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Hi, it has been a very busy week here, and like most weeks, it has been a real balance between good things and not-so-good things.

The good things:  It has been culinary experimentation time again.  I had been reading a Mallorquin publication – nothing overly challenging, just one of those free-distribution magazines that we find in our post-boxes and then either use for starting fires in the fireplace or send it off to be recycled (probably into more junk-post).  After plowing through the odd-articles about homeopathy and which celebrity is now on the island, I found a one-page story about food preparation.  In the past, I perhaps would have only glanced at this page, using it as another way to learn more Spanish.  But ever since my culinary experience in Geneva, I thought I would really see if I could prepare the recipe. 

I have learnt there are two key elements to trying to replicate a recipe: the finished preparation has to be pleasing to the eye, and it has to be edible.  The recipe in the magazine had a photo with it (always a good thing so you can figure out what your visual target it).  After what seems to be another of my daily marketing expeditions (fresh is good), I had a go at the recipe. 

Garbanzos a la Mostaza consists of a pile of garbanzo beans (chick-peas), an onion (I used one that was about the size of a cricket-ball), 2 fresh carrots, 4 small tomatoes, some extra-virgin olive oil, some juice from a fresh lemon, and a dollop of mustard.  Now let me explain something…the term ‘dollop’ may have different connotations to different people.  To me (a lover of good mustard), a dollop is the amount you can pile into a spoon without much of it spilling over onto the floor.  I have a big spoon.  Chop up all the veggies, add them to the beans in a big bowl (I also chucked in some left-over chicken), and then add the oil, the lemon juice, and the mustard.  Here I would love to say that there is a real trick to blending all the components together but what I did was stir it all up until my arm was about to fall off, and then, to compensate for my efforts, I devoured the salad.  It was healthy, tasty, and easy-peasy to make, but next I will put in some fresh basil too...a bit of green would be nice.  Go try it. If I can make this, you can too.

Another ‘good’ thing happened today.  I have been walking a lot lately.  I am not sure if I am doing the (allegedly) recommended 10,000 steps, but when I get home, my legs are usually ready to be replaced.  Today I walked over to a beach where some good friends hang out almost daily, and we were talking, we looked up and saw something that I had never seen before.  It was a perfectly circular rainbow around the sun.  Actually, a rainbow may not be the right term (and I am sure one of you will tell me what it really was), but it was pretty impressive to see.  One of John’s friends asked what it was (in Spanish).  I offered that it foretold ‘fin del mundo,’ (the end of the world).  Obviously (and luckily) I was wrong, as this sighting happened about five hours ago and I still have my broadband connection and am typing.  I have decided to take this sighting as a good omen.  Not sure if I will go all the way and buy a lotto ticket or not, but thinking of it as good just has to be better than thinking of it as bad.  I did take a photo of it with my phone, and whilst pointing a camera lens directly at the sun is not a smart thing to do, at least you can almost see what we saw. 

Now, the bad stuff.  I have always liked cars.  Sports cars to be exact.  I had contemplated buying a little sporty-car when I bought La Antigua, but settled instead on a nice sensible Seat.  Spanish island, Spanish car…makes sense to me.  And yet, having a sensible car doesn’t mean I can’t admire other cars.  But today, whilst at the market, I saw this piece of obscenity parked on the street.  I was speechless (but I did take a photo, as one does.)

 

tomato heaven at the market

 

the latest taste-treat-delight

 

a spectre of things to come?

 

apparent winner of the 'poor taste in auto colour' contest

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com