Saturday, 28 February 2009


My piece of Pork Loin was done in the Wellington style and it's a shame that my French friend, Cecilia, moved away because Mushroom Duxelles form the basis of the pate that's used in the recipe and she could probably have given me a few pointers. I survived though, including in mine some apple to complement the meat.

Ana's was busy last night with a good crowd listening to the Flamenco and I received a few cards over the bar and a couple of drinks as well. Tuesday we have David and Christy ("The Twilights") performing again and then on Thursday another Spanish performance - a Monologue. The WiFi is drawing people as well with four taking advantage of the facility last night and another popping his head through the door in enquiry.

The weather has turned miserable again. The forecast rain arrived yesterday evening and is still falling as I type. And it's cold as well. But there is no real excuse to go out; today is a holiday so all the major shops are shut.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Google one, Pearl one.

It seems that we are in for some more damp, wet weather over the next few days with plenty of clouds about in-between the showers and rain. Am I bovvered? It's quite sunny at the moment so I've done a load of washing which is out on the line already drying nicely, thankyou.

My day off is now, for the foreseeable future, Monday which is a bind. I opted for Wednesdays for a specific reason so, just as soon as I get wind that Wednesdays are available to me again I will revert post-haste (I won't go into details here about why this has happened, life's too short.)

Needless to say, my planned Chinese meal yesterday in Montemar did not happen but not to worry, instead I've been out this morning and bought a posh piece of pork (loin), cut it into 3, put 2 pieces in the freezer and kept the biggest piece (blame my wonky eye) out ready for the Big Day tomorrow. That Roast Pork feast will be followed by work at 8pm and another dose of Flamenco at 10pm. Pure Flamenco is heavy on most foreigners ears and Ana-Mary has come to realize that, telling me last night that she will ask the singer to do some other, lighter, forms as well so that all can enjoy the performance more, including me!

I was pleased to accompany Beryl into Malaga yesterday, giving support while she bought herself a WiFi enabled laptop. Back home within 2 hours she was soon logged into the Bar's Internet Hotspot and getting to grips with her first taste of Windows Vista. Favio had me do a speedtest last night, the result of which was somewhat under the "guaranteed minimum" download speed of 15mbps. I'm now to do it on a daily basis and keep a record so that he can challenge Telefonica over their guarantee at a later date. I haven't the heart to suggest why the speed is lower than he expects but there were 3 computers logged on at the time.

Ana-Mary has mentioned to me on numerous occasions about getting some publicity organised for the bar and I keep on about a website. Favio has numerous Domain Names "parked" but has lost the User and Password details for all of them! I showed him just how easy it is to send a webpage up by FTP the other night and he spent hours trying it for himself; but without passwords etc. it's impossible. Hopefully he'll see fit to contact the Hosts and reclaim the missing information. My site has had, to date, nearly 100,000 hits since its inception so I am very much convinced a web presence is a "good thing". Any publicity is good publicity as they say and I often wonder whether anyone ever Googles for Anas Bar and comes up with the inevitable nothing because judging by the Googles that my site is fed to I suspect that someone, somewhere, may well have done so, or even be doing so. Another establishment, not far from where I am sitting, is still googled for from all over the world and keywords used include the actual names of the Management! You never know just how famous you might be out there in etherland!! But, first, you need that password.

Right! I'm going to google "roast pork loin" and see what inspiration I can get, using stuff in my cupboards (of which there is mucho 'cos I can't go out for a loaf of bread without coming back with half the shop.) I might be a compulsive shopper. Must take a tablet. BTW, I took delivery of a packet of Pearl Barley the other day, a special order to a friend who was going to Fuengirola and the Iceland shop. Next some Lamb chops, which I'll de-bone, for an Irishy Stew later in the week. And the stock that I have on the go at this very mo will be becoming the pearly queen of soups. I haven't had Pearl Barley since I left home I don't think which means, what, 40years? Blimey, don't time fly.

PS. While I was halfway through the above I heard my other machine accept an email. I've just checked. 3!! One of which is from The Crimea. Who's a happy chappy? 13 days to go and already I'm getting butterflies.

Monday, 23 February 2009

There's no place like Home!

And why do I say that? Because, yesterday, I locked myself out! Running between the Bar and here while helping Ana-Mary & Favio prepare for last night's party I eventually did the unthinkable and left the keys on the dining table, only to realize that just as the door latched closed on my way out. To cut a longish story short, Else-Britt and Ole-Erik (my neighbours) were kind enough to give me a bed for the night last night and today, while prepping the bar, I remembered that I know someone who could possibly get me up a ladder to force (or break) one of the balcony doors, problem being that Cristina, who has a passkey, is not here at the moment and the phone number that I have for her is now non-existent. With no damage done entry has been gained at the top of a ladder and here I am, home. Tonight (Mondays are now my night off for the time being) I'm going to comfort myself with a hot bath and an even hotter Chili Con Carne and tomorrow I am going to get spare sets of keys cut and plant them in strategic places around the area so that what has passed cannot happen again. Whilst I wasn't destitute (luckily my wallet was about my person) being homeless is not a nice feeling.

The Birthday Bash in the bar went very well. Ana-Mary's buffet was to die for, my photo does not do it any justice whatsoever and one or two of her recipes will be copied here in my kitchen over the course of time. When the eats were over the floor was quickly cleared (a 7ft x 4ft table was miraculously "disappeared", quite how from my vantage point behind the bar I was unable to work out,) and then the Flamenco Duo took centre-stage for an hour or so. Not something that I find easy to appreciate but they must have been good at what they did because those that do were ecstatic at the end of each number and I noticed Ana-Mary and a friend accompanying the singer with a Flamenco dance on a couple of occasions, again, to rapturous applause. I say noticed because the bar was bursting at the seams with bodies making it difficult for me to see what was going on from where I was. I had my new Netbook running it's inbuilt webcam (trained on me) and it was gratifying to realize, later in the evening, that Ana and Favio had gathered in front of it and were waving to friends and/or family in Colombia whom they had phoned and passed the web address to and over the hullabaloo I could hear squeals of delight coming from the phone as the folk at the other end viewed the images.

To bean or not to bean. In Texas there is a very long-running debate about whether Chilli (as they so simply call it) should have beans in or not. My choice is forced, as always, by what's in my cupboard so... no beans it is because I am not going out to get some in case I leave my keys behind!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Hot Spot

The WiFi Broadband installation at the bar is up and running now (and has been for a few days.) Favio has opted for the top range product from Telefonica which has a nominal speed of 20mb/sec upload with a guaranteed minimum of 15mb/sec which our speedtest results show is being achieved. I've been taking my 'Netbook' in and running the webcam behind the bar, to which end there is now a simple webpage that you can view some video on while I'm working. Unfortunately the IP is dynamic so I can't put a link here right now but later this evening, when I go in, I'll check the current IP address and set a link to the webcam up in the sidebar here under the websites list so keep an eye out for that.

There is going to be a party tomorrow in the bar to celebrate birthdays (Favio's was yesterday and Ana-Mary's is on Tuesday) followed by a performance of Flamenco by a Duo that they have hired for an hour or so. It should be a good night. Looks like Favio treated himself to a new sign for the bar! It went up yesterday afternoon and I snapped this shot last night. Very Las Vegas! OOPS........seems I've deleted it in the camera, I'll have to get another and add it later.

Monday, 16 February 2009

I'll mince no words

I've been out and bought a PICADORA de CARNE, or, in other words, an old-fashioned mincing machine that you clamp to a work surface, only this one is not so old and more of a modern, plastic, fashion. Courtesy of its Archimedean Screw and my well greased elbow I now have 4 Minced Chicken Puffs in the oven and with the rest of my mixture I'm going to try doing some Croquettes later, maybe even a burger or two.

Oh boy, the empanadillas were good but the burger idea wins the day for the 2nd dish because I've just found some "Cajun Blackened Seasoning" amongst my spice collection which I brought back from America so, despite Bill's misgivings when I mentioned about maybe doing a Chicken Burger to him earlier today, blackened burgers it's got to be! .......phew! Talk about Smokey Joe's but it dun'alf smell good!.........Well, they may never have fried any chicken quite like it in Kentucky but here with 2 easy over and pickles on the side I've just been to America and back, my way, inside 20mins with no Jet Lag (or Blueberry Pie.)

Hello..are you out there?

I'm back! Telefonica rang this afternoon just as they'd promised to do so, and, with Cristina's help translating, the Broadband connectivity problem has been sorted. A thunderstorm had knocked my router for 6 and, as luck would have it, I'd just got in from going to collect a spare one that David had which, over the phone, the helpdesk has helped me reconfigure for my fixed IP. Can't believe that I've let lightning blow my modem! Me of all people. I should know better.

The social calendar is a little cramped this coming week what with a popular bar up in town celebrating the Guv'nor's birthday, Ann & Bill celebrating their Wedding Anniversary and Favio & Ana-Mary celebrating their birthdays also. They are throwing a party in the bar on Sunday complete with a Flamenco Dancer. Never mind me though, I'll be working through the whole lot but my moment is planned for next Wednesday when I intend to go over to MonteMar and my favourite Chinese for a quiet celebration of my own! I haven't been there in an age and am quite looking forward to seeing the folk there again.

Today I find myself enjoy an unexpected day off having been told last night that the usual cover for me this Wednesday cannot happen this week. Not needing to be told twice I'm going to take the opportunity to finish testing a webpage that I have written which will let you watch me working behind the bar, hopefully in glorious technicolour video (albeit a little jerky over the web.)

The bar is now an Internet Hotspot although we are still waiting for the router to be delivered.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Good News all round

I normally do not harrass organisations like telefonica because I believe that they know what they are doing, but, this morning, after weeks of poor broadband connectivity and these last 2 days or so with none at all I finally called to find out what the heck is going on. A "major fault" was their reply so here I am working off-line and using a Dial-Up connection to swiftly upload this blog and check emails. This is my first login for almost 3 days (just as well, Larisa wrote on Tuesday,) and I will not be doing so too regularly because of the cost! The website and cameras are not being updated either for the same reason - too much time would be required on-line.

The party on Tuesday went without a hitch with me managing to complete the food just in time, with a little help from Beryl at the bar. I have a photo of the spread but I'm not going to upload it now.

I queried the situation with my Bank Account this morning and the nice young lady behind the counter there told me (after checking) that my name was no longer on the list of blocked accounts! Despite the lack of info from any other source it seems that an amnesty may well be in place now so I'm going to start using the account as from tomorrow and if all goes well I'll tell Favio to chance paying me through the bank at the end of the month.

Bar Ana is becoming an Internet "HotSpot"! Favio gave me the new landline number last night. All has yet to be installed though which, I hope, might be within the next couple of days.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Trouble at T'Mill

Today there is a Birthday Party being held in the bar, privately, before opening time and I've agreed to do some food to which end I went shopping yesterday. There was so much that I opted to ask the shop to deliver as I had spent more than enough to qualify for the free service. Due to arrive between 9 and 11 today it is getting too close to that deadline for comfort. I hope I haven't done the wrong thing as time is of the essence as they say and I ain't got much left as my deadline is 5pm. I could be in trouble here getting all the goodies done.

1101hrs and I'm still sitting here twiddling my fingers. The Sod who wrote the law "if it can go wrong, it will" got it dead right! And I've just trimmed my nails so I can't even chew one of them!

I'm in business!! Phew!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

5 O'Clock Club

Welcome to my 5 O'Clock Club! A (probably lighthearted) look at what I do for dinner.

TODAY: Chilli Pasta Picante (hot)

Mince (Ground) Beef
Fresh Red Chilli
Paprika (Hot 'n smoked)
Ground Cumin
Tinned chopped Tomatoes

WARNING...this as described will almost blow your head off so modify the spicing to your taste.

Begin by browning 200g of mince in a frying pan adding 3 crushed cloves of Garlic, 1 small chopped Chilli Pepper and 1 teaspoon of Paprika as the browning comes to an end. Then add 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, a scant teaspoon of Ground Cumin and a pinch of salt before letting simmer for at least half-an-hour. Meanwhile cook a portion or two of Macaroni (the sauce will probably stretch to two). When all is ready turn the sauce out into the drained pasta and stir through. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese to finish.

NOTE. Here in Spain I used a tin of "Tomate triturado con Cebollas" (mashed tomato with onion) which is why I didn't fry any onion at the start.

My photo shows the chilli that I buy and here's an interesting thing.....I've just read on the Net that there is more "heat" in a chilli the closer that you get to the stalk, so, possibly one way to control the effect of them in a dish is to chop from the "toe" end as far up towards the stalk as you want to go, trial and error.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Fingers Crossed

Friday morning and I'm waiting for a delivery to arrive at the bar then it's off up into town to see if that Netbook is waiting for collection as was promised..........

.............I did consider, for a fleeting moment, to leave it in its box until my birthday but now I know just how the Vicar of Dibley feels towards a box of chocolates, sooooo, it's unpacked, fired-up and I'm getting to know it. Within its miniscule size it sports:
  • WindowsXP(SP3)
  • 512MB RAM
  • 40Gb HDD
  • 2 USB ports
  • 10/100 LAN
  • WiFi
  • Modem
  • WebCam
  • Card Reader
Which is rather more than I expected for the price and will do me just fine. Lack of a CD drive is not a problem, files can be downloaded off the internet or transferred via either a USB memory stick or LAN. It has also come with a soft carry pouch so I can't wait to show it off in the bar tonight.

PS What a cinch, I've just installed my favourite webcam program, it has found the inbuilt webcam on its own and set everything up automatically, I can now see me!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

This & That

Still no sign that Larisa has seen the eCard that I sent on Monday so today I'm going to follow-up with a proper email in answer to hers. A cosy little job for this evening once all the chores are done, assuming she doesn't beat me to it with a phonecall wondering what's happening.

There has been an awful lot of interest, from a BBC food forum of all places, in my piece about Secreto de Cerdo over the last two days. How's it butchered? How does the name translate? How to cook it? etc. etc. I buy it fairly regularly and do different things with it but the mention of slow cooking on the forum intrigues me so I've bought another piece this morning to do just that with. Dinner sorted? No! I promptly forgot that I had it in my basket and bought a Trout as well. So Trout today because the pork can be frozen. This one I'm going to "Devil" with some designer salad leaves on the side (which I didn't forget.)

My plan, last week, to buy a small Laptop (actually a so-called "Netbook") with XP on board fell through because the shop did not deliver and it was the end of the January offers. Yesterday I happened to pick up February's catalogue from the stand outside the shopdoor only to find the same extremely cheap deal still being advertised so, today, in I went. The chap greeted me with a smile, picked up the phone without me saying a word and on Friday I am to collect. "For sure this time" he says. I'll believe it when the inbuilt webcam shows me staring back at myself from this sofa. Via WiFi I might even be able to show you me working behind the bar one evening.

Torremolinos Council are working hereabouts trying to improve the drainage in an attempt to stop the flooding that inevitably occurs when it rains hard. Suffice to say that on Sunday night a Fire Engine was summoned to Calle Peligro to pump cellars out after the deluge that evening. Halfway up the steps they are laying bigger storm drains and my photo shows the current impediment being suffered by those who choose to climb them rather than use the lift. I say storm drains; actually the pipe might be a sewer because I heard said that there was raw sewage flowing down them at the height of the flood. I believe that Ole-Erik took some video of the cascade and it would be interesting to post a framegrab here if the images are good. Water in flow is notoriously difficult to photogragh and I haven't yet taken the chance to try with my camera which has a "water" mode but next time it rains hard enough, and if the new pipes don't work, I will give it a try myself.

Ok, time to get's Wednesday...where the devil is that Trout? Soup this week? Carrot & Coriander - always wanted to do it and Delia says that either Chicken or Veg stock is good to start and guess what I've just put on to simmer for a while. Actually I'm spoilt for choice today because I've also got the Chicken Pickins that would make a nice rechaufee of some sort or another but fresh trout is fresh trout, the chicken can chill out for another day I'm sure.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Time Out

I received an email from Larisa yesterday morning to which I replied by way of an eCard. I'm supposed to get notification that she has "opened" it but that hasn't happened yet. Bearing in mind that the actual covering email is in English she may be ignoring it or maybe it was automatically consigned to her spam bin. Either way I'll wait until tomorrow and send a conventional message if necessary.

Favio, prompted by my daily record of hours worked (which I didn't hide and he has told me is not necessary after having the figures explained last night,) has finally told me what I am to be paid each month. A relaxing piece of news to say the least. Things are looking up. Well they will do when he coughs up this month's.

The bad weather continues. Rain or showers, generally at 70% to 90% risk, are forecast for the next 7 days at least. Heavy rainfall (with plenty of Thunder) last Sunday afternoon/evening turned the steps into Niagra Falls, the outflow of which turned Calle del Bajondillo into a river. Having to paddle in 2 inches of fast flowing water on my way to work caused me to spend the evening behind the bar in wet shoes and socks. Good job I was kept on my toes with no time to dwell on that predicament. During a lull in the rainfall a gale-force wind blew up and Ana-Mary mentioned last night that a Tornado had struck in Malaga during the storm which is now abating over south-eastern Europe according to radar. Looking back through this blog I have been mentioning rain and bad weather since September!! A bad winter.

I've just come across Duffy singing through her album "Rockferry" on TV. One of my favourites.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

5 O'Clock Club

Welcome to my 5 O'Clock Club! A (probably lighthearted) look at what I do for dinner.

TODAY: Smoked Salmon Sizzler.

Salmon fillet
Lapsang Suchong Tea leaves
Cinnamon Stick
Balsamic Vinegar
Brown Sugar
Fresh Ginger
Soft Goats Cheese (or Cream Cheese)
Dried Tarragon
Dried Dill
Lemon Juice

Mix 2tblspns of Balsamic Vinegar together with 1tblespn Brown Sugar and 1dstspn of finely grated ginger and use to marinate the fillet overnight in the fridge.

Reserving the marinade, smoke the marinated fillet with a mixture of 2tblspns of Lapsang Suchong Tea leaves, a dozen cloves and a crumbled half stick of Cinnamon anywhichway you can for about half-an-hour. I've actually published a very similar recipe (more-or-less) before with my method explained in detail and pictures. This process will almost cook the fillet.

Make a sauce using 200ml of cream, 100g of derinded Soft Goats Cheese, 1tspn dried Tarragon, 1tspn dried Dill, a good pinch of Hot Paprika (smoked if you've got it) and a tblspn of Lemon Juice and allow the flavours to infuse over a very low heat, and with a constant gentle stir, for 15mins. Cover, put to one side and keep warm.

Wipe a sizzling dish with Olive Oil and pre-heat until just smoking then (being careful not allow the fillet to flake apart) fry the fillet on both sides, first presentation-side down to sear after brushing that with some of the reserved marinade and then turned onto skin-side until it looks done. Then quickly place the sizzle dish on its platter, dress the fillet with the sauce and rush the finished dish to the table before it stops performing!

I was going to serve with designer salad leaves etc. but forgot to get them so tinned asparragus and chips were the order of the day. Very nice too!

Costa Del Mucho Agua

It's very wet here at the moment. Heavy rain had been forecast for this weekend for a good few days prior and, as usual, the forecasters are not wrong. A dim and dismal day which is expected to stretch well into tomorrow followed by showers or rain all through next week.

Yesterday I collared Cristina and showed her a damp, mildewy, patch developing (again) just outside my frontdoor and then I brought her inside to show her the wall in my kitchen, where the previous leak had been sorted, actually weeping water. I won't tell you what she muttered except to say that it began with "Mama Mia!" What I wasn't expecting though was her rapid 1810 she knocked.
"The man is here to fix things"
"But I'm, going to work shortly"
"He has to do it now"
I lost and retired to my sofa allowing Mr Plumber to set to work with his damn Cold Chisel. But that didn't happen before Cristina had told him exactly where the leaky joint was with total disregard for his "expert" opinion that it might be elsewhere. "Don't dig it elsewhere, dig it right there!" she commanded. He did. He made his hole within a millimetre of where she was saying because she was over his shoulder with "left a bit, down a bit" instructions before the hammer was allowed to be brought into play. She was right, she must have Divining Twigs for arms. It took him an hour-and-a-half to put things right and now the wall, 20hours on, is drying out nicely. I allowed him to wash his hands in my bathroom after and now I have crystal clear images of the soles of his boots stamped all over my freshly laundered bathroom mat in a mixture of plaster and brick dust. That's why it's raining of course; the communal washing machine is upstairs on the roof and I don't have indoor drying facilities. Good 'ere init. Two pictures of the hapless Plumber and his forewoman which show the first strikes and then the precise wielding of a plasterers trowel.
BTW, see the glow beside his rear-end? That's the light in my Kitchen and if it is on (as it is) I'm in and probably sitting at this computer on the sofa, of which you can just see the left-hand armrest in the bottom right of the pictures, covered in a white throw-over.

It seems that I am suffering a bout of Palsy. Headaches, tingly skin and droopy muscles (in my case an eyelid) are symptoms described on the Net. Austen says that I should go to the Doctor but I've also read that there is no useful treatment available yet and that it will take 2 to 3 weeks to clear on its own. I'll wait . A couple of Paracetamol Pills at bedtime gives me a restful night and that respite lasts until midday or so the next day (ie about now.)

Smoked Salmon today for dinner. I bought a nice piece of fresh fillet yesterday which has been marinading in the fridge since. I'm going to smoke it myself later over some Lapsang Souchong tea and serve it with a cream sauce, about which I'm still thinking. Might be back at 5pm if it turns out to be worth writing about.