A Lesson in Spanish at Bodega LaPeseta

I wait, pathetic – unnoticed and hungry – yet half-amused by my inability to attract attention. My pitiful Spanish renders me invisible – I can’t call out … anything. I don’t know what to do. My daughter is unimpressed. Peopled by pretty pairs perched on stools and families and friends spread across tables, Bodega LaPeseta in the east of Valencia is … More A Lesson in Spanish at Bodega LaPeseta

Lisbon in Five Words

Three days in Lisbon, and a lovely stream of whatsapped photos. It been a brightly-hued break for my husband and youngest son. Which begins with a great deal of excitement. A hop, skip and a jump via the metro … … to their temporary home – a light and airy Airbnb flat (more on Maria’s place here). First port of call … More Lisbon in Five Words

Pastéis de Belém

Pastéis de Belém (or Nata) – a sweet case of custard perfection (but not too sweet). Pastéis de Nata were first made by monks in 18th century Belém at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos – they used yolks left over after egg whites had been used for starching clothes. In 1820, the Liberal Revolution threatened the future of … More Pastéis de Belém

Maria’s Lisbon

When travel accommodation works out well, everything else seems to fall into place. So it was for my traveling twosome in Lisbon. Maria’s Airbnb flat was immaculately clean and flooded with light – a welcome retreat when sightseeing legs grew sore. Thoughtful touches, like a complimentary bottle of wine and a shiny red coffee machine (with a good stock … More Maria’s Lisbon

Happiness is Orange

I ask No. 4 what he thinks ‘happiness’ is, as he’s suggested the word as a title for this new post. “Well, Happiness is Orange.” A pause from us both, but I don’t stop slicing cucumber for his lunchtime sandwich. I need soft questions, nothing too direct. Maybe just a little eye contact. Best to unwrap the surprise of his answer gently. Slowly, No. … More Happiness is Orange

Ajo Blanco becomes Mazamorra

Ajo Blanco looks and tastes greater than the sum of its parts: white garlic and blanched almonds, together with day-old bread, extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar. Whizz. Thin with ice-cold water. Season with salt – that’s it. Sensationally simple. A recipe as old as the Moorish occupation of Andalucía, although apparently rooted deeper – without the almonds – in … More Ajo Blanco becomes Mazamorra