Monday, February 15, 2016

A Food artist in Spain

What does food have to do with living as an artist in Spain I hear you wonder? Well, I like cooking, I enjoy writing about food, I tend to slightly change recipes that I find online or hear about and I even like to create my own recipes. I think that means that I am creative with food, in other words, I am a food artist. Living in Spain means you have access to wonderful indoor and outdoor markets with an abundance of vegetables and fruits. Needless to say that the produce freshly picked from nearby lands are usually very tasty as they have had plenty of sunshine. My weekly shopping list always includes a colourful palette of fruit and vegies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, papaya, broccoli, and artichokes when in season, and much more. I am in the lucky position to not having to buy avocados, nor quite a few types of fruits as Miguel, my husband, owns a small farm where he commercially grows avocados,
chirimoyas* and nispolas*.
He has also planted a few banana, orange, lemon and mango trees for family consumption only. Great news for a foody, with a preference for healthy foods, like me. However, I do tend to eat more than my body can process. Having inherited a thyroid problem and fat genes instead of money means it certainly is a challenge to keep my body in shape. In fact, I have failed miserably and now that menopause has been added into the mix I often see myself reflected in the shape of a tele tubby, with bingo-wings both above and below the elbow, when passing a shop window. My body is screaming at me with aches and pains as soon as I move and a blood test I took six weeks ago showed that my cholesterol was too high. That and the shrunken clothes in my walk-in wardrobe made me decide to sort myself out. But how? I have never been much of a meat eater and the biggest part of my life I was a vegetarian, and eggs, milky coffees and most of all cheese and yoghurt were part of my diet, more so than carbohydrates and recently I also ate the odd piece of fish. It did not turn my body into a healthy vehicle and meant I had to make a drastic change, so the past six weeks I have spent as a vegan. Although I thoroughly enjoy my smoothie of banana, orange and spinach and cleverly create vegetable spreads and super delicious sweets made of dates, nuts and coconut I now am back in the world of carbohydrates. Potatoes with vegetables or wholemeal bread with home-made humus and crunchy salad leaves, tomatoes and some avocado slices easily replace cheesy pastas. So how come I still have all these aches and pains and am not even slightly going in the direction of being the stick-insect that I perceive most vegans to be? What am I doing wrong? OK it doesn’t help that my aching temple, as some people refer to their body, is rather incapable of doing intensive sport activities, but even so I feel rather frustrated that I haven’t shed some weight at least. I do not want my life to be about food but here I am, writing about it in my blog with yet another resolution to cut out half of my healthy fat consumption and reduce my carbohydrate intake again. And the artistic part of all this? Well, perhaps I have to find a way to get my body back into shape with extreme measures. That does not mean that you have to as well and I still enjoy writing about food. Thus I have decided to share recipes that I have created or heard of and especially loved, over the past twenty years or so, on my new blog. I will add snacks and dishes regularly and you can expect to find quick and easy to make dishes with an Italian or Spanish flavour, original recipes that people eat in their homes and are usually not served in restaurants, as well as dishes you have perhaps heard of and recipes you have never heard of. Feel free to check it out here.
• The chirimoya is thought to be a fruit native to some parts of Southern America, but it was then transported to many places including Andalusia in Southern Spain. It has a creamy texture and is very sweet and is often referred to as a custard apple.
• Nispola refers to a Spanish exotic fruit. Nispolas were imported from the Far East in the 18th century grown for the Spanish market. Its flavour is a blend of peach and pear but can be somewhat sharp. It is known as a Japanese medlar pear.

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