Fig and Apple Chutney

What do you do when you are given a large carrier bag full of fresh figs?

That was my immediate thought when Antonina knocked on the door and handed them across. Jim said to her, we are seeing Olga tonight so we will give her some, to which he received a firm NO! I have so many and she is already on my list to be given some.

So not having done anything with figs before other than eat a couple with Parma ham or in a frangipane tart (didn’t have any ground almonds so that was off the menu), I decided to make some chutney.

I roughly chopped 600g of figs, plus a large apple (peeled and cored), an onion and added 300g of sugar and 120g cider vinegar. Popped it all in a pan and just let it bubble away for an hour until it was thick.

Having no idea what it would taste like I decided it was worth a try because little would be lost, but as it turned out it is delicious, so I ended up with 2 large jars and 2 small jars.

I daren’t give one to Antonina as she is probably sick of the sight of figs but I passed one on to Christine who in the past has liked my Old Doverhouse Chutney and a small jar to Olga and Larry because being veggies there was nothing in there that they could turn their nose up at.

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The Vault – Los Cristianos

Last week after having a curry in Los Cristianos we decided to see what the new cocktail bar, The Vault was like. We know one of the owners John, so we were just being nosy.

It was latish when we arrived and all we wanted was a drink. We had a really warm welcome and noted that the outside area was full. It was one of those hot clammy nights when we didn’t want to sit indoors but the family who were on the table next to the entrance said they would move so we could enjoy any fresh air that happened to be around.

We ordered a couple of coffees, a craft beer which turned out to be very, very strong and a vodka and coke. Our waiter was chatty and very pleasant, even when I said to him, sorry my coffee is cold can you just warm it up in the microwave. No he said, I will make you a fresh one and I really apologise. And so he did, the second coffee came out and it was hot and steaming and extremely tasty.

Based on this excllent service alone we decided there and then to book a table for this week and give the food a try. It is what we would call light bites such as burgers, tacos, nachos, hot dogs and of course the side dishes to go with them.

We ordered a starter to share of the Charcuterie board at €12.00 this contained as well as cold cuts, cheese, fruit, nachos and freshly baked bread. There was certainly plenty of it.

For our mains Andrew and I stuck to cheese burgers and we both said no bun, Christine had the hot dog and Jim the chicken strips which came with a separate bowl of chips. We weren´t expecting anything special, there is nothing too special you can do with burgers and hotdogs, but the food was exceptionally good quality, very tasty and well presented, and each of us said wow that was so much better than anticipated it was delicious.

Drinks – well being boring oldies we stuck to our usual but if we had been adventourous we could have tried a cocktail tree. They sound expensive starting at €36 but you do get 6 drinks of your choice, or 8 or even 12 depending on how many are in your group and of course these are priced accordingly.  And if you are into craft beers then this is the place to go as they have a large choice.

Once again service was first rate. This time we had a young lady called Carmen who couldn’t have been more helpful. She regularly checked if everything was OK or if we needed anything.

My only criticism was the toilets, in both ladies and apparently gents paper had been left on the floor and that of course is down to customers not the bar staff.

We will certainly be going again, the customers were nice, the staff were professional and a big bonus, parking is easy. Well done The Vault for ticking all of our boxes.

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The Tourists are Back

One night last week we went down to Los Cristianos. It was surprising to see the restaurant where we had often been the only customers for many months, actually full. Fortunately I had booked as they were up to capacity when we arrived and apart from a couple of takeaways they actually had to turn two couples away. So that was a good sign.

But for every good there is a bad.

At the table directly in front of us was a group including 2 young children. By the volume of their conversation I can only presume everyone around the table was deaf although nobody else in the restaurant had any problem hearing what was being said. The guy with his back to me was in bare feet and he really needed a pedicure to get rid of those dirty callouses – maybe he didn´t bring any shoes on holiday with him. To add to his look his bum showed above his pants which in turn were several inches above his shorts. Not a pretty sight while you are eating.

Moving on, the the next table had another large group and although they did have a little one with them around 2 years of age, the amount of mess that was left on the floor was disgusting. Nobody offered to clean it up or even apologise to the waitress as she got out her brush, mop and bucket, they just walked off. Speaking to the staff we commented on the mess and they said it is now like that every day and we just have to accept it.

Our meal was tasty which it usually is, but due to the behaviour of the visitors I think our visits are going to be less frequent. After eating we moved on to a strip of bars…

In the past this proliferation of bars and restaurants offered a traditional “All Day” breakfast and beer at a Euro a pint. Hence, for people looking for a taste of home, they were always popular.

It was a sorry sight, a third were open with the same old music and karaoke that was being churned out before the pandemic. A third almost empty and those at the tables looking either miserable because it wasn’t as they had anticipated or showing overbearing superiority as having done it all before so knew the ropes. There was also about a third that were closed because they obviously didn´t make it through these hard time.

There were groups of youngsters walking up and down shouting and screaming after almost obliterating themselves with booze since breakfastime. Young girls who didn´t look old enough to be out on their own, adjusting their underware in the middle of the street, and god help us this is Los Cristianos, what would it be like in Las Veronicas.

I do realise we need the tourist, but do they have to be so obnoxious, it is enough to put any descent visitor off and never want to return again.

I can guarantee that some who are reading this will automatically assume that I am talking about the English purely because they get such a bad rap for drunkeness but everyone is capable of behaving disgracefully. At the moment we have a lot of Brits but also Germans, Scandinavians, Russians and not forgetting the Spanish who have come down for their August holiday from the north of the island.

I guess over the past almost two years we have been spoilt with having our beautiful island to ourselves and now we will have to get used to things the way they were.

We have for so long now been used to this

And are now having to face this…

Note: Neither of the images are from our night out as I didn´t take any photos they are just a reflection of what we saw and have been taken from Google.

Posted in Musings ! | 7 Comments

Che buono! Oro di Napoli

Last week when in Los Cristianos I noticed what I thought was a new Italian restaurant. Once home I messaged, the gang and said this looks, lovely we should give it a try. We then found out it had been in one of the small streets in Los Cristianos but because it needed more space moved to the corner opposite my favourite coffee house Mestizo. We also learnt that it had been voted number 37 in the best Pizzerias in Europe. Immediately that made it sound good but expensive but what the heck you only live once.

I message the restaurant on Facebook and got a quick reply, then a short time later had to re-message to change the time. The reply came back just as quickly no problemo.

We were really looking forward to it until someone posted on Tenerife 4 All, the Facebook page I help run, that they had walked out before even eating because the staff were exceptionally rude. This was a bit disconcerting but we didn’t let it put a damper on our enthusiasm as the only way to make a true decision on whether a place is good or not is to experience it for yourself.

Four of us went last night to the Oro di Napoli. We parked in the underground car park directly opposite and Jim and I arrived first. There were a few tables with people sitting at them and a couple inside. We were met by a waiter who told us they were going to be busy so had we reserved and after given my name he showed us to our table. I said our friends may be a little late but that was not a problem, (our waiter and I think the owner, Giovanni) said the table is yours and his eyes twinkled in that special way that Italian men have when speaking to a woman whether she is young or old that makes her feel special.

While waiting I took a couple of photos of the inside and a check of the toilets (always important)

After 10 minutes Larry and Olga arrived and we ordered our drinks, a couple of beers, a couple of soft drinks and then we checked the menu.

Having seen the size of the pizzas being served we decided they were huge so didn´t bother with starters and ordered two to share and a salad. We went for two Diavola which were spicy but then said can half of one of those be vegetarian. The reply was, of course, one full, then one half and half plus a full salad but no tuna. I have to admit then when we go out to eat we are not the easiest of customers we always want something a little different to what is on offer. But the restaurant was happy to accommodate. When the food arrived it looked lovely. Neither myself nor Olga are big pizza lovers but these were the real thing, light and rich in genuine flavours, which sent me to the only place I genuinely enjoyed pizza – I was taken back in time to Ravello, (long before the tourists found it) and the little shop where you would knock on the shutters for the window to be opened so you could place your order.

The salad was huge especially as Jim doesn´t eat ‘rabbit food’ and the accompaniments were zingy, having the addition of chilli oil, balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil.

We needed a break and the staff were happy for us just to sit and chill until we finally asked for the pudding menu. We went for a choice of three, with four spoons. The Baba which we Brits know as Rum Baba and Olga had never had before, the cheesecake with pistachio and Nutella was just awesome and the tiramisu was out of this world. One of those dishes where if you were at home you would lick the bowl clean.

Throughout the evening people were queuing up to try and get a seat, (of course the tourists are back and don’t realise they need to make a reservation) but at no time did we feel rushed, the staff were professional and friendly and made us feel very comfortable.

This is one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, a great addition to the Los Cristianos. Simple, honest Italian fare done well – with fresh ingredients and great service what more could you want? Oh yes, the bill. When we finally asked for the bill they said cash or card. My reply was a quick depends on how much it is. What we had eaten we guessed would be super expensive because everything was top quality. Then it arrived, we all did a double-take €52.50 surely they had made a mistake, missed something, but no, it was correct. It has got to be the cheapest meal we have had for four people in many a long year.

We all agreed it wasn´t just a good night it was exceptional, there was a holiday atmosphere in the air, Los Cristianos had, if not frantic a definite buzz about it, and we agreed that we would be coming back to Oro di Napoli in a couple of weeks. I just hope that word doesn´t get around and it is impossible to get a seat.

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A Deep Clean and Feeling Fresh

It is strange how things happen. When we were having a meal with Olga and Larry last week, somehow the conversation got around to sleep and mattresses and I said ours was so comfortable, it is a Tempur, but I dreaded to think what was hidden inside as we bought it almost 18 years ago and it has never been properly cleaned, apart from me running a hoover over it.

Olga suggested I speak to Antonina and Andri who are the owners of Aquavapor and by coincidence they live a few doors away from me, although I didn´t know it was their business as we only ever meet while walking dogs.

I got a message from Antonina who said they had a special offer for July which was any second item cleaned would be half price. So I booked for Thursday at 10.00am. I also asked for my living room rug to be cleaned because while it isn’t that old I have the bad habit of putting Tito’s dinner bowl on it and he sometimes plays with his food and throws it around.

Right on time along they came with this mountain of equipment. Although they are from Estonia, like most European and Nordic nationals they speak near perfect English. (We Brits are so lazy with languages) and from the moment they arrived until the moment they left, about four hours later, they never stopped working.

I thought my mattress despite its age looked reasonable, but when you think about dust mites, skin flakes, sweat etc. It can´t possibly be healthy. Now it looks new and smells fresh and I can sleep soundly knowing that I won´t be breathing in all that dreadful bacteria.

My living room rug as many would have seen in photos of Tito now looks new.

As it turned out, Antonina had not had confirmation from her next appointment so with free time I asked could she also clean two more rugs, one in our spare bedroom which was put there just to make the room cosy but was probably only fit for the dump. And seeing it now wonder why we replaced it as it looks so good.

And the real test… We have had our bedroom carpet around 23 years, I brought it with us when we moved to the island because I loved it so much. With a hoover, a spray, a steam and lots of pampering it has been totally transformed. It is no longer a dull yellow and red, but back to its original old gold (and you can see the pattern again) and ruby. It really does look brand new.

The mattress is almost dry so we know we won´t be sleeping anywhere other than our own bed tonight, the rugs are outside in the sun drying and I can´t thank my Aquavapor neighbours enough, the service was first class, they are totally professional and I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.

I now feel my home has had for just a few Euros an overdue revamp which it deserves because we love our little house.

Posted in FAQ - Tenerife General | 4 Comments