Our two prickly pear cacti in the front planter had been dormant for a while, but just recently they have both exploded with new growth!

Crazi Cacti

I can see cactus quesadillas in our near future… yum yum! 馃檪


A question I’d been pondering recently is what to do with all the grapefruit being produced by the tree we found when making our path through the jungle.

I tried halving them and eating them for breakfast. They are tasty, but getting all those little segments out and removing all the seeds is just more hassle than it’s worth. I found I was enjoying slurping up the juice more than eating the actual fruit, so the next idea seemed obvious…. juicing them!

With a lot of ‘elbow grease’ I managed to juice 2 grapefruits using our flimsy little plastic hand juicer and we both agreed that, when cold, it was very tasty (not to mention healthy). Our friend Ruth from The English Rose kindly lent us a spare electric juicer she had. I harvested 15 ripe fruit and juiced up a storm! We were drinking juice for several days afterwards and successfully froze some too.


With the concept proved it was then time to find our own juicer. Miri, the queen of internet product research, did her thing and announced that we should get a Breville Die Cast Citrus Press. She found a place selling re-conditioned ones with the full 1year warranty for $100 less than the regular price… result! 馃槈

Our new juicer

We’ve only tried it once so far, but it seems very good. It is sturdy, quiet, very easy to use, easy to clean and seems to get all the juice out with a minimum of effort, even on large grapefruits. I’m now trying to figure out what else we can juice when the grapefruits eventually run out! 馃檪

After a long spell of not trying any new restaurants, we’ve recently been on a blitz of new experiences, and found a couple of ‘keepers’ in the process. As it turned out both are more or less on the water, have great sunset views, are not tourist hang outs and (shock and horror!) are in Aguada, not Rinc贸n. 馃檪

“Guayabos Tropical Sunset” is a beach front restaurant/bar. Its ramshackle wooden structure gives it a low-key, local bar vibe and so our food expectations were set accordingly. The restaurant deck out back is as close to the ocean as any I’ve seen here…
Guayabos Tropical Sunset
Right on the ocean

It was busy and had a great atmosphere and fast, friendly service. The biggest surprise of the evening was when the main course showed up, beautifully presented on large square china plates…
Surprisingly sophisticated food

Miri had fish and I had churrasco (skirt steak). Both were very tasty and good value for money (no $30 mains here). So with good food, friendly service and great ambience this was one of our best new dining experiences in a long time…
Sunset at “Guayabos Tropical Sunset”

A few days later, we tried another place a bit further along the coast in Aguada. This was a Mexican restaurant called “Acapulco”. As it turned out this used to be a bar called “La Rampa”, which was one of the very first places we went out after we moved here!
Nick at La Rampa in Aug 2007
Playing pool at La Rampa back in August 2007

2 years and 8 months later and we were back…
Now it’s called Acapulco

The location is great, with just a small road between the restaurant and the ocean…
Close to the ocean

Miri had enchiladas and I had a burrito. The food was good without being spectacular, although I would recommend the chicken breast (pechuga) burrito. It had good flavour and was good value at $7.50. Probably our biggest criticism is that their cutlery is disposable plastic. We both dislike eating with plastic knives and forks as we feel it adversely affects the enjoyment of the food. Overall though we see this as a great spot to have a few cold coronas and cheap, tasty burritos while watching the sun go down…
Sunset at “Acapulco”

I spent yesterday sieving glazes and then glazing most of the work that I will fire later this week. After a day of back-breaking work (hey, glaze buckets are damn heavy!), I wanted something quick, easy AND tasty for dinner.

Easiest Mac and Cheese to the rescue! I found this recipe when I was looking for some way to use up cottage cheese I bought (every once and a while Nick gets a craving for Cottage Cheese and forgets that he does not like American Cottage Cheese). Can I say “EASY”???? No pre-cooking of a cheese sauce, no pre-cooking of the pasta (!!!). Yes, you have to blend the sauce materials, but with a stick blender, that’s a piece of cake! I pretty much followed the recipe, but as I didn’t have any dry mustard, I used some Coleman’s English Mustard.

You can almost smell it, can’t you? Nick claimed this was the tastiest Mac and Cheese he has ever had (and most definitely the cheesiest). A keeper for sure (but probably not going into our regular rotation unless I plan to always double up on classes at the gym…).

Q: how do you pick plantains from a plant that is 20ft tall?
A: using a machete and gravity! 馃檪

Retrieving our haul!

Friday was a red day. 聽It started with a red light on our broadband card. 聽Not flickering red. 聽Just red. 聽Not good and no connection. 聽As the internet is critical for Nick’s work, after a quick call to customer service, off we trundled to the Sprint store in Western Plaza to resolve our problem.

On the way back home, we stopped at Juan’s (aka “Veggie Man”) stand to pick up some fresh vegetables. 聽I have yet to find a local spot with redder, tastier tomatoes than this stand on the 115. 聽We left armed with 3 bags of the red stuff (and some ginger for tea: 聽I need something tasty to mask the musky flavor of that turmeric…). 聽The day ended with a green light on the internet front. 聽Gracias a dios..

About a month ago, when I mentioned having a second cortisone shot to treat my trigger thumb (doing tons better btw), my buddy Fernando suggested that I try brewing some turmeric, as its combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects helps many people with joint disease find relief. I figured that what’s good for the joints might be good for the tendons, and regardless, I love cooking with fresh spices, and fresh turmeric is supposed to be much nicer than the dry stuff (if equally as staining!).

Today I finally managed to get myself down to the bi-weekly local farmer’s market in quest of some fresh vegetables (and indeed scored some nice peppers, green beans, zucchini and even some fresh eggs). There, as Luis promised, I also spotted a huge pile of fresh turmeric. I happily bought a bag and had an interesting conversation (en Espa帽ol) with the vendor about the health benefits of turmeric. Fortuitously, our Spanish vocab list a few weeks ago covered body parts…It was amazing how many internal organs seem to benefit from a nice dose of turmeric (and kinda nice to be able to understand what the heck the nice lady was talking about)!

In addition to trying some turmeric tea this week (I might also mix it in with my normal ginger tea), I’ll likely scour my various Asian cookbooks for some recipes using fresh turmeric. I’ve also selected a nice rhizome to try and sprout so I can grow this healthy yellow root myself!

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