The place where we had our celebration breakfast in Sabadell yesterday had a bakers shop upstairs and a cafe in the basement.  They had arranged the downstairs space very cleverly and along one side there was a huge window looking onto a tiny narrow patio with natural light and plants so you didn’t feel like you were in a dark lifeless cellar.  On the other wall there was also a window dividing the seating area from the kitchen and in the kitchen there were three people making panallets

What are panallets?
They are little sweet cakes which are the traditional dessert on the holiday of All Saints, otherwise known as the Castanyada.  They are often served with a sweet wine such as Vi Ranci – we have a couple of lovely bottles of that in the cupboard. It comes from Falset

Panallets are made from almonds and sugar and the most traditional ones are covered in pine nuts. The shops are full of them just now and we also have all the ingredients to make some of our own this weekend!  If it works out I will take photos and put the recipe on here


People have told me not to look for a house in Borrassà as it smells of pig farming and yes perhaps it does have a country whiffy smell sometimes but so does Lamorna.
I like Borrassà very much.  Every time I arrive in the Emporda I go there for shopping and start relaxing as soon as I park in the small town square.
I don’t eat much meat myself and for most of my life I was totally vegetarian. The idea of pigs being reared in barns upsets me as do the conditions that all animals have to suffer as they live out lives in service to human beings.
But today I am sharing a photo of the butchers in Borrassa

It is strange to find in myself the possibility of liking a butchers shop but I do like this one. 
They are very friendly and non-intimidating. I don’t have any anxiety when I go in even thought I am not in my natural element – I have to speak Catalan and I need to talk meat about which I am almost completely ignorant.

So why do I go there?

To get food for Bonnie of course. After her tick disease I changed her diet onto one of raw meaty bones and it has taken me into many butchers shops and turned me at last into something more like a typical Catalan housewife.

I ask about liver and kidney, I buy whole skinned rabbits, I peer with interest at the pigs trotters, I try to buy green tripe (impossible to find so far), I stop the butcher from removing the chicken’s head and feet.
“No, I want all of it!”  I say confidently.

What a difference from the old days!  When I tried to buy chicken breast and came home with all the parts, not knowing what to do with it. Now I would know

Another veggie restaurant – the best yet!

We had a wonderful lunch in Cardedeu on Sunday.
Esbio Esfera is a school of permaculture, organic gardening, healthy cooking and more

They have a large vegetable garden hidden behind an old typical Catalan house

It is right in the centre of Cardedeu which is one of my favourite towns and presently high on my list of possible places to live.

Everything was fresh and tasty and beautifully presented. The garden is lovely and the staff were relaxed and friendly.   I love it when vegetarian restaurants are stylish as well as healthy.
Dogs welcome as well.
What more could you want?

Definitely the best vegetarian food I’ve had in Catalunya!  Can’t wait to go back.

Keeping Promises

As we approach the summer solstice I am reviewing some of the promises I made in January.
It’s interesting to see how many are still central to my daily life. I wonder if this is the first time I have ever managed to keep going with resolutions made at the New Year?
I did a review in February and so I’ll have a look at those first and add on the new ones.

Yes this has been a very happy change. I feel happier with my diet now even though I allow myself the occasional ‘blip’.  If I want fish then I have it. And there was one day when I craved chicken in a stir fry so I had that too. No regrets. I am trusting my body.
The funny thing is that I have also changed Bonnie’s diet and she is having a mostly raw meat regime. This means that I now go scouring the butchers for animal parts which I then freeze in little manageable bags. Chicken heads and wings, livers and hearts, I am getting more used to dealing with it all!

I have not smoked at all since October 2012 and never want to. I hope my lungs forgive me for not doing this earlier.

Coke and Tescos
Not one drop has passed my lips. Tescos will be a challenge only when I get back to Cornwall.

Oooooooffff!  This one has been harder. I’ve been speaking mainly English at home and stopped going to my Catalan classes. I need a whole post to describe why I suddenly got resistant. I do speak it of course and can carry on conversations no problem. But I am keen to get back to studying Castellano and when I start that – I get confused and end up talking in a horrible  confused mixture.

Forgiveness and Sending Love
This has been a very helpful practice. I do it every day with the Resident Adolescent as the central pivot. I think it has improved our relationship hugely. I include other people according to which hurts and resentments are uppermost in my mind and at least it makes me feel I am doing something positive rather than turning myself into a bitter twisted old lady. There is still one person who I find it almost impossible to forgive which surprises me as I haven’t seen her for years and I never knew her well anyway. She’s my ‘bete noire’ and perhaps I should just accept it.

Kitchen Sink
This has been one of the best things I ever did. And it has grown into much more than just the sink. I am organising home with the help of the Fly Lady and it is wonderful. If you are a naturally ordered person perhaps you don’t need her but if like me things like cleaning pile up and never get done then this system is wonderful.

New Promises
These mainly come from the Fly Lady schedules so I won’t go into detail here. If you are interested in making order out of chaos take a look at her site and start with the Baby Steps.

At the moment I have started a daily routine of doing Salute to the Sun and some sit ups every morning. And I am wheat and caffeine free for a few weeks. I started at the beginning of June thinking to do a week but it’s feeling good so I have kept going.
I feel there is change in the air and somehow it is easier than ever to make decisions and stick to them.  And it seems the more little adjustments I make, the stronger is my resolve. I know I won’t give up wheat and coffee forever. It is just too much of a pleasure to go out here to a cafe and sit in the sun having a cafe amb llet and a donut. But it’s almost just as lovely to know I can stop for a while.
Lastly…. I have started drawing again. The ipad makes it so easy and opens up new possibilities.

Potatoes in Catalunya

Yes!  They are ready!
It was very exciting to go to the hort on Monday, armed with a new fork with red prongs, and start exploring around the now very bushy plants.
Suddenly there were potatoes – lots of them!  Both varieties did very well – Charlotte and Pentland. Of course I forgot to label which rows were which (is anyone that organised?) but I am pretty sure the Charlottes are on the left and the Pentlands on the right.

Is there anything more satisfying than digging up your own potatoes?
Yes there is – eating them!

Lightly boiled, slathered in salty butter and garnished with mint from the terrace.
We had salmon and broad beans and a bottle of wine to accompany them
In the sunshine on the terrace – bliss.

 And in case you are missing Bonnie here she is today – a seasoned traveller now on the trains. We went to Cardedeu for our Spanish conversation hour and she was please to find another dog further down the carriage – that’s why she looks so concentrated.