Tag Archives: Spain

Food Fiesta {Spain-Part II}


Falling in love with Spain is a quick and easy affair. It sweeps you off your feet as soon as you touch the ground and have a few moments to take in all the beauty and aromas of the land. Coming from busy and fast-paced London it is not surprising we were enchanted by the locals’ charm and their leisurely lifestyle. And then there is Spanish food because that’s why you are really here, right?
I have loads of pictures for you some taken with my Canon and some with my iPhone, that big camera gets so heavy after a while!Breakfast in Spain
We started our journey in Valencia, the birthplace of the famous Paella which became known to the rest of the world as Paella Valenciana-a colourful rice dish filled with a mixture of chicken and seafood, flavoured with saffron, to this day, a spice more expensive than gold.
Here is my take on the traditional dish cooked with all the local ingredients. If you are interested in the recipe you can find it in one of my previous posts.Paella Valenciana
If you asked me to describe Spanish food, the words of one of my co-workers, who spent years teaching in Spain, come to mind. He described their cuisine as this, “Spanish food is either yellow, orange or red and very simple.” Simple but by no means plain!




When a waiter asked if I wanted my Sangria “grande” or “pequeño” what do you think I chose? _MG_2311

Spanish food is vibrant in both taste and appearance and although you might expect some similarities with Mexican food, I know we did, it’s nothing like it. The most famous and the most used ingredient in Spanish cuisine is chorizo. We quickly learned that if you cook with it you don’t need to add any more spices, it delivers quite a flavour punch on its own! My absolute favourite Spanish delicacy is Jamón serrano or Serrano Ham, which is very similar to Italian Prosciutto Crudo. My kids love it as well which made Spain an easy country to travel with kids. Serrano Ham Here is Mitchell having his second breakfast of bread and Serrano Ham with a simple tomato dip. _MG_2334
Spanish diet is Mediterranean, heavy on fruit, salads, fish and olive oil. Spain has the highest life expectancy in Europe. Despite the apparent economic crisis and high unemployment rate Spaniards seem to know how to sort out their priorities and enjoy life despite the circumstances.

A typical breakfast. Coffee and a croissant.Breakfast in Spain

Can you believe a family of 4 left all this mess?Breakfast in Spain
Then comes lunch, the biggest meal of the day in Spain. It is usually eaten between 2-4 in the afternoon, slowly and with mucho enjoyment. Here is the lunch we had on our last day. It comes in 2 courses.
First. Paella. Garlic Rice with Shrimp. My giant mojito. Paella
Second. Lamb Sirloin with Parmesan Potatoes. Panfried Fish with grilled zucchini and eggplant slices and charred padron peppers.lunch in Valencia And our very adventurous children went for a giant cheeseburger. Oh well, they had a lot of foreign food so I guess they came to their end. 🙂IMG_2082_2
A midday merienda. (A variety of macarons sold at McDonald’s. I know crazy stuff!)
And one of many suppers. Traditionally, supper in Spain is much lighter than lunch and eaten quite late around 9-11 in the evening. It’s not unusual to have a salad or a sandwich or a variety of tapas. We loved having a selection of cured meats, Manchego cheese, olives and sliced tomatoes and peppers drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. When vegetables taste as good as they do in Spain all you need for a dressing is that-lemon juice and olive oil!
Spanish cured meats and cheesesSpanish cured meats and cheeses

A common sight.  Tapas bar in Valencia.Tapas bar in Valencia

As much as I love cured meats and cheeses I went absolutely mad for all the tasty vegetables and fruit. Oh how I love the land where orange trees grow along the sidewalks and restaurant owners use their fruit as paper weight to keep napkins from being blown away by a light breeze. Orange Tree
where the landscapes look like this._MG_2693
and we are forced to slow down and enjoy each other and delicious ice cream.Valencia, Spain
Spain definitely charmed its way into our hearts  and will  be back.IMG_1952

Spanish Hash {Patatas Bravas+Eggs}


Spanish Hash (Patatas Bravas and Eggs)
This recipe got created by accident which happens here A LOT. The night before Brad went on his trip we had a tapa night. I guess we were still in Spain in our spirits.  Stay-in dates are great when it’s impossible to get a babysitter plus we can make any food we love for a fraction of the price at a restaurant. I love tapas but what I love even more is that we usually cook them together.  It’s such a great way to start a date! Drinking wine while juggling multiple pots and pans and hot plates tends to infuse an everyday activity like cooking with much hilarity. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me.  ( But be safe. Seriously.)

Patatas Bravas is one of the tapas that is “a must” for us. Fried potatoes served with spicy tomato sauce. Brilliant. “Bravas” means “fierce” in Spanish, apparently. How can you NOT love a dish that is fierce?!!!

Spanish Hash was born out of leftovers but it turned out to be such a  beautiful and satisfying breakfast dish I decided it deserved a life of its own.  I am definitely reserving this for weekend breakfasts and brunches. It would take just a few minutes to throw together if you have potatoes boiled and sauce made the night before.


( For the bravas sauce)

  • Olive Oil- 1 tbs.
  • Onion (chopped) -1
  • Garlic – 4 cloves, sliced
  • Red Chilli- 1, minced
  • Carrot- 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Fresh thyme- 2-3 sprigs ( you can also use dried thyme)
  • Chopped Tomatoes- 1 tin (400gr)
  • Red Wine Vinegar- 1tbsp.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note: The sauce recipe makes about 1 cup but you will only need 1/4 cup for the breakfast hash. Reserve the rest to make “patatas bravas” or serve it with your favourite pasta. 

Ingredients for the Hash: (Serves 2 but you can easily double or triple it)

  • Potatoes (boiled and cubed)- 2 medium
  • Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Eggs- 1-2  per person ( I used 3 because I eat 1 and Brad eats 2)
  • Goat Cheese (crumbled)- 1 tbs. (or use whatever cheese you like)
  • Parsley- 1-2 sprigs


As I mentioned earlier you can cook potatoes and the sauce the night before. This way your morning will be much smoother. If you are doing everything in one go here is what you need to do.

Half your potatoes and bring them to a boil in a pot full of water, then cook them for 6-8 minutes longer until soft but not falling apart. Drain and cool the potatoes.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and cook your chopped onion and sliced garlic over low heat for 5 minutes, then add minced chilli, chopped carrot and thyme (leaves only) and cook for 5 minutes longer.  Then pour in your canned tomatoes, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper, turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes until it’s thick.  When you are satisfied with the thickness of the sauce take it off the heat, pour it in a food processor or a blender and blend until smooth. Scoop 1/4 cup out and reserve the rest for a later use.

Preheat your oven to 350F/180C

Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and add your cubed potatoes into it, cook them until they are golden brown, then add 1/4 cup of the bravas sauce. Make little wells in the sauce and potatoes and carefully crack your eggs into them and put the pan in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes depending on how soft or firm you like your egg yolks.  Once the the eggs are set, take them out, sprinkle them with crumbled goat cheese and chopped parsley.

I can’t tell you enough how wonderful the bravas sauce is! It’s like the most flavourful ketchup with a bit of a kick to it. I am absolutely in love with it and am currently adding it to everything. Enjoy!

Spanish Hash {Patatas Bravas+Eggs}
Note: The bravas sauce recipe was adapted from “Jamie Does Spain”.

Sun and Sea


There are not too many things more calming and definitely only a handful as majestic as the sea. Just having returned from our family holiday in Spain a couple of days ago naturally I am going through a major withdrawal.
Plenty of fun times with my littles ones while jumping through waves, playing UNO and devouring inordinate amount of delicious food… hot and beautiful evenings with my love… the feeling of warm sunshine on my skin and the taste of salt water on my lips… images of peaceful retirement in a warm, sunshiny paradise.  Happy memories and even better dreams.
_MG_2362 _MG_2377 _MG_2433 _MG_2452 _MG_2489 _MG_2506 _MG_2511 _MG_2528 _MG_2680-4 _MG_2683 _MG_2685 _MG_2693 _MG_2697 _MG_2698 _MG_2699 _MG_2705 _MG_2735_MG_2681

Fiesta-My Travels in Spain


I read “Fiesta, The Sun also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway in my early teens and it was my first introduction to the charm, beauty and mystery of Spain. For a couple of decades I could only dream and imagine what it would be like to spend some time immersed in the magic like Hemingway did and get inspired…

Dreams do come come true. I am so happy I can share with you the visual account of the four of us walking the endless cobblestones of Valencia.

_MG_2305-2 _MG_2262 _MG_2257-2 _MG_2255-2 _MG_2187-3 _MG_2177-2 _MG_2173-3_MG_2248_MG_2250_MG_2210_MG_2218_MG_2237_MG_2207_MG_2252_MG_2296_MG_2155_MG_2158_MG_2082_MG_2092
Although my little travellers got tired I couldn’t help thinking how will these early experiences shape their life and worldview, what will they be inspired to create?_MG_2183-3
P.S. One of the highlights was spotting a young backpacker sitting on steps leading to the city square and reading “Fiesta”. In Spain.