Banger? I don’t even know her…

Now I don’t claim to be any kind of Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal but I’m a pretty okay cook.

Today would beg to differ…

…I kinda almost set the entire flat a little bit on fire…

Fickle buggers them sausages.

There I was, quite happily grilling my bangers in the oven, turning frequently to ensure equal distribution of heat then…

*BAM*

…a bit of the oil jumped up onto the heating element  and the oven started sparking, followed by a hella tonne of smoke.

It only lasted a maximum of two seconds while I sprinted Usain Bolt style to the other side of the kitchen, wildly flapping a tea towel in one hand and snatching up tongs in the other.

I’m only slightly worried that the fire alarm didn’t go off…

Bloody good sausage sandwich though I tell you, not burnt in the slightest.

#skills

P.S. Can I have permission to be just a teensy bit proud of that pun? Just a little teeny weeny bit?

Never have I ever…

…had so many different things in my mouth than on this trip…

Oi, stop it, mind out of the gutter.

I’m talking food.

Anyone that knows me know I am one of the fussiest eaters on the planet. I like my foods plain and simple, sauce no thank you. I don’t like Chinese or Indian or Thai…or anything for that matter…I avoid anything fishy or sea food-y like it was the plague. I try nothing.

Here, however, I have tried almost everything. The only exception being prawns (just couldn’t do it), squid (they were actual tentacles!), and the UFS given to us at a seafood restaurant. I opted for a hamburgesa, which turned out to be a piece of meat and chips, sans burger bun…This was probably safer for me given the weak constitution of my stomach (have you read the post: Spoke to soon…?).

I’m doing so, I have found that there are a lot more foods I like, and would happily eat at home. I have become, dare I say it, a little teensy bit adventurous. I enjoyed the paella, the fish, the pourré, the rice, the coca (similar to pizza); and I got to taste the yummy Spanish versions of some of my favourite dishes, like macaroni and omelette (tortilla Española).

In both Benicassim and Laredo we are sin oven and con gas, and distinctly lacking a modern contraption called a kettle. Shock, horror! How does a Brit survive without tea you ask me? She doesn’t, she boils water in a pan over the gas stove (is it 2013 or 1813?).

In Laredo, negative: we have to cook toast on a strange flat pan over the stove as there is no kettle, and it comes out a bit gross, positive: there is a microwave in which to heat water for herbal tea *dances in the street*. In Benicassim, negative: no microwave just pots and pans, positives: a toaster *dances in the kitchen* and a gas stove that I can operate without third degree burns.

Don’t tell me I’m not adaptive.

Thank god, with this family I am not expected to cook (another good thing to ask if you’re going to be an Au Pair). I have to make the kids some breakfast but that’s just a bit of toast or cereal, a bottle and some milk with Cola Cao (chocolate powder). In Benicassim, the family makes lunch which I simply have to warm, and then people are at home make dinner. In Laredo, there is family around to make breakfast, lunch and dinner, I just have to feed them.

The one piece of meat that I was asked to watch over turned a little bit…golden, shall we say. The family’s 91 year old grandmother shook her head and told me I was a “muy mala cocinera”. Maybe they had a sixth sense before they hired me…

I’m not really a bad cook…I just normally work with a touch screen induction hob and an oven…

…I bake good cookies!

P.S. Fun fact about me re. the herbal teas…I can’t drink milk, it makes me sick. Apparently I was a nightmare baby and wouldn’t keep down anything they fed me. Guess what they were feeding me…? *facepalm* I also try to avoid caffeine for other health reasons. Plus they’re really yummy.

P.P.S. One thing I am really missing is chicken and asparagus pie. When I was at school my nan would buy uppercrust pies, cook them, keep half for them and drop me round the other half so I just had to warm it (my mum works late so I manage dinner, like a true domestic goddess…). She says that delivery service shall resume at university. Luckiest girl ever…

I’m packing heat…

…well I’m packing biscuits…and chocolate, and crisps…

Even though I have been here a while, I have yet to fully adjust to the Spanish meal timetable. Lunch at 2:30? Dinner at 9:30 or, god forbid, 10:30 at night, when you should be sleeping not eating? It goes against every diet book ever published, “don’t eat after 7pm” they say, well woah, the message has not quite reached the Mediterranean!

I find myself starving between meals, and not wanting to eat the family out of house and home (more on this ‘etiquette’ later), or make them feel as though they’re not giving me enough for each meal (they are, they are perfect meal time portions), I have instead perfected a covert operation to gather between-meal sustenance. Mostly junk food, because, lets face it, I’m not going to smuggle apples.

I am like a squirrel gathering his nuts for winter, a bear filling up with food so that he has a comfortable layer of fat to hibernate on, an ant…okay you get the picture…

The trips go a little like this…

Dress in inconspicuous summer clothes
Make room in too large handbag
Ensure there are aplenty Euros to buy contraband
Tell family I am going for a walk
Walk to nearest supermarket of choice (of which I have located all suitable candidates in each location)
Buy contraband
Return home
Use body as shield to block conspicuous, lumpy and larger-than-when-I-left handbag
Unload contraband into suitcase
Hide under large brimmed beach hat (casually obvs, you don’t want it to look deliberate)
Feel guilty
Retrieve when necessary

I have been doing this since I got here and all in all it has worked out well. The family are none the wiser and I am less emaciated.

Don’t look at me like that

Anyway in order to have a balanced diet you need a bit of junk with all that fish and vegetables, it’s on the chart.

IT’S ON THE CHART!

No? Okay fine…