The Tulip Tree

A drizzly-damp day brightened by a trip to The Tulip Tree. Coffee, lunch and quirky furniture. Cakes and muffins galore. And a shop with fresh produce just next door. I’m in a bit of a mood, it’s fair to say. Monday blues. Dull day doldrums. Weekend promise of Spring đŸŒžÂ đŸŒ·Â denied 🌧😔. So it’s just as … More The Tulip Tree

Sweet Spice

I’m feeling tired and fed up. I may even have sniffed back a tear. It doesn’t matter why – things have just got to me. I lie to the kids: I say I am “Fine.” But they know I am not. I throw off my apron in a bit of a grump; it has been … More Sweet Spice

Making Manakish

In the Levant (so I’ve heard), people take their own za’atar to the local baker, where it is mixed with olive oil, then smeared onto flatbread dough and baked for a few minutes until crispy brown but with a lovely softness inside. These manakish (or man’ousheh in the singular) are very good for breakfast. Za’atar is both … More Making Manakish

Tapeando in El Tubo

Zaragoza’s tapas quarter is small and perfectly formed in a web of old streets called “El Tubo“. The narrow lanes of Calle de los EstĂ©banes and Calle de la Libertad comprise its core, with bar after bar offering gastronomic delights, and then more spin off into the neighbouring streets. Its a fine way to follow the Spanish … More Tapeando in El Tubo

Bodegas Almau

In the heart of El Tubo de Zaragoza is a small place with a big reputation. Its name is Bodegas Almau. Old and atmospheric (it’s been here since 1870), bottles and barrels adorn its yellow walls. Groups of friends crowd the floor, and the few tables are crammed.  Squeeze in at the bar to order … More Bodegas Almau

Solo in Zaragoza

My husband sent me to Zaragoza. He insisted – said he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I wondered what I had done wrong, or had I done something right? “A break”, he offered with gentle conviction. “You can think, you can write – just get away. Take two nights.” “But …” I had a … More Solo in Zaragoza

Pa amb tomĂ quet tonight

This evening my eldest son surprised me by making his version of pa amb tomĂ quet (bread with tomato rubbed onto it, an olive oil drizzle, then seasoned) on the eve of the highly-charged and contentious Catalunyan referendum. He was hungry. We enjoyed this in Cambrils in the summer, but first tasted it AndalucĂ­an-style (tostada con tomate y … More Pa amb tomĂ quet tonight

No Pizza in Tivissa

A perilously narrow road wraps its way tightly round steep mountain curves. Our car breathes with relief at every turn taken, then we brace ourselves for the next one. Higher and deeper inland we go, into the countryside behind Catalunya’s Costa Daurada. It’s a beautiful drive on this hot summer’s day. But it’s (Spanish) lunchtime … More No Pizza in Tivissa