Sit at the Mafia table

“La Mafia se sienta a la Mesa” Opens Restaurant in Santa Cruz.

I was so pleased to learn that La Mafia has opened in Tenerife as when on a short break to Saville we ate in one of their restaurants and it was a truly memorable experience.

(Image Saboreando Canarias)

The new restaurant La Mafia se sienta a la mesa (sit at the table) is in Calle José Murphy number 1, in the heart of Santa Cruz, a fashionable and well-known gastronomic area in the capital of Tenerife.

The Mafia se sienta a la mesa is a chain of franchises specialising in Italian cuisine that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. It was born from the admiration of the film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring Marlon Brandon and Al Pacino. The culinary theme is based around discovering amazing Italian food, its impregnation of flavours, and smells, and a commitment to innovation that year after year La Mafia has consolidated in what today has become a great company.

The write-up I saw said that like all the restaurants in La Mafia group, the one in Santa Cruz is an establishment that not only pays tribute to Italy by offering its best recipes but also respects its traditional culinary customs. It is a 100% authentic Italian restaurant where the customer goes because they know they will spend an unbeatable time with family and friends. I just hope they open a branch here in the south and very soon.

Images below are from my trip to Seville not Santa Cruz

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Healthcare in the Canary Islands

I have said on several occasions that the healthcare, particularly in Tenerife, is excellent. Below is a chart showing you how to access the system as a permanent resident of Spain.

Follow the flowchart to find out which situation matches your personal circumstances, so you can register correctly. The contact details for the organisations in the flowchart can be found in Useful Contacts.

Remember that this flowchart only contains general information. Your entitlement to register for healthcare will be determined by the Spanish authorities.

Be aware that it may take some time to register – don´t wait until you need to see a doctor to get the paperwork completed.

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Finca El Malpaís

In the Canary Islands the land, which predominantly consists of stony volcanic lava, is known as malpaís, meaning literally bad land. It is a local word, that has its origin in the French “mauvais pays” a description given by the soldiers who served in the Conquest of the Islands in XVth Century.

In order to make the land suitable for agriculture, transporting fertile soil from the wooded hills of the island to the poorly soiled but hot coastal areas took place. It was hard work but profitable as the plantations could grow and export crops such as sugar cane and more recently bananas.

One such estate is “Finca El Malpais” today it is surrounded by banana trees. It is in the town of El Guincho, (local name for the osprey), in the municipality of Garachico, in the northwest of the island of Tenerife.

In 1507, the land was given to Cristóbal de Ponte, a Genoese merchant and banker, in recognition for having funded, in part, the conquest of the island between 1494 and 1496.

The mansion is characterised, as are many large rural estates in Tenerife, with an open courtyard, which is presided over by a dragon tree reputedly over five centuries old. The grounds are also surrounded by palm groves planted in 1902. Besides the beautiful courtyard and impeccable pedigree this fabulous Tenerife mansion, is noted for its “ajimez” (wooden shuttered balcony), reminiscent of cloistered convents. Juan de Ponte built the estate chapel, Nuestra Señora de la Consolación, in 1565.

Five centuries later, the house is still owned by the Ponte family, who have transformed it into a beautiful rural hotel, the Hotel Rural El Patio.

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Fiestas de San Juan

The summer solstice is celebrated by many European countries and nowhere more than in Tenerife. The festival of San Juan is one of the most deeply rooted cultural events and takes place right across the island.  In the south particularly popular are El Médano and Los Cristianos and of course Playa de San Juan.

From early June local people start collecting wood for their bonfires which they light on Midsummer Eve. In every coastal town and village, you will see a string of bonfires lining the shore as far as the eye can see.  These are awaiting young people who follow the tradition of jumping over the flames in order to reduce evil to ashes and guarantee prosperity and good luck for the rest of the year.

I will be celebrating Midsummer Eve in the fiesta’s namesake Playa San Juan where I have visited on this magical night, numerous times. The streets will be crowded, the fires will be lit, music and dancing will take place in the open air and there will be a massive firework display.  It is a spectacular event.

These festivals are an example that it is possible to showcase cultural events enriched with new contributions adapted to modern times and still project the true image of the Island.

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Role reversal – daughter gives mum a new recipe.

When talking to my daughter on our usual Sunday morning chats, I happened to mention for dinner that evening we were having gammon, something we don’t have very often.

She said she cooked it regularly in Coke, which I did think as she said it, that it was a bit of an urban legend. Nevertheless, I followed her instruction and the meat was delicious, so tender that it literally falls apart.

Kate’s recipe is below but needless to say, I had to adapt it slightly.

Ingredients
6lbs ham or gammon joint, unsmoked (more than enough for 4 people as a main meal and enough left for picking afterwards)
Regular Coke, just enough to cover the joint
1 onion, quartered.

For the glaze
tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
2 tbsp. Demerara sugar
4 tbsp. runny honey

Place the ham in a pan of water and bring to boil for 5 minutes to get rid of any salt on the meat.

Once boiled, drain and place in a slow cooker with the onion and Coke. Set on low for 5 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can cook on high for 3 hours but it is more tender the longer you leave it.

At the end of the cooking time remove from pot, discard the liquid and the onion, and leave the meat to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

To make the glaze, mix together all the other ingredients. Stir together well until it is all combined. (Kate suggested a red jam, cherry or redcurrant – I didn´t have either and didn’t want to chance strawberry so substituted with honey)

Score the meat and place in a roasting tin.

Brush the glaze over the meat, completely coating, as there is no point in wasting the delicious glaze

Bake for 25 minutes. Halfway through you can baste, using the juices from the pan.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. The glaze should be very dark and sticky. Slice and serve with your choice of veggies. Yummy! We had half of ours as an evening meal the rest in sandwiches the next day.

 
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