Sunday Sevens #142 24.6.18

Hello there, it’s been a busy week for us here in Gibraltar with two festivals, one for world music and another one for food. The weather’s been rather interesting too! Here goes…

Sea mist

Last Sunday we were still in the grips of sea mist which enveloped the Rock and caused flights to be cancelled. For those of us lucky enough to not to be traveling it was quite fun to sit and watch it changing shape out in the Bay. (Photo credit Mr Postcard).

We’re having babies!

We have had a pair of collared doves house hunting in our neighbourhood recently and it would appear that they have moved into our roof to have their little family. It looks like Mum is sitting on some eggs, I will keep you posted as to their progress.

GWMF

Mid week this week, we had the Gibraltar World Music Festival in full swing. There were a number of different events including talks for school children, a concert inside St Michael’s Cave and this musical street party on Castle Steps. It was a great venue for the choirs and band, with space for us to sit on the steps and look down on the performers. The atmosphere was fabulous.

Stormy night

In the early hours of Thursday morning I was woken by a Little Postcard. When I settled him back into bed, the room lit up and there was an almighty rumble of thunder (that’s what probably disturbed him in the first place).

I thought I’d try and grab a dramatic photo of the lightning, so I headed out onto the balcony in my pjs at about 4:20am (just as well no one was passing). Needless to say I failed on the photo, just got this blurry one. I decided after about 10 minutes that I really should go back to bed!!

I’m in print!

For the first time ever, I have had an article published in print! It’s in the Calentita Press, a magazine compiled for the annual Calentita food festival. In my article I talked about growing your own food, even in small spaces (as most of us in Gibraltar have no outside space to speak of). I interviewed Andrew Abrines from the Alameda Gardens ahead of writing the piece and he gave lots of great tips for getting started. I even learned that you can grow your own pea shoots using dried marrow fat peas… and so I did…

Pea shoots!

….here they are! They took just about two weeks to grow on my kitchen windowsill and they taste lovely – very pea-ish if you get what I mean!

Now that’s what you call a barbecue…

That’s one heck of a lot of meat! This was just one of the food stalls at last night’s Calentita Festival. It was a great event, yet again and I came home with a very full tummy! I hope to write a blog post all about it in the next few days, time permitting.

So there you have it, Sunday Sevens done for another week. I hope it’s been a good one for you. Until next time, bye for now.

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Calentita 2017


Calentita This is a baked pancake-like dish, the Italian farinata, also known in Genoa as fainá. It is made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper. The word calentita is the informal diminutive of the Spanish word caliente which means “nice and warm (or hot)”. 
Wikipedia

Visitors to Casemates Square early on last weekend couldn’t fail to spot the signs that something interesting was about to happen. The Calentita food festival is now in it’s 11th year and after a hiatus of six years, we decided to pay it a visit this time. On our return to Casemates on Saturday evening it was clear that many others had decided to come too.

Back when we had our first Calentita experience, seven years ago, it was a much smaller event to the one we visited this weekend. It featured a number of food stalls selling a wide variety of foreign food choices and was centered around a stage in Casemates Square. 

On the night, we joined some friends on a large table at one of the nearby restaurants and made an odd foray towards the food tents. With two small children (one in a buggy) the whole thing was an assault on the senses, loud, crowded and really not the best or easiest environment to steer little people through, and the long queues at the food tents put us off waiting to try the various delicacies on offer.

That said, many of our fellow festival goers had a thoroughly good night. Those with older children (who revelled in being trusted to head off to the stalls without parental supervision and buy their own dinner) and those who came without children had a great time. 

We tried one more time, the following year, and gave it up as a bad job. Fast forward to 2017 and we had three children to bring with us and they were all a good deal older. The venue itself had changed as much as our family in the intervening years – it had grown bigger. 


Now the event not only covers Casemates Square (albeit in a less crowded way and with a  less densely populated tent arrangement) and spills over into the area beyond the Grand Casemates Gates and into the Market Place, Bus Station and beyond. My word, what a difference that means for overcrowding – a huge improvement for us to start with.

This next photo isn’t very clear but you should be able to make out the large stage at the far end (complete with performers) and a very long table in the foreground. It was busy with people but there was room to move – what a huge improvement.


Now down to the nitty gritty – food! (Well it is a food festival after all.) There were over 40 different food tents to choose from catering for all tastes from hot dogs to hog roasts, Pad Thai to popcorn and Calentita to craft beers.

We decided that the best way to deal with the queues and three hungry boys was to split up, I queued for Margarita pizza slices (we have one Little Postcard who isn’t overly adventurous in the food stakes) while Mr Postcard headed to an Asian stall and returned with a lovely samosa for me (below) and quite possibly the best onion bhaji ever to have tickled my tastebuds.

We headed out of the Square and into the Bus Station area beyond, which now had craft stalls standing where the buses usually wait. All along the road were many more stalls on both sides. 

I was on a mission; one Little Postcard was adamant he wanted noodles. I joined the queue at the Phillipino food stall and waited for my turn only to discover they had run out! I got a couple of pork kebabs though and they were delicious. One kept the wolf from the door for our noodle lover as we continued on our quest.

Bingo! Noodles!


They were even cooked in front of us…


They got a big thumbs up, as did this rather tasty spring roll!


For the grown ups there was plenty of choice in the beverage department, with any amount of drinks to wet your whistle.

There was even a cocktail bar sited atop the old sea walls which encircle this part of town (below). Needless to say we didn’t visit and made do with a rather nice lager in a plastic cup.

Heading back into Casemates Square, and the crowds were growing. A number of local bands took to the stage to entertain the Calentita-ites and the atmosphere was buzzing. We did sample other culinary delights but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were – suffice to say, we didn’t go home hungry.

As the sun began to set, we took our leave of Calentita for 2017. Little legs were wilting and it was time for our exit.

Calentita 2017 was by far our best Calentita to date as a family. As an event it was barely recognisable from our previous encounters and overwhelmingly for the better. Hats off to the organisers who clearly have honed the festival over time.

As a family with young-ish children, this year’s event doesn’t compare to our previous failed attempts at gastronomic family unity. I would recommend anyone who hasn’t tried it before to give it a go next year.

PS I have one shameful admission… almost eight years living in Gibraltar and I have yet to sample actual Calentita (hangs her head in shame). I promise I will put that right.

Sunday Sevens #87 11.6.17

Hello there, you may be forgiven for thinking that this week’s Sunday Sevens is rather reminiscent of last week’s. For the second week in a row I climbed aboard a plane and flew out of Gibraltar to visit family in England. I normally go at least 6 months between such trips but happy circumstances meant I was able to make a quick return visit to the North West of England.

Summer’s here!


Last Sunday was a bit of a scorcher – summer has definitely arrived here in Gibraltar. We went for our first dip of the season in the pool. My latest Sixty Million Trebles blanket came with me too.

World Environment Day

Monday was World Environment Day, and Gibraltar put on a series of stalls in Commonwealth Park to highlight the work being done by the various environmental organisations, governmental and charity. The TV cameras were down there filming while we were passing through.

 
Here we go again!

Tuesday evening saw me heading back onto the tarmac to catch a plane to Manchester. A long awaited solo trip back to see my parents without children…. bliss (although I did miss them a little bit 😉).

Cheshire & crochet

Wednesday was beautifully sunny and we headed off into Cheshire, which is pretty close to where I was brought up. I just love the wide open green spaces – so different to what we are used to seeing each day in Gibraltar.

We called into my new favourite wool shop: Black Sheep Wools. My goodness the yarn, the colours, the inspiration… I could spend all day and a fortune in here! I love it. 

I added to my stash and even convinced my Mum into dusting off her knitting needles and buying a pattern to make herself something. I don’t think she has knitted since my eldest (now a teenager) was very little, I do hope she enjoys her new project.

So here’s my stash, which includes a very nice surprise of a belated birthday gift (pink & white Sugar n’ Cream yarn and my first ever Caron Cake) and my missing April edition of Little Box of Crochet which I was able to collect thanks to the lovely Emma at Little Box of Crochet.

Homeward bound

All too soon it was time for me to board another plane to take me back to Gibraltar and my boys. Bye bye Cheshire countryside!

It was only the next day that I discovered I had had a very close call. The plane I was travelling on and the next departure to Malaga were the last two allowed to takeoff from Manchester before the airport was evacuated because of a suspect package. It was two hours before planes took off again. As far as I’m aware no one was harmed thankfully, just a lot of waiting around for passengers and staff.

En route to Gibraltar I carried on working on my Sixty Million Trebles blanket, it’s working up really fast. Very quickly I could spy the Rock out of my window!

Calentita!


Yesterday the 11th annual Calentita Food Festival came to Casemates Square. It’s got to be 6 years since we last attended due to small children. We had a nice evening and ate some interesting food. I will share some more photos very soon…

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from the  Threads and Bobbins blog.