantime I sit here, infuriated by my phone bills. Spain is on the most expensive countries in Europe to use phone and internet, and still the coverage is rubbish. So I’ll call again tomorrow, to complain, first nicely and later finish off in a very high-pitch voice, which always leaves me a bit embarrassed after I have “slammed down the phone” (I guess one really doesn’t do that anymore!!) without a proper polite goodbye. Ups, I did it again…

The answer will be the same; they will send yet another technician, but they don’t know when…because they are on strike!!!

   

Broccoli salad with bacon, sunflower seeds and raisins

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(Serves 4)

1 broccoli

200ml Greek yoghurt

2 tablespoons sugar

juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably homemade)

1-2 tablespoons good virgin olive oil (e.g. Masia el Altet)

150-200g cubed bacon

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

½ red onion or 2 spring onions

1 small handful raisins

Break or cut the broccoli into small florets and peel and slice the stem into ½ cm slices. Mix the yoghurt, sugar, lemon zest and juice, mayonnaise, olive oil, salt and pepper together to make a marinade. Stir in the broccoli and leave it to marinate overnight, or for a minimum of 8 hours. Toast the bacon cubes until crisp, lightly toast the sunflower seeds in the oven and thinly slice the onions. Fold it all together with the broccoli and raisins.  Set aside a small amount of bacon, raisins and sunflower seeds to use as garnish when you come to arrange the salad on a dish or plate.

Schooling; Part II. David.

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David in front of his school in Patría.

Because we did not want David to start in school without being able to speak Spanish like Thea had done, we enrolled him in kindergarten when he was 1, 5 years old. Slowly we could hear he started picking up some Spanish words, then he mixed the two languages together and finally he decided to focus only on Spanish. This meant that when his time came to start school he was as fluent as his class mates.

One worry I had about him starting school, was the diaper changing. I asked one of our forever helpful neighbours, and she replied that the children off course were finished using diapers when they started school. My jaw dropped. David would not even have turned three when he was supposed to start school in mid-September. But we made it, thank God for the long warm summer with a lot of intensive potty training.

It was a great little school, based in Patría, only 5 minutes’ walk from our house. The school had 16 pupils from 3-5 years, two teachers and they were all together in one big class room. The moms took turns in cleaning the school in the afternoons, so we were very involved in what happened at the school. A great and safe way to start your school years.

David is a very active boy; he can find it difficult to sit still for a long time. A typical boy, you might say! The Spanish learning system includes a lot of sitting quietly down and listening to the teacher, with only one break during the whole day at school. When David was 4½ years, his teacher said he was a bit worried about David, because he couldn’t sit still for very long at the time. I tried not to laugh when I commented if it wasn’t just a sign of that he was a healthy boy. Obviously two different cultures meeting!!! They once even made him stay inside the class room during the break to finish his assignment. I’m so happy, that when David came home from school he could go outside and run off all his energy until sunset… or longer 😉  But he was happy there, – I think mainly, because off 12 of the pupils were boys and they played football at every given opportunity.

The year when David turned 6, he started taking the school bus to Vejer and then our two children went to the same school.

   

Carrot salad with mushrooms and Pedro Xímenez

gulerodssalat1This carrot salad with mushrooms and Pedro Xímenez (sweet sherry) was very popular last weekend. So if you need an idea for a great, tasty salad, here it is:

(serves 4)

6 carrots

6 big mushrooms

½ spring onion

2 sprigs of fresh parsley

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

2 spoonful’s olive oil

1 dl Pedro Ximenez Sherry

Peel the carrots and cut them in slices of 3-4 mm. Put them in a baking tray with the cumin and fennel seeds, add salt and pepper and mix well with the oil. Put the tray in the oven (175 degrees) for about 30 minutes. The carrots should be tender (no bite) and just slightly colored.

Clean and half the mushrooms. Fry them in a frying pan at high temperature and a little bit of olive oil for at least 5 minutes. They need to be very hard roasted! Add the Sherry and reduce it totally. When only a small film (caramel) is left, covering the mushrooms in the pan – they are done and should be put aside to cool down. When cooled of, chop them with a knife, mix them with carrots and chopped parsley. Serve & enjoy!

Tip: If you think the salad is to sweet, add a few drops of sherry vienegar…

This salad is very good on its own, maybe with a bit of goat cheese on top, or as a side dish or small tapas.

Schooling; Part I. Thea

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Thea, 1st school day in Vejer.

Thea & David have started their school years very differently. Thea, as the oldest, started already 2 months after we arrived to Spain. A couple of concerned neighbours came by and asked if it wasn’t best if our daughter joined their little village school. She was almost four years old and children in Spain start when they are three. We talked to Thea about it and she thought it sounded cool, that she was old enough to go to school, so yes, off she went. As mentioned it WAS a little school. Thea was the fourth girl out of…. well yes, four children in total.;-) Their teacher came and picked them up in his car at 8:45 and returned them at 13:30. She was happy, but did not understand a lot. After almost 2 months of school their summer holiday came up. After the summer, we were informed, that two of the girls would be old enough to join a bigger school nearby. But that meant that there were two children left (Thea included!!), since no other was starting.

We decided, that it might be better for Thea to get know some more children and therefore enrolled her in a bigger public school in Vejer. It was really hard the first day, where we had to kiss her goodbye by the school gate knowing that we couldn’t be there for her the next five hours. She was now all by herself amongst a lot of strangers and she did not understand much of what they were saying.

But she was all smiles  and cheerful when we picked her up and she had a great year at that school. The year after we moved her again!!! This time to another school also in Vejer, but it had bus transport for all the children living in the countryside. We had now bought our house and moved to Patría. The bus stopped just in front our house and all her friends from our village joined that school. We wanted her to be as much a part of the community as possible, so we enrolled her in the third school within two years, but it was a hard decision. Again Thea didn’t seem to be bothered by the change. She has always been adventurous and very independent. She quickly made a lot of new friends.

She is now in the Vejer Intituto; the school from 12+ years. The pupils from the two public schools of Vejer are joined together, which means that Thea is reunited with some of her friends from her first school years.

Potato soup with apple and curry

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Potato soup with apple and curry  (Serves 4)

2 potatoes

2 apples

2 cloves of garlic

½ onion

2 spoons of good curry

2 cm of fresh ginger

½ dl cream

Peel and chop potatoes, garlic, onion and ginger. Half the apples and deseed them. Cut them in smaller chunks and throw them in a hot pot, with the rest of the vegetables, and sauté them in a bit of neutral oil for about 5 minutes. Add the curry and fry it for about 30 seconds with the vegetables. Add water or vegetable stock (or even better chicken stock!) till it covers the ingredients. Bring it to the boil and let it gently boil for ½ hour, then add the cream, let it boil quickly again. Add salt and pepper to taste and blend it in a blender until smooth.

A good idea is to also add a few drops of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar as this enhances the flavor of the soup.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of freshly chopped leaves of coriander on top.