Friday, 28 April 2017

Spanish Stories: Lunch at Las Cuevas, San Miguel de Salinas

Las Cuevas is a restaurant like no other. Situated in an ancient subterranesan cave dwelling dating back to the 1500s, the building is an attraction itself. The fact you can share an excellent meal there is a bonus!

On arrival, having only asked to see the menu, we were immediately invited inside to have a look around if we liked. The kind waitress showed us not only the entrance and first couple of tables but led us throughout the entire restaurant. She showed us each unique setting in its own little alcove, and explained how this was originally two caves knocked together. The restaurant is much bigger than I expected but its all very authentic and cosy feeling.

Back in the 1500s the locals struggled to source building materials, discovered they could carve into the soft rocky land and began to craft themselves shelter by digging into the rocks with hammers. The result was 17 caves housing families of as much as 14 people, sharing food, warmth and family life in front of the fire, with nothing but curtains for privacy where doors should be. Only 6 of these caves remain today and Las Cuevas Restaurante are recreating that family atmosphere for all to enjoy.

After a quick squint at the menu we agreed to stay and eat. The warm welcome we received as guests definitely helped us make up our minds! 

Lunch at Las Cuevas is a set menu for €25 and includes a mix of traditional dishes to share as starters, with bread, your choice of main, dessert and any beer, wine, water or coffee. Pretty decent value in my opinion. Intrigued by it being poured straight from tap on the barrel, I shifted quickly from bottled water to red wine! An excellent choice if ever I made one, and I dont usually drink wine.

Our starters included traditional spanish meats, prawns and a carafe of gazpacho - a cold tomato soup of Andalusian origin. Las Cuevas' version was made with melon and packed with flavour. While I enjoyed the taste of the gazpacho, I have to admit I really just wanted to heat it up! 

Our main courses were an absolute delight. Gordon chose the BBQ spare ribs, which were enormous, and served with side salad and home cooked chips. His initial complaint of them being quite fatty was dismissed when he found the mass of meat hidden underneath! 
My baked cod was served on a bed of the loveliest, creamiest mash potato with  perfectly roasted Mediterranean vegetables and spinach, complimented by a sweet tomato jam.

Dessert was thankfully kept light with crêpe, vanilla ice cream and a topping of your choice. Of course we both went with chocolate! It left us comfortably full and feeling rather pleased with ourselves.

We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon lunching in the caves with the sun beaming in. In fact we both agreed it was one of the best experiences of our trip to Spain this time. For 25 euros each I really couldn't fault the food or the service in any way. The evening menu is a similar style with a slightly dearer price (35 euros, I think) but if you're after a lighter bite to eat they have a new tapas bar just around the corner - I'll be hunting this out next time!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A to Z Dating... E is for Espana!

E is for Espana!
Edinburgh - Escape Room - Exhibition

Okay, we've cheated a bit here. We'd originally planned to try an escape room for E, but life got in the way and we never made it (in or out)! Luckily for us we had a trip to Spain planned and decided to call it our E date - Espana, since I'm learning Spanish after all!

We spent the week exploring the Costa blanca, soaking up the sun, indulging in good food, sipping cocktails and discovering a new found love for vino tinto (red wine)! Weather wise it could have been better but despite the wind and clouds it was warm and our Scottish skin still managed to burn!

We visited a couple of our favourite haunts from our last visit to the area. La Zenia Boulevard is always good for ice cream and a spot of people watching! Twice we revisited Brooks California BBQ and Gordon ate this monster of a burger, complete with lettuce, slaw, cheese and pulled pork mountain!


It wasn't all eating out though! A visit to the local market helped us stock up on local fruit and veg, freshly baked goods, garlic olives, cheese and Spanish charcuterie. While I love a good market, I also enjoy a wonder around the local supermarkets. It's so interesting to see what these are like in different countries. Of course I stocked up on my favourite cheap and nasty sangria fizz at Carrefour on day one!

When we did get good weather our mornings were spent in the pool or running along the canal. The afternoons were ideal for romantic walks on the beach (how cliché) and lazing together with a good book in the sun. Smothered in factor 50 of course!

I will  be writing some other posts about our trip to Spain over the coming weeks so keep an eye out for more.
Some say holiday, I say a whole weeks worth of E dates!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Cult of Coffee, Aberdeen

Give me a bag of Revels, and I'll hunt out the coffee flavoured chocolates. Pour me a cup of joe however, and it's a big fat no from me! I've written before about how I'm not all that keen on coffee, but there's a new kid on the block trying to convince me otherwise.

The Cult of Coffee opened just last month on Aberdeen's Esslemont Avenue and pride themselves on two things - coffee, obviously, and cake. I can confirm both are up to scratch! If there's one coffee I do enjoy, it's a well made mocha and this Cult know exactly what they're doing.

Their interiors are on another level too! I love the mix of bright colour against monochrome tiles, with the neutral shades of wood furniture and brown leather. It's a Scandi lovers dream - lightbulbs and all! The café is the ideal place to set up office with your laptop (free wifi!), or just to warm up by the fire and watch the world go by.

When I first arrived, not knowing what to expect, I ordered my usual - green tea - and a delicious freshly baked fruit scone. As it was lunch time I was hoping to fill my belly, but they're sticking to what they do best with only cake and scones available. I'd like to see even just a soup of the day, for those seeking something more savoury.

As a small group of blogger pals, we lingered in the café for quite some time, chatting away and the lovely staff kindly treated us to some complimentary cake! Cult of Coffee's cake sliders are sure to develop something of a cult following themselves. It's a great way to sample each flavour if you can't make your mind up, and perfect for sharing. The gluten free banana toffee cake was my winner!

Cult of Coffee, we'll see you again soon!

Monday, 10 April 2017

A Month in my Shoes: March 2017

I've never really done monthly round up posts on here, but I do enjoy reading them on other blogs. Whether it's an Instagram round up or a monthly favourites post, it's always interesting to get a little peek into people's lives. Isn't that why the world has gone social media mad after all? I'm going to use these posts as a way to track my training for upcoming events, as well as a general look at what we've been up to, where we've been and anything else that I fancy sharing! So, March...


At the moment I'm aiming for 3 split weights sessions a week - legs, push and pull. I've been upping my cardio with a couple of 5k runs a week, a Sunday spin class and even Metafit at 6.30am on a Thursday morning! I'm trying to walk more in general and have been hitting my 10k steps more frequently. With less than 8 weeks until our Ben Nevis challenge we really need to start climbing hills more!


Room - A young woman was kidnapped and held captive in a room (funnily enough), where she ends up having a son and bringing him up between those 4 walls, before eventually managing to escape. It's an emotional watch (I didn't know I could cry that much!) but it really makes you appreciate your freedom, the great outdoors and everything we take for granted on a day to day basis!

A Street Cat Named Bob - Literally about a cat named Bob... and the homeless man who's life he helps to save! It's based on a true story about a London busker and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I've also started watching the Outlander series and I'm obsessed. Waiting til September for season 3 is not okay! I wasn't sure to start with, what with the whole time travelling thing, but it's making me fall in love with my beautiful home country all over again. Oh, and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser helps!


Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think - I started reading this last year, when I was in anti-diet mode after the wedding, and finally finished it in March. It's all about the science of food marketing and why we do the things we do when it comes to our eating habits. It offers tips and advice to lose weight without trying. "The best diet is the one you don't even know you're on". To be honest, I think I need to read it again to take it all in properly.

How Not To Travel the World by Lauren Juliff - A hilarious, and sometimes terrifying, account of one British girl's attempt at travelling the world. I say attempt - she's doing pretty well if you ask me, despite all her bad luck and misfortunes! From being attacked by monkeys to caught up in a tsunami in Thailand, it always happens to Lauren. I first read her stories on her blog Never Ending Footsteps but I'd highly recommend the book as well!

Listening To

The Verve - What ever happened to the Verve?! We found a CD at work and listened to it on repeat for weeks. I forgot how many good songs they have!

Coffee Break Spanish - My favourite podcast at the moment. I made a new year's resolution to learn Spanish and I'm working on it. I've tried a few apps but so far found Coffee Break Spanish to be the best way to learn. Each episode is about 20 minutes long and I listen to them on my walk to work or out with the dog. Plus they teach actual useful phrases, instead of "I am not a horse" like DuoLingo tries to tell me!

Where I've Been

This month we visited Drum Castle, climbed Clachnaben and took a tour at Glen Garioch distillery. You can read all about those adventures here on the blog!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven

Dunnottar Castle is an iconic landmark in the north east of Scotland. A striking and prominent vision on the cliffs at Stonehaven, the ruins are a popular attraction to tourists and local photographers. We'd planned to visit Dunnottar for our C date but the weather put a stop to that. Due to it's cliff top location, the castle closes to the public in high winds and rain - check their website before you go!

On the rare occasion that the weather does hold out in Aberdeenshire, we do our best to get out and make the most of it. Last weekend we took the chance to finally see the medieval fortress in all its glory! We parked at Stonehaven harbour and made our way up the hill, overlooking the bay as we climbed the path past the war memorial and along the cliffs.

It's not a bad walk at all - the path is fairly easy to follow and takes less than an hour to get there, but definitely wear trainers or walking boots! Steep steps lead down and across to the castle entrance. A lot of people don't realise you can actually go in and explore the ruins. It'll cost you £7 for the pleasure, which isn't that bad in my opinion.

The views of the North Sea from the castle windows are unrivalled - I've never seen it look so blue! You can wander in and around the various buildings including the stables, the chapel and the tower. Dunnottar is steeped in history with tales of Viking invasions and smuggled crown jewels. Even William Wallace paid a visit... and burned it to the ground. I'm currently addicted to the Outlander TV series. Not only is it fueling my love for Scotland, it's beauty and hidden treasures, but it's also done a lot for my understanding of our history!

Yet another incredible Scottish castle ticked off. If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, make sure you head for the cliffs!

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