Reading George's blog Culinary Travels of a Kitchen Goddess yesterday; my day for catch-up, the thought struck me that she really does know and enjoy her food. In someone who's just celebrated their 25th birthday I kind of suspect that she is something of a rarity these days.
To reflect on her piece on Tapas, the eponymous Spanish 'snack' food; DG and I escaped to Spain shortly after my fortieth birthday. I didn't want a party, but I did want to celebrate in style; which I did, this being my first foreign holiday since 1988!
One of our many destinations; on that trip, was the city of Grenada, in Andalucia. Just one and a half hours drive from Malaga this city is renowned for its Tapas and The Alhambra. That evening as we strolled around the city, DG spotted the suckers of a whole squid; winking at him from behind a glass fronted bar. The result? We visited a thriving Mexican Cantina instead ...
Sadly our palates remained ignorant of the delights of Tapas until we reached the small town of Guadix, an hours drive to the east. Having checked into our Troglodyte hotel, we ambled down to the on site restaurant and discovered Spain. Everything about modern Spain was present, from the people, the music - two guys with a keyboard, TV, the wine, the beer and most especially the food - Tapas!
To be honest, the whole experience of Guadix was sheer bliss, despite an unpromising start. A friendly Spanish gypsy man soon sorted that out, with his excellent directions in a heavily accented language we could barely understand(I'm not being funny with my description; we were in what is known as the gipsy quarter of the town). Regardless, our guide made certain that we understood him, repeating himself several times and pointing us in the general direction of "Murthia..."
It was that night that Pope Jean Paul 2nd passed away. Although we couldn't understand the language or hear it over the din in the restaurant, we soon got the general gyst of things. With sore heads and full bellies we slept soundly in the cool of the cave; its earthen insulation completly obliterating the noise of the adjacent motorway. As we reluctantly checked out in the morning each vowed to the other that one day we would make a return visit; this place was too good to miss.
On account of the previous evenings events the next day; Sunday was quiet. The magnificent cathedral doors firmly locked against all intruders; perhaps this was to do with the lateness of our arrival, but something tells me otherwise. Having taken our fair share of the obligatory photographs we suddenly got the smell of something tasty rising from the square below us.
Given the day that was in it, we were justly surprised to discover a tiny tapas bar, situated in what can only be described as a hut. Crammed with sweaty Spaniards and one small boy, the television in the corner commanded every one's attention; this was no place for a woman, so I waited quietly outside while DG ordered.
Moments later the two bottle's of beer arrived at our table; followed by a terracotta device filled with oil, interestingly shaped like a pig. Our waiter appeared and reappeared, first with the beers, then the burner, then the bread and finally a packet of matches and two chorizo; a local spicy sausage, on bamboo skewers on a plate. The end result of this impromptu barbecue was the most fantastic taste sensation I've ever had and definitely I will be returning for more of the same.
These days we are reduced to the children helping themselves to chorizo unannounced from the fridge. Usually the first hint of this is when I get the distinctive aroma drifting down the hallway, announcing their somewhat dodgy activities in the kitchen. They cut the chorizo into bite sized chunks and barbecue it on a bamboo skewer over the naked flame of my gas cooker!
Needless to say, this is not the most ideal way of cooking, especially for kids aged 10 & 13 3/4; but each time they've done it it has been without my awareness until that lovely smell assails my nostrils. By that time it's too late! I thank God that they are both competent cooks and are careful in the kitchen.
It's a shame that they aren't much in the washing-up and tidying away stakes. Somehow though, I think I can forgive their sins when they present me with chorizo barbecued just the way they do in Guadix!
I'm getting hungry, just at the thought of it. So it's off to the kitchen for a light snack of fair trade tea, hot buttered toast and fig conserve; my latest addiction - after the computer, that is! Then I'm off to my studio to make a start on some more hand-made greeting cards, check 'em out, you might find something of interest...
What out for them man eating Chorizo's!