The Kindness of Neighbors

A few days ago one of our neighbors stopped in front of our house and who popped out of the truck but Mary and John MacDonald.  Mary said to John one morning that if she was cold the folks living in tents must also be cold.  They took it upon themselves to find as many blankets as they could (which is not an easy feat here) along with many others donated by another wonderful Expat couple. They took to the streets looking for folks still living in tents in our area. They walked around passing out blankets to many appreciative families.

That act of kindness is what makes this small community so wonderful. I took the picture below off of Mary’s Facebook page. Hope you don’t mind Mary.

10487421_863691723658675_1317958115370626076_nJohn and Mary do other kindnesses for our local community including a children’s Christmas party in one community, John has played Santa as well as singing for local events, Mary has made candy for the holidays and donated all the money to local charities most of this going directly to the local children, Mary also hosts a Take Time out for Art morning at their home for anyone interested in working on any type of art project.  They have a blog that they use to keep in touch with family and friends about their daily lives here in Ecuador. You should check it out: https://johnandmarylivingitupinecuador.wordpress.com/

Looking for good people is easy here in San Clemente, just turn around and you will find a wonderful local family or an exceptional Expat couple who will make you smile.

Thanks again Mary and John for your big hearts and that wonderful attitude of giving.

Vendors Part 6: Freme our Water Man

Almost every day I hear the blast of a horn and know that it is Freme our water man delivering those 5 gallon blue bottles of drinking water to our neighborhood.

IMG_2995He sells water for $1 a bottle and brings it right into my kitchen for me. He always has a smile and a kind word. He is more than happy to take a few fallen guayaba (guava) from my yard for juice and I am more than happy for him to take them.

Yet one more wonderful vendor who helps make our neighborhood a very special place.

Vendors Part 5: Fruits and Veggies for the Weekend

Around noon on both Fridays and Saturdays this lovely couple comes down our street.  They have a good variety of fruits and vegetables which varies depending upon what they can find in season.

IMG_2987Both on Friday and Saturday they had grapes, strawberries, two varieties of apples, pears, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, beets, cauliflower, lemons, peas, mandarina, radishes, red onions, spring onions, broccoli, cilantro, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, tree tomatoes, garlic and green peppers.  Last week they had dragon fruit, two types of grapes, chard just to name a few of their many items.

IMG_2990 IMG_2988 IMG_2989There produce is fresh and of very good quality.

Vendors Part 4: Fresh Cheese, Butter and Veggies

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early afternoon this truck comes by with a variety of items.  They are mostly known for their fresh cheese, butter and peanut products.

IMG_2983They also carry different vegetables and fruits. This varies with each visit, some days they have avocados, melons, watermelon, oranges, carrots, potatoes…

IMG_2986 IMG_2985IMG_2984Thursday they had grapefruits, watermelons, pineapples, potatoes, carrots, garlic, long beans and white beans like a lima, corn, fresh cheese, fresh butter, peanut butter, salpietra, peanut pieces and avocados.  The items are fresh and he is very dependable. Now, what shall I make from this?  Hmmmm…………

Vendors Part 2: The Egg Man

Every Tuesday morning at 10:30am I can set my watch because the Egg Man comes down our street.  He sells eggs, toothpaste, toilet paper, sometimes he has disposable razors, women’s hygiene products, clothespins, toothbrushes, kitchen sponges it just depends on what he thinks he can sell, I guess.

IMG_2978 IMG_2979I buy this 30 count tray for $3.60. The eggs are large, fresh and wonderful for all my baking extravaganzas.

Simple Semifredo Ice Cream

I honestly can’t say that I am obsessed with good food, and I do not consider myself an Uber Gourmet or some other sideways fancy title. I am just a cook who loves good food, good ingredients and experimenting with different cuisines.  Ask Joe if I have made the same thing twice ever and he will tell you, Never!  I started this back right after we were married. Our food budget including personal items, cleaning supplies and all food items for most of our weekly meals and it was a whopping $20 per week.  Yes, this was back in the early 70’s and we managed on that budget along with several nights a week eating out as we were both going to college after our full-time day jobs.  We ate a lot of ground hamburg meat, I made meatballs, meatloaf, meat spaghetti sauces all on Saturday morning and froze them for the next week. Joe’s family had certain meals on the same day every week. That will never happen in our home, I get bored with the same old, same old and have this need to change, improvise and make it different almost every time.  Now there are certain recipes made by my Mom that will always remain the same but for everything else it is fair game for me to change it up!!!

So how does this lead into making Semifredo, well…I at one time had hundreds of cookbooks and love watching cooking shows. I have total series of Julia, Jacque, most of the shows Keith Floyd made, to Gok Wan, Ming Tsai, Jamie and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to name just a few. My cookbook collections included Southern Livings annuals, Cooking Light annuals, Betty Crocker, Joy of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens and so many other I honestly cannot name them. These are books and the chefs that have shaped the cook that I am today.

I just watched Better Homes and Gardens Australia and the one presenter was making Semifredo which is a semi hard Italian ice cream.  It looked interesting so I decided to try it for myself.

I found a very easy recipe by Donna Hay:

Donna Hay Basic Semifreddo

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks extra
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 cups (500ml) single (pouring) cream

METHOD

  1. Place the eggs, extra yolks, vanilla and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and, using a hand-held electric mixer, beat for 6–8 minutes or until thick and pale. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold through the egg mixture until well combined.
  3. Pour into a 2 litre-capacity metal tin and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Makes 2 litres.

 This is the base we use in all our semifreddo recipes. You could create your own flavour by folding a range of fruit, spices or syrups through the mixture. Think passionfruit pulp, puréed mango or whole berries such as raspberries or blueberries.

Recipe by Donna Hay.  This is the actual recipe off the internet and Australians spell many words differently that we do in the US.  So don’t comment on the spelling, just try the recipe. It is fabulous.

I made waffles this morning and this was a snack this afternoon.  REALLY SPECIAL.

IMG_2975 We will never be stick thin, I know and accept that fact. Our lives are full, full of peace, happiness, good food, good conversations and a great relationship that has matured and bloomed into a fabulous life.