Monday, 25 May 2015

Polydactls also known as The Hemingway Cats

Most cats have four toes on their back paws and five toes on their front paws.  Exceptional cats can have six toes, or more rarely, seven toes on each paw, making 28 toes.

Ernest Hemingway had more than 50 cats at his Florida home, about half of which were polydactls, cats born with extra toes.

The word is Greek in origin, "poly" meaning "many" and "dactylos" meaning "digits."

Polydactls were popular on boats with fishermen.  With their extra toes, they had a better grip on the deck if the sea turned rough.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Spanish Style Roast Lamb - Castilian - with Potatoes and Onions

This is a popular dish in Spain when eating at home or outside.  Each person is often served a whole baby leg of lamb but a large one between a family will do just as well.


Large leg of lamb (3-1/2 pounds) or 1.5 kg.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (or dried)
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
A wine glass of white wine
1/2 a pint of water (300 ml)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
Juice of a lemon
6-8 large potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1cm thick rings
2 large onions, peeled and sliced into rings


Rub the olive oil into the lamb along with the thyme, salt and pepper.  Make slits in the lamb and insert the sliced garlic slivers.  Set aside for about an hour for the lamb to absorb the flavours.


Put the onion rings and potatoes in a roasting tin, together with the garlic cloves.

Put the lemon juice, wine vinegar, water and white wine into a pan and bring to the boil.  Pour half over the meat and place in a preheated oven at 230C/450F (gas mark 8) for 15 minutes.

Then reduce the heat to 180C/375F (gas mark 5) and continue to cook allowing 15 minutes per pound if you like it rare or 25 minutes per pound if you like it well done.  Baste with the remain liquid occasionally.

Serve the lamb on a platter with the potatoes and onions.  Green vegetables would be a great accompaniment as would a bottle of Faustino red wine.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Fried Emperador or Swordfish in English

Swordfish is a straightforward way to eat fish without worrying about bones.  The Spanish word for swordfish is emperador.


2 swordfish steaks
A little olive oil
A few threads of saffron soaked in water or milk
Salt and pepper
Juice of half a lime or lemon


Pour the olive oil into a shallow frying pan and when warm add the swordfish and fry slowly, adding the salt, pepper and saffron.  After about 4 minutes turn the fish and add the juice of the lime.

Serve with white rice or baby potatoes with fried tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Spanish Style Tuna Stuffed Eggs


5 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
Half a tin of tuna
1 tablespoon of salad cream or mayonnaise
A dash of salt
Paprika to decorate


Cut the eggs in half.  Snip a little off the bottom so they sit flat on a plate.  Take the yolks out and place in a bowl to mix with the tuna, salt and salad cream.  Spoon this mixture back into the egg whites and sprinkle with paprika.

As an alternative, mix a little curry paste in the stuffing and leave out the paprika.