Algorfa Photo Competition 2014

Open to all: Algorfa.co.uk 2014 Photo Competition

The 2014 Algorfa Photo Competition

 1st Prize!  A Romantic Evening (x2) at the 5 Star La Finca Golf & Spa Resort Hotel inc. Full Board

4 ‘Runner Up’ Prizes! Menu Del Día at Alquibla Restaurant

For more information…

Spanish Cazuelas

Would you be able to spot Spanish Cazuelas?

Spanish Cazuela for your Spanish property

Spot a Spanish Cazuela!

You’ll find one in just about every traditional Spanish restaurant! The Secret to Real Mediterranean Flavour!

Not many visitors coming to Spain from other countries will realise just how versatile, and useful, the ‘Spanish Cazuela’ can be.  

Go into any Spanish restaurant and order a dish of garlic mushrooms or prawns, and more likely than not, your food will be served piping hot in a Cazuela. See tapas on display in most Spanish bars, and you’ll not be able to miss a Cazuela.  But do you really give a thought about the Cazuela, apart from thinking it would be useful under a house plant!

Spanish Cazuela Recipe For Garlic Prawns

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
50g/2oz butter
12 large raw prawns
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
small handful parsley, chopped

Method
In a Cazuela, heat oil and butter;
Add the prawns and garlic and stir well;
Stir fry until the prawns are pink (about 4-5 minutes);
Season with salt, and freshly ground black pepper;
Scatter the chopped parsley over.

Serve immediately.

Pondering the name, ‘Cazuela’, it’s clear to see where the English word ‘Casserole’ comes from. Officially, translation of the Spanish Cazuelas means ‘Spanish cooking pot’, or ‘Spanish casserole’.

When early man discovered fire, and started cooking his food, the first vessel he used was a clay pot, and he’s been using terracotta ever since. Therefore, it would be correct to say; that no one appears to know precisely when the first Cazuela was fired. Throughout millennia we’ve been using versions of the Cazuela to healthily cook our food. It’s suffice to say that all Spanish Cazuelas made today, are of course more refined than the early primitive kind, now they are built for durability, and for modern cooking practices.

The Cazuela, used in many kitchens throughout Spain, became known as ‘cocina pobre’, or ‘poor cooking’. Such was the common cooking style throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in Spain after a series of wars and turbulent political changes left the nation in economic turmoil. For centuries, provincial cooking techniques remained largely the same for countryside people who were used to living frugally, eating whatever they had on hand. Their diets appeared very healthy as they dined on bread, olive oil, regional vegetables, and local small game. It’s fair to say cooking with a Spanish Cazuela is simple, unpretentious, and delicious when used with fresh seasonal ingredients. The Cazuela is as robust as any cookware you could purchase, it fits easily into a modern kitchen, with the added bonus of being very cheap to buy.

First off, after you have purchased your new Cazuela, you will need to ‘Season’ or ‘Cure’ it:

Your new Cazuela would have been delivered to the Cazuela shop direct from the Spanish Factory. It will probably be relatively light in weight, and it will possibly be fragile! Therefore, it is important to ‘Season’, or ‘Cure’ the pot before using. Seasoned pots are much stronger than unseasoned ones. Don’t worry though, this process couldn’t be simpler.

Spanish Cazuela, for Spanish Healthy Cooking

The main thing you need to do, is to soak your pot, fully submerged in water overnight, or between 4 to 12 hours. The thickness of the terracotta has to be considered, the thicker the terracotta the more soaking time is needed. Water has the ability to ‘cure’ terracotta. Although Cazuelas, and other terracotta cookware are fired at quite high temperatures, they have to be soaked to toughen them.  

Once it’s been soaked you’ll notice your pot is much heavier. Dry your pot normally with a tea-towel.

Spanish Living - Spanish CazuelaTraditionalists say to rub the bottom of the pot with a garlic clove. We say; “Why argue with tradition!” Traditionalists believe that the garlic kills bacteria, and hardens the unglazed areas of the pot.  For over a thousand years, Spanish cooks have been rubbing the base of their Cazuelas with garlic.

Your pot is now ready for the next stage, which is to apply heat. Choose one of the two methods below:

Method One – Fill the pot with water to within half an inch from the rim. One school of thought says to add half a cup of vinegar to the water, while others say it’s not necessary – we say; “Why not!” Heat the pot slowly, subjecting the pot to minimum thermal shock.

Method Two – Rub the inside of the base (and lid if your pot has one) with olive oil, put into a cold oven, then set to heat at 150 degrees C (300 degrees F, Gas 29) for one and half hours. When finished ‘cooking’, turn off the heat and let the oven cool.

Either of the above methods will strengthen your Cazuela, though you still have to keep in mind that terracotta expands and contracts with temperature.

If you haven’t used your Cazuela for a while, it would be advisable to re-season it before using it again..

Cleaning Spanish Cazuelas

Cazuelas are dishwasher safe. Though for hard baked on food, soak the pot in soapy water, scrape off the food as it softens, then wash as normal.  Try not to use too much soap, or any for that matter, as Cazuelas pick up flavours, and some flavours like ‘soap’ are not nice!

Take Care When Cooking With Your Cazuela

Spanish lifestyle cooking, Spanish CazuelaCazuelas, not only were man’s first cooking implement, they were the first ‘oven to table’ wear. Be careful though, while Cazuelas take quite a while getting up to temperature, they can get very hot, and can take some time to cool down. This means your food will remain hot for longer than maybe expected. Since it’s made from earth, terracotta actually absorbs and radiates heat naturally and healthily.

Introducing cold food to a heated Cazuela could cause it to crack through a thermal shock. It’s not a good idea to heat up your Cazuela, then toss in some frozen food!

Be careful that you don’t place your hot Cazuela onto a cold surface. Again this could cause the dreaded thermal shock.

Terracotta cookware can withstand hot temperatures on the BBQ, on an open fire, a clay oven, or gas hob; providing the pot is not subject to adverse temperatures. A word of caution for cooks who use electric or ceramic hobs, you must use a defuser on a low heat as a buffer for the first few minutes, then the heat can be raised to medium.

Freezing Food With Your Cazuela

A Cazuela that is well seasoned can handle being frozen brilliantly. Make your dish; a fish pie, meat pie, or a casserole for instance, be sure to let it cool, then freeze. To heat the food, make sure the pot and food is thawed, then pop the Cazuela into a cool oven, heating the oven slowly after 20 to 30 minutes to the required temperature.

Sizes of Cazuelas

 CSpanish living, different sizes of Spanish Cazuelasazuelas come in various sizes, from 6cm to lovely big cooking vessels of up to 46cm. The smaller ones are generally used for tapas, while the bigger ones can amply cook a leg of lamb, including a mountain of ingredients for roasting at the same time.

Spanish Living, Spanish CookingHow Long Does A Cazuela Last?

The answer to this must be ‘for a long, long time’!  That’s of course if you take care of your Cazuela. My oldest Cazuela is almost brand new at 14 years old, and it’s older than any other pan in my kitchen.

Leave a comment
Quote

Amazing Liquid Gold and the Healthy Mediterranean Diet

Healthy Mediterranean Diet!

It’s All Down To Amazing Liquid Gold

 Part I

Besides Spain’s sunny climate, it’s the healthy Spanish lifestyle that’s driven millions of British citizens to the shores of this fantastic Mediterranean country.  Spain is the world’s largest producer of Olive Oil, and it’s the best olive oil in the world!  

This is the story of the ‘Amazing Liquid Gold and the Healthy Mediterranean Diet!’

Recipe For Ali Oli 

  • Grind a peeled garlic head with salt until a paste.
  • Put a small amount of milk, or 2 egg yolks into blender, and slowly add olive oil until mixture becomes thick. Keep adding the oil until it is the consistency you require.
  • Add garlic paste, lemon juice, and seasoning to taste.

The real name is “All i Oli“, from the Catalan for Garlic and Oil.”

Anyone used to shopping in British supermarkets will notice that in Spanish supermarkets there are rows of shelves displaying a vast array of olive oil brands; the shelves are akin to the range of wines on display. Yet, there is something more to notice; in the Spanish supermarkets you will find only small shelf space for biscuits and sweets. No wonder the Spanish, and Mediterranean way of eating is considered so healthy.

Spanish Olive Oil Is The Best!

Of course, to all those who love Spain, Spanish oil is consider the very best. With a wide range of aromas and tastes, who can cast doubt! Some Spanish olive oil tastes sweet and smooth, whereas other types are more full-bodied with varying intensities of character, pleasant bitterness or more pungency. In particular, Spanish olive oils usually have an intense fruity aroma.

Experiment, as you would do with wine, and choose from the numerous flavours, those that your suit your tastes.

Factoid!  Of all the oils produced for human consumption, olive oil is the only oil that is extracted from fresh fruit.

Italy may have a claim to having the best Olive Oil, but in reality they are the biggest importer of Spanish oil, expertly blending this fantastic oil, enabling Italy to be the world’s largest exporter.

History of Olive Oil Cultivation in Spain

Factoid!  The Spanish language term for ‘oil’ is “aceite”, deriving from the Arab word for olive, al zaytun. “Oliva” in Spanish means only the olive tree, not the oil itself.

Oil cultivation in Spain began over 3,000 years ago when the Phoenicians and the Greeks introduced the olive tree (Olea Europea) into Spain around 1100 years BC.

During the Roman occupation of Spain, olive oil production expanded and improved with new recovery techniques. 

Archaeological evidence: starting in the 1st century BC, and covering a 260 year period, shows someAlgorfa Spain 6.5 billion litres of oil was imported into the Roman Empire, and 85% of this was grown in Andalucia. Further historical evidence, taken from the ancient book ‘De Bello Hispanico’, describes how Julius Caesar’s cavalry planted many olive trees close to Sevilla.

Olive, and olive oil production continued to grow in Spain during the occupation of the Moors, with most of the trees surviving, and laying witness to many terrible Spanish wars.

Today, it is estimated there are some 215 million olive trees in Spain, covering over 3 million acres, meaning that over 43.8% of the world’s olive production is grown in Spain, with an annual production of over 600,000 metric tons of olive oil.

Olive oil IS Mediterranean cooking, it is the crux of Mediterranean life; a spice, a herb, a condiment, a salve, an offering, a philosophy, a trophy, and a great source of healthy energy.

History Of The Olive Tree And Its Oil

For as long as legends have been a part of history, Olives, together with its oil have been steeped in symbolic values of popular beliefs and religions. We mustn’t forget that long-ago, olive oil was not just a food and medical source, it was also used to light lamps, and to cook. Therefore, because it was so essential, olive oil became known as liquid gold.

Olive trees have been known, and now verified through carbon dating, to survive thousands of years – bearing witness to long forgotten times and legends. This could be the reason why the olive tree is regarded as a symbol of patience. Furthermore, the olive tree is also the symbol of immortality. It’s said, that planting an olive tree on your land, is the best legacy you could provide for your grandchildren!

Many a king, queen, and priests have been anointed with olive oil.

Ancient Rome

Oil traders in Ancient Rome dedicated a temple and a statue to Hercules Olivarius.

algorfa spain

The quote from Pliny the Roman author, say it all; ‘Sip the wine and splash the oil!

Ancient Pomeiani wouldn’t wash their hair with anything other than olive oil – could this have been the forerunner of the ‘Brylcreem’ brand?  

Ancient Greece

Since the first Olympic Games 776 BC, to honour Zeus, athletes were massaged with olive oil in the belief that the wisdom, power and strength of Athena would be bestowed upon them. (In Part 2 we will explain the evidence on how and why this was such good practice.) Winners in the games were awarded olive leaf crowns and olive oil.

The olive harvesting of the ancients was incredibly advanced for its time, aided by astronomy which was said to predict poor harvests. Thales of Miletus used his astronomical observations to predict an abundant harvest for 596 BC. He immediately built new oil-presses, making many Greeks rich in a year. 

Olive oil had many uses in ancient Greece, although social status was a factor. Poor people for instance, could not afford to consume olive oil. While the rich were able to use olive oil in cooking, for cleaning their bodies, and for lighting.

Hippocrates mentions 60 different conditions which could be treated with olive oil, such as skin conditions, wounds and burns, gynaecological ailments, ear infections, just to mention a few.  (Watch out for Part II!)

When medicine was not enough to save the patient, olive oil was used in laying out the dead. Women washed the body, and finally they used olive oil to anoint. Olive oil, as well as wine, honey, and other products were offered to the dead at the graveside.

The legend still exists, that if you should come upon a statue of Zeus, you should polish it with olive oil, whereby the spirit of Zeus would be so honoured by your reverence to him, that he would grant you a long and happy life. (Warning! It is highly doubtful that the Archaeological Museum in Athens would understand your quest.)Algorfa Spain

In periods of war, couriers of peace were sent holding a symbolic olive branch in their hand.  Irena the goddess of peace, the daughter of Zeus, was depicted with an olive branch in her hand, and an owl, the symbol of wisdom (see image above).

Factoid!  Olive boughs have crowned heroes, as well as Olympic champions.

In Greek legend, the goddess Athena gave the olive tree to the people, and anyone who dared damage them were punished by law. This therefore raises the question; would careful pruning of the trees be allowed?

And, but not least; a well groomed ancient Greek would smear olive oil over his body, hence the term a ‘Greek god’ (probably!).

Olive Trees, and the Bible

We read in the Bible that the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed, and was arrested by Roman soldiers, was according to His disciples, an olive grove.

Algorfa SpainGoing back in time where our history is said to have began, an olive branch was God’s symbol of peace after the biblical flood, bringing hope to the people of the world.

Psalm 52:8 – English Standard Version: “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”  

There are many instances of the olive tree being mentioned in the Bible and in the Koran.

A Turkish travel guide mentioned the legend; there was a time when olive trees stood straight and tall, but that was until an olive tree was cut down to crucify Jesus, and since then the olive tree’s wood has been twisted in its agony of shame.

See Part II Shortly….

Leave a comment

2 Bed La Finca Golf Bungalow For Sale

Property with X-Factor!  2 Bed La Finca Golf Bungalow For Sale

This Bungalow is offered for sale with a real ´´X´´ factor!

The property overlooks the communal pool area on a small parcel of ‘golf’ properties. This property that is offered for sale, is located on the prestigious La Finca Golf Course Resort.

The Bungalow enjoys the security of being part of a gated community with off road parking, communal gardens, and communal pools. It also enjoys a private rear garden solely for the owner’s use, and enjoys direct access to the swimming pool and sun deck areas.

Internally the property has a large lounge/dining area which is complete with brick built wood burning fireplace (adaptable to receive a gas fireplace if required), with patio sliding doors leading out to a large balcony which overlooks the garden and pool areas.

From this balcony further stairs lead up to a very spacious private solarium which has a sun shade roof area, and can be converted into a more permanent room feature very easily. This solarium runs the full extent of the property and therefore provides many options for its owners to enjoy and be creative if they wish.

A fully fitted American style Kitchen, complete with Granite worktops.

2 Bedroom Bungalow Property for sale on La Finca2 Bedroom Bungalow Apartment Property For Sale – 117,000€
For More Information….

The entrance hall leads to two good sized bedrooms, both having fitted wardrobes. One of the bedrooms has an en-suite bathroom, there is also a family bathroom. Both bathrooms are spacious and fully tiled, with marble features.

The entire property enjoys a marble floor finish, with a traditional Spanish ambiance throughout.  See more….

For more information regarding this property, and to make an appointment to view, please contact the Agent: Welcome Estates Spain - Tel: +34 965 02 02 04 (UK 01273 900966). Ref. WE410027.

Property Ref.:
Property Price Range:
Property Location:
Property Type: ,
Bathroom/s: ,
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment

La Finca Golf 3 Bed Villa For Sale with Private Swimming Pool

On La Finca Golf 3 Bed Villa For Sale with Private Swimming Pool – detached and situated on a corner plot.

Beautiful villa now offered for sale within the community of La Finca Golf & Spa Resort.

An Ibiza style villa, and is the only one that is built on a corner plot. The villa benefits from a huge outside area of 400m2, incorporating open terraces, BBQ area and it own private swimming pool.

The ground floor of this property consists of a large lounge / diner, 2 double bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen fitted with all appliances, and a bathroom.

On the first floor there is a further double bedroom with en-suite, and a wonderful roof top solarium with mountain views.

3 Bedroom villa, La Finca, Algorfa, Alicante

Price: €254,950

For more information, please see ‘Property For Sale’ page on A1Spain.com.

(Mouse-over price to convert to ANG, GBP, RUB, SEK currencies.)

Property Ref.:
Property Price Range:
Property Location:
Property Type:
Bathroom/s:
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment

For Sale Ground Floor La Finca Apartment

New build now on the market - For Sale Ground Floor La Finca Apartment.

This ‘new build’ apartment that is offered for sale, has 2 double bedrooms (1 bedroom is en-suite), a family bathroom, an open lounge / diner, separate kitchen, and a beautiful covered porch leading out to a large,well kept garden.

This property is finished to a high standard, with marble floors, fully tiled bathrooms. It is situation within a secure gated community with communal pool, off road parking.

La Finca Golf Course, has a ’5 Star’ spa resort, and is highly regarded as being on of the most popular golfing destinations on the Costa Blanca. 

La Finca sits within the boundary of Algorfa pueblo.  Algorfa is a rural town set amongst citrus and almond groves.

For Sale Ground Floor La Finca Apartment

 2 Bedroom Apartment – New Build on La Finca – 117,500€

For further information on this property, and an appointment to view, please contact the Agent – Welcome – Estates – SPAIN – tel: +34 965 02 02 04 (UK 01273 900966).

 

Property Ref.:
Property Price Range:
Property Location:
Property Type:
Bathroom/s: ,
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment

Fantastic Bungalow For Sale on La Finca Golf and Spa Resort, Algorfa

Fantastic Bungalow For Sale – Situated on La Finca Golf and Spa Resort, Algorfa

Comprising of 2 double bedrooms, one of which is en-suite, 1 family bathroom, a spacious and open plan lounge / diner, a fully fitted kitchen and a storage room.

This excellent property also boasts a living room which leads out to a covered porch area and terrace, with stairs that go down into the garden. The views from this terrace are simply stunning, as the property looks out over the communal pool, with La Finca golf course and mountains as a backdrop – this property must be seen to be appreciated!

This is considered to be one of the best bungalows on the resort, and finished to an excellent standard, and in a prime location.

Fantastic 2 Bed Bungalow for sale on La Finca

Fantastic Bungalow For Sale  – 128,000€
For More Information….

For more information regarding this property, and to make an appointment to view, please contact the Agent: Welcome Estates Spain - Tel: +34 965 02 02 04 (UK 01273 900966). Ref. WE410087.

Property Ref.:
Property Price Range:
Property Location:
Property Type:
Bathroom/s: ,
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment

For Sale 2 Bed Townhouse on 5 star Golf Resort

A New Build! For Sale 2 Bed Townhouse  on 5 star Golf Resort, La Finca, Algorfa.

This property is offered for sale with 2 double bedrooms, 1 family bathroom & separate wc, lounge / diner with fireplace, and an american style kitchen.

At the front, the property overlooks the stunning communal pool. Patio doors at the rear, open towards sunny terraces, and a garden boasting attractive views across the local countryside, and mountain ranges beyond.

All day sunshine is one of the benefits of this property’s private rooftop solarium.

For sale townhouse on La Finca Golf Resort

2 Bedroom Townhouse For Sale on La Finca Golf Resort – 114,950€

For further information on this property, and an appointment to view, please contact the Agent tel: +34 965 02 02 04 (UK 01273 900966).

Property Ref.:
Property Price Range:
Property Location:
Bathroom/s: ,
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment

Algorfa La Finca Villa For Sale

Algorfa La Finca Villa For Sale

For sale an exceptional Ibiza style villa on La Finca Golf and Spa Resort.

This spacious property consists of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large lounge / diner, a storage room, and it boasts a wonderful feature kitchen, with a vaulted ceiling which has been extended by the current owners.

For sale an exceptional Ibiza style villa at the 5* La Finca Golf & Spa Resort.

La Finca – Villas – Furnished 3 Bed / 2 Bath detached villas with golf & mountain views, comm pools & off road parking
PRICES FROM 214,9500€ TO 254,950€

For more information regarding this property and to make an appointment to view, please contact the Agent. Tel: +34 965 02 02 04 (UK 01273 900966). Ref. WE410097.

Property Price Range: ,
Property Location:
Property Type:
Bathroom/s:
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment

Superb End Townhouse For Sale on Montemar Algorfa

For Quick Sale! Superb End Townhouse For Sale on Montemar Algorfa

A unique property, full of character and charm with some excellent features such as wooden beams, stunning terraces and gated driveways for two cars.

Downstairs features a double bedroom, spacious lounge/diner, large fully fitted kitchen, WC with a shower, covered porch / terrace area at the front of the house, and fantastic terraces with a water feature at the rear of the property. On the 1st floor there are 2 double bedrooms, another WC with shower, and a large balcony.

This property also has a 2nd floor where you will find an office area and the rooftop solarium with stunning views across to the 5 Star La Finca Golf and Spa Resort and the Vega Baja countryside. The urbanisation itself is well maintained and has a lovely communal area with swimming pool.

3 Bedroom Spacious Townhouse, Montemar, Algorfa, Alicante

Price: €139,950

For more information, please see ‘Property For Sale’ page on A1Spain.com.

(Mouse-over price to convert to ANG, GBP, RUB, SEK currencies.)

FOUR private outdoor dining areas to follow the sun and relax.

Garden terrace of 3 bed Townhouse near La Finca Golf, Algorfa

3 Bedroom End Townhouse, Algorfa, Alicane

End 3 Bed Townhouse on Montemar, Algorfa - Middle Terrace Eating Area

3 Bed end townhouse, private solarium

 

Property Ref.:
Property Price Range:
Property Location:
Property Type:
Bathroom/s:
Bedroom/s:
Leave a comment