#PhotoOfMyLife Day3 Lentil Soup

Picture taken at a restaurant in Cantabria, Spain, a few days ago.

I haven’t eaten much meat for over thirty years, for no environmental, health, religious or ethical reason, I just don’t like it much. 

That means I eat a lot of fruit, nuts, vegetables and pulses. In fact, the lentils in the picture above are one of my favourite foods, and they’re really easy to make.

There are small and tiny brown lentils. I prefer the small ones, but you can use either.

There are plenty of recipes for lentil soup or stew, this is how I make it.

Rinse the lentils in a colander, you’ll need half a cup per person, be generous, you can eat the leftovers a day or two later. 

Add three times the amount of water to a large pan. So, if you are cooking for two and use 1 whole cup of lentils, you need to add three cups of water. You can add more later on if it gets too thick.

Now add the vegetables, chopped into small pieces. For 2 people I’d include two carrots, half an onion, a clove of garlic, half a red and green pepper and some spinach.

There are four magical ingredients I add for flavour, a Spanish spicy sausage, called chorizo, a bay leaf, two spoonfuls of olive oil, and a stock cube (meat is best, but you can use a vegetable one, too).

If you don’t like or can’t get hold of the sausage, you can use come curry powder, or paprika, for flavour instead.

Now comes the easiest part, simmer for about 40 minutes, stiring occasionally.

If you’re in a hurry, you can use the pressure cooker. It’ll probably take less than 10 minutes.

However, you should know that lentils are best cooked slowly, and they’re delicious when reheated, so if you cook the day before, or even in the morning, they taste much better.

Another important part of the meal is the wine, I prefer a Spanish white, Rueda, but most people would accompany this meal with red wine, such as Rioja.

Resultado de imagen de lentils italy new year

Did you know that in Italy lentils are said to bring prosperity for the year ahead when eaten on New Year’s Day?

Any questions?

Do you like or cook lentils? Feel free to share your tips or recipe if you do!

#SixWordSaturday ‘Who misses shady trees in November?’ #StreamOfConsciousnessSaturday

Who Misses Shady Trees in November?

Passers by sit and chat or rest

On those empty benches,

In summer,

Under the shade of sturdy trees.

Not now.

Today they’re walking on puddles

Under a cloudy sky,

In autumn,

Or sitting indoors, by the fire,

Waiting,

For the sun to shine for a while,

as it might tomorrow,

Or later.

No one misses the shady trees,

At all.

I took both photos last week in Cantabria, Spain.

Check out Six Word Saturday here

Check out Stream of Consciousness Saturday here. Today’s prompt is ‘shade’.

#PhotoOfMyLife Day2 Cantabria #Spain #Tanka

Ice cold mountain stoops,

Peering down at autumn leaves,

Waiting patiently,

For spring to dress them once more

With flowers and leaves galore.

The rules for this Twitter Challenge: no people, no explanations and challenge one new person every day. I was challenged by @GeorgiaRoseBook check out her blog.

I challenge @BookClubMom check out her book blog.

As I already told you, I’m terrible at following rules, so not only have I written a tanka, now I’m going to tell you all about the picture!

I was here, for a freezing week, a few days ago. It’s a cold, but beautiful part of the north of Spain, where my mother and her family originally came from. There is a skiing resort nearby (see photo below), but I just visit for the scenery!

#ThursdayDoors ‘Alceda’ Cantabria #Spain

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

― Nelson Mandela

 

The door into the park and river Pas, which runs through it, below

 

Original Door to the Thermal Baths ‘Balneario’ at Alceda dating from 1830s

Modern door to the Thermal Baths and hotel.

Doors to the cubicles and to the doctor’s surgery at the end of the corridor. A thermal bath below.

Nearby church at Ontaneda..

A close up of the main door to the church.

This door. which once led to a mill is now a restaurant which serves delicious local food.

A complete view of the restaurant.

Doors along the main street of Alceda.

Alceda has its own Palace, too, called the Palace of Mercadal . This is the main door.

A side view of the Palace of Mercadal.

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My mother was born here and I used to visit my relatives during the summer holidays, when I was a child.

I still come back every year, or so. There are some new buildings, and some refurbished older buildings, but everything that was there during my mother’s childhood is still standing, and looks (almost) exactly the same.

It feels safe, but eerie, as if time had stopped, only it hasn’t. I have to check in the mirror to make sure I’m no longer a little girl.

You can also rent an apartment in this refurbished country house very near the palace. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the very modern, glass door, below.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature on Norm 2.0’s blog, allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon and linking up on Norm’s blog here.

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#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE ‘The Warrior’ #Cantabria #HotelChiqui

This Tanka is for Colleen Chesebro’s challenge. This week’s challenge is to include #Synonymsonly of Honour and Grow.

The Warrior

On raised rock he stands,

Watching over land and sea,

Tubal’s descendent,

Testament to times long past,

Weathered stone proclaims glory.

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You can find this stone statue of a pre-Roman, Iberian warrior, at the end of the Sardinero Beach in Santander, Spain, standing by the Hotel Chiqui, where I recently stayed with my mother, who was born in Cantabria.

The monument is right behind my head in this picture!

   

A tiny little bit of history: According to legend, Tubal, who appears in Genesis, travelled west towards what is Spain today and settled there, giving it its present geographic and historic name, Iberia.
The Iberians were said to have merged with the Celts, who were the previous inhabitants of the region, leading to Celtiberian tribes, who fought fiercely against the Roman invasions during the first century BC. 
This monument might be based on a first century warrior called Corocotta.
According to Roman accounts, a large reward was offered for his capture, and Corocotta himself came forward to claim it! Augustus was so impressed that he reportedly gave him the money and allowed him to leave s a free man. 

The plaque at the foot of the monument, attributed to Horace, reads something like ‘The people of Cantabria cannot be chained’. 

Cantabria is a beautiful region to visit and there are frequent ferries to and from Portsmouth, UK. It also has an International airport.  

What can I say? It’s one of my favourite places, but don’t take my word for it, check it out yourselves!

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Would you like to take part? The rules are simple.

Use synonyms of Colleen’s two-word prompt, this week, joy and fury, write blog post using one of the following poetic forms: haiku, tanka, Haibun, cinquaine or senryu. 

Add a picture if you like. Pingback to Colleen’s blog post.

 

 

#SilentSunday #SundayWalks Fontibre, Cantabria

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My son by a statue of the La Virgen del Pilar, at the very source of the river.

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Fontibre is a small neighbourhood, 3 kilometers from the town of Reinosa, in the province of Cantabria in the north of Spain. My mother lives a few kilometers away, and although its far away from where I live, I visit regularly.

I was there recently and took these photos.

It is famous because the source of the river Ebro, the second longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, has its source, right here, in Fontibre.

In fact, this name derives from the Latin words ‘Fontes’ and ‘Iberis’, meaning source of the Ebro.

The Ancient Cantabri, who were considered to be savage and untamable mountaineers, were one of the largest independent tribes of Hispania, to succumb to Roman rule. They were finally conquered by the Romans during the Cantabrian Wars (29-19 BC), under the reign of Augustus.  More information with maps here 

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It’s a stunning place for a quiet walk, and there’s a cozy rural hotel called La Posada de Fontibre and a lovely restaurant for a delicious meal called Restaurante Fuentebro, where we love to stop for lunch after a long country walk.

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#WordlessWednesday & #1LinerWeds on Life and Coffee

I’ve just discovered via Twitter, that there’s a Blog called Create With Joy which hosts, among other events,  #WordlessWednesday. There’s a badge and a linky at the end of Joy’s the post and there’s a Facebook and Twitter connection, too. So, I’ll be joining in. The only rule seems to be ‘sharing family-friendly photos’. Sounds fun and easy. Most entries have some text, too, but I’ll be keeping it to the minimum.

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This week, I’ve been looking over my holiday photos, and I was thinking how the basic, simple things in life bring us the greatest pleasure. Water. Looking at pure, clean, fresh water has a calming effect.

These pictures were taken standing at the edge of one of the largest dams in Spain ‘El Pantano del Ebro’ in Cantabria. There’s a little beach ‘Playa de Arija‘, where people can swim, too, and there’s a camping site. Well worth a visit if you’re ever in the north of Spain.

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As usual, I’m going to be linking #WordlessWednesday to #1LinerWeds on Linda G. Hill’s blog, which I’ve been taking part in on and off.

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I’m joining both this week. Lind’s 1-liner is C is for Coffee.

I love Jim Carey. He’s funny, he’s intelligent, he’s caring and I love the things he says in his inspirational talks.

I love this quote, which has some relation to coffee 🙂 but it’s really about not taking anything or anyone for granted and remembering there’s a time limit to everything.

I wake up some mornings and sit and have my coffee and look out at my beautiful garden, and I go, ‘Remember how good this is. Because you can lose it.’

Jim Carey

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While I’m working, one of the best moments in my mornings is my coffee break, when I chat to my colleagues and sometimes my students (I teach adults, so we often have a coffee and a chat during the break). The reason’s not because I don’t like my job (I love it), but because I love speaking and listening to people informally.

I enjoy those brief moments (20-30 minute break) of relaxed and real conversation, which inspire me as a writer. No wonder those 18th century coffee shops contributed to the Enlightenment and the rise of the novel…

Anyone else for coffee?

 

 

#WordlessWednesday & #OneLinerWednesday On Life, Birth and Death

 (Almost) Wordless Wednesday. 

Birth: The source of the Spanish River Ebro, the second longest river in the Iberian peninsula, in Fontibre (in Spanish the source of a river is called its birth: nacimiento).

 

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Death: Ancient Cemetery next to the Romanic style Visigothic church at Retortillo, Cantabria, Spain built on the ruins of a Roman necropolis known as Julióbriga, a few kilometers away from the river’s source.
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One Liner Wednesday. This week’s theme: ‘It was the Beginning of the end’

 

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“I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.”

 “I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”
Charles Dickens

So wise. I’ll never tire of rereading Charles Dickens…

 

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Finally, seen at the Hermitage in Córdoba:

 

Translation: In the twlight of your life your last exam will be on love

Hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday. Remember, carpe diem; it’s all we have!