the return of the growling sucking monster


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Almost 10 years ago I bought this vacuum cleaner. And it was the best thing ever! So I’m not sure why I completely stopped using it when I moved to the previous Casa Azahar, though I suspect it was a combination of the stairs and long corridors, requiring too much faffing with plugging and unplugging, and lugging. In any case, it sat unused for those 6.5 years. But I recently rediscovered the Growling Sucking Monster (as it is known to the cats) and put it back to work.

To think I almost gave this away in my flurry of ruthless downsizing during the last move (I actually now regret giving away quite so much stuff…) because it’s perfect in the more compact, one-level new Casa Azahar. I won’t go as far as to say it makes doing the housework enjoyable, but it’s way faster and more efficient than sweeping. So… yay!

Yeah I know, but hey, it’s my blog.  😉


manic monday


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The last time Ania @ania_marchlik and I got together for lunch was far too long ago, so on the eve of her heading home to Poland for the holidays, we decided to meet up for what ended up being quite an exquisite tapeo. I checked my “to do” list of places I needed to update for Sevilla Tapas and thought it had also been too long since I’d been to Cañabota. Turned out Ania had never been there, but had always wanted to go, so I got in touch with the owner Juanlu to see if there was any way to squeeze us in and, although fully booked, he found us a “hueco” before another booking for us to have lunch.

It was actually perfect timing, and we didn’t feel rushed in the slightest. The food was even better than I remembered it, perhaps in part because Juanlu is now focusing on a strictly seasonal menu. Check it out…

Afterwards we took a walk over to La Azotea on calle Zaragoza for dessert and (of course) a penĂșlitima. Somehow we always end up at one Azotea or another. And somehow “dessert” ended up including some crispy filo filled with cheese and prawns, and a plate of jamĂłn, along with Ania’s choice, the lovely orange cream you can see up there. Anyhow, it was a great afternoon and my first “Christmas lunch” of the season. Looking forward to a few more, and also meeting up with Ania in MĂĄlaga when she is briefly back in Spain.


basking & abiding


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I always worry about The Dude during the winter, though the other night I saw that someone in the square had put out a blanket and some food for him, and today I found him basking in a sunbeam. Basking and abiding. A neighbour recently told me that he is actually 15 years old (I thought he was 12). Long may he abide.

let it snow!

It’s that silly time of year when WordPress makes it snow on my blog (until January 4th), which always makes me smile. Even though – thanks anyhow – I am quite happy never having to see snow UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL again for the rest of my life. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate gorgeous snowflake pics like this one by my friend Alejna, or enjoy seeing snow fall in films… or on my blog.

f_holly.gif  Also time to put up the Happy Christmas header! f_holly.gif

joel & kelly


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Just over four years ago Joel & Kelly first came to Sevilla and we went out on both a Market & Tapas Tour and a Gourmet Tapas Tour together. This time no assistance from me was required, other than to give them a few tips about some new (or new to them) bars they might want to visit. But of course we had to meet up for a bit of sherry, tapas and chat. It was great to catch up. xx

rainy day lunch


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It’s been RAINING here in Sevilla the past two days, something that we are all quite grateful for. Well, except for getting the laundry dry. But it also means that it feels like “stay at home” weather. So after going to see my GP today (nope, still no clue as to what THE PAIN is about) and doing some shopping, I came home and made a totally comfort food rainy day lunch. Garlicky pan-grilled swordfish, stir-fried courgetti and twice-fried chips with soy mayo. And well, have been home ever since. Doing this and that. A bit of work stuff (as always). Netflixing with cats. In PJs.

Sun will be back with us tomorrow.

manzanilla monday XL


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What a spectacular way to spend a Manzanilla Monday. Yesterday I was invited to the presentation and tasting of the latest bottling of Bodegas Delgado Zuleta’s premium “en rama” manzanilla Goya XL, a rare and special beast that has only occurred four times in the history of the bodega.

The event was held in the elegant central courtyard at Taberna de Alabadero, and we were given a tasting of two criaderas that were on their way to becoming Goya XL, and then the final product. And well, it was wonderful. I sat spellbound as DZ’s newest winemaker JosĂ© Antonio SĂĄnchez Pazo told us about the evolution of this very special wine, and also gave us a bit of insight and history about the bodega.

Full report coming soon on the Azahar Sevilla blog.

javier & laura


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Peter, Javier & Laura at Las Teresas

Last year I got a lovely surprise visit from Sarah, and just a couple of months ago Alex was back in town. Then the other day I heard that Javier and his wife Laura would be visiting. The connection is that all these lovely people were once my flatmates when I was living in Mateos Gago.

Javier & Laura were spending some time in Sevilla and AndalucĂ­a after having spent the past year travelling around the world. It was wonderful to meet up with Javi again after 18 years and still feel like great friends. Peter joined us for lunch and we went to a weekend BBQ in Prado de San SebastiĂĄn. Laura said that after a month in Morocco they were happy to be eating pork and drinking wine again. After a long lazy lunch sitting outside in the warm November sunshine, we made our way back to the centre for “dessert” (a plate of jamĂłn IbĂ©rico with manzanilla pasada at Las Teresas), followed by a penĂșlitima at La Azotea. And then all too soon it was time to say hasta luego.

My life truly is filled with having met and known some pretty wonderful people. I should always remember this when I am feeling oppressed by backstabby assholes, so I can put things back in perspective. This was a fabulous day.