Spanish Traditional Cooking–The Mortar and Pestle 3

mortar and pestleThe mortar and pestle, a millenary evolution of grinding ingredients between two stones, remains today the most primitive food processor in our kitchens and a basic utensil in traditional Spanish cooking. Used for pounding and muddling mixtures of herbs and spices for sauces (mayonnaise and ali oli, for example), marinades, dry rubs, etc., it is ever present in Spanish kitchens. Can it be replaced by more modern food processors? Yes, but the results are never the same. Where the French use roux for thickening sauces the Spanish often use fried bread crushed, usually with other flavorful ingredients, in a mortar. More…

Traditional Spanish Cooking–Marinades Reply

anchoas vinagrePhoto courtesy of Sabor Gourment.com–This title says “marinades,” though it actually only deals with one: anchoas en vinagre (also known as boquerones en vinagre), fresh anchovies in vinegar. But this is such a simple and quick dish to make, and so delicious, that we’re offering it to you here. The only possible hitch is,  depending upon where you’re located, you might not be able to find fresh anchovies. The rest of the ingredients are easy to locate: white wine vinegar, finely sliced garlic, salt, parsley and, to finish off, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. These delightful pickled fish are omnipresent on Spanish bars and tables, often served on top of a couple of potato chips alongside a cold beer. More…

The Way of St. James–Much More Than Just a Long Journey on Foot 3

Camino Santiago SpainPilgrims from all over the world have followed the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago) for a thousand years. Originally a religious pilgrimage to the apocryphal tomb of St. James, the walk soon became a trade and cultural route, one of the first to unite the north and south of Europe. The pilgrimage remains alive today, and people come from every continent to enjoy the landscapes, the hospitality, and the challenges offered at every stage of the way. Many of them discover much more than a mere long walk. Whichever route you choose, the French one across the Pyrenees, or the Portuguese one that borders the Atlantic, the month of June is an ideal time to start walking! More…

People Who Come to Spain to Stay Reply

Annabella GorlierMost of us didn’t know we were coming to Spain to stay. We just came. Then we never left. This is a video with interviews with 10 people who stayed. They’re from different places–the U.S.A., Holland, Brazil, Argentina, France, the U.K., Italy–and they all agree on one thing: They’re here for the duration.

The one who sums it up best and nicely expresses the sense of  the rest says, “I’ve discovered a Spanish side of me that I like, that I feel very happy with…” Two of them assure us they’re here for the “alegria.” That’s reassuring to those of us in the business of !Alegria! More…

Spanish Food and Restaurants in London Reply

Tapa of musselsThough we don’t usually think of London as a hotbed of Spanish food and restaurants, their presence is on the rise there as elsewhere in the world. This  20-minute video offers an ample introduction to the Spanish restaurants–and let’s not forget the chic tapas bars–the distributors, specialists and the chefs to be discovered and cherished in London. More…

“Spain Gave Me the Opportunity to Create My Own Life” 2

Annabella's kitchen

Annabella’s kitchen

French Painter Annabella Gorlier’s Spanish Lifestyle

French painter, Annabella Gorlier, came to Granada as an Erasmus student and never looked back. A series of unexpected events took her to live with her young family high on a mountainside from where she could fly down to the town whenever she wanted.

Annabella GorlierAnnabella Gorlier never expected to end up living in Spain high on a mountainside with a Spanish compañero who flies and two bi-lingual children. “No,” says Annabella, “but if I had dreamed a life when I was a girl it would have been something similar.” More…

Two Iconic Spanish Products–Saffron and Olive Oil Reply

Spanish Saffron, A Traditional Delicacy

Spanish saffron

Spanish saffron, the finest in the world

Did you ever ask yourself why saffron is so expensive or whether you should crush in in a mortar or steep it in wine or why the best saffron in the world is Spanish? It takes 250,000 crocus flowers to make a kilo (35 oz.) of kitchen-ready saffron. This video should clear up your ideas.

More…

“The Most Beautiful Place We Had Ever Seen…” Reply

Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?

Gillian_Rizgar MoclinWhat happened after love at first sight? “What always happens,” she says. You start working to build a relationship. In our case it was not just with the people, but also the place, starting with the renovation of our new house, which was our first priority. That was a learning experience that put us in touch with all kinds of people in our new village and gave a nice impulse to our Spanish skills. Converting two village houses into one involves a lot of compromises and creativity. In the end we got what we wanted: a spacious home with indoor and outdoor living spaces, views of the castle and the surrounding countryside, as well as some proper office space, something we had always longed for. More…