Tuesday, October 30, 2012


halloween despite being the invention of the Celts, is very much the most celebrated of all holidays especially in America.  here in Gibraltar, it is not so noticeable apart from the occasional zombie or witch that we see on the weekend prior to the eve of the first of November smoking a ciggy or drinking a pint while discussing first world problems.

i try my best to be “evil” every year so this year i put up my usual decors (just varying the function and placement for variety), bought some candy and wait for the fun part (which is to hear that knock on our door by tiny cute blood-sucking creatures).
made with scrap fabric from my ribbon-making days and left-over spiders and spiderwebs, a raven cut-out and googly-eyes, all attached to an African grass trivet that i got from a shop that was closing down.
the scariest plastic bats ever i bought from a little boy for a pound (for a pack of 4) at the carboot sale last year.  i suspended them from the ceiling in the verandah with a fishing line and voila!
we eat locally so let’s see if we can scare a little wee vampire or two like we did last year :)
(monstrify yourself at www.picmonkey.com)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

a taste of Morocco

standing in Europa Point on a clear day i can see the Rif Mountains in not-so-far-away Morocco.  when we visited a few years ago, we went straight to Marrakech and it was a sweet assault on the senses and an unforgettable experience.  i especially love the souks, where one winding little alley can lead you to an Aladdin’s treasure trove :)

I remember one memorable dinner that we had was chicken tagine and we ate it right inside a “tagine” or the special clay pot that the meat was cooked in along with lots of other yummy ingredients like apricots, apples, pears, nuts, honey, preserved lemons and a complexity of spices.  basically, it is a one-pot slow-cooked stew that is cooked until the meat is falling off the bone.  well, one regret that i had when we went to Morocco was that i didn’t buy the tagine.  only now did i realize that i want to cook my own version of a chicken tagine!  so off i went to the Moroccan shop and bought myself one :)

i didnt follow a recipe because i didn’t know where to get the necessary spices and the preserved lemons so i experimented with the ingredients!  i added couscous to make it filling and sprinkled roasted flake almonds on top too.  well, it got cooked! and was yummy too :)  give me time to perfect my version and will share it with you ;)  there are plenty of recipes that you can get online but the one big obstacle might be the spices.

in the meantime, here’s zizu, the trusty camel :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

flea market finds: no swimming!

who wants to go for a swim?

there were considerably more stalls at the car-boot sale in the GASA (Gibraltar Amateur Swimming Association) parking lot than there were the last time.
i came by early and managed to dive into the deep and fish out some hidden gems!
a string of the most beautiful champagne-colored fresh-water pearls.  bought for a ridiculous .50p, they measure about 7-8mm each and are irregularly shaped and not perfectly round but that is just how i want them!
this is a curiosity in itself.  a 4cm diameter Medusa medallion with a quote from Dante Alighieri’s (The Divine Comedy) Inferno cto. IX-52 “venga Medusa, de la farem di smalto” which roughly translates to “come Medusa, we will enamel (of colored glass) him” or “come Medusa, we will turn him into stone”.  This was the threat given to Dante by the The Three Furies at the gates of Dis, the Infernal City.
i saw another medallion in another stall.  this time i think it is Celtic hung on leather.  the brown circular trinket box below is Morrocan and made from the precious thuya wood.
i also found these art books below for .50p each :)  they are very inspiring! 
i’ve read M. Kundera’s existential book a long time ago and there are a lot of facets that i want to read again (because i didn’t get it then and i guess partly because i am hoping for an “aha!” moment now). 
*linking to ThriftShare Monday @Apron Thrift Girl :) and also at ThriftyLove @Cap Creations :) and also at The Nifty Thrifty @a living space :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

turning Japanese

there is no Japanese restaurant here in Gib :( 

the mister and i love sushi and sometimes we just spend our free days searching online for the ultimate authentic rice rolls suitably located nearest Gib… which means in Spain.  our quest led us to Tengoku in Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro (a sleepy town about 20mins outside of Gib) so we spontaneously decided one night to go and check it out.

first up is the classic and simple but most commonly-eaten maguro or tuna sushi which we gobbled up quicker than the chef could say “kanpai!”.
and then the mister wanted to try the chicken yakisoba (upper left hand corner), a noodle dish, while i ordered the Moto-Roll-Ah (center), a trademark signature fancy sushi roll with crispy, deep-fried tuna topped with avocado, tobiko and kabayaki sauce.  absolutely amazing!
to come down from our sushi high, we ordered the sake (salmon) sushi with avocado  :D  in every sushi we ordered, we loved the pickled ginger (gari or shoga) or the small red radish and the small glob of wasabi  accompanying each dish :)  the wasabi (works great with soy sauce but use with caution) is for dipping while the others are used to cleanse the palate between bites.
oh, man!  it was refreshing to finally eat something i’ve been craving for a long time.  we were stuffed!  i washed it all down with ice cold green tea :D  sadly, we didn’t have room left for the green tea ice cream nor the tempura ice cream.  i would have loved to try those :)  but there’s always a next time ;)
a confession though: i do not know how to work the chopsticks :/ but the very nice waitress made a simple contraption for me :)  loved it!  and loved the fact that the chef and the crew were all Filipinos!  needless to say, we got the best service that night :)

mental note: order the gyoza (spicy dumplings) next time too!

OISHI! (delicious!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

chestnuts roasting in a controlled environment

the days are getting cooler now.  there’s a certain crispness in the air.  people huddle more and duck inside cafes more… to talk, to read, to schedule, to plan last minute get-aways.  somehow there’s more time for everything now that Fall is rambling down the streets of Gib. 

you know what else we have time for this Fall?  chestnuts!IMG_0541 in front of Watergardens, just across Ramson’s, is a promenade with a statue of Mr. Rooke (some guy who used to command a big boat and fought against the French and therefore captured Gibraltar in the 1700’s).  and next to it is a little blue-and-white striped hut with two guys selling the tastiest roasted chestnuts in the whole of the Mediterranean :)  (not sure about this but ill get back to you on that one)IMG_0538 people queue up for this warm and sweet-smelling stall on their way home (just like what we did one fine October day).  this old-timer roasts them nuts in this ingenius contraption and they come out crunchy on the outside and melty and soft on the inside! really helps you to realize that christmas is just around the corner! 
a pound for a cone-full of tasty, fuzzy, glossy brown nut goodness:)IMG_0540 we couldn’t wait to eat them at home so we sat down in one of the benches enjoying the rest of that crisp October afternoon chomping away like two squirrels :)IMG_0542

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

rock the wedding

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the mind of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away
Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day…”
-- September by Earth, Wind and Fire

it was one beautiful September day in the Mons Calpe Suite high up the Rock that we stood as witnesses to new friends’ K and L’s wedding.  it was just so romantic!  you see, they just came to Gibraltar to get married! 

they exchanged their vows under the hot summer sun with a panoramic view of the Rock, Spain and Africa and a handful of tourists who clapped their hands after the minister said, “i now pronounce you, man and wife. you may 
kiss the bride…”
a few weeks later, we received an unexpected gift from them (yes, that’s how sweet and kind and thoughtful they are!)
inside was an authentic Oktoberfest beer mug and a jar of the most interesting bon-bons we’ve ever had.  also written on a postcard is an invitation to visit them in Hamburg!
the mister and i just love these bon-bons :)  i am quite sure there is a hint of ginger in the yellow ones and heat-packing cherries in the red ones!  VERY unexpected flavors bursting in your mouth AND very addictive too!

take your pick!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

fantastic 4

happy everything on our 4th wedding anniversary :)IMG_0514

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

two is better than one

"life is two-riffic with twins!" -- author unknown

we went to the mister's cousin's twins' christening the other day and boy were they soooo cute! 

just look at baby M here getting ready to be splashed :)  that's her mom W holding her :) sorry for the dark pics by the way and the red eye.  i didn't have time to reset my camera.
below is the lovely family :)  the twins have an elder sister, C in her lovely pink dress and pigtails and she wants to be in on the action too :)
we had cake after!
baby S is hungry
 big sister C biting her nails
here i am carrying and cuddling baby M, after playing with my hair she promptly fell asleep :)
i just love babies!  they are sooo cuddly like marshmallows and they smell like one too :)