Jul 2 / katharine

A winner for the Reisenthal Carrybag from Nicole Jane Home

Dear delightful reader Cathy, you are the proud owner of a Reisenthal Carrybag in artdeco.

We use this nifty little tool to generate a random winner. As you see, Cathy was lucky #12

Yahoo for you – have a beautiful summer, wherever you are located, and may this bag hold many a bright and beautiful ingredient to adorn your summer menus. Enjoy!

Warmest,

Me and Nicole Jane Home

Jun 16 / katharine

Bird nests, charmed city travels and a Reisenthel giveaway!

Summer is almost here, and the 30′C+ degree heat in Spain has blown into town. It is now time for the white linens, sundresses and wide brimmed hats to come out full-time. It is the time for gazpacho, chilled albariños, cucumber salads (um, E. coli free please…I am refering to locally know-thy-farmer grown, and organic). The local melons here in Castilla-La Mancha will soon begin to appear, then comes the fig season. Like last year’s, here. Cannot wait! But for now, let’s remain in the present moment.

We have been busy with Multibird Branding, our little company. Toiling away on work into the wee hours, cooled by evening breezes. A few days ago, when we arrived home from our recent travels, we noticed the most beautiful little birds’ nest. A pair of birds (please let me know if you can identify the variety) have taken up residence in the inside courtyard area of our apartment. With the perfect organic detailing in their nest – they are designer birds, definitely! So, being ‘bird fans’ and all, and in the early stages of growth of Multibird, we were over-the-moon to notice an egg in their nest! And then a few days later a second, and then today a third. I had to share this with you. Enjoy.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been to Zurich, and Amsterdam. I tell you, there was much cheese and chocolate consumed. Clothes feeling a wee bit tighter, post sojourn!

flower shop in an old Apotheke in Zürich

First we took to Switzerland for some fresh alpine air, swam in the Zürichsee, loaded up at the Lindt and Sprüngli factory, hiked up rolling grass hills charmed by cows with their bells, and the linden trees. I lived near Zürich many years ago, and since then have always carried an ‘inner Heidi’ with me. One deep breath of Swiss air, and I’m yoodling away!

Sprüngli café, the most delicious place in the city

breakfast overlooking the Zürichsee

farm fresh raw milk, or rather 'frische Milch'

The following week we were in Amsterdam – actually, we stayed in the stunning country village of Laren. Officially we were there for a family wedding, but took time to peddle our way through towns, stopping to photograph the architecture and the abundance of flowers at every turn. The Heineken was cold and delicious, and the pickled herrings were sharp, salty and fresh. Cheese factories, pannekoeken, windmills and wooden shoes were also involved. A very happy country I think. Although, they could do with a little more sunshine!

bicycles and stroopwafels, what more could you ask for...

Amsterdam along the canal

typical Holland

a peak through some mid-century kitsch curtains, love them!

Now, most importantly, I have a little giveaway to offer you, my friends! With my lovely blogger/designer friends at Nicole Jane Home here, we will be drawing for a Reisenthel Carrybag. Just in time for your summer market jaunts. They’re even throwing in a couple of extra Reisenthel market bags to boot! Lovely, lovely.

Here’s the catch. Please go to the Nicole Jane Home website here, and tell me in the comments here below which is your favourite pattern. Everyone with a comment, who posts their favourite pattern, will be entered into the draw. Should you be the lucky duck, you’ll be gifted and shipped the Reisenthel Carrybag with the pattern of your choice, and two market bags tucked inside for good measure. The deadline for entries is Thursday, June 30th. We will post the winner here, and notify you via email.

{disclosure: this giveaway is limited to the US, and Canada. But no worries, there will be another giveaway coming up shortly for the Euro set!}

Until soon. Un abrazo,

K.

May 24 / katharine

Dreams, projects, our new company…

Dear readers, {if anyone still happens to be hanging around…?}

If you are still there, I want to thank you, first of all, for allowing me some time to do a bit of a re-invention, reinvigoration and spend time on other dream projects that needed my attention. Introducing our dream company here.

Since beginning this little blog I’ve never been quite clear as to how I wanted to show up. To be completely truthful and authentic, I haven’t really told you how hard the hard times have been in Spain. And therefore, how incredible and bright the rainbows are now.

Indeed, there have been times – where our cupboards were bare, we ate eggs and potatoes for 10 days! But we believed, both of us, with such conviction, that we were going to make our dream of living here, and prospering here, a reality. On empty stomachs (never mind trying to tweet about being a food blogger!) we held our intentions and our visualizations. We believed in the beauty of our dreams.

For sometime now, there has been this nagging feeling inside of me that always felt that my blogging was a bit self-indulgent…(did I just say that, mea culpa), I know, it’s just that I want to feel that the life energy that I give to this blog of mine is effecting change in the world – however small.

white poppy fields of Toledo, Spain

I also want to share with you more of myself than just my food photography. So, I’m going to open up my perimeters a little bit, and see where things lead. I am working on a little something that I believe would really bring the food blogging world together for a very noble cause – I’ll be introducing this in the next few weeks. In the meantime, a beautiful quote:

“Nourish your eye and spirit with inspiring things. They will bloom with your tending”

-Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy

Feb 1 / katharine

Does my blog look good in this? January 2011: Winners!

Where has January gone? Flown by, and now it’s February 2nd…and I’m on Spanish time…late!

Time to announce the winners for this month’s DMBLGIT food photography contest. If this is the first time you’ve found see this, find all the info needed here.  It’s an excellent way for food photographers and food bloggers to showcase their scrumptious photos with the global foodie community.

An extra special thank you to my fellow judges- Peter, Jamie, Julia, Miriam, who found the time to go through all 56 entries here. It was a mouth watering task I tell you!

Congratulations in advance to all of the winners. But without further delay, here they are.

These overall winning photographs received the highest combined scores in all three categories

{edibility, originality, and aesthetics}

1st Place winner overall

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream from Karen @ citrusandcandy.com

2nd Place winner overall

Mint tea, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco from Edward @ edwardpond.com/blog

3rd Place winner overall

Spinach Feta Stuffed Pretzels from Xiaolu @ 6bittersweets.com

Winner – edibility  {…yum! }

Butterless Rum Fruit Cake from Sathya @ appetitetreats.blogspot.com

Winner – Originality

Ocean in the glass – prawn cocktail from Dario @ foodpixels.com

Winner – Esthetics

Cherry and almond tartlets from Patricia @ technicolorkitcheninenglish.blogspot.com

Thank you all! Next month’s host is Zita @ Simplicious

Have a beautiful day. Eat something sweet, and till soon xx. K.




Jan 23 / katharine

Introducing the judges for DMBLGIT food photography contest

Dear friends,

agirlinmadrid.com has been playing host to an amazing round of ‘does my blog look good in this’ January 2011.

We have had an amazing number of entries, which are all posted here . I will keep you updated with the results on the last day of the month, January 31st. Good luck to everyone and thank you.

Very importantly, I would like introduce our panel of judges:

“Peter”:  From Vancouver, Canada.  A photographer by day , “closet chef” by night and creator of The Closet Chef food photography blog. Always inspired by food and food culture . You can also see his work at www.peterbagi.com

“Julia”: A former floral designer – turned executive assistant, her real passion is baking. She is the delicious creator of Always…leave room for dessert. She is currently located in Edmonton, Canada…but soon to move to the other side of the pond! {Applause}

“Jamie”: An American living in Nantes, France. Brilliant writer, and creator of Life’s a feast. Also, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, you can see her here.

“Mariam”: Creator of the Madrid based food blog, A Guest in Winter/El invitado de invierno. Featured Saveur ‘sites that we love’ amongst many other accolades and contributions to the food blogger community.

And…me :) “Katharine” A girl in Madrid. You can read more about me here.

Being a judge is a challenging and very important job, so thank you to the lovely people above for lending their talents.

Warmest, K.

Jan 8 / katharine

Announcing DMBLGIT January 2011

‘Does My Blog Look Good In This’ (DMBLGIT), conceived by Andrew of SpittoonExtra is a well attended and much awaited monthly food photography event that is open to all bloggers who have posted a photograph with a food or drink connection. Food bloggers submit their best photos from posts they completed during the previous month which are then judged and scored by a team of five handpicked judges. Winners are made covering three categories (edibility, aesthetics, and originality) plus three overall winners. The December 2010 edition was hosted by Erica at cookingforseven.com. Congrats to the winners!

Here are the rules:

  • Only one food/drink photograph may be entered per person.
  • The photograph must have been taken by you.
  • The photograph must have been posted on your blog during December 2010.
  • The deadline to submit your entry is January 20th 2011 at midnight, Pacific Standard Time.
  • A panel of judges (soon to be announced) will assess the quality of all of the entries before eventually selecting winners from the pictures. There will be winners in the following categories:
    • Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
    • Edibility: Does the photo make us want to take a big bite out of our computer monitor while drooling on our keyboard?
    • Originality: a photo that makes you stop, look twice, and think “wow, I never thought of photographing it like that before!”
    • Overall Winner: the photograph that scores the highest when individual scores for Aesthetics, Edibility and Originality are added up.
    • Results will be announced on 1st of February 2011.

How can you join in?

  • Draft an e-mail with DMBLGIT in the subject line.
  • Attach one qualifying food or drink photo, preferably 350 pixels in width.
  • Include the following:
    • Your name
    • Your blog URL
    • The title of the image/what it is
    • The URL of the post where the photo first appeared
    • The camera you used
    • Send an email with the above information to katharine@agirlinmadrid.com
    • Please note that by submitting a photo, entrants agree to their photo being redisplayed and altered in size on the host’s page and on the SpittoonExtra DMBLGiT page.
    • I have created a gallery in Picasa where I will be adding your photos within 48hrs of submission. I will also acknowledge your email. If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 48hrs, please leave a message in the comment section of this post.

    If you would like to host an edition of DMBLGIT, please look up here for hosting instructions.

Jan 4 / katharine

A new year, and happy winter wishes

Dear friends,

I am writing to you from across the pond this morning. Through the pre-Christmas winter chaos in Europe, we seemed to have had little travel angels with us, as we were not affected. Made it to Vancouver safe and sound, and joined the happy tornado of holiday cheer, parties, friends and good food. Very different from our busy, but ‘simple life’ in Spain.

While I have this little window of time, I wanted to wish you a creative, prosperous and magical New Year!

{These photos were taken in the weeks leading up to Christmas in Toledo, Spain.}


Dec 4 / katharine

The elemental soul and taste of Spain

One year ago, we landed on the Iberian Peninsula with all the optimism in the world (and not really a clue and how we would actually get from A to B), and forks standing at attention as we had an entire culinary world to explore. Time truly does fly.

For a change, I wasn’t going to be me on deck, wooden spoon in hand, preparing our celebratory feast. My handsome hubs was super excited to whip up his first cocido. And in our case, Cocido Manchego (as we are in Castilla-La Mancha). So, one Saturday morning he made his way down to our friendly butcher and requested ‘preparado de cocido para dos‘.

rich, spicy cocido with chickpeas, vegetables and various meats

Now, my vegan and vegeterian friends must be warned here. The cocido contains all manner and different types of meat and sausage that you could imagine. Or that your dear digestive organs can deal with. The preparado de cocido contains:

-morcilla achorizada (a deep red cured blood sausage, looks like a chorizo with lots of paprika), morcilla de año (another blood sausage, more meaty, semi cured), hueso de jamón (a piece of bone from a jamón serrano), media gallina (half a hen), ternera (beef shank), hueso blanco (white pork bone…ok, this I flat out refused, a bit over the top, I gave it to the dog), and tocino (a piece of pork with skin and fat).

This one-pot staple, especially during the colder months, is often a weekly ritual of the Spanish. The madrileños, call their cocido madrileño, the perfect cure for a hangover.

It’s spicier, and richer than the pot au feu of the French, but I imagine has similar roots.

This preparado is simmered for hours and hours with plenty of chickpeas, carrots, potatoes and onion and then at the end little noodles. The flavors are deep and the color reminds me of the palette of Toledo.

Traditionally, the cocido is served separately. The caldo, or stock is drained and to it is added little thin noodles. This is the first course. It is so rich, that I almost needed a siesta, after one small bowl.

the caldo, or stock of the cocido manchego

The second course is the chickpeas and the vegetables. The third is all of the meats that have been simmering for hours. A side of sauteed cabbage, and slightly spicy guindillas, offer up an astringent balance and help it all digest. A full bottle of Rioja ensures that you will be out, in a food coma for the rest of the day.

a full plate of cocido and a glass of Rioja

As we finished up our feast, an unusual and very thick frosty fog rolled into Toledo. It was like the entire city , with their bellies full of cocido, were settling into a deep Autumn siesta.

a crisp Autumn day in Toledo

Nov 7 / katharine

On assignment: charming St. Emilion

It was the Romans, back in about 2 A.D, that first had the brilliant idea to plant vineyards in a little area now known as Saint-Émilion. However, this little piece of heaven is actually named after a monk, Émilion, who settled in a hermitage carved into a rock around 8 A.D. And it was the monks who followed him, that eventually began the commercial wine production.

Me, I arrived in an oh-so-subtle tour bus, on assignment to photograph an uber-exclusive weekend in Bordeaux for a group of Spaniards. They would be wined and dined by the best chefs of the region, and more than a few wildly special bottles of Bordeaux would be corked. Me and my beloved were in for an over-the-top assignment, and gastro-tour, through the back door.

shades of Saint Emillion, Bordeaux

Our first afternoon, we wandered, seemingly floating on a cloud of French perfection. The patina of a by-gone era whose beauty is as present today as in any other time. It was a calm mid-Autumn day, around lunch time. The smoke from chimneys watfting through the air. You wished some local family would just open their door and invite you in for their typical mid-day feast. And a drop of the local vin de table.

Towards the end of our wanders, we found ourselves at Chateau Clos Fourtet, and dining, literally with the staff in the back room, on the gastronomic delights of Michelin-starred chef, Michel Portos. Creative, and flamboyant, and very entertaining. The finished products were a few of the most sumptuous flavors imaginable. The wine, specifically the Clos Fortet grand cru classé 2005, given a whopping 98 point from Monsieur Robert Parker. It’s smoky, sweet aroma enveloping you. But, of course, we were ‘working’, so not to become too enveloped, we continued on capturing a few more frames.

a bottle of Clos Fourtet, and the hermitage of Saint Emillion

boxes and bottles of some of the finest of Bordeaux

looking into the past of Saint-Emilion

a charming patina, and wildflowers

the rooftops of Saint-Emilion

a waiter crossing

the stunning facade of Chateau Clos Fourtet, in my dreams, this is MY Chateau!

chef Michel Portos, and his delights

risotto de merlu, pomelos, menthe fraîche et poutargue...because it all sounds better en Français

inside the caves of Chateau Clos Fourtet

deeper into the dark, musky caves

me in Saint Émilion

a charming schoolhouse, the typeface of another era, almost perfection

I will continue to bring your more delights of Bordeaux, as I continue to dream of that place. That perfect little place on earth, where I hope to return someday and nestle into it’s terroir.

Till soon, my friends.

K.

Oct 18 / katharine

Daily musings

Dear friends,

Oh dear, are you still there? I don’t blame you if you’ve lost interest. I haven’t lost interest, but I did grossly underestimate how much time, energy and sleep loss is involved in life building. Remembering with fondness the days when we had time for siestas, seemingly endless lunches and even mid-week movies. How life has changed! We are so happy that the blocks are all coming together, but it has been a lot of work. And I, most sorely have neglected this little blog of mine. I should be reported! Or maybe I already have?

At any rate, onwards and upwards. Siempre hacia delante, or something like that. From now on I am going to bring you little slices. Little daily slices of things that I find special.

So, this morning finally alone in my little kitchen, I am sharing with you a few things that I see often around me, my daily musings.

An important little announcement: my next post will be from the wine cellars, vineyards, les châteaux and most importantly the pâtisseries of Bordeaux. An oh so delicious assignment, to be sure!

Un besito,

K.

I love this little place. Milk and bread, straight to the point.

La Fruteria, a very important part of Spanish daily life. This is one of the oldest in Toledo.

Berenjenas as they are known here, I love the beautiful tones and textures of these little aubergines or eggplants, whichever word you fancy.

Boxes of rubesnesque little peras waiting to be enjoyed.

The stunning rooftops of Toledo that greet meet on my daily errands.

One of my indulgences, the best gelato in Spain happens to be but a few blocks away. Aptly named La Italiana.

Correos, the Spanish post and their happy-looking little scooters.

my charming little sidekick, enjoys our daily routines.

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