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"Significantly, the charge (if it is a charge) has been levelled at the gastronomic essay and the 'learned' cookery book that they have an affinity with pornography. Certainly, both gastronomy and pornography dwell on pleasures of the flesh, and in gastronomic literature as in pornography there is vicarious enjoyment to be had." 

Stephen Mennell

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Entries in potato (6)

Monday
Jun132011

Tapas no.5: Two tortillas

 

As you may have gathered, I am loving the Movida Rustica book, but one thing I have found is that it tends towards more obscure recipes using unusual or ‘fancy’ ingredients which, apart from being difficult to source, are not fully representative of the type of food one finds in a typical Spanish restaurant. I was surprised, for example, that there is no recipe for tortilla de patatas  or Spanish omelette, a dish that you would have to go very far out of your way to avoid when dining out in Spain, or at least in Andalucia. Fortunately, my host Mum in Seville taught me the tricks of the trade and, although I have still never made one as good as hers, I am getting closer with each try.

The first recipe below is for a traditional Spanish tortilla based on Carmen’s recipe. I asked Carmen why my tortilla was never as good, I talked her through my recipe and at the first step we discovered my main problem; I was cooking the garlic. Carmen puts her garlic in raw, or at least some of it, and WOW does it make a difference. In addition to parboiling her potatoes, Carmen also deep fries them. However, I don’t think this makes a significant difference to the flavour and given this is already a high calorie dish it seems a bit like overkill.

The second recipe is from Movida Rustica, a spinach and white bean tortilla in saffron sauce. I have made this several times now, sometimes substituting asparagus for spinach. I have to admit to being a bit of a traditionalist and still favouring tortilla de patatas, but this is great if you are hosting a tapas themed dinner party and want to impress with something more exotic. 

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Friday
Jun102011

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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Wednesday
Mar022011

Skin-on chips with Bloody Mary ketchup and celery salt

It is unusual for me to post two nights in a row, but I really had to move the pictures of sausage stew down the page a bit. A friend of mine told me that at first glance the thumbnail on Facebook looked like the inside of a Portaloo after a festival. She quickly followed this up by saying that when she looked closer she realised what it was and it sounded delicious. Note she said "sounded" not "looked". 

The empty fridge problem endures, but I have a notepad full of recipes that I have cooked and photographed, but haven’t got round to writing up yet.

I would like to say that I chose the skin on chips because I just couldn’t wait to share them with you, but the real reason is that they are straightforward and require little in the way of a preamble. Still, for those of you who liked the look of the Bloody Mary ketchup I posted a few weeks ago, this is a nice way to use it up.

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Tuesday
Oct192010

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Roast breast of lamb with fennel salt

Updated on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 10:00PM by Registered CommenterVix

A colleague sent me an email last week asking whether I had any ideas for what he should feed his five flatmates on Friday night. My advice must sit within the following parameters: it had to be good and nothing “too crazily adventurous, just something I might be able to cook given my mediocre skills in the kitchen”. Well, where should I start? Are we talking one course or three? Animal or vegetable? Cold or hot? The possibilities are endless.

I wrote back to that effect and was given a few further pointers: meat yes, fish no, veg yes, mains only, and “wintery is cool though not anything too wintery like stew” (there goes that idea). This was slightly more helpful, though it still leaves the food enthusiast with far too many options than is sensible, particularly if you are not too bothered about the answer (I never did get a response).

Since he had not specified a type of meat (and as it gave me an excuse to deviate longer from the rather boring task I was undertaking at the time) I suggested a chicken, a lamb and a beef option, one of which was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Roast breast of lamb with fennel salt

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Thursday
Sep232010

Zapecena Riba, hrvatski for baked fish

I had originally intended to spend this week celebrating the last of the summer sun by recreating all my favourite seafood dishes from my week in Croatia. However, there was a slight flaw in this plan: seafood, or lack thereof.  

I work 9 to 5 and the only decent fishmonger in my corner of London is open 8.30 to 5, which doesn’t leave a very large window. So I have had to make do with Sainsbury’s, which means sacrificing not only on flavour and freshness, but also on range. I didn’t really expect to find octopus or scampi on the Sainsbury’s fish counter, but I thought mussels would at least be a safe bet. Well, apparently they are out of season at the moment, although I have read other sources that suggest otherwise. I hope to make it to the fishmongers this weekend, but in the meantime, rather than substitute ingredients for the dishes I had planned, I have decided instead to find some alternative Dalmatian recipes to suit what was on offer.

Of the various recipes I found online, this one was the most reminiscent of the food I experienced on the Dalmatian coast; fresh produce cooked simply with minimal seasoning so that the flavours speak for themselves.

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