December 19, 2016
How to Make Membrillo (Quince Paste)

How to Make Membrillo (Quince Paste)

December 19, 2016
cheese platter quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
We could say that membrillo (in English quince paste) paired with Manchego cheese is the national snack of Spain. I didn't like it too much as a kid but now you have to stop me from eating the whole thing. It's funny how your likes and dislikes regarding food change as you grow older, right?
I usually buy quince paste from the store and I didn't know you could make it at home. It's so easy, you'll see. It all started when one of my dad's colleagues gave him some quinces. He also gave us the recipe for dulce de membrillo so we gave it a try.

Today I'm going to give you our recipe to make homemade membrillo from scratch using fresh quince. I'm going to guide you step by step to make this delicious treat that will surely become a favorite in your recipe box. Finally, we are going to add it to the perfect cheese platter.
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
Quinces are a hard fruit that looks like a cross between a pear and an apple. They can't be eaten raw, only cooked. You can make paste, jam or jelly with them. They give off a wonderful floral aroma. Like apples and pears, they’re in season during the fall.

You only need a few things to make your own membrillo. Quince, of course, a lemon, some sugar ... and time. Quince paste isn’t hard to make, but it takes several hours and therefore patience.

INGREDIENTS

2 & 1/2 kg quinces
2 kg white sugar
1 lemon

DIRECTIONS
  • Wash quinces thoroughly (they are covered in some kind of fuzz) and cut in pieces.
  • Place the quince pieces in a large pan, then cover with the sugar and the juice of one lemon.
  • Leave aside overnight. In the morning the sugar will have dissolved.
  • Cook at low heat and stir often for about two hours until the quince pieces are tender and the spoon stands on its own.
  • Blend the fruit until very smooth.
  • Transfer to a mold.
  • To serve, slice the paste into thin rectangles.
  • Keep refrigerated, it lasts for months in the fridge.
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack steps
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack steps
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack
Membrillo traditionally goes with Manchego cheese. Its taste is sweet but not too sweet thanks to the lemon juice. That combination of sweet and salty is delicious. But you can actually pair it with any type of cheese. It's a great dessert together with a glass of wine or a healthy and yummy breakfast with farmer's cheese and some nuts. Here I've paired it with different types of cheese, dry plums, nuts and some fruit. It's a colorful and mouth-watering dish that will be part of our holiday celebrations.
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack cheese platter
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack cheese platter grapes dry fruit
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack cheese platter grapes dry fruit
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack cheese platter grapes dry fruit
quince membrillo recipe spain tapas snack cheese platter grapes dry fruit
If you need more ideas for the holidays, I've got you covered. I suggest you read how to host a tapas party, check out this Greek yogurt fruit tart and this Christmas loaf cake.

Have you ever tried quince paste? What snacks are you including in your Christimas / New Year's menu?
xo Cristina
MY LATEST OBSESSIONS
October 31, 2016
California 1

California 1

October 31, 2016
california one highway
The California Highway 1 is one of the world's most famous coast-hugging routes. It starts in my beloved San Francisco and goes all the way to the south ending in the beautiful San Diego. Along the way you can visit some of the most famous California cities: Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. You can go wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley, one of most diverse grape-growing regions in the country. Finally, you must stop at the charming coastal towns of Monterey and Carmel. Today I want to give you a small tour around some of these places. 

SAN FRANCISCO
You can start this trip at either end. However, since the city by the bay was my home during my time in the US, all my trips started there. I've written many posts about San Francisco that you can see here.
california one highway san francisco

california one highway san francisco

california one highway san francisco

california one highway san francisco

SANTA CRUZ
Santa Cruz is a surf town. It's actually where the sport was first introduced in California. It's also a great destination for families because of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a yesteryear-style esplanade which includes classic coasters, arcade games and a historic carousel. Finally, it's full of college students attracted by the boho chic restaurants you can find downtown.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk california one highway

MONTEREY & CARMEL
After San Francisco, these are my favorite places to go in California. Carmel-by-the-Sea is a wealthy fairy tale town, I've never seen anything like it before. Monterey is a charming town famous for delicious seafood, its renowned aquarium and for being the setting of some of John Steinbeck's books. Here you can't miss the scenic 17-mile drive and a historic landmark: the beautiful Carmel Mission. I've already devoted a post to each town, click on the names to read them.
monterey fish hopper california one highway

monterey fish hopper california one highway

monterey california one highway

california one highway

california one highway
Can you spot the sea lions below?
california one highway sealions

carmel mission california one highway

William Randolph Hearst built my dream house. The Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California in 1957. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park, so unfortunately it will never be up for sale... Click on the name to read the post.
hearst castle california one highway

LOS ANGELES & SANTA MONICA
The City of Angels is the largest one in California. If you prefer smaller places, stay in Santa Monica like I did. From there you can use public transport to get anywhere you want. Musts are the Getty Villa in Malibu, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Downtown L.A.

I had always been obsessed with L.A. It was #1 on my bucket list as a teenager. I thought it'd become my favorite city in the world. Oh boy, how wrong I was. It was a disappointment. Even though I'm a city girl I found it too big and it's not that beautiful. It's a great place to live if you are rich, otherwise, not that great. Don't get me wrong, it's still worth visiting but it's not as glamorous as movies and TV shows have led us to believe.
los angeles santa monica california one highway

los angeles santa monica california one highway

los angeles santa monica california one highway

los angeles santa monica california one highway

LAST STOP: SAN DIEGO
I was surprised by how much I liked San Diego. The best places to go are the Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, El Coronado and Old Town San Diego. Read this post to see why it stole my heart.
san diego california one highway
Some day I'd love to go back to California and do a tour of the Missions. I've always been attracted to those historic buildings probably because it's part of Spanish history. Route 66 is on my bucket list as well.
How about you? What are the top 3 places on your bucket list?
xo Cristina
October 17, 2016
How to Host a Tapas Party

How to Host a Tapas Party

October 17, 2016
how to host a tapas party
As a Spaniard I'm really proud of our food. Eating well is not only a pleasure for us but also part of our culture. On today's post I'd like to show you what goes into eating, entertaining and drinking like we do. There's no better way to do that than showing you how to host a tapas party. Let's start with the basics:

  • The main idea is serving a series of shareable small colorful plates. Don't divide your meal into starters, entrees and sides. Here, any dish can be the star of the show. 
  • Tapas are appropriate for any time of day or night. 
  • They are designed to be eaten while standing up. You hold a tapa with one hand and your drink with the other (beer, wine, cider or sangria are our favorites). 
  • Most of them are finger food. 
  • You don't have to worry about food getting cold, tapas are served at room temperature.

how to host a tapas party

how to host a tapas party

The list of tapas you can make is endless but here's a roundup of my favorites:

  • Steamed mussels with diced tomato, green pepper and onion on top.
  • Olives with different dressings.
  • Spanish omelette (recipe).
  • Cheese platter (must include at least one wedge of Manchego cheese).
  • Fried morcilla (black pudding) served with foie-gras and bread sticks.
  • Croquetas (croquettes). They are usually made with ham but the ones in the photo above were made with cecina which is cured meat that may remind you of beef jerky.
  • Fish meatballs.
  • Bread slices with a slice of ham and a fried quail egg on top.

Another favorite of mine is this tapa riojana I posted last February. I recommend you to read the article because I also explain where the word tapa comes from.
how to host a tapas party

how to host a tapas party

how to host a tapas party

I've already numbered the drinks we usually order. However, I didn't mention the star of the summer gazpacho (recipe). On this particular occasion I opted for a sangria pitcher.  Make your own sangria following the recipe below.how to host a tapas party sangria recipe

how to host a tapas party

how to host a tapas party

What was your favorite dish? Would you like to host a tapas party?
xo Cristina

October 3, 2016
A History Lover's Guide to Corfu, Crete & Rhodes

A History Lover's Guide to Corfu, Crete & Rhodes

October 3, 2016
palace of knossos heraklion crete greece history travel
After visiting Venice and Santorini our cruise stopped at three other Greek Islands: Corfu, Crete and Rhodes. When we booked our holiday I had a different itinerary in mind, I wanted to visit the historic Acropolis of Athens and the blue and white picturesque villages of Mykonos so when I found out those we weren't going to stop there I felt a bit disappointed. However, I ended up falling in love with the places we visited. Today, I want to tell you a bit about each of them and share with you some of my favorite pics. If you are a fellow history lover, I'm sure you are going to enjoy this post.

CORFU
Corfu means ‘twin peaks’, the town is bookended by two hills, on which two massive fortresses were built to repel the aggression of five successive Ottoman sieges. Corfu Town was the place we liked the least because it's less spectacular than the others. Nevertheless, we were able to attend a religious procession which we enjoyed a lot. On August 11th a silver case containing the body of St. Spyridon is exposed for public worship for 3 days and nights. Thousands pay homage to kiss his slippered feet.  It was a great way to mingle with the locals and learn about their traditions. The streets were crowded with a mixture of tourists, people dressed in traditional costumes and Orthodox priests.
corfu town greece travel

corfu town greece travel

corfu town greece travel

corfu town greece travel
CRETE
In Crete we visited Heraklion. It's top attraction is Knossos Palace, a must if you visit this island. I remember seeing picture of this archeological gem in my Ancient Greek text book back in my high school years. You breath history in every corner. It's fun to imagine what the place looked like 3,500 years ago when it was at its peak and the people living there.
knossos palace heraklion crete greece history travel

knossos palace heraklion crete greece

heraklion crete lion fountain

heraklion crete greece
RHODES
Many believe that the name originates from the Greek word rhodon, translated to rose in English. The medieval city of Rhodes is another historic site. Here you can embark on a journey through past civilizations. Christian churches, synagogues and mosques coexist. The Old Town of Rhodes is a maze of cobble streets that makes you feel as if you were back in the days of the Byzantine empire. The knights templar stayed in Rhodes for more than 200 years, transforming the city into a mighty fortress with 12-meter thick walls. The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes and the Street of Knights are beautiful landmarks of this city.

The city is also famous for one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes. It was a massive statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios (nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty), erected in 280 BC. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC. Some mystery remains as to where it was really located and what happened after it was destroyed.
rhodes greece travel history

rhodes greece travel history

rhodes greece travel history

rhodes greece knights templar history travel

rhodes greece ice cream

rhodes greek food

rhodes port greece

rhodes greece history travel

rhodes greece travel

rhodes greece
Have you ever visited Greece? Which was your favorite island?
xo Cristina