Madrid is a city of changing faces. The vibrance. The art. The bars. The landmarks. I spent two weeks in Spain’s capital, and never tired of finding new places to explore. But word to the wise, almost everything seems to be closed on a Monday. Welcome to Spain!
I hardly removed my eyes from the viewfinder of my Nikon as I wandered the streets of Madrid. The city’s buildings are etched with fine engravings and designs. So, remember to pay close attention to the details.
Have you heard of the Temple of Debod? No? Well, it’s a 2nd Century BC Egyptian temple which was re-built in the centre of Madrid. When I first wandered into Parque Oeste, I was taken aback as an Egyptian relic was the last thing I expected to see. After getting over the needless confusion, once I stood back and looked at its floodlit form, the Temple of Debod one of the most charming finds I came across during my stay in Madrid.
El Rastro is probably one of the most famous flea markets in Europe. All forms of trinkets, gadgets and clothing can be bought – but you’re not going to find many who will vouch for their longevity. I bought a beautiful pair of handmade, bronze earrings (as is my tradition when I go abroad) and managed to haggle the price down from 30 euros to 18. So, try your luck. You never know how long they’re willing to go on price. The market is open every Sunday and public holidays, but be ready to lose an entire day as the crowds are immeasurable.
There are more museums and galleries in Madrid than any traveller can possibly need, but the great thing about being in Spain is the ability to famous pieces, up close and personal. I was surprised by the expanse of Picasso’s Guernica and intrigued by the stories behind Velazquez‘s La Meninas. La Reina Sofia is the best place to go if you want to see ‘the blockbusters’, you won’t be disappointed.
As is always the case, whenever you enter a place of natural beauty you always encounter a flock of posing beauties. There was nowhere I went in this park that was not laden with women gesticulating and gyrating around water features and trees. I did find it mostly humorous. Buen Retiro park is 350 acres wide, so it may take a bit of time but you will find your own patch of peace.
I’d love to return to Madrid, because two weeks just was not long enough! Get in touch if you dare, on Google+, Bloglovin or Instagram.]]>
Duck is a pretty hassle-free bird to roast. Unlike some other undesirable winged creatures (ehm, turkey), this one has natural fats and flavour that needs no tampering with. Note: Ideal preparation is the night before and only takes 10 minutes.
If you’re buying a duck, its probably frozen. So leave this to defrost in the refrigerator approximately 36 hours before you plan on cooking it.
Tip: It’s a very simple thing to forget but keep your bird in a container whilst it defrosts otherwise you’ll (literally) have a bloody, wet mess all over your chilled goods.
1. Start by piercing the skin of the duck with a knife. This makes the fatty juices drain off to the bottom of the pan and helps to achieve that crispy, crinkly skin. Pinching and lifting the skin will ensure you don’t pierce the flesh otherwise those desirable juices from the meat will escape.
2. Season well with salt, black pepper and your chosen herbs. Here, I’ve elected to go for some standard favourites: Rosemary and Thyme. Get the bird evenly covered, don’t forget under the wings or the inside cavities.
3. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth and honey is a great addition to give extra, tender sweetness – along with colour. Get some good quality natural honey and slather over the body of the bird and pour a bit on the inside for good luck. Note: a squeesy bottle makes this process a lot easier!
4. For extra flavour, stuff it with the peel of 1 orange and a whole small onion cut in two.
5. and voila! Your delicious duck is ready to go. If you’ve got time on your hands then place it in a bowl and chuck it in the fridge to “rest” overnight!
6. When you’re ready to roast, stick the oven on Gas Mark 5 and wrap your Roasting Pan and Duck in foil. This will prevent it from drying out.
7. Roast for about 2hrs 25mins, turning it into its breast after on hour. After two hours, turn again and drizzle on some extra honey and turn up to Gas Mark 6. Your bird is ready when you give it a good poke and the juices run clear.
8. This duck didn’t last very long once cooked! Enjoy!