Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Compramos una Camioneta!

We bought a van!
So the summer plan was to save pennies and get ourselves sorted for the off, meaning: buying a van to kit out as a camper or buy one half ready to go.
After browsing the internet, scarily as we'd never done it before, we found a gem in Falmouth, a mere 290 miles away from Señor Spoon and further for me, we took the plunge and bought it, mainly on good faith!
4am, Saturday 3rd saw us leave on our, what became 8 hour journey, in a hire car, I will add: that we had to return by 12 in Penryn, which we only had booked one way, so if we were late or didn't buy the van for what ever reason, we were... let's say up the creek.
But... all was well, we arrived bang on 12, in the pouring rain, got picked up by the owner of the van and were off to his to check it out... in the rain, all the rain.
In summery, we got very wet looking it over, going through all the bits and bobs: solar panels, oven/grill, hob, fridge, bed, engine, batteries... then had a cuppa while we paid the man and sorted tax.
Our chum King Kev became our driver for the whole journey as absolutely none of 4am agreed with me, we drove to Falmouth for a spot of lunch, then we were off to Dartmoor to park up for the night.

Dartmoor Stone Circle, King Kev and the van

The rain persisted, we got wet, the van wasn't perfectly water tight, but it was better than a tent!
We had a glorious walk around the centre of Darmoor on Sunday and started our journey across every county on the south coast, we were doing it properly!
We cracked on up to Sailsbury for chips, as you do, circumnavigated Southampton, then on to East Sussex, stopped for an hour to swap stuff, then to deliver me back to Kent, I got home at 10pm, this being a Sunday night, Señor Spoon and King Kev had to head back...1:30am! Eep!
But it was SO worth it, we have a van, it was an adventure and the van's had a proper, proper run.

Señor Spoon's and King Kev have been sorting it out while I've been Kenting, so will have piccies soon!

Monday, 23 May 2016

'Té, Earl Grey, Frio' Cubos de Hielo

'Tea, Earl Grey, Cold' Ice Cubes.
Following from The 'Tea, Earl Grey, Hot' Cake the other day, I had a little think, now, a few years ago I made Chai Ice Cubes, fuckin' lush, but from scratch took many ingredients and time, so thought I could do something similar with the teabag milk thing from that recipe...
So, simply.

The stuff:

  • 450ml (or 3 times as much as 1 ice cube tray) leche/milk
  • bolsita de té Earl Grey/Earl Grey tea bags
  • 2 bandeja del cubos de hielo/ice cube tray

The how:
  1. Bring milk to the boil (keeping an eye on it 'cos it will go quick and go over).
  2. Plonk in teabags. Let cool.
  3. Pour in trays and, without spilling, put in freeeeeeezer.
  4. Give it about 24 hours then put in milk, give it a few mins and enjoy.

(Not my photo, so not with cinnamon and star anise, probably from a Chai version)

Because I didn't take any... photos from: http://www.planetbakelife.com/2014/05/chai-tea-ice-cubes.html, http://mamabee.com/flavored-ice-cubes/#arvlbdata

Photos funked up with: http://photobanda.com/photofilters.php using settings: Tony/Local/Round

'Té, Earl Grey, Caliente' Torta

'Tea, Earl Grey, Hot' Cake.
It was Mrs. Fox's birthday the other week, I made cake but forgot to take ANY photos...so these are pilfered from FB...
The idea stemmed from wanting to make a Star Trek themed cake (both geeky fans), I genuinely considered crafting the Starship Enterprise out of cake, but just didn't have the time, so settled for Captain Picard's favourite drink, 'Tea, Earl Grey, Hot', in cake form!
Recipe tweaked from here: http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/earl-grey-lemon-loaf-cake-recipe (thanks!).

Putting the candles in was the easy bit, lighting them was a slight fire hazard, but hilarious.

The stuff:
  • 125ml leche/milk
  • 4 bolsita de té Earl Grey/Earl Grey tea bags
  • 115g manteqilla sin sal, blanda/unsalted butter, soft
  • 225g azúcar granulado/granulated sugar
  • 2 huevos/eggs
  • 250g harina con levadura/self-raising flour
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest of
  • 200g of icing sugar
  • decoración/decoration
The how:
  1. Heat the milk, but watch it, it'll heat quick and boil over if you don't! Once off the heat bung in the tea bags and leave for 40 mins to cool.
Once cool crack on with the rest:
  1. If you're an organised type, pre-heat the oven and line your tin (I went with a loafer, rather than the minis from the original recipe).
  2. Smush the already soft butter (or if not soft ding-box it for like 10 seconds) with the sugar, I didn't have a whizzer, whisky thing, so went manual labour about it and wooden spooned it until pretty mixed.
  3. Add eggs and half the flour, more mixing (it was like an arm workout, so, to ensure even muscle tone swap arms every now and again)
  4. Add rest of the flour and cooled milk, mixy mixy mix.
  5. Plonk in tin/tray/cooking receptacle, Cook. 180 degrees for about 25 mins or until no longer like molten liquid and a bit brown.
  6. The cake will need to be cooled before the icing is put on, so don't, like me make the icing and then wait for about 45 mins. The icing is easy, squeeze the lemon into a bowl and slowly add the icing sugar, mixing as you go, try not to chuck too much in at once as it'll look like an sugary atom bomb and decorate your surface with a super fine sugary dust. Mix until thick but runny enough to dribble down the sides of the cake...mmmmmm. Apply to cake, decorate with shiney things if your friend is particularly partial.
  7. Give it some time to set (as you'll get that lush crisp when you cut into it), tin foil it and take it to your friend's house in a rucksack via bicycle, hope it doesn't slide off the chopping board en route and present, re-telling the story of why you made this cake.
  8. Restrainedly eat dinner and wait for dessert time, decide that you should put the exact quantity of candles in the cake, that isn't normally necessary for an adult, but hey, when you've got them...
  9. Light candles, don't burn the house down,
  10. Birthday girl blows candle out, don't set the smoke alarm off.
  11. Eat cake!
Mrs. Fox valiantly blew them all out in ONE, massive blow!

The cake was lush and almost entirely devoured! I would definitely make it again, trying to make it a little less brown, first time in a new oven, to be expected really.

Happy Birthday Mrs. Fox!

Photos funked up with: http://photobanda.com/photofilters.php using settings: Greg/Rainbow/Round

Pesto de Espinacas, ñam!

Spinach Pesto, nom!
We've got tons of Perpetual Spinach up the allotment at the moment, and after the toasty spell we had the other week, and us not getting up there to water, it meant it's bolted, bugger (I didn't think we'd ever kill it). So I took a bunch of the bolted stalks, in an attempt to stop the bolt (it hasn't worked), and thought I'd fashion a pesto.
After some goggling, I found a couple of recipes online to bastardise, they're rarely exactly what you after. So, the recipe is adapted from these 2 sites: http://mariahspleasingplates.com/spinach-walnut-pesto/, http://www.mind-over-batter.com/savory-situations/spinach-basil-walnut-pesto/. The latter is hilarious and is like you're in the kitchen with MissBossLady herself.
My recipe is a little boshed together and I didn't really weigh stuff and that which I did was using scales that are, well, shit...

Trying to weigh spinach with shit scales

The stuff:
  • 375g (ish) hojas de espinacas/spinach leaves (washed, chunky stems and nasties removed)
  • 2 paquetes (140g) de albahaca fresca/fresh basil
  • 4 puñados/handfuls (250g?, it looked about half of my 500g pack) nueces orgánicas/organic walnuts
  • 4 dientes de ajo/garlic cloves
  • 200/250ml aceite de oliva extra virgen/extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pizcas/pinches sal/salt
  • jugo de 1 limón/juice of 1 lemon

Half of the stuff in the djzuzzer
The how:
  1. Well, this should be very quick and easy, however, if you've acquired your spinach from an allotment, which needs cleaning, de-stalking and de-nasty-bits-ing, then this will add at least an hour and a bit...so with your spinach all beautiful-like, and I guess depending on the size of your 'djzuzz-er', blender thing, shove everything in your chosen device, if it'll fit, or half as mine was a tidler: spinach, basil, nuts, garlic. oil, lemon.
  2. Biltz, pulse and generally abuse the mix until it is somewhat less big and more smushed, it gues until it resembles pesto... huh, who knew. If the mix isn't blending or little-ing, then it might need some more liquid (oil or lemon juice), or a good shake to get the chunky bits down to the blade.
  3. If you need to, do the same to the other half, dumping the first in a bowl, trying not to loose the blade in the mix...! Repeat and add to first batch.
  4. When all ingredients are pesto-like, taste, add extra things: more salt/lemon/oil, it's your batch, flavour as you like.
  5. Shove into sterilised jars, poke to get rid of any air bubblies and top with a bit more olive oil. Store/give away/devour.

Aerial shot of the goods, giant to keep, littles to give away

Nom, nom, nom

Eat with:
So far I've had it: on pasta, with tons of cheese; taken it to work and gave everyone lunch (fresh bread, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes); and just smeared on bread.

I'd love to know if anyone makes it, did you change it at all?

Photos funked up with: http://photobanda.com/photofilters.php using settings: Sara/Shine/Round :)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Las cucharas, la última noticia

The Spoons, an update.
Well, last time I posted it was frickin' Jan! Cor heck!
After our housesitting stint in Extremadura, we headed on to Andalua, to Órgiva, where we volunteered for some loverly peeps, the reason for a lack of posting was that we were off grid, simply enough, we had no electricity or internet readily available, like we did whilst housesitting. We had to walk an hour with laptop in tow to get it, that is without imposing on our hosts. So our time spent internetting was not, unfortunately blogging, but keeping in touch with family, or in my case a spot of designing. There's lots to fill you in on...I'll try and keep it brief.
We went out with a hope that we would return with a plan, and we actually did!

Caravan Sweet Caravan

So, we planned to spend 2 weeks volunteering (Workaway, naturally), this turned into 7. We stayed at Cortijo Vera, with some right lovely peeps. We stayed in a caravan on one of their terraces, everyday we were cooked a big lunch and given copious amounts of tea and biscuits, and given food and could pick pretty much anything from the land for breakfast and dinner which we cooked on a 2 ring gas stove in the caravan, I will add that within about 3 days we did almost burn the caravan down. Advice: Don't, when pissed off with Mr. Spoon and the solar shower which after many hours of 'fixing' still doesn't work, when dressing only in a towel, put the kettle on without checking the gas pipe is out of the way, and burn a whole in the pipe, setting the whole thing alight, almost the caravan and maybe almost the gas bottle itself, no, don't do that, again, ever, please!

The Solar Shower totally worked, all about the timing

These 2 weeks were spent learning how to pick olives for about 5 days straight, getting to know the family, the area, the locals, who, to our surprise were almost all English, and obviously trying not to blow up the caravan, again. We soon realised that 2 weeks was not enough, we'd just begun to scratch the surface of what these guys do, stand for, believe in and all that. We had accounted for having a few days in either Granada or Sevilla before our booked flight, so we kind of just stayed and decided what to do. I contacted school to see if it was worth us making the flight - no contracts until March, that conveniently made our decision easier and, oh no, we missed our flight. We'd been told the place was 'sticky', and yep, they were bloody right!


The coming weeks allowed us to sow, sort and transplant seeds and seedlings, learn how to (re)build walls and roofs using traditional methods and, were possible, eco-friendly ones. We stayed long enough to see our sown seeds germinate and grow: peas, beetroot, potatoes. We had days off and went to 'town', walked around the markets, looked in the super cheap Chinese shops, went for walks and found beautiful orchids sheltering from the crazy winds. Fixed and re-modelled the shower enclosure after said winds, a few times.

Or kid / Orchid?

We got to go to Granada, as we initially planned, just a few weeks later, got very wet, while obviously it was not back in Órgiva. Saw the Alhambra and it's multitude of tessellating patterned tiled walls, floors, ceilings, everythings. I got a little excited about these and took MANY pictures...

Mmmm Alhambra Patterns

We made acquaintances and had dinners, went to fundraisers, made pizzas, lunches and I may proudly add: cake in a frying pan! Designed logos, got wet, got sunburnt, got backache, got massaged. We were there long enough to even see 3 of the 4 family members' birthdays. Culminating in a 60th birthday bash, where we performed a poem Señor Spoon had written and I'd adorned, our 1st actual anniversary and some early morning bonfires.


So we made our way down to Málaga, slept in the airport, after 3 months joined at the hip, went separate ways at Gatwick, but together returned with a plan!
We met loads of people on the entire trip, the majority of which were English, who travelled around, working either where they could, or spending some time back in the UK earning money which would fund the next bit of travel. We can see that there is so much more we can learn and we are super keen to learn it all. Workawaying offers us the opportunity to learn on the job, helping people as we go, learning techniques, uses of materials, theories and practical things and being welcomed into a community of like-minded peeps, it just suits our outlook and financial situation. Plus, we don't know where we want to be, apart from probably Spain.
So now back in the UK, the plan is (whilst being very open-minded and flexible):
Work, work, work to save pennies, live cheaply where possible, Señor Spoon learns to drive, buy a van to do up or part done up.
Next part of the plan:
My job (teaching English) finishes at the end of August, Señor Spoon's job (working on an organic farm) finishes in October, once the van is sorted and respective work contracts are finished, we set out on the adventure back to south Spain, visiting old and new friends in France and Spain, and volunteering: free accommodation and food as we go, with a van to exist in as we travel from one to the next.
So, let's go teacher about this:
To visit various locations to make an informed decision of where to settle/buy/stop.
To learn skills of how to live sustainably from people who are currently doing it.
To meet like-minded people and build our own network of knowledge and amazing people.
To decide if this is really what we want to do, seriously.


That's all for now, it wan't very brief really, was it?
More news soon!

Lady Spoon x

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Crumble de Membrillo y Kiwi

So, it was Señor Spoon's Cumpleaños the other day, I gave him the option of cake or cumble (and custard) - I think you can decipher what he chose...

So, the recipe is appropriated and slightly amended from the Good Food website: goodfood.uktv.co.uk/recipe/quince-crumble/

7 quince, 7 kiwi, bad lighting.
The stuff:

  • 7 membrillos/quince
  • 7 kiwis
  • 6 clavos/cloves
  • 2 tsp canela molido/ground cinnamon (1 tsp in each: quince mix and topping)
  • 200g azucar/sugar  (100g in each: quince mix and topping)
  • 300 g harina de trigo/plain flour
  • 100 g mantequilla/butter

The how:
  1. Right, this bit takes for-ages, so, rope-in a willing, or not, volunteer, even it is his birthday. Peel, core and chop the quince into chunks, chuck into a pan of water as you go, 'cos they'll start to turn brown in the time it takes to do them all! "It's worth all the prep" Señor Spoon states!
  2. Drain off water some water to leave just enough to cover the quince pieces, add cloves and just 1 tsp cinnamon.
  3. Give the pan a hat and bring it to the boil, add in 100g of sugar, you'll need the rest for the topping - cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Simmer quince mix, without a hat, until the quince is cooked - around 15-20 minutes (the original recipe asked to simmer until the liquid is syrupy, but mine didn't get that far before the quince were soft).
  5. While patiently waiting, peel and chop up the kiwis and plonk in your allocated crumble dish.
  6. Make the crumble topping, ratio I use is 1:1:3, butter:sugar:flour, chuck butter and flour to bowl, using finger tips, rub together until bread-crumb-like, mix in remaining 100g sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon, keep about the place.
  7. Back to the now cooked quince, remove lumps with a slotted spoon and add to kiwis, fishing out any cloves you can see, see, see.
  8. Stick pan of not-quite syrupy liquid back on the heat to get a bit closer to syrupy liquid, add to other fruit when you're happy with viscosity.
  9. Liberally sprinkle crumble topping over fruit. 
  10. Stick in the oven, now the one here is, erm, nuclear, so I have no guidelines, other than until golden brown (texture like sun - feel free to listen to the song, it could help, if you don't know what to look out for). I reckon 30 mins in a normal oven will do it!
  11. Eat with lashings of custard!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Nochevieja Chilli sin Carne

New Year's Eve Chilli without meat

Firstly, Happy New Year!!
Secondly, photos are not loading from my phone, so I'll add them later.
Thirdly, Chilli!

New Year's Eve with a Chilli by the bonfire down by the stream, among the orange trees you say? Yes, yes please!
I concocted a recipe from stuff we had about the place, use different stuff if you like, this was pretty lush though!

The stuff:
  • 1 taza lentejas marrones/cup brown lentils
  • 600ml aqua/water
  • 1 cebolla/onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 dientes de ajo/garlic cloves 
  • sobrante tallo de brócoli/ leftover broccoli stem
  • algunas zanahorias/a few carrots
  • algunos coliflor/some cauliflower - 1/4 of a head (?)
  • algunas calabaza/some squash - 250g(?)
  • 1 tsp azúcar/sugar
  • algunos vinagre de ciruela/glug plum vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp chilli en polvo/chilli powder
  • 2 tsp comino molido/ground cumin
  • 2 tsp semillas de cilantro/coriander seeds (crushed in a pestle)
  • 1/2 tsp pimentón dulce/sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp canela molida/ground cinnamon
  • Sal y pimiento negro/salt and pepper (as per taste)
  • 1 cup lentejas peladas/yellow split peas
  • 800g lata de tomates/tin of tomatoes
  • 400g tarro garbanzos/jar chickpeas
And yes, I am practising my Spanish, but that's my fix for the post though...

The how:
  1. So, get them lovely brown lentils with the water in a saucepan and on to boil - about 20 mins until almost cooked or 'al dente'.
  2. Meanwhile in the next 20 minutes, at a stove near you, get the oil in a big ol' pan that you'll be cooking the whole thing in and whack up the heat.
  3. Find a chopping board, in the dishwasher, dirty, tend to this, find a knife in same state as chopping board, *good start, don't add that to the blog* *ahem*. Roughly chop up the onion, realise something's a bit smoky in here, take pan off flame, open window. Once a bit less nuclear stick onion in pan and back on the heat, nice a hot (but keep an eye on it this time).
  4. Return to chopping board, stirring onions occasionally, crush and smush garlic cloves and roughly massacre the rest of the veg: broc, carrots, cauli and squish.
  5. Now for some stickyness *mmm*, add sugar to onion, stir, let it get a bit gloopy, add a glug of vinegar, more mixy, more gloop. Theory is a caramelised onion base - naughty!
  6. Check lentils, burn tongue on spoon (not Señor), take off heat if ready, don't drain!
  7. Now, add all the spices to the gloopy mess and stiiiiiiiir, let them have a few minutes.
  8. Add all chopped veg: garlic, broc, carrots, cauli and squish, stir into gloop.
  9. Add the yellow split peas, tomatoes, and the entire pan of lentils (as long as they're done), water and all! Stir, stir, stir.
  10. Check seasoning, be bold about the spice and add another 1/2 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp sugar, plus s&p.
  11. Boil, simmer, simmer (with a lid on), until split peas have turned to mush and veg is cooked, I usefully didn't time it...40 mins(?)
  12. Take off heat, taste test: add as needed, realise you've forgotten to add the chickpeas, drain, rinse and add, plus some oregano as you saw it on the self and thought why not?! Stir.
  13. Admire chilli lovelyness, don't take photo for your blog because your phone is dead and the lighting in here is rubbish.
  14. Leave on stove until bonfire is lit, roast potatoes are cooked and you're ready to see the New Year in (give it a blast of heat before serving).
That's it.

We just had two, generous, portions from this giant chilli - I'll see how many we get out of it and report back, plus the other things we have with it or concoct with it...

Happy New Year's Day!

Reporting back - 05/01/15:
I had grand idea of eating the left overs with exciting side dishes, as I suppose you could, but we went with homemade bread and generous portions! So this giant chilli did 6 generous portions, I reckon you could stretch it to 8, if you so fancied...LS x