Rabbit’s foot fern

This is the Rabbit’s Foot Fern Davallia canariensis, which likes to grow in the warmer and damper parts of the island. It particularly likes dry stone walls, barrel-tile roofs and cliffs. As you can see, the name comes from the root, which is very pretty. I believe that the Awara used to make gofio from it, and so did more modern Palmerans when there was nothing better available, although I’m…

November 29, 2013
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Yams

Yams (ñame in Spanish) are a relative of sweet potatoes. They need a lot of water to grow, so they’re only cultivated in Los Sauces and inside the Caldera. You can recognise a yam patch easily, because they have huge leaves shaped like elephants ears. The root has to be boiled for hours, so you usually buy them from the supermarket already cooked.Then, traditionally, you serve them with honey or…

August 29, 2013
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Fresh fish

Fish on La Palma is usually delicious because its very fresh. Well it should be, given the amount of ocean surrounding the island. I once went with friends to a shack on the beach at Punta Larga (since closed) where we had to wait, because the cook was having her own lunch. As we sipped our beer, a man came up out of the sea with two fish on a…

April 10, 2012
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The Convent of the Holy Trinity in Breña Alta

The Cistercian convent of the Holy Trinity at Buenavista in Breña Alta is surprisingly new. It was founded in 1946, and it’s the only closed order on the island. I was surprised to find out that there are only ten nuns who live there. The convent has a small shop. I first went there about ten years ago, in search of a rosary made of dragon-tree seeds, for a Catholic…

March 25, 2012
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Sopas de miel

Sopas de miel
February 22, 2011

This is a traditional recipe for Carnival in the Canary Islands. A literal translation would be “honey soup” but as you can see, this isn’t soup. It can be rather soggy, though. I believe in some places they use honey, but on La Palma, it’s always “miel de cana”, which is like black treacle or molasses, but a little runnier. Ingredients Molasses (one small jar) 1 tsp cinnamon anis 1…

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Vega Norte Wine

Wines from La Palma have improved enormously in the 20 years since I came here. Partly this is because they’ve created a “Denominación de Origen” which is much the same as the French “Appellation d’origine contrôlée” – you have to pass quality standards to be able to put the words on your bottle. And partly the local wine producers have just plain worked hard. Still, there’s an element of luck…

October 17, 2010
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