We Have Moved!

After a bit of time and thought, I have decided to move my writing over to a new blog.  I’ve really enjoyed writing The Boozy Rouge, but have decided to strip my writing back a bit and focus on recipes.

My South East London Kitchen is already up and running.  I hope that you will stop by from time to time and have a read.

Thank you for all of the comments and support on The Boozy Rouge, I hope that you will enjoy our new home just as much.

With love

Gemma x

Pasta with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Chilli

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Pasta with cauliflower, anchovies and chilli

Last week I excitedly collected my first ever veg bag.  After meaning to order one for some time and not quite getting around to it, I finally sat down at my computer and set up a standing order to Local Greens.

There are many veg bag/box schemes out there, but two things attracted me to Local Greens.  First, the veg they provide is from producers as near to south east London as they can manage, reducing food miles and connecting local people with their landscape.  Second, and more importantly, they deliver their veg bags to local ‘collection points’ rather than your home, for you to collect at your leisure.  The issues around home delivery has deterred me in the past from ordering a weekly veg bag or box:  neither my husband nor I are regularly at home during the week, and we live in an apartment building with no convenient place to leave it.  Our Local Greens collection point is the local pub, a few hundred yards away from our house, who will hang on to it for a couple of days so that I can pop in and pick it up when it suits me.

For the home cook, the thrill of fresh produce in the kitchen is unrivalled, and the advantage of receiving produce chosen for you is that you will often receive items that not only would you not have chosen yourself, but that perhaps you have never cooked with before.  Last week’s bounty was all somewhat familiar, but I did find myself with a cauliflower, my least favourite vegetable.

I am still haunted by years of overcooked white mush on the side of a roast dinner.  It must have been in vogue in the 90s to boil it for so long that any hint of structural integrity disappeared, traumatising generations of children.  I have tried to find ways over the years to make this cruciferous monster palatable.  Most of them involve curry as the crevices of a cauliflower soak up the spices rather well.  I turned to my old friend Google for some inspiration and found that many advocate the pairing of cauliflower with pasta. Hmm.

The problem that we’re going to have here is that both ingredients are intrinsically bland; which is why both are so often doused in cheese sauce.  Blending two bland ingredients is only really successful when stronger flavours are introduced, which serve both to perk them up and hold them together.  Cue my two favourite storecupboard staples: anchovies and chilli flakes.  Adding these both to the olive oil at the beginning of the cooking breaks down the anchovies and creates a flavourful paste which gently coats the other ingredients.  I also added a little tomato puree to give the paste more flavour and substance.

The result is a pasta dish that showcases the subtle flavour of the cauliflower perfectly with the other ingredients.  Of course, it would be unjust not to add just a little cheese at the end.  Pecorino is my choice, but other hard cheeses would be just as complimentary.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Chilli

400g dried tortiglioni, rigatoni or other large pasta tubes
1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets and stalks and leaves discarded
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 anchovy fillets
Large pinch dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp tomato paste
Grated pecorino, to serve

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and reserve some of the cooking water.  Keep warm and set aside.

Blanch the cauliflower florets in salted water until they are just tender.  Drain and put in a bowl of ice water to stop them cooking any further.

Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large frying pan, or chef’s pan, and add the garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes.  Stir over a medium heat until the garlic turns golden and the anchovies break down.  Do not let it brown.  Stir in the tomato puree.

Drain the cauliflower florets and toss them, with the pasta, in the anchovy mixture.  You may want to do this in a new large pan or bowl as the frying pan will likely be too small.  Check the seasoning.

Serve in large bowls with a good grating of the pecorino.

Serves four.

One Year Ago:  Leftover Roast Chicken

Introducing My Second Blog…

Recently I’ve been working on a second blog that focuses on my love of sandwiches in London and beyond. I named it Six Hundred and Seven Square miles, which is the size of greater London. Here is my latest post, more on the feuerwurst I had in Buhl market. I hope you enjoy it.

Previous posts can be found here.

Six Hundred and Seven Square Miles

image Feuerwurst from Buhl Market

For the past few days I have been sampling the delights of Baden-Baden; namely of the food, drink and spa variety.  For those not familiar, it is a small town in the Black Forest region famous for its beer and thermal waters.  As with the rest of Germany, it is also the place to go for some seriously good sausages.

A few miles away from Baden-Baden is a small town called Buhl that has a farmers’ market every weekend.  The curse of the hand-luggage holiday always scuppers my plans for shopping in markets as almost everything is over the 100ml limit they allow for liquids on the plane.  Sure, you can buy similar stuff at the airport, but it is three times the price and never as good.  Whilst dragging me away from a stall selling German honey in beautiful glass jars, my husband consoled me…

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A Few Things from Baden-Baden, Germany

I’m not quite sure how, but it is October tomorrow.  It doesn’t really feel like it as it is unseasonably warm in London at the moment, and I just got back from holiday.

For the past few days, Ollie and I have been in Baden-Baden.  If you’re not familiar, it is a little town in Germany’s Black Forest, south of Frankfurt and close to the French border.  It is famous for its thermal waters and its beautiful spas attract people from all over the region.  We spent quite a considerable amount of time at the Carcalla Baths.  It was a holiday after all.

As well as this, there was, of course, lots of eating and drinking.  Here are a few highlights:

 

Beer
Much to my constant dismay, I have never liked beer.  Fortunately, my husband is rather a fan and got to sample quite a few different beers during our time there.  With Oktoberfest imminent, a lot of the bars were promoting their own hausbrau.  Two of the best were at Amadeus and Lowenbrau.  The latter has a really nice beer garden.

 

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Flammkuchen
This is an Alsace speciality that is also known as Tarte Flambee on the French side of the border.  It is a very thin, almost pizza-like dough, traditionally topped with sour cream, bacon and onions.  We ate at the Theaterkeller, where they have a number of different varities of flammkuchen, including this one with breasola.

 

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Black Forest Cake
No trip to the Black Forest is complete without sampling the schwarzenwalden kirschetorte, the region’s most famous cake.  Many were put off by the old Sara Lee frozen desserts of the 1990s, but the real deal is a thing of beauty.  Light chocolate sponge, slightly-boozy-slightly-sour cherries and an abundance of blousy whipped cream.

 

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Sausages
As ubiquitous in Germany as good beer, you never have to look hard to find a good sausage.  We found these at a farmers’ market in the small town of Buhl, just outside of Baden-Baden; three euros for a gargantuan sausage in bread.  We both opted for the feuerwurst, a sausage heavily spiced with paprika and chilli, and doused it in dijon mustard.  Three euros.

 

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More Cake
You could eat cake every day for a year in Baden-Baden and never be satisfied.  I cannot help but love a place that takes baking so seriously.  This was another favourite cake from the trip, from a small riverside bakery in Buhl: a chocolate and almond cake topped with sweet apricots.

 

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Burgers
Not really a German speciality, but I always like to try the local take on a burger.  This one was from Leo’s, a famous Baden-Baden restaurant where Bill Clinton apparently dined.  It was 18 euros, but it was also very good.  The meat was excellent quality and cooked medium (not quite medium-rare, sadly) and the other components worked well.  My husband had an excellent fillet steak for not much more money, that came with béarnaise sauce and dauphinoise.  A rare case of food envy.

 

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Doughnuts
There’s only so many times you can quote Ich bin eine Berliner whilst holding a doughnut.  This one came from a bakery in a small village called Steinbach.  The only thing open on a Sunday morning for miles.  Luckily they did coffee too.

One Year Ago:  Five Spice Duck Legs.

Autumn Nights

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Root vegetable and pearl barley stew (with ham hock)

The other day I went for an afternoon nap and awoke with a shock that I had slept long into the night.  It was only 6.30pm and yet it was already dark.  The recent rise in temperatures had led me into a false sense of security that we are back in the days of glorious summer, but alas, the seasons have definitely changed.  I’ve even started to mention the ‘C’ word (not that one… the one that ends with ‘hristmas’.)

The thing is that I am rather looking forward to a couple of months of hibernation before the party season begins, spending a lot of time at home and lazily meeting friends for walks in the park or drinks in the local pub.  No elaborate plans involving picnics or trips to roof terraces preceded by a nail-biting surveillance of the Met Office in case unseasonal rain threatens to scupper the plans.  The wedding invitations have been filed, the BBQ covered for the winter and the beachwear put into storage.  Time for some nights in.

With the threat of going out in beachwear in public now removed for a few months, it is also a time to indulge in some comfort food.  Huge bowls of things that can be eaten on the couch whilst watching television; and the roast meats and billowing Yorkshire puddings on offer in pubs that fuel a good stomp in the woods afterwards.  Custard on absolutely everything.  Not a time to get fat, exactly, but a time to nourish out the threat of the cold.

I make a lot of stews and soups in the cooler months.  The vegetables that are in abundance at this time of year lend themselves to being cooked in a broth until soft.  This particular stew can be adapted to use up almost any ingredients that you have in the fridge:  old potatoes, leftover carrots, leafy greens or just about anything else.  It is cooked very simply in a mixture of stock and white wine and made substantial by the addition of pearl barley.  45 minutes on the hob and its is ready.

Using vegetable stock in this stew will make it vegetarian, but recently I have developed a bit of a habit of adding some cold cooked meat to the top after it has been served up.  The contrast in temperatures does what a spoonful of sour cream does to a soup or chilli, and it just gives it that little extra robustness.  Leftover roasted meats are good for this, especially chicken or turkey, but I also love Waitrose’s pulled ham hock.  It costs about £2.90 for two small packets and is also fabulous in pies or sandwiches.

Root Vegetable Stew with Pearl Barley

40g butter
Olive oil
1 leek, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces
1 baking potato, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
100g pearl barley
75ml white wine
1l vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat the butter in a large saucepan with a little olive oil.  Add the leek, carrots, parsnips and potatoes and cook over a medium heat for around five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, barley, white wine, vegetable stock and tomato puree.  Bring to a simmer and cook for around 45 minutes until the vegetables and barley are tender.  Remove the bay leaf, stir in the parsley and check the seasoning before serving.

Viva Espana

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There’s always something bittersweet about arriving home from your holidays.  On one hand, you have your own bed, your own bath and your own kitchen to look forward to.  On the other, the grim realities of work, unpacking and two weeks’ worth of post to open leave you wishing you were still on the beach.  My arrival home, with the smell of suntan lotion still on my skin and my head still fuzzy from the Rioja of the night before, was a whole new chapter: life as a married woman.  With still a few days at my disposal before I had to face the world, I curled up on my much-missed couch to reminisce about my gastronomic adventures in Spain.

Our journey began in San Sebastian with our wedding.  It is a place so magnificent that I could write pages and pages on its many charms.  Once you arrive, step off the bus from Bilbao Airport and walk the 20 or so minutes through the commercial district, you end up at the main square that links the old town to the enormous sweeping beach, La Playa de la Concha, and you realise why it is beloved by so many.  The food, which it is so famous for, does not disappoint and you can be equally as satisfied trawling the many pintxos bars as you can at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants.  Of course, it’s not all that San Sebastian has to offer, but it is the draw that entices people there.  It is the food that I will mainly talk about, and leave the rest as little surprises to discover for yourself.

It was only during my most recent trip to the city, in March of this year, that I realised how seriously the Basques took gin and tonic.  Before this, I had always focused on the wine (and with the close proximity to La Rioja, how could you not?) but a conversation with my wedding planner alerted me to the fact that you can get a damned good G&T there too.  Far from the single-shot-in-a-tumbler-and-lime-if-you’re-lucky treatment you would expect to receive in your archetypal British pub, the San Sebastian gin and tonic is a work of art.  To start with, a double measure is standard, although you will find that few actually use a measure and free pour up to 100ml of gin into the glass.  The glass of choice is an enormous fishbowl glass, filled with large cubes of ice, and then the gin.  To this they add flavours to enhance the gin, largely fruits and spices.  The tonic is added to just the right quantity and the whole thing delicately stirred.  The strength of the first sip will make you sit up, but you will soon become accustomed.

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Gin and tonic from the hotel bar at Barcelo. Costa Vasca, San Sebastián

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Gin and tonic alchemy at La Gintoneria, San Sebastián

The best gin and tonic I have found in San Sebastian is at La Gintoneria in Gros.  Their gin menu is an extensive collection of gins from all over the world, including the excellent Gin Mare, distilled in a small village not far from Barcelona.  The staff at La Gintoneria understand the use of different added ingredients to enhance the flavour of the botanicals in the gin.  From where I was sitting I spied a stock of juniper berries, grapefruit, cucumber, cardamom pods, rose petals and pink peppercorns.  The drinks, of course, are wonderful, but it is also worth a trip over here for the theatre of their making them.

La Gintoneria, Zabaleta 6, San Sebastian.

Pintxos, the Basque word for small plates or tapas, are ubiquitous across the city and are the preferred way of eating light in the evening following lunch, traditionally the larger meal of the day.  My brother’s arrival from Melbourne with his girlfriend was the perfect excuse for a pintxos crawl around the old town.  Our first stop was, at is very often is, Astelena, a small bar hidden in the corner of Constitucion Plaza.  It was recommended to us on our first visit for its grilled meats and fish and we have since sampled many of their brochetas including an excellent prawn and chorizo skewer.  The best dish on the menu, however, by far is the carrileras, slow cooked beef cheeks served in a rich gravy with a slice of grilled pineapple.  The meat is so tender that a knife is surplus to requirements and the bread basket that accompanies your order throughout the whole of Spain, is perfect for mopping up the sauce.  They have some very good reds at the bar and few over three euros a glass.

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Slow cooked beef cheeks at Astelena, San Sebastián

Astelena, Calle Inigo 1, San Sebastián.

Many people I know that visit San Sebastian on a regular basis agree that some of the best pintxos in San Sebastian are to be found at Atari Gastroteka in the old town.  It’s one of those seemingly unstoppable places that seems to get better with each visit.  When we go at lunchtime, we will usually order a glass of wine and choose a few pintxos from the extensive selection on the bar – they have the same form of things on bread and sticks as the other bars, but with a slightly more leftfield range of ingredients, such as cured salmon and brie that are seldom found elsewhere.  My favourite pintxo is a combination of black olive tapenade, goats cheese, sunblush tomato and serrano ham.  When we visit in the evening, we prefer to find a table and order from the menu.  On our last visit we feasted on delicious jamon croquetas and fois gras and apple puree on walnut toasts.

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A selection of pintxos at Atari, San Sebastián

Atari Gastroteka, Calle Mayor 18, San Sebastián.

I have a bit of a thing for Gros, the less-visited area on the otherside of the bridge, beyond the Kursaal building.  Not only does it have an excellent beach and some beautiful squares, it also has some excellent bars and restaurants that could rival the old town.  La Gintoneria is to be found among its haphazard streets, as well as the wonderful Bar Bergara and a great pizza-pintxos place I can never remember the name of.  My favourite of all is the wonderful Bodega Donostiarra, which has some of the most traditional examples of pintxos to be found in the city.  You won’t find piled-high morsels of extravagance here, but rather the more modest-looking Gildas (anchovies, olives and pickled chillies on sticks – named after Rita Hayworth’s iconic character) as well as plated of jamon and salt cod.  It is their menu, rather than their bar selection, that holds all of the gems.  A salad of vinegary tuna, anchovies and olives is a must, as are their famous chicken wings – tender with a crispy skin and doused in an indecent amount of garlic butter.

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A salad of olives, onions, anchovies, pickled chillies and bonito at Bodega Donostiarra, San Sebastián

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Chicken wings at Bodega Donostiarra, San Sebastián

Bodega Donostiarra, Calle de Pena y Goni 13, San Sebastián.

Our wedding, with 36 guests, was held on the terrace of La Perla de La Concha, which overlooks the beach of the same name.  We were lucky that the temperamental San Sebastian weather was kind to us as this spot has one of the most picturesque views of the bay.  For dinner, we took our guests to our favourite restaurant in the old town, Bodegon Alejandro.  We stumbled upon this one day during a pintxos crawl and were unable to resist the menu, simply displayed on the front door.  Much like Bodega Donostiarra, this restaurant offers a very traditional kind of Basque cuisine, done very, very well.

We started the meal with creamy potato croquetas and plates of acorn-fed Iberico ham, served over a crispbread that was smashed to pieces at the table by a waiter brandishing a stone pestle.

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Potato croquettes and Iberico ham at Bodegon Alejandro, San Sebastián

This was followed by a cold lasagne of ratatouille, topped with delicious fresh anchovies and accompanied by a gazpacho cream.

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Cold-marinated anchovies lasagne with gazpacho cream at. Bodegon Alejandro, San Sebastián (photograph by Simon Steadman)

Merluza, or hake, is traditionally eaten in the Basque region and can be found on most pintxos and restaurant menus.  The traditional way to serve it is with a tomato-based sauce, however for our menu we had the fish served atop olive oil crushed potatoes and a particularly zingy citrus vinaigrette.  The hake at Bodegon Alejandro is the most beautiful fish I have had anywhere – soft as butter with a crispy skin and delicate in flavour.

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Hake with olive oil crushed potatoes and citrus vinaigrette at Bodegon Alejandro, San Sebastián (photograph by Simon Steadman)

The main course was a meltingly tender boned shoulder of lamb served with a simple potato puree and a punchy confit garlic cream.

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Slow cooked boneless shoulder of lamb with potato purée and garlic confit cream at Bodegon Alejandro, San Sebastián

For dessert we chose something traditional of the region: a piece of caramelised french toast accompanied by a subtle cheese ice cream.

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Caramelised french toast with cheese ice cream at. Bodegon Alejandro, San Sebastián

Bodegon Alejandro, Calle Fermin Calbeton 4, San Sebastián.

Driving the 1,000km from San Sebastian to our honeymoon destination of Andalucia was a great way to see the diversity of the Spanish landscapes.  The relatively luscious greenery of the Basque country and the mountainous north gives way to vast swathes of industrial land before hitting the urban metropolis of Madrid, where we stayed one night to break up the journey.  South of Madrid is a different beast altogether with miles and miles of farmland, the spectacular heights of the Sierra Nevada and finally the barren, almost desert-like plains of Andalucia.

Our priority was a few days of relaxation, so we headed to the beachside town of Nerja which, we were told, was quieter than the better-known nearby towns of Marbella and Torremolinos.  After marvelling at the size of the room and the hotel’s proximity to the beach, we decided to wander into the town, which is where I very quickly realised that Nerja is not really a place for culinary adventures.  Most of the restaurants were aimed at tourists and, try as we might, we couldn’t seem to find anywhere that was off this trail.  Although some of the food is local and traditional, the quality wasn’t that great.  Most of the dishes came with chips and rice and bread, and almost every menu, regardless of cuisine, had spaghetti bolognaise on it.  After a disappointing (frozen) fried sole on the first night, we were glumly anticipating the next few dinners until, on the following day, we stumbled, quite literally, across Pepe Mese on Playaso Beach.

It was just what we were looking for:  a slightly rustic, almost shack-like, building with a view of the sunset, populated by mostly Spanish locals and not a lurid cocktail with a sparkler in sight.  When I saw the men, I almost clapped my hands with glee.  A World Cup game was playing on the television and we feasted on a plate of plump grilled squid doused in garlic butter and crispy matchsticks of fried aubergine drizzled with sweet cane honey.

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Grilled squid at Pepe Mesa, Nerja

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Deep fried aubergines with molasses at Pepe Mesa, Nerja

When dinner time rolled around the following night we, unsurprisingly, eschewed the brightly-lit restaurant strips of the main town and returned to Pepe Mese.  This time I ordered the dish I order on any menu: fried fish (or fritto misto if you’re on other shores).  This one did not disappoint:  a large plate of squid, hake, octopus and anchovies, coated in a crisp, paprika-spiked batter.  We squeezed over the juice of two gargantuan lemon wedges and attacked it with gusto, knocking back some rather good white wine as we did so.  If there was a meal to be had as the sun goes down and the smell of wood smoke hangs in the air, this is it.

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Mixed fried fish at Pepe Mesa, Nerja

Pepe Mese, Playa de Playaso, Nerja.

It was easier to find good food at our next stop, Ronda, although the majority of restaurants were still aiming for the generic tourist market.  As we walked through the old town and the area surrounding the beautiful puento nuevo (‘new bridge’ – google image it), we saw a number of brightly coloured menus on billboards, in various languages offering, among other things, spaghetti bolognaise.  A few gems were to be found outside of this area.  At the northern end of the Calle Jerez, we came across a small rustic tapas bar called Tapas de Ronda, which was our first stop in the town.  Following a short conversation with a waitress in my terrible broken Spanish I returned to the table to confess to Ollie that I was not entirely sure what I had ordered.  What came to the table was a selection of cold tapas:  potatoes in aioli, Russian salad (everywhere in Andalucia), tomatoes stuffed with tuna and a wedge of potato tortilla.  Just what we needed after a hot drive through the mountains.  Luckily, I knew the word for anchovies – boquerones – so we found ourselves with a plate of them, tender and pungent and with the usual excessive amount of garlic we had started to become very used to.

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Boquerones at Tapas de Ronda, Ronda

The following evening, our appetites were raging after cycling the round trip to a village called Benaojan, 17km from Ronda and 538m above sea level, so we were after something a little more substantial than tapas.  A friend had recommended Bodega San Francisco, located just south of Ronda’s old town for a good place to get some rustic and authentic Andalucian food.  I was keen to try the oxtail, a local speciality sometimes listed on menus as ‘bull’s tail’, probably due to translation.  We ordered two plates of the hearty oxtail stew and were delighted to find the meat tender and falling from the bone and a rich tomato sauce spiced with pimenton.  Alongside this we ordered a somewhat generous plate of pimientos de padron, grilled to the point where there is the slightest of charring and sprinkled liberally with coarse sea salt.

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Pimientos de Padron at Bodega San Francisco, Ronda

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Oxtail at Bodega San Francisco, Ronda

Our final stop on the trip was the Andalucian capital of Seville, to me the most romantic of all Spanish cities.  I had visited once before, in 2010, and was keen to show Ollie some of the places I had visited and loved, primarily the Real Alcazar and its magnificent gardens and the Plaza d’Espana.  Without a list of restaurants to try out and with our budget slightly depleted, we found ourselves in the peculiar situation of not focusing mainly on food.  Our plan was to set about sampling the city’s tapas as we found it.  Many restaurants have a ‘menu del dia’ with a particular dish on offer for that day, and we found that a good place to start.  I was glad to see that bacalao, or salt cod, was as widespread here as in the Basque region, and could often be found in wonderful little hot sandwiches that cost no more than two euros a piece.  Other highlights were some delicious chorizo, a bomba la Barcelonetta, a take on the ham-studded potato croqueta with a rich tomato sauce; and a meaty chickpea stew, typical of the nearby sherry-producing city of Jerez.

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Jerez-style chickpea stew at Vapiano, Seville

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Bomba la Barcelonetta at Bar Europa, Seville

Going off the beaten track and into the north of the city showed us a different side to eating out in Seville.  The neighbourhood restaurants are less ornate than those you will find in the jumbled streets of the old town or the grand boulevards around the cathedral, but they have a rustic charm and are much better value.  You won’t find the restaurants in any of the guide books, but the quality of the food is such that it is worth getting out of the tourist areas to dine with the locals.  At Meson La Esquina we paid three euros for a large plate of perfectly tender slow cooked pork cheeks in the kind of rich tomato and paprika sauce that is typical to this region – it was one of the most flavoursome pork dishes I had ever tasted and could have easily eaten more.  A plate of calamari was excellent and the patatas bravas perfectly adequate, but the pork cheeks were the star.  The place was packed with local people and had a really buzzing atmosphere.  After dinner, we walked a little further down the street to watch Belgium vs. USA with some typically enormous gin and tonics (in fishbowls, of course) for the bargain price of five euros a piece.

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Calamari at La Meson Esquina, Seville

Meson La Esquina, Calle Astronomica 2, Seville.

For a substantial meal on the go, there are a number of places around the city selling huge portions of fried fish for very little money – think of them as Andalucian fish and chip shops if you will.  In fact, in appearance they are quite similar to their British counterparts – a formica counter at the front with the menu up behind to order from, open glass display fronts and little tables around which families crowd.  One particular restaurant, La Isla, was recommended by a fellow south-east Londoner, Hollow Legs, who had visited the city some months previously.  The menu contains a number of different fish options and is priced by weight.  A quarter of a kilo of fried dish, which the waiter assured me was enough for one person, was around six euros.  We ordered half a kilo of the mixed fish (always a favourite), which came in a lacy paper cone with a small sprinkling of salt.  The side order de jour is not chips as we know them in the UK, but crisps.  Although I saw a lot of people tucking in, my Britishness took over and couldn’t quite face eating them with the fish.  Our mixture was a medley of hake, prawns, squid, cuttlefish and some little battered bundles of hake roe which were, surprisingly, the best of the bunch.  A perfect stomach liner for a night of drinking and dark bar flamenco at La Caboneria.

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La Isla, Calle Garcia de Vinuesa, Seville.

If my heart belongs to London, my stomach defintely belongs to Spain.

Out of Office

Is there any greater feeling than when you finish up at work before your holidays and put your out of office on?

In this case, it is both a great feeling and a sad one.  As I may have mentioned before, I am getting married in a couple of weeks and the preparations for this and my honeymoon, as well as tying up all of my work before taking three weeks off, is taking up a huge amount of my time.  So I have decided to take a short hiatus from blogging whilst I get all of this done. 

I will be back online in early July.  In the meantime, I am still posting on Twitter (@boozyrouge) and on Instagram (boozyrouge).

Until then…