rooftop garden

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geraniums

This was a lovely sight on a cloudy January afternoon this week. I was over at my friend Carl’s temporary home and saw these bright red geraniums on his rooftop terrace, and it reminded me of when I tried growing these pretty gitanillas (a type of geranium) a few years ago. At the time there was a plague of geranium-eating moths in town and nobody’s flowers were lasting long. Anyhow, this got me thinking about finally doing something more with plants on my own rooftop terrace. That is, if I don’t end up moving.

I should know soon if the landlords are going to maintain the rent for another year, which I can just about afford on my own. If so, I probably won’t go through the hassle of moving and the plan is to make better use of the upstairs room as an office, and hopefully use the terrace more. Would love to have a proper rooftop garden, with herbs too. We shall see…

authentic tours

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swedish chef

*Rant Alert*… When I first started doing my Sevilla Tapas Tours six years ago there were two other guys also doing food tours in Sevilla. Roger and Sam. Seriously, that was it. Then a couple years or so ago, some chica from Triana STOLE my name (Sevilla Tapas Tours) and started using it all over social media, even buying Google Ads so she’d come out on top of searches. When I asked her why she was doing this, using an already established brand, her reply was to REGISTER my name. Previously another git in Malaga had likewise copied my tours and price lists (which do not appear online) so both of these losers had obviously sent me emails pretending to be clients, and had used their ill-begotten information to start their own tour biz. Whatever. I know who they are, and they are nobodies.

Fast forward to last January (2015) when I launched We Love Tapas and suddenly everyone with the ability to create a website was offering tapas tours in Sevilla. I’m not kidding, there are hundreds of them out there, including someone who chose to copy me after I told them of my new plans. And well, okay. I know my tours are superior. They just are. But that doesn’t mean they will end up at the top of Trip Advisor, simply because the scum often rises to the top with their unseemly methods of getting positive reviews, real or otherwise.

Do I care about that? Well, in terms of We Love Tapas it does pain me that my fabulous team isn’t getting all the TA love they deserve. But we also know we are in this for the long term. And that what we are offering is THE SHIZZ.

And then today happened. I had an interview with a fabulous young woman who I hope will become the next We Love Tapas team member. But as all my chicas are freelance, and also work elsewhere, I have to work around 3 or 4 different freelance schedules. I hope this will change very soon, but for now, it is what it is.

But imagine my surprise and dismay when I found out today that the fabulous young woman is also being “trained” to give cooking classes at yet another of these “unique exerience” tour guide companies.

I mean WTFUCKINGFUCK?? This is going too far.

For the record, I am an amazing cook, as anyone who has had the good fortune to eat at my home will attest to. But would I offer cooking classes to visitors to Sevilla? Well, no. One, because I am not a trained chef. And okay, you don’t necessarily have to be a trained chef to give a cooking class… but you sure need more than just one or two training sessions. If I ever did decide to give cooking classes I would research the hell out of the dishes I wanted to present, the history as well, the ingredients would become close to my heart and I would know where each item came from. Because THAT is what anyone paying good money for a cooking class is looking for, and it’s also what they deserve. This would take me, even with my already vasty experience in this field, at least a month or so. I would meet with chefs, I would source the best ingredients. In short, a tour guide with no cooking experience CANNOT be trained to give a cooking class or any worth in one or two quick sessions. Impossible.

I am so pissed off with this glut on the market of shit tours that not only offer shit tours, but they also treat their guides like shit. And the public is lapping it up because – hey! – they’re cheap, and these guys also have cute websites and know how to get (fake) Trip Advisor reviews. When I look at the Sevilla food and wine tours on offer these days I see about half a dozen that I’d consider worthy. Run by people who care, with experience. I’m presently working on collaborating with these people, as well as with the Tourist Boards in Sevilla and throughout Andalucía. There will always be tour companies whose main concern is making a buck. And hey, I am doing this for a living too. But let’s not make money at the expense of others who trust in us to know what we are doing, who are hoping for the best experience possible. I provide that. And I want to work with others who want to do the same. To hell with the rest of them.

courgetti

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courgettiniEver since I first tried the fabulous courgette “spaghetti” at No Kitchen, I’ve been keen on replicating this at home. And so after finding a veggie spiralizer at my favourite kitchen shop Bazar Victoria the other day, I was ready to go (as was my assistant Morcilla). This particular spiralizer is a bit like a pencil sharpener, with two sizes (for courgettes and carrots) and in no time I had a plate full of lovely veggie “noodles”. But what to do with them? I thought they should just be blanched and then have some sauce plopped on them, but most of the recipes I found online said they should be sautéed in olive oil, and then further cooked with a bit of added water. THEN I decided to try a garlicky bacony carbonara – and it was wonderful. The great thing was that all the lovely garlicky bacony flavour was there, but I didn’t end up feeling STUFFED afterwards. This is WAY BETTER than cauliflower “rice”. Recipe coming soon!

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