Asturias and Cantabria, Northern Spain

A traditional shepherd’s dwelling in Los Picos de Europa, Asturias, Spain

The Swashbuachaill has been off on yet another skite to his beloved Spain. He has more than a few dear Spanish friends and has long held the view that they are closer in temperament to the Irish than most other peoples of Europe. For years, his Spanish meanderings were concentrated in the South, most particularly, Andalucia, other than a few trips to Barcelona but more recent visits to the Basque Country, La Rioja and now Asturias and Cantabria have revealed a whole other dimension to the country: the wonderful welcome and hospitality are the same, maybe even better, but the landscape is entirely different; lush, green and an Atlantic coastline that is quite different from that seen on the ‘Costas’ down South. Driving along the Asturian coastline, a body could as easily be in Ireland as in Northern Spain, albeit on the finest Irish summer’s day imaginable. Here’s a link to a recent piece I wrote about my trip for the Irish Examiner. (Do please excuse the sub-editor who decided that Asturias and Cantabria are actually the neighbouring region, Basque or Basque Country!)  Continue reading

Cabbage Brings Home the Bacon

My heart's desire - The Green Cabbage

I adore cabbage in all its myriad forms, but love most especially that solid bowling ball, layers, thick as leather, turning their backs on the elements and clinging onto each other for dear life — the green cabbage.

That statement in itself is quite a wonder for deep within I bear many cabbage-drawn scars. Dear Old Sainted Mother (DOSM) Swashbuachaill thankfully never really strayed into Bacon and Cabbage territory (overly complex for her culinary abilities) any time she got lost and accidentally wound up in the kitchen. No, boarding school is where the real damage was inflicted. Continue reading