Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A list of things "TO DO"

Here is a list I saw on Amy's blog beautifulcrazyunpredictablelife.blogspot.com and I thought wow! I've actually done some of these things, awesome...

Just copy the list and mark in bold (black) the things you've done...

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (Not really a band more of a group - a recorder group at school)
4. Visited Hawaii and danced on a lava cliff with the roar of the Pacific below
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (Tha Barcelona marathon sic.1984, but we didn't finish - does that count?)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (lunar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (I didn't actually teach myself - just picked it up living here in Spain)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I watched)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


Thursday, 7 October 2010

My first ever pumpkin pie !!

Last week my friend Brenda came to stay with us for a few days (will be posting photos of her stay later on next week)
So we went to see Dolors who lives in Cantonigròs, a little village about 1 1/2 hours from Barcelona. I'd never been and neither had Brenda. It is a beautiful place as you will see from the photos.
Dolors, being VERY generous gave me a pumpkin (along with an aloe vera plant, some walnuts, some lavender and a jar of homemade jam - oh and some holly which I think will be dead before Christmas)

And this is the pie I made with her pumpkin...

Monday, 2 November 2009


Well Halloween has come and gone and last week I make loads of "panellets" a typical sweet that is eaten 31st October here in Catalunya.

These are the ones I made this year:

They are very easy to make (too easy, they are very fattening)
Here's the recipe:

500 grs ground almonds
500 grs sugar
250 grs potato

100 grs cocoa
125 grs desiccated coconut
250 grs pine nuts
1 egg, separated

boil potatoes with skin until soft, peel
mash them with a fork - leave to cool
in a big bowl mix the ground almonds, sugar and potato until it binds together.
That's the basic almond paste.
Put half the mixture into one bowl and then 1 quarter and 1 quarter in two other bowls to make 3 different flavours...

Flavour nº 1 (the most popular one and most expensive to buy)
Basic almond mix covered in pine nuts. (use 1/2 the mixture)

- take a small amount of the mixture (about 1 teaspoon) and roll it into a ball shape.
- coat the balls in lightly beaten egg white.
- take a handful of pine nuts and coat the balls of dough, you have to press quite hard or the pine nuts won't stick. This is a very messy job and not as easy as it looks.
- put on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
- brush tops of "panellets "with egg yolk.
- grill for about 10 mins. or until they are nice and golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them all the time as they burn quite easily.

Flavour nº 2 (use 1/4 the mixture)

- take the basic almond mixture and stir in the desiccated coconut and 2 or 3 drops of pink food colouring (optional).
- make small balls with the mixture as above then shape them into a sort of mountain.
- put under grill until they start to go very light brown on top.

Flavour nº 3 (my favorite) (use 1/4 the mixture)

- take the last batch of almond paste and add 100 grs of cocoa.
- roll into small balls as before and grill for about 7 mins. These won't change colour but will go a bit hard on the outside. They should stay soft in the middle.

"Panellets" are very expensive to buy in the cake shops (30 € - 40 € a kilo !!!) so it really is worth the trouble of making your own I think.
Some people frown on using potatoes in this recipe, it just makes the mixture go further and makes it a bit cheaper that's all. It doesn't alter the flavour one bit.

It's also typical to have roast chestnuts and roast sweet potatoes at this time of year.

Oh dear - I can see it's going to be a struggle to keep the pounds off :)

Friday, 16 October 2009


Last Monday, 12th Oct., we celebrated Christopher Columbus Day here in Spain, so last weekend was a long one. A chance to go away some where nice.
So we decided to go south of Barcelona. Just one hour's drive and we were in Tarragona (another province of Cataluyna).

We stayed in a little village called Rodonyà, at a B & B (Casa Jordà). The B&B is run by a farmer who still makes his own wine. Now this wine is very special as he doesn't use artificial fertilizers or pesticides on his grape vines. So the wine won't give you a bad head or a bad stomach even if you drink too much of it!!

We had a very nice time. The B&B was clean and comfortable, the food (and free wine) excellent, and the village its self very peaceful.
We were made to feel very welcome and the owner of the B&B told us all about wine making and Saturday afternoon we had the chance to taste the wines. We also came away with a few bottles!!

We also visited the small town of Valls and two of the three Monasteries that make up The Cister Route.

We will definitely go back to see the other Monastery and but some more lovely wine from Rodonyà.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Hello Autumn

I know, I know I'm a terrible blogger, I go ages without posting anything but I've got a really good excuse- I'm lazy!!!

Anyway today in Barcelona it rained, at last the long hot summer is over and we can look forward to autumn. Nice cool weather and nice fresh air to breathe.


So what can you do when it rains?? - bake a cake - chocolate, even better!!!!

recipe for chocolate cake (my Mum's):

100 grs margarine
100 grs sugar
2 medium eggs
teaspoon vanilla essence
75 grs flour
25 grs cocoa powder
teaspoon baking powder (if using plain flour)

combine sugar and margarine until fluffy
add beaten eggs and vanilla - mix well
add flour and cocoa powder stir in carefully

line 7 inch (18 cms) cake tin with parchment paper
spread cake mixture evenly in tin
bake in oven at 180º c for about 30 mins.

leave to cool
when cooled time to decorate cake - this time I used chocolate icing.

recipe chocolate icing:

100 grs icing sugar
50 grs margarine
25 grs cocoa powder

mix the ingredients in a bowl until they come together
spread on top of cake

Make a nice cup of tea, sit back, relax and enjoy a slice of lovely cake while you wait till the sun comes out again!

Monday, 31 August 2009

A Nice Clean Bathroom

As you can see my life isn't all that exciting but it's mine and I'm not complaining.

I've spent all morning spring (autumn) cleaning the big bathroom. I say "big" because it's bigger than the other one we have but it is small compared to some of the bathrooms you see out there. (I'm still not complaining). It's been hard work, it's still about 30º c here in Barcelona so I have been sweating (sorry perspiring) a lot!!

But it has been worth it - look at my lovely, clean, shiny, fresh smelling (you'll have to take my word for that last one) bathroom:

Shells in the bathroom:

The downside to this morning's work was that I broke a mirror (only a very small one) but that's 7 year's bad luck!!!
Since 1992 I've broken 3 mirrors so that's 21 years bad luck!!

I broke it because I was wearing these rubber gloves - good for protecting hands but bad for handling small breakable things like mirrors...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

From trash to treasure

Every Wednesday in the district of Barcelona where we live we can get rid of any junk or furniture we don't want. Any time after 8 p.m. you can just leave the things on the street corners. Then about 12 p.m. lorries from the council come round and collect it. It's usually rubbish, but sometimes you come across something worth recycling:

stage 1: one dirty, broken buffet.

Stage 2: a thorough wash in soap and bleach.

stage 3: glued, bolted and sanded.

stage 4: 2 coats of primer.

stage 5: 2 coats blue paint.


My first project was this:

It looks like it was once part of the inside of a wardrobe. I washed it, sanded it and stained it and now it's a useful little side table that stands next to my husband's chair.

My next project is:

Two old picture frames...