Colcannon (With Brussels Sprouts)

I have just got back from a holiday in England and Wales. I travelled with a cycling friend from Spain who had never visited Great Britain before. Although I went to many places I hadn’t visited for years, he nevertheless asked me if I minded traipsing around the country, just so that a Spaniard could view it for the first time. 

My thoughts turned to when we are young, growing up and experiencing the world for the first time. Everything is of course new to us…… experiencing that first romantic kiss, buying that first car or house, that first flight on a plane, perhaps that first time in some exotic location….. and so much more of course. When we are older and more jaded, we often have to settle for observing how others react, as they experience things for the first time. 

So I replied that no, I didn’t mind showing him places I knew so well. It was in fact most interesting to see his reaction, and listen to his comments as he looked on with a fresh set of eyes:

Llandudno Pier

On the first night we went for a stroll along Llandudno pier. It was late so I was disappointed, although not surprised, that the doughnut stand was closed. My Spanish colleague didn’t seem to understand my melancholy mood, after all they sell doughnuts in Spain too.

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge


Mussels in White Wine

Over the summer I will be going on a lightning tour of England and Wales with a cycling friend of mine. We always said that when he retired we would visit the isles, well he retired at the end of last year so we are off to pay them a visit. Apart from showing him my favourite parts of the country, it is also an opportunity for me to re-visit places I haven’t seen for a long time, in some cases for almost fifty years. So for those of you still wondering what to do this summer, parts of this week’s article might actually be of interest to you!

Archive Photograph

My maternal grandparents lived in Bae Colwyn in Clwyd. When I was very young I spent an extended period with them there, in my teens it was also a place we visited often for our holidays. We got to know North Wales pretty well, especially the mountainous interior, medieval castles and picturesque villages. 

One of the places I most want to visit again is Puffin Island, a small islet off the island of Anglesey. To get there one has to first take the coastal road through Conwy and Penmaenmawr. 

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Gingerbread (Cake and Pudding)

Last Friday night we were in the village of Juslibol, on the outskirts of Zaragoza. We were there for the 13th edition of the nocturnal trek they organise every year, on the first weekend in June. Almost 900 other deluded souls joined us on the 14Km of nocturnal wanderings.

For those readers from Zaragoza or the surrounding area who have not participated to date, I would recommend you give it a try. It is very well organised, and there are numerous points where they ensure one is well fed and hydrated. There is a sweet white wine and biscuits before one even reaches the starting line as well as various points along the way with wine, sandwiches and fruit. Best of all though are the eggs and local sausage fry-up awaiting the participants at the finish line, followed by a glass of the local hooch to wash it all down. 

Last but not least, all participants are also given a commemorative top, a dynamo torch and a battery powered red flashing light, to be affixed to the back of their rucksack or jacket.

The walk first climbed the antennae strewn hills behind the village. Although the hills are not that high, they provide a spectacular view of the city. You can clearly see its streets, and in particular its monuments and emblematic buildings ablaze with nocturnal lighting. 

Juslibol (Archive Photograph)

A large part of the walk was flat, as it ran along the side of the Ebro river. There were two other sections though that were worthy of note. The first was the labyrinth of tunnels around the ox-bow lakes, made by the cutting of tracks through the forest of enormous, dense canes that fill the area. The second was actually the drop down from the hills to the river Ebro.

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Dulce de Leche, Ginger and Syrup Buns

Today I have some traditional butterfly buns, but with a twist. These buns remind me of when I was a youth back home. My mother would often bake them for me, in fact she still does if I have been good! In those days I would be out more often than not, knocking about with some friends or other and kicking a football on the back streets. Some times a bobby would come round and “move us on”. We never complained and never thought to talk back. We respected the bobbies as we did all our elders.

Today we were driving in the local town and, on what was a fairly wide street, had to stop because someone had parked, or should I say abandoned their car, in such a manner that half the street was blocked. It was in fact the second obstruction in less than five minutes driving. My wife’s comment was “respect, what respect?”. Unfortunately here drivers think little of other road users, be they other drivers or pedestrians. 

Interestingly, just two days earlier, a neighbour was talking about respect too…..

He told me that in his youth, some fifty years ago, his father had a fairly serious falling out with a fellow farmer who had an adjacent plot of land. The vineyards are pretty rocky here and it is a common practice to remove the larger stones to the edges of the fields. Few fields here are without their rock pile! Well his father had dumped some of his surplus rocks on his neighbours pile.

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Coq au Macabeo

Coq au Macabeo, what an elegant name for what is a simple chicken in white wine stew! Back in my youth, French, or French sounding dishes, were all the rage. Like skateboards and Raleigh Choppers, it was the fad of the time. Here in Spain, unfortunately, it is now the use of English words in shop names. Some are now in English, whilst others are half in English….. don’t ask why! Even the local cycling race this year has “vino points” where the cyclists can stop for refreshments!

The ability to choose the “best” words can make or break a product or indeed change the way we think about any number of topics. We are in fact surrounded by hyperbole, euphemism and just about everything in between.

Have you noticed how work tasks at schools have suddenly become projects? Here at least most teachers are using “projects” to “enhance the learning experience” of their students. Although it may sound like a great step forward, they are just the normal learning exercises, or activities, repackaged to look better!

Another of my favourites is the use, or should I say miss-use, of the word engineer. Plumbers are now central heating engineers and mechanics are now motor engineers.  As a Mechanical and Production Engineer, this one was the bane of my life when I was in my late teens. Whenever I would get chatting to someone in a bar, and I mentioned that I was an engineer, they would often ask me if I could fix their car! 

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Vanilla One-Step Layer Cake

Ode to a milk bottle…… but before I wax lyrically about milk bottles, just a word or too about today’s recipe. I have always loved milk and indeed milk products. On a weekly basis we buy fairly large quantities of cream, butter and milk in the local shop, probably more than anyone else in the village! Add in a little vanilla and eggs and one has all manner of perfect puddings….. like the one I have for you today.

I was brought up on milk, cream and eggs. My parents sold and delivered milk and other lacteal products, so there were always plenty around the house. Back in the days of my youth, this involved leaving glass bottles of fresh unadulterated milk on peoples doorsteps, on a daily basis. Back then of course, we picked up the empties for reuse too…….

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Trujillo Apple and Yoghurt Pots

16 Trujillo Apple and Yoghurt Pots

I woke up this morning thinking of our week away in Extremadura. We got back just yesterday so I suppose it is not surprising. We found the region to be exceptionally beautiful, full of historical monuments, friendly people and excellent food. The pudding I have for you today, a variation of one I enjoyed there, is from a town called Trujillo.

The town itself is beautiful and full of ancient monuments, so many in fact that we opted for a guided tour. A number were on offer, but we chose the one offering a food tasting of local products at its termination. There were probably about fifty of us who had chosen the tour and we spent a couple of hours traipsing around the town. It was actually very interesting; as is often common with guided tours though, it went way over the scheduled time and became somewhat wearisome towards the end. I for one was inspired to keep walking by thinking on all those local edibles on trial at the end of the tour.

Eventually the tour came to an end and we walked towards the promised local delicacies….. it was in fact in a small shop that offered half a dozen small plates of local cheeses and dips. Far too little for fifty hungry tourists, but also something the shop offered free of charge to anyone who entered their shop. The tour organiser had obviously taken advantage of something the shop already offered without cost. The owners were a little flummoxed as obviously there was no way the shop could hope to cope with fifty hungry tourists arriving en masse. 

01 Degustación Gratuita

I guess, unfortunately, some people have always taken advantage of others. In this case it was just a bit of overselling, but I still felt cheated. Sometimes though it is actually something far more scandalous…….

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

2019 Lincoln W. Betteridge