WARNING: Malaga’s Atarazanas market will EXPLODE your sensory perception

 Fruit and veg in Atarazanas market, Malaga

I’m a HUGE fan of food markets.  They are something I seek out, wherever I am in the world – from Barcelona’s Boqueria and Melbourne’s Queen Victoria to local street-markets in Cambodia and Thailand, I’ve visited them all.  So, a trip around Malaga’s Mercado Central de Atarazanas is always a pleasure, every time I’m in Malaga city, as well as featuring high on the list of places to take visitors to.

The Moorish arched entrance blends seamlessly with 19th century industrial design and the huge, colourful stained-glass window, to create not only a beautiful back drop but also to tell the history of the origins of this bustling market-place.


Stained glass window of Atarazanas market, Malaga

Set near the heart of the city, Atarazanas has undergone many transformations since it was originally built in the 14th century as a shipyard, when the waves of the Mediterranean Sea lapped at its entrance.  Over the years, changes have seen the building used as a convent, military arsenal, hospital and medical school before finally being demolished in 1868 and re-built using the current iron structure, as the city food market, in 1879.  Further renovation took place from 2008 to 2010, when Málaga’s Atarazanas market was once again restored to its former glory.

Wild mushrooms for sale in Atarazanas market, Malaga

You might not expect to be given a warning when you visit a city food market, but as you walk through the main entrance, which is the only remaining marble archway of what was once a seven-arched shipyard, I can guarantee your senses will explode!

Taste, sight, smell, hearing and touch – the clean interior of Mercado Central de Atarazanas has it all, from pig’s ears to pink Himalayan salt!

The market is structured into three navesfish, meat and fruit and vegetables, and with more than 250 stalls there is surely something to tickle your tastebuds.

Fresh fish for sale in Atarazanas market

As you wander around, take in the dazzling displays of freshly-caught fish with their scarlet gills and scales glistening under the spotlights.   Marvel at the kaleidoscope of colours in the artistically displayed fresh fruit and vegetables that smell like they’ve been picked only that morning.  And savour the counters of aromatic cheeses, spices, bread, olives, dried fruits, nuts, sausages and hams, where the stall-holders are usually happy to let you taste before you buy.

Fresh seafood for sale in Atarazanas market

A cacophony of sound fills the market, as the competing stall-holders call out to prospective customers and in turn are interrogated by discerning shoppers, eager to discover where the produce is from and how it should be prepared.

I love to watch the locals, who are not only trying to buy the freshest seasonal produce but also socializing with their neighbours as they block the aisles with their roller-trollies, discussing the latest gossip.

Shopping is a much more personal experience in Atarazanas market and, with so many stalls to choose from, cheaper than most supermarkets, too.

Tapas of skewered tuna and prawns

If you have time and are ready for some lunch after feasting your senses on all the wonderful produce, then make your way to one of the tapas bars at either end of the market, El Yerno or Cafe-Bar Atarazanas – they are both equally good.  Stand near to the bar and you will soon be noticed by one of the staff who will make a space for you.  It’s standing room only and always crowded, but well worth it to taste the freshly-cooked, mouth-watering pinchos de gambas, atun o cerdo (skewered prawns, tuna or seasoned pork), boquerones al limón (deep-fried whitebait with lemon) or frito de verduras (tempura-battered vegetables), which you can wash down with a caña (small beer) or vino tinto (red wine).

Tapas of freshly cooked mushrooms

Whether you are a foodie visiting Málaga or a local living nearby,  you won’t want to miss a visit to this authentic food market.

Where is YOUR favourite food market?

 

Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Calle Atarazanas 10
Malaga

Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 2pm.

 

 

Summer Sunshine Salad

Sunshine salad

It’s that time of year when it’s often too hot to eat anything heavy, so this lovely salad not only looks good, but is quick to prepare and really tasty, too.

SUMMER SUNSHINE SALAD

As with most of my recipes,  feel free to use more of the ingredients that you like, and substitute the ones you don’t.

Put three eggs in their shells into a pan of water and bring to the boil.  Allow the eggs to boil for 5-6 minutes, then plunge the boiled eggs into cold water.  Once they are completely cool, remove them from their shells and cut into quarters.

Whilst the eggs are boiling, chop some carrot, red pepper, green pepper and red onion into small pieces.  Place all the ingredients into a dish and add salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon juice, to your taste.  Mix together.

I also added some freshly chopped coriander or cilantro (though you could just as easily use flat-leaf parsley if you prefer), a small jar of ready-prepared red kidney beans and a tin of  tuna.

All I had to do then was arrange my boiled eggs in a circle to complete my Summer Sunshine Salad.  :)

Serve with crusty bread and a glass of chilled, white wine.

What could be nicer on a hot summer’s day?

 

 

Salmon fillet with a zingy coconut and coriander crust and leeky mash

 

 

Salmon with a zingy coconut and coriander crust

Now that summer’s here, I’m always looking for fresh and inventive ways to tickle the old taste buds.  So, I came up with a delicious twist on a seasoned favourite.

I’ve noticed recently that in the cool-display near to the fresh fish counter at Spanish supermarket, Mercadona,  they now have what they call “Plancha de Salmon, sin espinas”  – larger pieces of salmon fillet (without bones), usually weighing around one kilo.  At €12.50 per kilo, it’s not only a saving of a few euros over the smaller pieces, but no fish bones to contend with either.  Result!

Salmon without bones, for sale in Mercadona

I cut the salmon into portions, sprinkled some lemon juice over them, and put them onto a plate in the microwave on a low setting for a few minutes, until they were well on the way to being ready.

In the meantime, after peeling some potatoes to make the mash, I put them on to boil and, in a separate pan, gently fried some leeks in butter – until they had just softened.

Home-grown red chilli peppers

For the zingy topping, I didn’t want to use breadcrumbs so I mixed together some grated coconut (coco rallado), finely chopped one of these lovely little chilli peppers I grew in the garden last summer (which has been in the freezer ever since), half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, a dessertspoon of mayonnaise, freshly-chopped coriander (cilantro) straight from the herb garden, a twist of black pepper and enough milk to ease the mixture so it was spreadable.

All I had to do then was carefully transfer the salmon fillets onto a baking tray, spread the zingy topping mixture over the salmon and pop them under a medium grill.

Adding the leeks to the mashed potato

Whilst keeping an eye on the salmon, I mashed the potatoes and added a little milk and butter then gently stirred in the softened leeks.

After three or four minutes, the crust on the salmon was just starting to brown nicely, so it was time to serve the leeky mash into bowls and drape the salmon artistically on top! 

Salmon fillet with a zingy coconut and coriander crust

This crust topping will work equally well on any white fish or chicken.

Why not give it a try? Let me know how you get on, won’t you?

 

 

CBBH Photo Challenge: FOOD

We all need it.   Most of us love it –  some maybe a little too much!  But, whatever your relationship with it, FOOD is the subject of this month’s CBBH Photo Challenge.

Is there a food typical of your country or area where you live?  How about your favourite recipe or something you once ate that you would never try again?

Well, show me with a photograph!

Tapas of tuna and prawns in Malaga

Most people know that Spain is well known for it’s tapas – the tasty treats offered along with your drink.   I enjoyed these delicious prawns and tuna in the Atarazanas market on a trip to Málaga city, recently.  There are two tapas bars, one at either end of the market, both offering ultra-fresh ingredients, cooked to perfection, from the market.

Brujas - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

During May, I’ve been following the tapas route around Torre del Mar.  One of my favourites has been this vegetable stack with a cranberry jus.  Yummy!

Figs stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon

Talking of yummy, how about this dish made with fresh figs plucked straight from the tree, stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with smoked bacon?

Chop the chocolate fudge into squares and ENJOY!

And, to finish, a piece of my easy, chocolate fudge that will make you drool, which you might remember I took on a recent trip with friends when we rode on Mr Henderson’s Railway!

So, now it’s YOUR turn.

Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways. First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month. Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, conejo blanco means white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.

That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!

CBBH Blog Hop

Before I move on to my two featured bloggers for this month, I want to offer my CONGRATULATIONS to Maggie Woodward who’s blog The Trepidatious Traveller I featured in May.  Maggie was about to commence walking the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  I can report that during the month of May, she has walked a total distance of 669.9 km, completing her Camino walk on May 28th, and is now safely back home in Spain, only a few kilometres away from me.  I know that a few of you have been following Maggie’s progress as I’ve seen your comments on her blog posts.  VERY WELL DONE, MAGGIE – you are an inspirational woman!

 My Featured Blog Links for this month:

*** Christine of Dadirridreaming, lives near to the sea in Australia, surrounded by bushland and beautiful wild beaches.  Kangaroos and wallabies graze all around her house and red bellied black snakes hunt the frogs in the dams nearby.  Christine takes time to explore the spiritual side of life, which is reflected in her lovely blog posts, all of which have stunning photographs.  She is currently exploring my part of the world, and has visited Ronda, Seville and Córdoba, amongst many other places.  We will be meeting up in Málaga city on Thursday June 5th.  Can’t wait!

*** Another blogger I always enjoy visiting is Kathryn at Vastly Curious.  Her recent post in the WordPress Photo challenge had me amazed!  She showed a photograph of the buds of a plant that looked like liquorice twists and wanted to identify it.  It was only when I looked at Kathryn’s later photos of the flower fully opened that I realised that I have one!!  She has also been travelling recently to The Netherlands, from where you can see her wonderful photos.

Please HOP over and say HELLO to both of my featured links, and tell them Marianne sent you!

So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for June, folks.

Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’, link back to this blog and, most importantly, don´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look.

Make sure you follow this blog so you don´t miss next month’s exciting challenge!

For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.

I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite!

I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.

 

[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]

The Long and Short of San Isidro

San Isidro, Nerja, Spain

Whilst it’s true that there are fiestas and festivities in Spain throughout the year, I always feel that it’s the month of May that really kicks off the party season!

At the start of the month there’s El Día de la Cruz (the Day of the Cross) and last week I posted about my visit to the Patio Festival in Córdoba where I saw the most amazing displays of flowers.

The Romería de San Isidro takes place on 15th May each year, in honour of Isidro, a farm labourer who, according to legend, received divine assistance to perform his work and was known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. As a result he has become the patron saint of farm workers and other labourers in many Spanish-speaking countries.

San Isidro is also the patron saint of Nerja, so this is one of the biggest fiestas of the year to be held in the town.

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The festivities begin with a service at the church of El Salvador on the Balcón de Europa, before the effigy of the saint, (which normally resides at the Caves of Nerja), is taken back to the Hermitage of San Isidro in Maro.

The spectacular procession to accompany the Saint normally takes more than three hours and is a fantastic opportunity to see the many decorated carts, Andalucían thoroughbred horses, traditional costumes and pairs of magnificent oxen pulling beautifully adorned carts, including the one carrying the statue of San Isidro, himself.

San Isidro, Nerja, Spain

What was of particular interest to me this year, were the beautiful dresses worn by many of the ladies.

I noticed that as well as the traditional Spanish dresses, many of the younger women were wearing much shorter “flamenco-type” dresses with flat boots.  

Long Spanish dresses, Nerja

I love the elegant, longer dresses – but which do you prefer?

Short Spanish dresses, Nerja

Spanish dresses - long and short, Nerja, Spain

Anyway – back to the procession!

On arrival at the Caves of Nerja the celebrations really begin, with families and friends sharing picnics, paella, BBQs and, of course, plenty of wine and beer. This is followed by singing and dancing amongst the thousands of revellers until late into the night.

San Isidro is one of the best festivals of the year – vibrant, colourful and great fun. It usually heralds the start of good weather for the summer, as many locals say that the summer starts on 15th May!

Here´s hoping!

Which is your favourite Spanish festival or fiesta?