Storm Gloria hit Spain with a vengeance back in the middle of January but thankfully the damage to San Juan was more visual than long lasting. The winds were high and the rain was torrential closing all the airports in the region for nearly 48 hours. Just 20km inland the snow fell so hard it cut circulation on all the main roads for 48 hours, cutting some towns off completely – something unheard of down here, although a minor interruption to daily life, almost embarrassing when you look at the damage that has been done elsewhere over the past month.
It has though, taken a month to clean up the beaches…. probably because Easter isn’t round the corner like it was last April when we were here and it wasn’t really going to have an impact on tourism – just shows where priorities are.
A huge amount of damage was done however to the fish farms which are just off the coast, thankfully the one that Nuria (Pilar’s sister) works at came out with minimal loss… just a few fish that jumped the nets when the waves got high. Other farms lost 18 months worth of fish and the locals are benefitting from their loss… day and night they are lined up along the beach hoping to catch a biggie!
The weather has got better though – we even had a bit of a heat wave a week ago when the temperature got up to 26 degrees during the day …… ridiculous for February! Although, all we have been able to do over the last couple of weeks is watch the news and sit helplessly whilst the storms attack the UK.
So, we have been focussing on finding more new, interesting recipes, trying out new restaurants, catching up with friends and slowly starting running again…. ah yes – it is a slow process, two steps forwards – one back but there is progress.
I thought I would try and detail the new recipes differently this time as it does just end up sounding like we are constantly eating… which is true, but we don’t just look for new recipes – we have repeated a lot of the good ones that we have found in between times as well!
The new recipes this month are as follows:
- Smokey Tempeh Fajitas with a Mango Slaw (above) – although I am normally very anti mixing sweet and savoury, this worked out really well and although not particularly photogenic, is a definately repeater if we can get good ripe Mango.
- Mac n Cheese (below left) – the Vegan version with a really nice ‘cheese’ – if you can call it that – and nutty sauce
- No Tuna Pasta Bake (above right) – I put this next to the Mac n Cheese as they are very similar dishes in principal (Pasta, cheesy type sauce and a bit of veg) but the sauces taste completely different – both really tasty but the bake is far nuttier.
- Lentil and Mushroom Stew – I could eat this every day, proper comfort food served with sweet potato, what is there not to like? Really quick and simple to make as well
- Pumpkin and Blackbean Soup (Below left) – A random recipe that I found with tomato and coconut and fancied trying and it had the same effect on me as the chickpea curry below…. absolutely delicious and so quick and easy to make
- Chickpea curry (above right) – why oh why have I never made a curry before with tomatoes and coconut? This is the most delicious recipe using our base curry paste and although it goes really well with Chickpeas, you can add prawns, chicken or whatever you fancy and I am sure it would be equally tasty…. no going back now – this is the curry of choice!
- Fresh Artichokes – well, they were in season here and there were loads of them in the market so I thought I would give it a go. I found a recipe to eat them raw with freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Nice but a lot of faff to peel and prepare for not a lot of veg
- Vegan Lasagne – Absolutely delicious but this isn’t too different from my normal vegetarian lasagne apart from adding lentils to the mix and the cheesy sauce being vegan – I prepared it the day before for the Spanish guys and it worked really well though.
- Vegan Balls – well what more can I say. My meat balls with a pasta sauce but with quinoa and black beans instead of meat. So light and tasty… just a little bit messy to roll into balls!
I know there are more savoury than sweet but that is just the way it has been this month…. one of the Spanish guys is on a bit of a health kick/diet and the other looks like he has put on weight so I thought I’d try and cut back!
We have been out a few times to eat in the last month and found a lovely little restaurant in central Alicante called El Bokao which is just near the market and the ingredients (as well as the food) are fantastic. They do a lovely set menu – which we have ended up opting for both times we have been and I have even ended up eating the pate – which considering I normally can’t tolerate liver is a huge compliment for them!
And just leaving the food aside for a minute, as my foot has improved we agreed to join Pilar and some friends on a walk near Guadalez which is a picturesque – but way too touristy – village in the mountains about 20km in land from Benidorm.
The walk was mostly flat around a lake which on a clearer day is apparently an incredible green. Unfortunately for us it was a little overcast but we still managed to stop and enjoy a picnic half way round and enjoy the tranquillity and beautiful Almond blossom that is in full bloom at the moment.