Jan 2020 – We’re going to Spain in the summer. Yay!
March 2020 – Not 100% sure that we’re going to Spain now.
August 2020 – We’re definitely not going to Spain.
I have mixed emotions about this. My in-laws have an apartment in Marbella and I’ve been fortunate to enjoy lovely, long summers there over the years with my family. From dating, to holidaying with friends, to married, to babies: we’ve made some amazing memories on the Costa.
So whilst some friends have still chosen to go abroad, we weighed it all up and decided a firm ‘no’.
I’ve become quite soppy and sentimental about ‘my’ Marbella, even though I’m reminded by my family about the moan up I often have when I get there. Just to present my case to the jury though, the minute we enter the flat, swimwear, suncream and goggles are demanded of me. I’m then left to unpack and then head off to the local supermarket, working out the biting point of the clutch on the hire car.
So yes – it takes me a day or so to unwind and fully relax.
But I will kind of miss it.
I will miss lots of things.
I have made a list of them:
1. We are usually booked on the 6am easyJet flight from Luton – a pretty vile hour to travel but I kind of like that groggy feeling of getting up before the sun rises and the excitement of watching the sky get lighter as you journey towards the airport. (Know what I mean?)
2. The ‘whooompf’ of warm air when the plane doors open and you’re ‘abroad’. It’s a totally different kind of heat. And I love it.
3. Opening the flat door and seeing the kids run off to their rooms to discover a toy that they haven’t seen for over a year. Somehow the hula dancing cow from the lookie-lookie man on the beach is still going strong. But those plastic light-up pingie things that you flick into the air on the beach at night? Batteries are completely dead by the time you’ve got back to your hire car.
Spanish supermarkets might not have quick tills, but I love their fresh produce, discovering new things and most of all, enjoying ‘holiday meat’ in the flat. Sorry to all my observant friends. In London, we keep a kosher home. On the Costa? Second shelf of the fridge is for the ham – Iberico or Parma. We’re not fussed.
5. Flor. And Nenuco. I love scents and aromas – candles, perfume, herbs, spices. So, as much as I love my Lenor and Comfort over here, there is something about the Spanish brands over there.
6. Fanta Limon. Was discussing with someone about this – I actually refuse to drink it in the UK. It is sacred to Spain. Same with Peanut butter M&Ms. Only in America.
7. Chiringuitos. The coastline is full of these beachfront restaurants of which everyone has their favourites. And ‘Kala Kalua‘ is mine. Literally a beach shack. Nothing fancy about it. But you can’t beat the view, watching the sea, seeing the sun set and twinkly lights along the coast… it’s beautiful.
And of course the food. Traditional paella, grilled rosada, padron peppers. Everything tastes better outside with a view.
Me? I come for the aubergine fries.
Before I explain these delights to you, I just want to end on a round number, so:
8. Hearing the sea when I go to bed.
9. The clever lighting system in car parks to indicate available spaces. (I’ve talked about this before.)
10. Beach walks. I will miss my post-lunch stroll with a bottle of water and a leftover nappy bag from the baby years in the flat. Still so handy for shell collecting.
But back to the aubergine fries. These were an accidental discovery. We used to go to the neighbouring chiringuito, but one night we couldn’t get a table. Ended up at Kala Kalua and on being shown to our table, saw lots of diners ordering what looked like chips …but weren’t chips. So, we ordered them too. And double portions were ordered every time we returned.
It’s not quite the same eating them in England, but if you close your eyes and listen to the garden sprinkler, you could almost be right there on the beach.
Ridiculously Delicious Aubergine Fries Recipe (which probably isn’t exactly the same but nearly.)
- 2 medium size aubergines
- Plain flour to coat
- Olive oil for deep-frying (or any other vegetable oil)
- Date molasses
- Cut aubergines into sticks; basically like chips.
- Toss with salt, place in a colander and let them stand for at least half an hour to get rid of all the excess liquid. Rinse, drain and pat dry.
- Place sticks in a bowl with the flour and coat them, shaking off any excess.
- Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the sticks in small batches until golden.
- Place on a plate with kitchen roll towel to absorb the excess oil. (I never said they were healthy.)
- Sprinkle salt. Drizzle the molasses. (Again, not so healthy but…)
One thing about Spain that I won’t miss, is that I usually fly out earlier with just my kids, husband joining us later on into the holiday, due to work commitments. This means he is in the UK on his birthday whilst we are all away. He hates his birthday.
This year, he’s working from home.
Happy birthday, Doll.