Experiencing Spain from the eyes of a foreigner -

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Experiencing Spain from the eyes of a foreigner

April 10, 2018

It is always exciting to experience a culture that is different from the culture you are used to.

Language barrier could always be an issue at the very first moment, same as getting used to the new lifestyle schedules.

Furthermore, from the moment of arrival to Spain it will never be in doubt the remarkable improvement of the weather conditions. About the first impressions of the Spanish people, are a warm and welcoming people that do everything they can to help.

The food is a central thing in social activities and it is scheduled several times a day; 5-6 to be exact.

The hour of the day, tendencies and local specialties can differ from region to region, but the passion and proudness is a common thing.

Desayuno (breakfast) from 7-9

The typical Spanish breakfast is usually very light. It can consist of a cup of coffee and a small snack, normally, a toast with olive oil, crushed tomatoes or a toast with oil and ham.

Almuerzo (mid-morning snack) 10.30 – 11

Now it is time for the mid-morning snack, second breakfast or “almuerzo”. It is time for more coffee and a more consistent snack; this could be sweet pastries or Spanish tortilla (an Spanish omelet)

La comida (lunch) 14-15.30

At this time of the day people got an appetite for a two – three dishes menu. A lot of restaurants are offering “menu del

día” (the menu of the day). The starter is usually a choice between salads and afterwards a fish or a meat dish. If there is room for more food, there are plenty of local desserts, such as flan, fresh fruit or rice puddings.

This is a time the Spanish people really socialise, which is a very important aspect in their culture.

Merienda (afternoon snack) 17.30-19.30

Just as the lunch, the social aspect is an important factor in the afternoon snack; actually, it is possibly the most important aspect in this part of the day.

This is the time to get a cup of coffee or a snack. Sandwiches are the most popular snack for children after school, and even the adults take it as a moment to relax and disconnect from work for a little while. In summer time, an ice cream or some fresh fruit are preferred.

La hora del aperitivo (snacks/tapas) 20.30-22

This is the second big meal of the day. It is around that time the tapas bars are opening. Tapas are a great opportunity for tasting as many things as possible, because that is exactly what you will need when being in Spain. The selection of tapas can vary from place to place, but you can be sure that it would be possible to order olives as one of the dishes.

Red wine and cold beers are usually enjoyed together with the tapas.

La cena (dinner) 21.30 +

If you still are hungry after the aperitivo, you can always order a dish for yourself or keep going with the shared tapas with the rest of the crew. If not, mediterranean people is not used to eat large portions of food in this time of the day.

Salads, or a bit of cold meat are welcomed.

Drinks from 23

If you aren’t ready to go home, this is the time to replace the wine with cocktails. It is common to enjoy snacks like nuts or olives while socialising at the bars.

It takes a bit of time to get used to the late time for eating, but it is worth waiting for.

Food is a good place to start when you want to discover the culture of Spain and you will soon realise that the Spaniards are appreciating good, local food and even more important, they love to be social among friends.

The most remarkable thing about the Spanish people is their openness and their eager to show and tell about their favourite places. This is a great place to be. Don’t miss it !

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Vegan Cuisine with Olives

April 18, 2018

Nowadays, more and more often, our lifestyle and different possibilities let us choose between including or not including food of animal origin in our diet. If you are preparing a dinner for many people and would like to satisfy all palates, why not include a couple of vegan recipes? Here below some ideas.

Citrus tandoori marinated with olives from Spain.

Level of difficulty: Easy Servings: 4-5 people Preparation time: 13 m

First of all, the marinade: garam masala, lemon zest, chilli powder, salt, pepper and mint mixed together.

Second, add the yoghurt, taste and adjust salt if necessary. Mix the olives with the marinade and transfer the blend to a baking dish.

Bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes until the olives are tender.

Magic touch: remove from the oven and spray a bit of lemon to taste; garnish with chopped fresh coriander and a pinch of tandoori powder. Ready to serve !

 

Vegetable soccattata.

Level of difficulty: Moderate Servings: 3-4 people Preparation time: 40-50 m

If you want to surprise your guests try with this popular street food from the south of France.

A fabulous and different vegan option to the also french “galette sarrasin” made of chickpea flour instead of buckwheat as the classical one.

The socca, made simple and plain is perfectly delicious in its own way, but as usual, life it’s always better with olives.

What we need : chickpeas, red onions, oil cured olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinaches and olive oil.

The “pancake” is made in a small bowl, mixing together the flour, water, salt and oil. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight (no need to refrigerate).

Now we only need to cook the rest of the ingredients. Red onion until it’s caramelized, the olives, the dry tomatoes and the spinaches in a pan. Once ready, blend it with the galette mix and put it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes (until it slightly browns around the edges).

Surprisingly easy, surprisingly tasty !

 

Spicy Peanuts with pimiento olives from Spain

Level of difficulty: easy Servings: 3-4 people Preparation time: 30 m

Fresh, easy and very tasty. Toasted peanuts, red chili, black pepper, a bit of garlic and pimiento olives from Spain.

Now, let’s prepare it.

First, Crush the roast fennel seeds, ajwain and black pepper seeds.

Chop fresh oregano finely and put into the bowl. Finally add the olives and peanuts.

Second round, crush the garlic cloves and add, crush the red chillies and dried mixed herbs and mix all together.

Heat extra virgin olive oil, add sea salt to the olives and mix well. Pour the warm olive oil over the blend and mix them up.

How to marinate: Transfer the mixture into a bottle for 3-4 days before serving.

If any doubt, watch the video below !

 

Pasta with roasted tomatoes, chickpeas and olives.

Level of difficulty: Moderate Servings: 2-3 people Preparation time: 40-50 m

This dish came together from a mishmash of what you would perfectly had on your fridge. Pasta, chikpeas, cherry tomatoes, olive oil or vegan butter, dried basil, and of course, black olives.

Chickpeas add a richness, creaminess and a different touch from the classic pasta, oil, basil and cherry tomatoes one.

How we do: Roast the tomatoes, roast the chickpeas, add the blend of coconut cream, vegan butter and olive oil and lemon as a sauce, add the olives and the most important, the presentation.

To serve distribute pasta between two bowls. Top with the tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, fresh parsley, spray the rest of the lemon zest and serve immediately.

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Mediterranean Lifestyle is not only a Diet

April 24, 2018

We are tired of hearing about the Mediterranean diet. We promise one last time, but a different one.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating patterns in the Mediterranean region and focuses on fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and healthy fats. A diet not invented, but discovered, is now recognized as one of the healthiest dietary patterns. The difference, it is not limited to number of days, or any other typical diet schedule, it’s a forever kind of thing. To get the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, you need to embrace the lifestyle.

More important than the food, the company.
There are no food restrictions in the Mediterranean diet. Everything is pretty much allowed. It focuses on grains and vegetables, fiber and lean proteins from nuts and seafood, and far less on fatty meats. But beyond sharing a meal, the Mediterranean culture cultivates a balanced social life and a certain connectedness to the people who matter. Meals are not rushed in front of the computer and shoved down as quickly as possible. Lunch can be a 1 ½ to 2-hour event. And
yes, we get a daily glass of red wine, to help the socializing 😉 That’s the life!

Healthy in an intrinsic way
Classified it as “heart healthy” due to its likelihood to reduce the risk for heart diseases. A recent study published in the New England Journey of Medicine found that incorporating more olives and nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease by about 30% in who are at high risk.

Skip the gym. Just move, naturally.
Mediterranean people do not specifically spend two hours a day for heavy lifting at the gym. But, that doesn’t make them inactive.
Mediterranean people are not definitely gym-lovers. The 80% of the people who newly joined the gym on January will drop off by mid February, already done.
Supporting the natural movement, a moderate exercise like a daily walk, is an effective and sustainable healthy habit.
Nothing is too convenient, so moving is a natural practice for people of the Mediterranean. Walking as a mean of transport is very common if not necessary, offering an efficient form of daily exercise. An early morning run on the beach or a walk after dinner is common practice. And when they want to do something leisurely, they go out for a walk. Less stress, more living outdoors.

Don’t give up with munchies, make them healthier.
Getting obsessed with over eating low-fat here, low-fat there makes no sense in the Mediterranean area.
Meals are centered round seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Condiments, cookies, and crackers, if they exist are reduced to be enjoyed sparingly.
We would be lying if we said chocolate, cakes and pastries never made an appearance, but a piece of fresh fruit or dried fruit was a more regular dessert choice.

And the most important, fresh.
This area is rich in olive groves, offering a plentiful supply of fresh olive products. The sea offers fresh fish, shellfish and other seafood, while local markets sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh and homemade are the two words that best describe home cooking near the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean people don’t buy too much of any one ingredient. The whole concept of buying in bulk remains foreign to them. Eating freshly matters, and they don’t mind making multiple trips to the market, on foot, mostly.
The Mediterranean Diet is not an effort, rather a daily practice for many Europeans. An ever-present reminder of how
life should be: healthier, more relaxed, and more balanced between work and play.

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Six Fresh Salads Made with Olives from Spain

May 4, 2018

Fresh summery vibes with olives, can you feel it?
The perfect excuse to add some color to your almost-summer days beyond the standard bowl of lettuce and salad
dressing.
Here is a couple of delicious summer salads, light and fresh made for perfect side dishes and ideal for summer picnics
and snacks. Let’s begin by the classics:

Cobb Salad
Made with a perfect combination of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, cooked and diced chicken, sliced bacon, avocado, blue
cheese, cherry tomatoes, red sweet onion and manzanilla olives as the final touch.
For the dressing blend together vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Level of difficulty, no difficulty and amazing taste.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Do you think there’s any other salad in the world that combines better with hojiblanca Spanish olives? We don’t. As
simple as tasty, the mediterranean tuna salad is a fresh classic in any mediterranean table.
Amazing big red tomatoes, sliced cucumber, tuna, onion, hojiblanca olives and a dash of olive oil. Simple is better !
Now let’s increase a bit the imagination power and the difficulty.

Summer Salad with nectarines and olives from Spain
If you are one of those who don’t get enough with a lettuce-salad type, let us introduce you this fruity salad. Fresh as the
usual salads but a bit more consistent. Mixed with slices of sweet nectarine, peach or the fruit you like best, crunchy
toasted almonds and pitted hojiblanca olives from Spain. The combination of textures, flavours and colors makes it
delicious. So fresh so filling.


Slaw, Mint, Lime, Roasted Peanutsans and Olives from Spain.
Crunchy salad on the way. In a large bowl, whisk together the 7 ingredients (fresh ginger, fresh lime juice, cherry
tomatoes, a couple of scallions, fresh mint, queen pitted olives from Spain and chopped small green cabbage) except for
peanuts and the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. After, sprinkle with peanuts before
serving and ready to eat !

And the final stars,
Strawberries Salad with Warm Cheese Croutons and olives from Spain.
If you really want to surprise your guests, try with something new. What would surprise more than strawberries in a
salad? Strawberries with warm cheese croutons, bingo !
This salad begins with simple mixed baby greens, sliced fresh strawberries, fresh cucumber and the rounds of breaded
and fried goat cheese together with the chopped olives, queen and hijoblanca to give the perfect salty combination. You
will be surprised that the olives combine with everything, even in this strawberry salad! De-li-cious.

Quinoa Berry Slaw Salad
We go further changing the main ingredient of any mediterranean salad, lettuce, cabbage or coleslaw for quinoa. Also
surprising, add berries. Blueberries and raspberries, a perfect combination with salty manzanillla olives from Spain. A
mix of flavors, all together with quinoa and red cabbage, radishes and carrots. The final trick, a dressing made of
buttermilk.


This summer, olives from Spain are the answer.

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Typical Spanish Not So Typical for Foreigners

May 9, 2018

Countries are built on traditions and habits. Habits that anyone could think are common to every country, but you would probably not realize until you leave Spain, that they are not as universal as you thought. Melancholy or the Spanish world “morriña” comes to our mind when that happens. Here below, some typical Spanish habits, not so typical in the
eyes of a foreigner.

  • Kissing everybody to say hello and goodbye. Spanish people are well known to be friendly, and for them, it’s absolutely normal to kiss twice any member in the room, table or group to say hello and goodbye. Spanish people even do kiss each other when they just met. Not a so ordinary practice in other countries where people normally shake hands.
  • Picoteo, or the tradition to get some sort of snack with any soda or beer at the bar. A habit you would not see either in its closest neighbours, the French. In Spain, there are more than 260.000 bars and in any of them, you get offered some olives as the most popular snack with your drinks. So welcomed!

  • The schedule. Having lunch at 14h and dinner never earlier than 22h is one of the main characteristics of a Spanish person.
  •  Olive Oil. Our devotion for olives do not stop with olives from Spain as a perfect snack for any occasion, also the olive oil is a well-known asset in any Spanish family.
  • Mediterranean beaches. Sun-kissed beaches, with white sand and crystalline waters. Paradise or Costa de la Luz?
  •  Flamenco and Toros, the most typical icon of the Spanish culture. As surprising as fascinating for the foreigners.

  •  Blinds (persianas in Spanish). Somebody once said, “You don’t know what you have until you lose it”. The same happens to the blinds outside Spain. Sunlight, you are welcome!
  •  Tapas. Going for dinner and not having an only own dish but 5 different shared meals? We have already talked about the friendly character of the Spanish people. Sharing is caring!
  • And of course, the Jamón Serrano the most expedited goodie to the Erasmus students or Spanish expats. A perfect match with a delicious snack of olives from Spain. Right?

Did you think you know Spain enough? Now you have even more information to perfectly fit as a local. Never a bad occasion to know about our favourite Spaniards!

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How to Marinate your Olives

May 16, 2018

We have already learned how to pit them and how to stuff them, but we missed how to marinate them!

Let us introduce you a new culinary concept which consists of enriching the packaged olives that you can find in any establishment, by original dressings.  And we do not mean the traditional dressings, we go a lot further mixing ingredients that range from the most classic such as capers, cheese or pepper, to even the most modern and rare ones like ginger, razor shell or salmon. Imagination has no limits!

And you would wonder, what makes olives a so versatile snack? Marinating, stuffing and seasoning the olives from Spain allow you to reach any palate, even the most difficult ones. The versatility of this snack and the endless possibilities of combination make them a pleasure for anybody.

No matter if you like more the fish, the meat or just vegetables. For the ones who prefer a fresh snack, a salty one, sweet or spicy. Olives are flexible and perfectly adaptable to your family, friends and guests. Here below a couple of examples to demonstrate the theory.

Travel with us to the Mediterranean to discover endless possible combinations of seasoning and marinating olives.

Gordal olives with anchovies

Flavor: hot spicy             Style: creative             Season: Spring          Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

– Gordal olives from Spain – Natural orange juice

– Ginger powder – Sherry vinegar

– Mustard in grain – Marinated anchovies

– Extra virgin olive oil

Elaboration:

Open the olive and fill it with half anchovy. Make the vinaigrette mixing the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and then season the olives with it, finally serve them. Simple as that !

Advice: Serve accompanied by a very cold beer.

Best time: In a break in the workplace. Perfect for a fresh mid-morning snack before lunch.

 

Green olives with lime, chilli and smoked salmon

Flavor: hot spicy               Style: creative              Season: Spring          Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

– Green olives from Spain – Smoked salmon

– Chilli – Lime

– Chives – Extra virgin olive oil

– Coarse salt

Elaboration:

Squeeze the juice from the lime and add it to a bowl with the olives from Spain. Add diced smoked salmon, chopped chives, chilli and extra virgin olive oil.

Mix and serve. Easy!

Advice: If we do not have chilli, we can substitute it for tabasco. Hot!

Best time: After a long walk on the beach or a dinner with friends.

 

Black olives with basil vinaigrette, pine nuts and fresh cheese

Flavor: sweet                   Style: elegant           Season: Summer           Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

– Black olives Hojiblanca – Pine nuts

– Basil fresh – Extra virgin olive oil

– Vinegar – Salt

– Fresh cheese

Elaboration:

Heat the extra virgin olive oil together with the basil. Add the toasted pine nuts with the vinegar and salt. Finish it with a little more olive oil. For the presentation, place a piece of fresh cheese and on top black olives from Spain. Align with the vinaigrette and ready to enjoy.

Advice: It will be better if we crush a bit some of the pine nuts.

Best time: It can be taken as a starter or as a salad, the small ones of the house are going to love it!

 

Green olives with black pudding

Flavor: sweet                 Style: cheeky           Season: Autumn             Preparation time: 4 minutes

– Green olives from Spain – Smoked black pudding

– Apple cider – Onion

– Celery

Elaboration:

Heat the blood sausage a bit in a pan without cooking it too much and chop it into tiny pieces. Cut the onion into strips and mix it together with the sliced apple and the celery, chopped small. Mix everything with the green olives from Spain and your Spanish starter will be ready.

Best time: While preparing any dinner, to distract from hunger or as an original idea for a brunch with the family.

The results, of course, will be fabulous, ready to share and surprise your friends an family. High taste snack!