Xmas Cocktail

Subtitle: Mixed Morning II.

Xmas DawnWe arrived in Spain on 15th December and awoke on 16th to a colourful dawn and the news that two more units on our development had been broken into. Well, wha’d’ya know? Here we were waking up on Xmas morning to another colourful dawn and the news that yet another unit had been broken into yesterday evening/night, Christmas Eve. This is taking on uncomfortable echoes of Groundhog Day. This time the bastards broke into the end unit of the first block, oddly numbered block 6 (don’t ask), a block where three out of five units were actually occupied. Once again, the entrance door was protected with a decently fitted security gate but the miscreants simply yanked the rejas [steel bars] out of the kitchen window beside the door and gained access that way. The wall construction materials thus exposed, it is painfully easy to see how weak the construction is – hollow bricks with a bit of rendering slapped on. It’s about as useful as attaching steel bars with blu tack.

The unit targeted was itself occupied but the folks were clearly out for the evening. The owners (it’s a rental unit) think it happened between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM. It is six doors down from us around a slight curve; we were here but heard absolutely nothing. It’s quite staggering.

Xmas breakfastOn a brighter note, Xmas morning was otherwise beautiful with a sunny Xmas Cocktail for breakfast. Never let it be said that I shy away from my fruit units. These Buck’s Fizz things work so much better with freshly squeezed orange juice. Frankly, they also work so much better with Spanish Cava at <3€ a bottle as opposed to Champagne at £25 a bottle.

From culinary viewpoint, Xmas day continued to improve. Francine and I bought our now traditional half sucking pig about a week ago, since when it has been languishing in the freezer. Overnight, it had been out thawing and was now ready to take its chance in our oven. This was to be my fourth attempt at a roast sucking pig. Beginners luck meant that my first was excellent but attempts #2 and #3, whilst edible, failed to produce a crisp skin. This time, having read the oven instructions and knowing, I hoped, which elements to use – all of ‘em – I was praying that my batting average would increase from 33% to 50%.

Xmas lunchI’m not used to a conventional oven (i.e. non fan) with a temperature gradient so I used an oven thermometer on piggy’s shelf to see what it was really running at. Piggy took exception and straightened his hind leg during cooking, deftly booting the thermometer off the shelf. Naughty piggy! Nonetheless, after 2½ hours at temperatures oscillating between 170°C and 180°C (I retrieved and replaced the thermometer), piggy had developed a beautiful golden hue and that holy grail of a light, crisp skin. Success!

Piggy was preceded by some hausgemacht gravad lax, having performed the nigh-on impossible and found some fresh dill  which, in Spain, is as rare as rocking horse shit, and was followed by delicate, individual tiramisus. Very nice.

It’s almost enough to make you forget the lawlessness in these parts.

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