Survival game: How to outlive the Spanish summer

“We’re going to Spain for vacation. Awesome!!!”

Yeah, right. But you didn’t know you’d have to face an unbearable temperature with hot wind blazing on your face like an oven.  Especially if you’re travelling in August, get ready to get roasted like popcorn. Madre mía, hace un calor que te mueres… (Simple translation: the heat is unbearable).That, tourist pamphlets won’t tell you about it. So, Super Nuna is here to save the day!

The following advice also works if you’ve just settled down in the country and are learning the ropes of the local life. (I’m sharing with you all I wished to have been told earlier).

Here are some few things to consider when travelling to Spain in summer:

Schedule your outings to go outside at cooler hours

Want to take a stroll with some friends and enjoy the painting like landscape and its sunlight? No problem at all. You might just want to make sure you either go a bit early in the morning, or in late afternoon. In my town for example, the “most blazing hours” are between 4pm to 6pm more or less, so program your outing consequently to avoid unnecessary heat exposure. Don’t worry, the sun sets late (around 10pm) so you have all the time in the world.

Lower your curtains and close your windows

Yes; as funny as it may sound, that is the best way to keep your house cooler in this country and prevent the hot wind from choking you at home. Like a vampire in a bunker, we live in darkness during day hours and open back everything when the sun sets. Truthfully, this custom was funny to me because I am from a tropical country and there, we rather do the contrary. You have to open the windows as wide as possible… So I was quite skeptical when the locals told me about the closing alternative, and left my windows open. Then I went out of my room to realize that the rest of the flat that was closed up was way cooler… I learnt my lesson.

“Ice age hydration” required

If you’re taking a water bottle, freeze it. It will last longer, and frankly, warm water is not so agreeable to drink when it’s 45°C.

The early bird “cooks” the worm

Cook early in the mornings or in the evenings to avoid accumulating heat in the house. You don’t want to stir a saucepan while feeling dizzy. Like the natives, also include in your diet cold dishes like salad, or gazpacho (etc).

Check the opening hours of your favourite shops

Most shops and establishments reduce their working hours or even close for days. Especially during the month of August, many locals leave their habitual residences to stay at neighbouring towns with mountains and beaches. “Cerrado por vacaciones” (closed for vacation), you might come across that signboard on many doors, so do check the schedule of your favourite shop and prepare in consequence to avoid surprises.

Happy vacations y’all, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part II)

Hola CTTBies! Howdie?

In my last post I began a “profound”  journey, diving into Spanish cuisine. Today we’ll conclude with part II! In this article, we’ll be looking at some common items that are served in restaurants, or eaten at home.

In one of my previous posts, I discussed the Spanish custom of taking  strolls and spending a lot of time outside. I also talked about tapeo, which is going from restaurant to restaurant eating snacks. Because of that, many items on the local menus are designed to be quick, “portable” while remaining delectable.

Common home ingredients or restaurant items

Fideuá

It’s a sort of “pasta version” of paella. I’m personally not too fond of vermicelli in general (because of the texture), but the taste is good!

Huevos rotos

It’s a combination of fried eggs, potatoes and ham. Fun fact: in Spanish, the name means “broken eggs”.

Patatas bravas

Simple yet satisfying, this pommes sautées dish is topped with a colorful, delicious intertwining alliance of aioli sauce and a special, slightly spicy “ salsa brava” (some restaurants use ketchup instead).  It’s a perfect choice for a quick but savory and filling dinner.

Croquetas

Looking cute and lovely, they are crunchy on the outside yet soft, creamy, on the inside . A perfect match!

 They are usually stuffed with ham or mushrooms.

Bocadillos

¡Señoras y señores, más pan! (Ladies and gentlemen, more bread!)

Aside from potatoes, Spaniards eat a lot of baguette as well. Anything that can fit in it is good to go. There are therefore a variety of stuffings: chicken breast, chorizo, bell pepper, etc… Ta-da! A sandwich is born. I love how they are generously filled until they can’t hold it in again; it’s a nice way to show love to customers!

The most baffling combination for me is baguette stuffed with a piece of tortilla de patata (potato omelette)Nice, but too much carbs at once (in my opinion)… Anyway! If it fits in the mouth, then it’s fine.

Calamares rebozados

I love these squid rings. Crispy, stretchy and delicious, they have everything to make me happy.

Just a by-the-way joke: I still remember the day I munched into a similar meal, just to realize they were onion rings. Moral of the story: onion rings and squid rings should not be confused.

Tapas

Tapas is anything that qualifies as a snack (based on the cook’s opinion). The requirement: be small in size.

From mini skewers to battered shrimp, majority of tapas are made of a slice of bread topped up with some salad, or a piece of meat, fish vegetables with some dressing.

Churros

Crunchy and cracky, It is a very common snack sold at any time of the day. On demand, it can be accompanied by a cup of thick, smooth hot chocolate a la taza.

Jamón

The Spanish national treasure that they cannot live (and even leave anywhere) without.

Gazpacho and Salmorejo

Eaten cold, the two following dishes are soups made of blended vegetables (mainly tomatoes, bread, oil and garlic). They’re really popular in summer when the heat wave strikes and one doesn’t feel like cooking with the stove making the house even hotter. Nevertheless, they’re eaten all year long ; they aren’t exclusively summer-specific.

Migas

Made of bread crumbs savored up with some chorizo, they’re one of the specialities of the autonomous community of Aragón.

Arroz con leche

A widely spread dessert, this sweet rice porridge is cooked with milk and flavoured with an exotic touch of cinnamon.

Those that cause international arguments

Queso y vino

Some say the French ones are best, others say the Spanish ones are best. I like both. I consume the product of the country I’m in.  Simple.

Though I must say that French pastry wins over the Spanish one. I said it! Now I’m out.

Take care, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part I)

Hola CTTBies!

It’s time for a new article! Today I’m going to focus on the Spanish cuisine. Just like the title says, paella may somewhat be the most popular dish internationally, but there are other  foods that are very appreciated locally. I divided this first part about the mentioned topic into the three following categories.

Vamos a comer! (Let’s eat)

1. My favorites of all times

Arroz negro

It’s rice made with squid ink and shrimps. Aside from seafood paella, this is my second rice-based recipe. I imagine you might be curious about the taste if you’ve never tried it. Hmmm… How to put it? It’s nothing out of the world, it only tasted very… seafoody. (Sounds like a bad joke, but I’m serious). It’s just the color that is particular. 

Tortilla de patata

Lika a Pacman made with potatoes and eggs fried together (some add onions), forming a cute yellow “cake”, this little guy stole my heart when I first came. It’s quick to cook and goes well with other “side characters” like salad or bread.

Chorizo

Made of pork meat and paprika, This lovely dried sausage goes well with a lot of meals. Sliced in thin rondelles, it comfortably rests down between bread layers for a tasty sandwich.  Diced, it flavors up your soups. At the beginning, I must say that I got highly addicted and suffered from withdrawal syndrome when I was out of Spain (it may be found in supermarkets abroad but nothing beats the local taste). Curiously, I don’t crave it much nowadays because I feel full already when I see lots of it while doing the grocery.

Ensaladilla rusa

Surprise! It’s… potato salad. Despite its foreign name,  this meal has fully settled down in Spanish menus and is often present during informal gatherings. Usual ingredients are potato, olives, tuna, some sausage or york ham covered with tons and tons of mayonnaise. An awesome treat.

Now that we’re done with my favorites, let’s look at the next category. 

2. The meditaranean “quick fixes” that save you when you don’t want to cook

Prickles, prickles and more prickles

Sold in traditional grocery  stores like Martín Martín ,  there is a lot of variety.  Shallots, cucumbers, olives, octopus, anchovies, eels,  shrimps floating in special seasonings and vinegar.  Of course, their canned version also exists in supermarkets but it has less glamour,  so I left that for the end.

3. Those important guests that must not be absent from the table

Baguette 

I’m always amazed about how anxious Spaniards are to make sure there’s bread on the table whenever I eat outside or I get invited for a meal. In restaurants, no matter what you order, they add bread alongside (except for dessert, of course). If you go for lunch and the host forgot to get some, he might get ansty and make you sit to go buy it before he serves.

It’s a tradition I don’t get too much, but well, I adjust myself. I’m a simple woman: I see food, I eat. Bread is food, so I eat it, why not.

Coffee

After eating, your Spanish host or waiter will surely ask you if you’d like some coffee. They usually have it while doing sobremesa, which is sitting at the table and chatting for hours (it’s a bit exaggerated, I confess) while digesting. 

Such a wonderful country…

In my coming article, I will continue with more local dishes in the Spanish menus. Stay tuned! Don’t forget to like and share!

Warm regards and see you in my next post,

Nuna Blomevi

Disclaimer: pictures from the Internet ; no copyright infringements intended

5 reasons to visit Zaragoza, Spain

I’ve always said that among all the sites I’ve ever visited, Zaragoza is that one place that exerts a special unexplainable, magical attraction on people…

It’s a small city , not as well known as Barcelona, Bilbao or Madrid which are the great international poles. But once you come here, you either stay forever, or you end up longing for it wherever you go.

Compared to other places I’ve visited in Europe (here is the link to my travel gallery),  this is where I enjoyed my stay the most and consequently settled in afterwards. Here come the 5 reasons why!

1- It is a small town where the life cost is ereally low compared to other Spanish locations. Yet it has everything with everything you need: shops, entertainment, banks and food, etc.

2- The lifestyle rhythm here is more relaxed so the  level of stress the reduced compared to bigger European metropolis.

3- The town is extremely clean and there is less pollution.

4-  People are nice, easygoing and they take the time to attend to you when you need help, for example while asking for direction in a street.

5-  It has a unique culture, where medieval , mediteranean and modern trends blend in perfectly,  creating a special touch. You definiyely won’t be bored; there’s always something new to do or a new place to discover!

It’s a hidden gem, waiting for your visit. Cariño, cuándo te vienes? (Darling, when are you coming?)

See you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi.

#ZaragozaEnamora #ZaragozaMakesYouFallInLove

For more photos of places Nuna has visited, please click here: Travel Gallery

Some of the photos are avalaible thanks to the courtesy of my friend S. I. (She took them during our strolls). Gracias por las increíbles imágenes, amiga! (Thanks for these incredible visuals, friend!)

Photo shoot: “A Writer Behind The Scenes”

Hi CTTBies!

Long time no see…

All our apologies for the silence… But we’re working on a surprise project so we had to postpone publishing for a while. We will soon give out more details. Until then, we’d like to share with you some pictures from the first photo shoot we had for Nuna Blomevi’s diary “A Writer Behind The Scenes” (They came out amazing, hehe). Hopefully, there will be more sessions in the future.

We hope you like the photos!

Take care and stay safe,

Corner Blomevi.

Venue setting: Plaza del Pilar, Zaragoza (Spain)

Model: Nuna Blomevi

Photo Credits: S.C.M