Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas Syndrome, Bowling, Figs, Weather, Tapas,

This morning I was quite convinced I had Christmas syndrome, I was constantly blowing my nose and sneezing. It was horrible. However, it dissipated once I left the apartment and doesn't seem to have returned, fingers crossed.

I am delighted to report that I bowled well today and my average went up 2 points, woo hoo. I am so pleased. Matt's average stayed the same. He says every week he isn't going to bowl again but luckily forgets it and happily goes with me once more. There were just the two of us on our team as our team mates have deserted us and are swanning around in Cuba. Lucky so and sos. They did do bowl aheads though and our team took all 7 points today, first time in our history this year. We will not reach the top, but it would be nice to get off the bottom. Trouble is, we started so late as a team so that didn't give us a good beginning.

We were discussing figs the other day because I had posted a recipe with figs. I finally remembered to check my local grocery and much to my surprise, they do have fresh black figs (what's the difference?) I contemplated ordering some, but not this week. I did, however, order some chestnuts, ready to eat, being lazy, although they are really tastier when you cook them yourself. Trouble is, it's such a pain preparing them to cook. I can't remember if I have tried cooking them in the air fryer but I think they would work very well. Maybe I should google that.

As you know, my car was outside all night and all day today so as it was raining cats and dogs as well as a few frogs and lizards, it got a good wash. Needed it once again because of all the dust in the underground parking garage. I don't ever remember having such a problem with dust down there before. Ever since they "cleaned" the place, it has been dirtier than I can recall. Anyway, right now it is nice and clean. Saved me a couple of bucks. It just occurred to me, do you know the origin of raining cats and dogs? Apparently cats and dogs used to sleep on the roof tops of thatched cottages and when it rained, often the thatch gave way so the animals fell into the dwellings. There you just learned something new, I hope, LOL. I might say, by the way, it is past 11 p.m. and no longer raining but the wind is howling round the building instead.

One of the things I miss never going to Spain any more and envy Mark Koopmans his access to, is Tapas. Any bar worth it's salt has tapas of one kind or another, some more of a culinary delight than others. I remember going on Tapas runs with my parents, trying out the offerings at different cafeterias or bars. We often used to have various shrimp or prawns which we would peel and eat dropping the shells on the floor, quite acceptable, all the floors were tiles and they were hosed down at the end of the day. But the variety of tapas is fantastic and when I saw this recipe, I just had to save it and share it with you. Almonds are a favourite in Spain and they have a terrific variety of uses for them.

Flat Breads with Shrimp and Romesco Sauce

At Mas Rabell, the private restaurant where the Torres family entertains, chef Sergi Millet cooks
homey, regional food like romesco sauce, a slightly smoky puree of roasted red peppers, garlic and almonds. The versatile sauce is often served with fish or vegetables, but here Millet spreads it on rounds of soft homemade flat bread and tops it with sautéed shrimp.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dry white wine

1 medium red bell pepper
1 cup salted roasted almonds, chopped (4 ounces)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbs chopped parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
24 medium shrimp (about 3/4 pound), shelled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, mix the water with the sugar and yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. In a food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade, blend the flour and salt. Add the sautéed onion, wine and yeast mixture and process until a ball forms. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough briefly until smooth. Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round about 2/3 inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes. Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out 30 rounds and transfer them to a large baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until just cooked through and pale.

4. Roast the pepper directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler until blackened all over. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Peel; discard the stem and seeds. Coarsely chop the pepper.

5. In a food processor, process the roasted pepper with the almonds, vinegar, parsley and garlic to a paste. With the machine on, slowly blend in the olive oil. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and season with salt.

6. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until white throughout, about 2 minutes per side.

7. Spread a teaspoon of romesco sauce on each flat bread and top with a shrimp; serve.

Yield: about 30 hors d'oeuvres

Source: Food and Wine

Have a great day


  1. I never knew that about raining cats and dogs. Thank you.
    Mmm tapas.
    And rain. How we need rain here. Lots and lots of rain.

    1. I don't know how true it is Sue but it does seem a logical explanation. I love tapas.

      Wish I could send you some rain, we have had enough of it.

  2. Well, I learned something new. It's always fun to find out where old sayings originated, so thank you Jo - and Google.

    Rained here all day yesterday and I had driven down to The Henry Ford Museum to see two exhibits. Horrible day to drive. And the rain set off my mould allergies and I was miserable with runny nose and watery eyes. Glad you had a good time bowling.

    1. Your'e right Denise it is fun.

      Like that here and I was sneezing and snuffling, I thought it was the syndrome but maybe I have become allergic like you. What I hate, driving in the wet, is the inability to see the lines on the road properly.

  3. I never knew about the cats and dogs. Love it. I will have a tidbit of information to share with unruly classes who weren't left with enough work or threats to keep them busy.

    Good to hear your bowling scores went up. And a free car wash? Yesterday was a good day- even if you don't get to be somewhere sunny.

    1. I tend to pick up useless bits of information like that Liz. Glad you are enjoying your job.

      Yup I definitely got a good free car wash. Your'e right, it was a good day, in retrospect.

    2. Awww thanks for the mention, Jo, and you've given me a great idea.... I'll see if I can come up with a "dodgy bar, with dirty floors, but great tapas post for you... because it hasn't changed... good grief some of the bars are *messy.*

    3. I know, but they don't seem to care, it's so easy to clean the floors. I do envy you being in Spain. You will have to visit Alicante one of these days just to see where my parents lived for a few years. Great town, port really.