a surprise visit!

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A delightful surprise visit from my friend José Pizarro @jose_pizarro yesterday. He is on a research trip around Andalucía and had one day (not enough!) in Sevilla. He asked me to take him and his team to a few traditional tapas bars “con solera” and I was more than happy to oblige. It was a fun and slightly crazy afternoon, and sadly I had to opt out of going to the Cathedral with them (after which they were heading to Jerez) because I had a tapas tour in the evening and needed to rest up a bit. Still, it’s always lovely to see my lovely friend.

el rocío 2018

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Years ago when I lived in Mateos Gago I seem to recall that when Sevilla left for El Rocío they started out later and the colourful oxen-pulled carts hung around outside the Cathedral for at least half an hour or so. But either things have changed or my memory is faulty (bets on the latter, actually). Because this year found us chasing the carts over to the bridge to get a good look (and take some photos). Next year I’ll remember to get out earlier. Maybe… 😉

asparagus season 2018

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They’re heeeeere…. lovely locally grown asparagus. Probably my favourite vegetable (if I had to choose). I’ve been reading about asparagus steamers lately, long tall pots especially made to perfectly cook your long tall asparagus. Seriously? Imagine having enough cupboard space for this sort of thing. I have always lightly steamed my asparagus lying down in a frying pan, with just a bit of water and a perforated lid. And of course char-grilled asparagus is also fab.

Then recently I saw a couple of recipes mentioned about braising asparagus, which seemed to me like the best of both worlds. You get the freshness of steaming with the extra added flavour of the braising liquids. So I decided to give it a try. Here you see asparagus tossed with a 50-50 blend of butter and olive oil and cooked with garlic, salt and a bit of crushed chilis. Heaven. I ended up with a bit too much butter/oil but will know better next time.

The only drawback with this delicious dish is that it’s too rich for the cats, who also happen to ADORE fresh asparagus (the same as Azar did). When they smell it cooking they start going into a very vocal frenzy, so while I was braising my asparagus in garlic and whatnot, I had to steam a few stalks in water just for the cats.

What’s your favourite vegetable?

here’s lookin at you, kid

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By now we have all seen how Morcilla is obsessed with her own image in mirrors, and she often frantically paws at the glass, as if trying to get to the super cute cat on the other side. But now she has learned a new trick… that she can also see ME when she looks in the mirror. I didn’t notice this at first, and thought she was just admiring her own reflection as always. But then I saw that her eyes were looking right at me! Is this normal?

Out of all the cats I’ve had in Spain, only Morcilla has seemed to recognize that the image in the mirror is another cat (still not sure if she knows it’s actually her). But to also recognize The Human sitting across the room? Does she know it’s me? Sometimes I’ll wave at her, at which point she abruptly stops looking in the mirror and turns to look at me, as if to see if I’m also waving. Interesting…

the studebaker

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The newly restored tile Studebaker ad in Calle Tetuán, created in 1924 by Fábrica Viuda e Hijos de Manuel Ramos Rejano (Triana). Back then the building housed a private English-style club, but long ago it was bought by Chico Jewellers. The Garcia family restored the tiles in 1978 and wanted to move the ad up to the first floor, to prevent further damage, but permission was denied by local heritage authorities.

Once again the Garcias were told that they were not allowed to move the tiles, but they went ahead with a second restoration anyhow. I’m so glad they did.