Settling in …. 15/12/19


The rest of the journey went smoothly with the temperature briefly rising enough for us to not actually turn the heating on for a couple of nights – well…. it didn’t go down below 10 degrees which for the previous couple of months in the UK has been unheard of!

We were keeping an eye on the weather as they had been threatening a lot of rain – and snow – however, we were lucky and the route we took, although wet in parts was pretty good despite the Somport tunnel already having over half a meter of snow at the side of the road.

We opted for the toll road to cross over from France into Spain as earlier in the year when we avoided them the traffic was horrendous. It cost us 55 euros but saved us a good hour/hour and a half and all the stopping/starting which we felt was worth it.

Once in Spain we stopped overnight at the same two places as earlier in the year – Berriozar and then Teruel before finally getting to San Juan Playa, Alicante on Thursday 28th November – welcomed by sunshine and famliar faces which was lovely.

After a lovely walk along the seafront and a good nights sleep we woke to sunshine, ate our breakfast outside and got on with the first round of washing….. It was going to be a few days of catching up and chores!

With our Spanish friends away for the weekend in Madrid we took advantage of a free weekend to go out to a few bars in San Juan on our own taking in a few glasses of wine and tapas – finishing the evening with a spectacular ‘Brazo de pulpo’ – Octopus arm – which was served on a bed of mashed potato and onion … absolutely delicious….so good I almost forgot to take the photo!


The wonderful weather unfortunately only lasted a few days before we got our monies worth of wind and rain…. a little ironic that we managed to do our exercises outside in the UK right up until the day we left and then we arrive in Spain to be restricted to the motorhome for two mornings…. it did only last four days though so I think we will cope!


Just before we left the UK a couple of people mentioned the film ‘The Game Changer’ to us and finally, on the journey down here, we managed to watch it – really interesting!  If you haven’t already seen it and you are interested in food, exercise and nutrition as a whole, I highly recommend it as it certainly opens your mind…. so much so that we have been experimenting!

Before I start – to all of our friends and family, don’t worry – we don’t plan to go completely Vegan…. we would miss bacon, cheese and steak too much – but we are definately converted to a more plant based diet …. maybe 80/20!

We started thinking about different sandwich fillings as we do eat alot of cheese and fish and came up with a really tasty Mushroom Pate which although I initially tried using Girolle mushrooms, is actually better with a mix of button and chestnut mushrooms, onions, walnuts and a lot of garlic!  As before, I have linked through to the recipe on the name if you want to give them a go.

We then tried a Butterbean and Sun dried tomato pate…. also absolutey delicious as both a dip and a pate.  This one uses slightly less garlic but has a real tang as it uses the juice of a whole lemon.

And then finally the flexible ‘Soyrizo‘ – Chorizo made out of TVP which is textured vegetable protein.  Having only ever had Tofu once before which I thought tasted like cardboard, it is fair to say I was a little apprehensive about trying any of the soya based ‘supplements’ but TVP soaked up the flavour from all the spices and provided a real depth to it.  We made a batch and have put some in the freezer as it can be used in wraps, paella, chilli sin carne, stuffed peppers or many other dishes.

Meanwhile the huge amount of brie and camembert that we bought in France is actually starting to pong alot …. so we have starting to dip into those as well… I did say 80/20!

After success with the sandwich fillers we thought we would start experimenting with main meals…..  the first of which was paella using some of the Soyrizo – not sure I will go back to normal chorizo now for the paella as it provided a huge amount of flavour withough the high fat content.

Also using TVP, we tried a Chilli sin Carne – I wouldn’t have known that there wasn’t any meat – except for the fact that we normally use chunks of meat for our chilli instead of minced meat – you don’t need to cook it for anywhere near the same length of time as meat yet it provides a huge depth of flavour by soaking up all the spices.

Our final new recipe this week also using TVP wasstuffed peppers which used a combination of rice, TVP and black beans and once again a huge success… definately to be repeated!

We also tried a couple of recipes with Seitan and Tofu… they had a lot to live up to!

The first recipe was a Quinoa and Seitan fajita bowl which was a light and refreshing meal with lots of vegetables as well as more black beans…. a very popular ingredient!

And finally this morning we had No Huevos Rancheros which used tofu as well as guess what …. black beans… its fair to say that we have had our fair share of fibre over the last couple of weeks as well all the other vitamins and minerals that we need!

We have had meat and cheese in between but it has been 80% plant based – Keith has even been trying out different types of Soya milks… although we have decided to stick to the Skyr type protein yoghurt that we like!

All of the meals we have had have been full of flavour – probably because they use alot of spices – and delicious. Neither of us have felt hungry or lacking in energy, in fact we both feel like we are sleeping better and have higher energy levels if anything!

We are going to continue to try out more recipes and see how it goes but the balance is key for us – we have had friends over and cooked a huge spatch-cock chicken as well as eaten out… not going to give up the things that we enjoy!

The first batch of mince pies have also been cooked – this year using Waitrose’ Amaretto mince meat which was absolutely delicious…. a muffin tin, a gin glass to cut the bottom and an egg cup to cut the tops – perfect!


The foot has been to see a physio as although it is a little better, I am now up to ten weeks of pain and it would be nice to know that there is a possibility that I won’t have another ten ahead of me!

The physio was excellent – and cheap at 30 euros an hour – and although it has been subjected to a huge amount of pain whilst a metal tool was being pushed into the nerve between the toes, he also did a bit of acupuncture and ultrasound and told me to buy some toe seperators to help provide the inflamed nerve space to breathe….. ha ha – maybe I should think about painting them whilst I have them !


Fingers crossed though – I will be on the road to recovery now that we know what it is – its just a matter of time and errrrrr patience – something that most of you know I don’t have a huge amount of!

The weather is looking reasonably good over the next week or two so fingers crossed the foot will get better, we will be able to have a BBQ for Christmas and we will continue to get the beautiful sunsets that we have been having over the last few days.


One thought on “Settling in …. 15/12/19

  1. Love the picture of your foot – hope it does get better soon! I plan to print off some of your recipes as we are also trying to cut down on carbohydrates and fats. In fact I make my own mincemeat using lots of grated carrot and apple, NO added sugar or glucose syrup and vegetable suet, but lots of brandy (or spirit of your choice as a preservative). I also use Trex and polyunsaturated margarine for the pastry. It all sound a bit too healthy, but actually is really flavoursome as none of the taste is masked by too much sweetener. I was also interested in your route across France as we want to visit Bordeaux. Hope the weather holds up for you – and your wobbly foot! Happy Christmas and new year. Love Caroline

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