A Year in Review

It has been a difficult year, what with the deaths, suffering and disruption caused by the virus. Many parts of the world are also suffering from additional issues, be it man-made disputes, wars or terrorism, or forces of nature like droughts, deluges, heatwaves or storms. Yes there has been a great deal of depressing news this last year, so I thought I would focus on some positives, at least in my eyes.

I grew up in the space age, I saw the first rockets race skyward and I saw the first men land on the moon. The future looked glorious, the planets there for the taking. The flames of this space fever were further fanned by the many television series and films of the time. Who didn’t watch “Star Trek” or “Space 1999” as the moon shot off into outer space? Or perhaps you were entranced by “2001 A Space Odyssey”? Unfortunately though it all came to nought, and NASA not only lost the ability to travel to the moon, but even the ability to get a spaceship into Earth’s orbit. 

My illusion was re-ignited watching Elon Musk’s rockets shoot skyward, and in particular by his “Starship” spaceship test flights.

To read ther rest of the article, and the most viewed recipes of the year, please click here.

(C)2021 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Rhubarb and Ginger Cheesecake

Rhubarb and Ginger Cheesecake

When I was 15, I walked the Pennine Way. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular jaunt, it is a long distance path, 268 miles / 431 Km long, that follows the Pennine range of mountains. It starts in Edale in Derbyshire and ends in Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. It was organised by my High School and I went with 7 other students and a couple of experienced guides. It was some time ago, and one might ask what I most remember from the walk?

I remember that the hardest day was day three. Not because it was any more strenuous than the others, it was “just” the day we passed very close to where I lived. Around the third is often one of the make-or-break days. The legs are starting to ache and there is still a long way to go, it can be depressing and being so close to home…… My best friend left that day, he couldn’t take any more. 

High Force Waterfall – Attribution David Dixon

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(C)2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Dorset Apple Cake

Dorset Apple Cake

Brexit is on the minds of many people over here in Europe, it will after all be a humongous change. As an Englishman living in mainland Europe, it will no doubt introduce numerous complications to my otherwise tranquil existence, here in my isolated village home. 

As I write, one of the biggest issues is the trade agreement, or lack of, between Britain and just about the rest of mainland Europe. Although not quite as urgent perhaps, Britain is also pursuing trade deals with other international countries and trade blocks.

Many people in Britain are vociferous in their rejection of many products and farming or manufacturing methods, whether it be chlorinated chickens, hormone injected beef, genetical modified crops or exploited factory workforces. They are looking for the British government to agree trade deals that exclude all these, at least in their eyes, questionable products or practices. Irrespective of whether this is really possible for the government to achieve, I would question whether we have really lost the plot here.

To read the rest of the article and to see the recipe please click here.

(C) 2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Papas con choco (Potato and Cuttlefish Stew)

Papas con Choco (Potato and Cuttlefish Stew)

Some time ago I wrote an article on Cádiz, at the time I promised to return to the city, with another article and a recipe. Well as we enter winter, I thought the time was right to remind myself of the joys of sitting outdoors at a small restaurant in some sunny city in southern Spain, a city like Cádiz. We frequented one such restaurant, just off the Cathedral Square, a few times during our stay there. The food was excellent and provided at a very reasonable price. 

Cathedral Square

One of the typical dishes from Cádiz is the “Papas con Choco”, a simple stew of cuttlefish and potatoes. It is one of those dishes that really goes to show that a few choice ingredients, simple but well cooked, can really be a delight to eat. But before I get too involved with today’s recipe, let’s talk a little more about Cádiz.

The city really is a beautiful place to visit. It is not overly large, so it is easy to walk from one place to another. It has some magnificent old buildings, churches and a cathedral as well as numerous towers. In fact one could easily say the towers are, and please forgive the pun, the highlight of any visit to Cádiz, as the best way to see the city is from their lofty heights. 

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(C) 2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Mishti Doi

Mishti Doi

Today’s recipe requires a yoghurt. I like to use one of those “bio”, full-of-living-bacteria ones. They are supposed to be better for you, cure all ills and promote health. At least that’s what the bumpf on the carton says, in multiple, long, scientific words, but is it true?

Do you remember the margarine from a few decades ago, that everyone bought because it was high in polyunsaturates? I often wonder how many people actually know what they are, and whether they have any inkling on how one’s health can benefit from their consumption? I sometimes wonder if we are being duped by white, smock-clothed television sales people and long-worded medical terminology. Unfortunately one would need a university degree to be able to understand much of what is being promised us. What to me is more worrying however is when we are tricked by information that we really should understand. When people are fed, and believe, all manner of fake news. 

Although not actually fake news, in a fairly recent Covid-19 intervention by President Trump, he suggested that doctors should investigate whether injecting people with disinfectant would be a possible cure. 

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Cheese and Onion Quiche

There is now a train that goes from Zaragoza to Montpellier. I have been wanting to give it a try, but with the virus and other logistical obstacles I have been unable to do so. Nevertheless I ended up in Montpellier at the end of August, not the French city but a hospital of the same name in Zaragoza.

Before I go any further with the article, the fact that I am now back, cooking and writing, means that I am fine. I still have to be careful what I do, and am not back running and cycling in the mountains, but I am on the mend. I am going to be fine because my prostate problem was identified early. My hope is that via this blog I can get a message to all the men out there. If you think you might have a problem see a doctor, if you feel fine, take a test anyway. There is a simple test, as part of a blood analysis, that is a good indicator of a possible problem. Take care of yourself!

Back at the end of last year, as part of my yearly medical, I was offered the opportunity to have additional tests done. I accepted, and one of those tests identified a possible prostate problem. I ended up with having a biopsy which confirmed the test results then having an operation on my prostate gland. In the end I spent around a month in hospital. Some of the treatments were performed by the Spanish health service and some were performed by a private health company. So what did I learn?

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

(C) 2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Galician Bica (Sponge Cake)

14 Galician BicaAs I sit here and write this article, Spain is again suffering the consequences of the Corona Virus. Cases are supposedly rising rapidly, there is also an increase in virus related deaths. Given that no base-line information is reported, perhaps even maintained, I have no real idea whether there are more cases now, or whether it is just an increase in testing bringing more cases to the fore.

The reported number of cases affects a large part of Spain’s income, as it affects the tourism and leisure industry. Internally, restrictions are now in place affecting bars and discotheques, restricting their opening hours. Externally there are several countries that recommend not travelling to Spain, or impose a lengthy quarantine on people returning from holidays here. Without the 85 millions tourists who normally flock to its shores, Spain is losing out on a lot of revenue.

99 Benidorm

Benidorm

Drinking alcohol till the early hours then sleeping it off on the beach, has long been the mainstay of the Spanish tourism business. Mass cheap tourism, unending lines of beach hotels and over-exploitation of coastlines, is all too common.

 

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

 


2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Porrusalda (Leek and Potato Soup with Cod)

10 Porrusalda

Porrusalda

I love fish. In fact there is nothing I like better than to visit some seaside village, find a nice restaurant, and order fresh fish from their menu. But is it really fresh these days? In spite of my love of fresh fish, here at home we are actually looking to buy less of it. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Although we are no longer in lockdown, the virus is still out there and we are encouraged to visit the shops less frequently.
  • Anisakis nematodes are infecting much of the fish we eat.

For those who have not heard of the dreaded anisakis, let me explain…… or rather show you a picture. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words:

01 Anisakids

These little worms are known to put some people off eating fresh fish, and why wouldn’t it? 

 

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2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

 

 

Liebre con Setas / Hare with wild mushrooms

It is all so easy to be misunderstood, or for others to assume something based on one’s name or appearance. I know the problem well, as it has frequently happened to me!

I remember one example from my teenage years in Colne, something a female friend related to me some weeks after the event. When she mentioned to her parents she was bringing somebody home called Lincoln, they immediately thought I was black. On arriving at their home, they thought I was a Mormon because I drank neither coffee nor tea.

Some years later, and now mobile in my old, but trusty MGB, a good male friend and I would drive for miles looking for a quiet pub with a good video game. We found the perfect place on the outskirts of a town near where I used to live. We often went there, and we started to notice there was something strange going on. The pub would be full for a while, then everyone would disappear. Like the tides of the sea, the patrons would flow in and out of the bar a couple of times during the evening. 

Colne, Lancashire

Different to the majority of the youth at that time, my friend and I both had our hair cut short and we both wore shirts. Mine often came from a friend of my parents who worked in the ambulance service, they were a blue colour and of similar shade and cut to those worn by the police……..

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2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Chocotarta

17 Chocotarta

Much of what we do these days is directly or indirectly affected by the virus. Some restrictions are still in place in many countries, even if it is only something as simple as having to wear a face-mask. There are also changes in how we choose to live our lives, from more on-line shopping to a reluctance to be in close contact with others on, say, a holiday flight to Spain. As a result, more and more people are thinking of a staycation this summer.

The word might be new, entering the Oxford English Dictionary around 5 years ago, but the concept certainly isn’t. For those of you thinking of a staycation, let me pass on to you what a work colleague, Roberto, said to me about 30 years ago! Roberto, the king of staycation, had some valuable advice, that is possibly even more valid now than it was all those year ago:

  • Tell your family and friends you have gone on holiday to a distant destination.
  • Tape off, like a police crime-scene, the doorway to the kitchen so that you can’t get in.

 

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.

 


2020 Lincoln W. Betteridge