Baking Muffins, Scones and Biscuits galore with Elaine Samson by Denise Kildare

March 29th, 2019 by

Eight of us arrived at Elaine’s apartment with our aprons, ready to start and take her expert instruction on Muffins, Scones and Biscuits. She quickly organised us into pairs in her kitchen and allocated us to our stations – chopping, grating, measuring and following the recipes for the first items on our list of baking tasks that day – multitudinous muffin types: breakfast sausage, ham and cheddar, bran and cranberry corn. Despite a lot of chatting, laughter and mistakes, Elaine kept us on task and we were rewarded with a coffee break and the fruits of our labours – we were proud to agree that all of the muffins were delicious!

Elaine quickly had us busy again on making 5 different kinds of scones – English cream tea, cheese and herbs, orange and yogurt and oatmeal and pecan. She started by explaining how a basic scone mix could be adapted using different flours and additions of fruit, nuts amongst other ingredients and warned that over-handling of the dough produces a heavy scone – so a light hand is needed!

We moved straight on from scones to biscuits, though it soon became clear that the definition of biscuit varies from country to country and as we were a group of 6 different nationalities it was a lively discussion! We made shortcake biscuits with strawberries and buttermilk, whole wheat and scallion versions also.

Elaine had prepared lunch for us, a chicken and dumpling stew which we enjoyed with our biscuits, scones and muffins on the terrace. It was such an enjoyable and informative morning, and we were in awe of Elaine’s organisational and teaching skills. She had a tremendous amount of patience with such an unruly class and we are so grateful to her for her time and generosity.

Now, when is the next bake off?…….

Edited by Susannah Grant


Learning to Speak a New Language: The Funny Side, By New Member, Kirsty Leggatt

December 10th, 2014 by

Saludos everyone! I’m so glad to have joined INC and I look forward to meeting you all. My name is Kirsty Leggatt, I’m Australian and I have just moved to Madrid with my husband, Ray. Ray has recently taken up the position of Defence Attaché, Southern Europe at the Australian Embassy and we expect to be here for the next three years.

I’m an erotic romance author (I write under a pen-name) and I’m excited to experience a new city and new adventures that I’m sure will provide unlimited inspiration! My editor is expecting that my next novel will be filled with the excitement, culture and lifestyle of Madrid and I’m itching to get started on a new story.

We’ve only been in Madrid for three months so I haven’t too many stories to share just yet. However I have found out the hard way the embarrassment of mispronunciation! I was shopping recently and told a man that I was interested in his “cojónes” and could I take a closer look please! Needless to say, the look on his face was priceless and immediately alerted me to my faux pas. Of course, I meant to say “cojines” but I was so wrapped up in formulating my sentence that my pronunciation suffered embarrassing consequences. Since arriving in Madrid I’ve developed an odd, throw cushion fetish but I think I’ll put any future purchases on hold after that mortifying little incident!

I also found myself inadvertently accepting a lunch invitation from a strange gentleman in the street. I was quite distracted at the time and wasn’t concentrating on what he was saying and instead I just reacted to his visual cues and assumed that he was making polite conversation. My usual technique of dealing with these situations is to smile and nod and say “si,si, claro, vale.” The next thing I knew I was ushered into a nearby restaurant and was placed at a table, with my impromptu lunch companion sitting opposite and the word “awwkwaard” rattling around my head! I was expecting a lock smith at our apartment at any minute to fix the old, clunky lock on the equally old and clunky enormous front door so I couldn’t even stay for a coffee! I apologised profusely for the confusion and made a polite, albeit, hasty retreat. Note to self — readjust usual communication coping technique, as it doesn’t always work in my favour!

We are still settling in and trying to overcome all of the hurdles that arise with moving to a new country with an unfamiliar language but I’m taking it day by day — all part of the challenge!

Thank you for the opportunity of posting and I look forward to meeting you all!

Kirsty Leggatt

Follow-Up Resources from our November General Meeting, by Patty Ryan

November 24th, 2014 by

NovGM2We had a fabulous turnout for our November General Meeting, flower arranging by new member, Myriam Rico de Casso. She is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about flowers. It was interesting to see how the arrangements are created.  There is a great deal of planning and preparation that goes into making the arrangements before Myriam begins to place the flowers.NovGM1
The good news is that you creative types can try this on your own. You can get together with several friends and place a large order with Myriam. Many shops don’t have one-off items for sale. You must purchase or order large quantities of certain items. Note too, that many garden centres are carrying decorative live moss right now because the nativity scenes that everyone creates for the December holidays call for it. The rest of the season you’ll need to order it.
Those of you that are non-creative with flowers (like me), you can call Myriam and ask her to create an arrangement for you. NovGM4Just don’t wait until the last minute for any of this. It all takes time and planning. Usually a week or more to order items, do plan accordingly.
Below are Myriam’s contact details and a few shops where you may be able to purchase items directly.

Myriam Rico de Casso
Myriam’s Secret

* A6 carretera de A Coruña:
ALAJARDIN, Jardinería Creativa.
Autopista de A Coruña Km. 21,222
28230 Las Rozas – Madrid
Take exit 19 (via de servicio) towards A Coruña
Phone: 91 637 01 72
From Mon to Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat&Sun: 9am – 2pm

* Madrid Center:
Calle Condes del Val 9
Madrid 91 457 48 47

* A1 carretera de Burgos
SHANGAI viveros
c/ de los Dominicos 42
28050 Madrid
Phone: 91 383 85 50
Hours: from 8am to 8pm

‘Tis the Holiday Season – Won’t You Share Your Stories with Us? by Patty Ryan

November 24th, 2014 by

FallHBZ2We were talking turkeys the other day at the Area 4 coffee and it got me thinking….

Thanksgiving at our house, back home, involved serving entirely too much food. That allows for glorious leftovers for many days afterward. Each year we would decide either go to our favourite bakery in town and pick up the pies we ordered a month in advance, or drive out to the beach to our favourite farm stand and wait in line for their hot pies. We had already been out picking our favourite pumpkins, by the barrel-full, before Halloween and those that weren’t carved still adorned the yard and the house. Each year was at a different venue, a different guest list of friends and family, but the menu remained the same year after year. Until we moved to Spain…..

Many of my military and embassy friends have these wonderful large ovens that hold a full turkey in them with a spare rack for some other dish. They can serve up a real Thanksgiving feast with relative ease. (Granted they then must cook for hoards of guests, but I still think they’re fortunate.) I mentioned how I (a civilian) buy a fresh whole turkey and have it cut into quarters so that it fits into my medium-size baking dish. I freeze the other three-quarters and we enjoy four small turkey meals over the coming weeks. That baking dish of mine fits in my tiny European oven on the arms of the inside of the oven, it does’t rest on the rack itself. Precarious yes, but it’s worked all these years. Before I roast the turkey I make stuffing first, the oven is too small to multitask. I toast the bread crumbs in the oven and make the stuffing on the stove top with some spices I have in the cabinet & olive oil. It’s my husband’s mix of spices that meld well with poultry. It doesn’t taste like it does at home but it’s stuffing, and in the end is quite good. I buy the overpriced, long traveled sweet potatoes and because I don’t have two ovens doing four times the work here, I boil and mash the potatoes. I do pick up a few cans of crushed cranberry sauce, even if you don’t like it with the main meal, it’s must for sandwich leftovers. I have even started experimenting in the off-season making pumpkin pie from scratch. This year I may try using squash instead of pumpkin to see if the family notices. (Shhh, don’t tell them.) In the end it’s as close to a Thanksgiving feast as we can create.

PopoversWhat happens at Christmas you ask? Well, after 3 years, last year, I successfully made popovers a key ingredient to our roast and veggie Christmas meal. The rest hasn’t come together but we keep experimenting. The key ingredient missing at Christmas for the kids is all the family that descends upon our house for a traditional Irish breakfast Christmas morning and then a big meal in the late afternoon. Family doesn’t come visit us over the holidays. Maybe this year we’ll change things up and travel around Spain.

I mentioned to the family I was writing this article and over the weekend they set out making popovers. In the morning we had them with jam and butter. In the afternoon they accompanied our soup at lunch. After dinner, we had lemon curd on them. Now everyone is in the holiday spirit!!

What have you done in a foreign land to make your family holidays feel more like home? Or, maybe you’ve taken on a tradition in the country in which you’re living. Won’t you share your adventure with us?FallHBZ1

Giving THANKS to Our Advertisers

November 18th, 2014 by

In my home country, November is a month for giving thanks. We’re thankful for family, friends, and good health, etc.

From an International Newcomers Club of Madrid perspective, we’re thankful for the record number of members we currently have so early in our season, our volunteer Board of Directors that keep our club moving forward, other member volunteers who create small activities for us, and for the support of our online advertisers over this last year.

Next week marks the first anniversary of our completely redesigned INC Madrid website, and not only are we thankful that our viewer numbers are increasing each month, but we thought it fitting to publicly thank our advertisers who supported us in this new and improved home on the world wide web. To those advertisers who had advertised with INC Madrid in our printed Nuevas Amigas newsletter, and who chose to continue with INC in our new online space, and to those new advertisers who are joining us for the first time – we thank you ALL for your support of the International Newcomers Club of Madrid.
Our list of advertisers:

Graphic Advertisers:
The American School of Madrid
Taste of America
Gala Driving School
English for Fun
Dr. Niko Mihic
Computing House
JawDrop Designs

Classified Advertisers:
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church
Congregation Bet El
British Ladies Association and Charity Shop
Charity Shop for Butterfly Children and Rare Diseases
Madrid Parents Support Group
The American Women’s Club
The American Club of Madrid
International Speaking Group
Multilingual Psychotherapist
Jamon Iberico Puro de Bellota
Top Professional Hair Styling Services
Spanish Classes on Skype
High Quality Tailor-made Shirts for Men
Musical Baby, Toddler, and Mom Classes
American Pre-school Program, Ages 1-4
Fun Craft Classes
Personalized Handmade Stationary Items
Fashion: Captain Tortue

If you, your company, or anyone you know maybe interested in advertising with INC Madrid, please have them contact our Advertising Officer, Bea, at

We appreciate your support of the International Newcomers Club of Madrid.
Thank You!

INC in the News with New Member Lisi Fracchia

November 13th, 2014 by

Lisi Jewelry

Longtime friend, since 2006 – a vendor at our GM at Felicia’s home, and now a new member of the International Newcomers Club, Lisi Fracchia, is a world-renowned jewellery designer. Below, you will find the April edition of Harper’s Bazzar Argentina where Lisi talks about starting her jewellery career and how it’s taken off since winning an Iberdesigner Award earlier this year. The original article is in Spanish, and we’ve translated it into English as well. Congratulations Lisi and welcome to INC!

Who is Emily Murphy & What is an Art Advisor? by Emily Murphy

November 4th, 2014 by

One of the questions I´m most often asked is – how did an Irish lass end up becoming a Latin American Contemporary Art specialist based in Madrid?

How impressed would you be if your darling son introduced you to his freckled face, blue-haired, flowery-Dr. Marten boot-wearing girlfriend who sang lead vocals in a power-pop band in Madrid´s Malasaña barrio, her only claim to fame as opening act to the Irish band, The Cranberries! Year? A zillion years ago, before email, social networks, and even G-strings……and way before her own kids came along! Any mother, not just a Spanish madre, surely would be horrified, in shock at the very least! Fortunately the blue dye ran out, the shaved hair grew back, the band broke up, and the freckly-faced Irish girl left for San Francisco to pursue a degree in World & Comparative Literature.

Frisco is a dream place for dreamers. A bikers´ Paradise. Heaven for a fledgling poet. But the harsh reality for a university student in 1997 is that Silicon Valley was making it big, and rents and housing in the Bay Area were outrageous. So with my degree in hand and a lot more knowledgeable about the world, I returned to Madrid. As an International poll recently showed, Madrid city ranks high (5th) on great places to live, to earn a living, and enjoy life, (back in the late 90´s siestas still existed!). Apart from ESL teaching, my patient partner at that time (my Saint today) embarked on a few fun adventures involving setting up Irish pubs at the height of the Irish Pub extranvaganza in Spain. O´Connor´s pub (after my Saint´s Galway Grandmother) on calle Almagro, was buzzing with music, theatre, and cultural events. It was famed as a really happening place. España truly was a great place to be in the 90s but eventually I grew tired of teaching and longed to do some more travelling. Someone offered me a job in New Zealand, which I took, but after a 30 hour flight I knew I wouldn´t stay much longer than it took me to walk the entire three islands. (NZ is paradise, and I would live there in the morning, but when you´re YFS you don´t want to live in paradise). 6 months later I returned to Spain accepting the fact that it´s a hard place to leave except for California. As it happened, my Saint decided to do a Postgrad at Davis University, in Olive Farming as well as Farm Management. This was the first step in what would eventually lead to a Spanish company buying a large chunk of wasteland in a forgotten place north of Santiago, Chile, and turning the place into a sea of olive trees.


There is something about living in any part of South America that will change you, especially if you´re European. For the next few years the landscape of the Cordillera, the snow capped Andes and the chill of the Pacific became home. Chilenos, Uruguayos, Argentinos, though so very different, taught me much about what Spanish civilization must have been like before modernization. These people are soft-spoken, erudite, polite, easy-going, generous, undoubtedly with a huge amount of picaresque but nonetheless decent people (not including politicians). Fortunately I had already read quite a few of their greatest writers (Borges, Onetti, Gabriela Mistral, Neruda) but when visiting their Bellas Artes and Museum collections it came as a great surprise to me that they are also a very visual people. During a visit to a small art fair in Buenos Aires, (the Saint finally married me in an attempt to keep track of me! Or was it that no one else would be so content olive farming in the middle of nowhere!) I had the idea that Spain, more specifically Madrid, would be an excellent location to hold a Latin American Art Auction. And so the idea was born. By this time I had already been considering returning to school to study an art history business course offered at that time by a prestigious auction house here in Madrid. I was pretty sure that if I showed the success of international auction house figures – since the 1980s Christies and Sotheby´s, the world´s leading auction houses, had already seen their Latin American sales increase from 2 million in sales per annum to almost 20 million in less than a decade – I would be able to convince this local Spanish auction house to allow me to organize such a unique event.

Finally, on February 15, 2006, 285 individual lots went under the hammer in what would be an historic night in the Spanish art world. The works had come from as far afield as Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, El Salvador, Santo Domingo, Costa Rica, and the US, mostly Miami and New York. Artists, gallerists, and even a few well-heeled collectors had put their trust in me, an Irish woman with a passion for art. This was the beginning of my art adventure in Madrid.

Inventario detalle peq1-2

A year later, Emily Murphy Art opened its doors with a private exhibition of Eliana Peréz´s ink drawings on coffee stains. Eliana (born in Colombia, lives and resides in NYC) was the first of a series of Latin American artists I showcased before the births of my three children. Travelling to art fairs is not conducive to great parenting, so I took a break from running the private gallery and organizing exhibitions. Now with three healthy boys, (Dylan, 6, Colin 4, Ryan, 2) well on their way to independence, (well at least on Tuesdays!) there´s a little time, just a little mind you, to have some fun back in the art world.

Apart from organizing free and fun gallery walks, I´ve reinvented myself as what is known in the business today as an ART ADVISER.

And the second question I´m most often asked is what does an Art Adviser do?

Emily tour 1

Wikipedia describes Art Finance Advisory as a term referring to a set of financial services provided by consulting firms and marketed to such firms´ clients who are art collectors or artists. I would describe myself as someone who can help you to find the best piece of art for you to love and to keep for the rest of your life at the best possible market price. Yes, you do have to pay for your artwork, but my job is to make each step hassle free, fun, exciting and even though we are in Spain, I´m all for customer friendliness. As well as finding works for clients here in Spain, I also travel to some of the world´s top international artfairs – London, New York, Basel and Miami – now you understand why my Saint really is a SAINT.


Member Spotlights by Patty Ryan

October 28th, 2014 by

Who are the members of INC Madrid, really?

I was remembering Ashleigh’s Nuevas Amigas newsletter column about members. She had revived an old tradition of the Member Spotlight. She wrote a wonderful article about Yvonne St. Clair. Telling us about Yvonne’s years working at Vogue in London when it first started, her travels, her artwork, and how she and her family came to live in Madrid.

We are always in such a hurry these days, and we can’t possibly attend every event and activity each month, nor can we get to know every member in the Club. This additional category to the Blog will help us get to know each other on a deeper level.

While I was thinking about launching this theme, many people came to me at the October General Meeting saying that members would want to know, and should know, what Emily Murphy does as an Art Advisor, for instance. In the meantime, other members had the same idea, and recently sent me articles about themselves. There is a twist, instead of the Blog editor writing these articles, our members will write about themselves.  We would love to learn more about YOU.

Won’t you tell us about yourself?

The Member Spotlight lives on. Check back here to read future instalments.

What is a Member At Large? by Patty Ryan

September 25th, 2014 by

We have several categories of membership at the International Newcomers Club of Madrid. Repeatedly, we hear from members how much INC helped them when they arrived in Madrid. For many, living in Spain is a cherished experience. Staying in contact with INC via our new website allows former members to bring Madrid along wherever they’re next posting takes them.


Member at Large is for INC Members who have moved away from Madrid, and would like to remain connected with INC. Members at Large have all the online, password-protected access afforded to members living in Madrid. They continue to receive all INC communications via email. If a Member at Large is visiting Madrid, and wishes to attend a General Meeting, they would RSVP online like a Madrid member currently does, and pay the guest fee for the event. The Member at Large fee is 20€ annually.


We encourage those of you who have moved away to stay in touch with INC through an At Large Membership. Please consider an At Large membership today. For more information please consult our membership fees page