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Tapas no.4: Ensalada Campera from Movida Rustica


Next up is a dish that may seem a bit simple to some, but it is one of my favourite things to order on a hot day in Spain and I was so pleased when I was reminded of it. When talking potato salad in the UK or Oz, most people think mayonnaise. Of course, mayonnaise has its place – indeed in Spain Ensalada Rusa, a potato salad which has more mayonnaise than it does potato is very popular – but in the height of summer it is this light and fresh salad of potatoes dressed in vinegar and olive oil that win my heart and apparently Camorra’s too,

“Mum would always have a potato salad in the fridge over summer: roughly cut potatoes, ripe tomatoes, onions, olives and a little egg. A little plate of this makes a great lunch on a hot day.”

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Tapas no.3: Pinchos from Movida Rustica

Updated on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 11:10AM by Registered CommenterVix

I lived in Seville for three months in 2008 and Granada for 3 months in 2002. One of my favourite of the tapas I ate while I was there were the adobos de pollo or "pinchos". Usually made with chicken, these salty, spicy skewers were served all throughout Andalucia with a piece of crusty bread to mop up the juices. I was over the moon when I found the recipe in Movida Rustica.

Now I have to admit that this recipe does not produce results as good as some I have tried in Andalucia, but I think that is because I love the ones I am used to and this is different. If you have ever tried to replicate a favourite dish you will know what I mean. I will try to play around with this recipe next time to get it closer to what I know, but in the meantime this is a very nice, if not quite right, rendition.

The recipe below makes 12 tapas or 6 raciones (larger portions). If you are only cooking for 4-6 people and serving the pinchos as part of a selection of tapas, I would recommend halving the recipe.

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Tapas no.2: Alcachofas con jamón from Movida Rustica

In Andalucia, Southern Spain, it is rare to come across vegetables when dining out. Apparently, this is because the locals eat a lot of vegetables at home so when they go out they prefer to order meat and fish. Perhaps this is why one of the first dishes that caught my eye when I was flicking through Movida Rustica was the Alcachofas con Jamón. I love artichokes, but I never saw one in my entire time living in Andalucia, although the addition of jamón in vegetable dishes is familiar making a vegetarian’s passage through Spain even more trying.

“In Zaragoza there is a small suburban restaurant owned by a man who has made his life studying jamón. He is a brilliant cortador … who jokingly says he sold his soul to the devil to be able to cut jamón so well. ... This is one of the dishes he served me one day: brilliantly soft artichokes in a delicate jamón and sherry-flavoured sauce.”

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Tapas no.1: Russian Roulette with Movida Rustica

I recently revisited a recipe book that has been sitting on my shelf for over a year but which I have never actually made anything from. This is not unusual; many of my recipe books only serve the purpose of making me hungry every now and then when I am silly enough to flick through them on an empty stomach.

When I started the blog I resolved to try out more new things. Instead of just using my recipe books for inspiration and then going off on my own tangent in the kitchen, I thought I should make an effort to try out the original recipe first time. In the process, I have become more open to new ideas. I have come to respect traditional recipes more, rather than trying to make things more interesting, namely by adding more of the things I like.

So when I flicked through Movida Rustica: Spanish Traditions and Recipes, apart from making myself very hungry – I resolved to make some of the wonderful tapas dishes that Frank Camorra discovered on the year he “travelled around Spain researching recipes from the Spanish people, from the chefs of Madrid to the widows of Galicia”.

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Jamie's Italian, for a balanced perspective

“Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story” my Dad has always said, and I have to say I quite agree. It is common practice to take a bit of poetic license when recounting an anecdote, particularly if it will lend comic value.

If you read my last post on The Nut Tree Inn you may see where this is heading. In that post I did not so much exaggerate the truth as leave out certain facts that would have given context to the boyfriend’s mood that day. I did make reference to his efforts to keep me happy in the food department but, since the small window where he showed his frustration provides more humorous material, the reference was fleeting and is likely to have been overlooked.  Therefore, I thought it only fair to follow up that post with the details of a meal earlier that weekend; this time the jokes on me.

Another perk of the boyfriend’s job is that he travels a lot overseas and so he also stays in a lot of hotels. As a member of the Intercontinental Hotels group this means he clocks up lots of points towards free accommodation. One of the facts that went unmentioned in Tuesday’s post was that he kindly used one of his free nights to treat me to that weekend away.

Now the boyfriend knows well that I have a one track mind and if I am to be convinced to set foot outside London food will have to be fairly high on the agenda. And he almost always acquiesces to my demands, often going well beyond the call of duty to appease me. Our trip to Jamie’s Italian was such an occasion.

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