There is a lot going on today. We stuffed our bird yesterday. It had apparently been deboned with a sledgehammer and had to be sown with extra care. For the first time my daughter took part in the proceedings, pointing out where feathers had to be pulled out, and cutting the thread. We made a pot of stock, for the gravy, and in case anyone wants a cup of broth at some point.
I also made jelly with some tangerines my father brought, sent from Valencia and picked that very morning.
This morning it's been custard, to top the jelly, and two batches of the pearl (onion) jam. Done in a bit sautee pan this time and much better for it.
Dried chestnuts have been simmered in syrup. Apples were supposed to be made into sauce but I forgot about them and they are now caramelized (ahem).
We only have to roast the bird and then the potatoes. There is a jar of goose fat waiting.
And because the kitchen is run over, lunch is every man for himself. Anyone not going out for tapas can find ham hock rillettes in the fridge, made last Sunday.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some cañas to catch up on.
I hope you have a lovely holiday, rain or no rain.
Well. Not "have to" so much as "have to". I mean, I want to do it, but it's given me a bad case of blogger's block, and if I don't get it out soon it's going to dry up lobstersquad completely. Not that anyone would care, but still.
The thing is, a couple of months ago (!) I received a sweet email from someone who not only gave me a really good recipe for cabbage salad but also offered to send me some samples of Puro Fairtrade coffee to review.
And I blithely said "yes". Like I had any idea how.
And have I enjoyed it? Of course I have. Of course. It really is lovely coffee. Fairtrade is really the only quality that I can't ruin with my coffee making methods, which are on the rough and ready side. The whole Puro coffee story is wonderful, and you can check it out on this video, which tells you the whole story much better than I could.
The best news in all this? Puro Fairtrade coffee only sells to coffee shops and other professional outlets. So it's not up to me (or you?) to ruin a good cup . I have recently found that a small café in my neighbourhood serves it, so I can get my fix in a much more convenient and delicious way.
I wish I could make an informed critique of the differences between the different coffees I received. The thing is, I like coffee very well, but I tend to think of it the Spanish way. For us "un café" is as much about the social occasion as about the drink. You can meet friends "for coffee" and end up drinking Coca-Cola, orange juice or hot chocolate, and nobody is a bit surprised. And at home I usually drink tea. So it isn´t up to me to detect how Puro Organic, with its 100% Arabica content, has a touch of citrus. I have never, ever, not once, detected a touch of citrus in anything other than oranges and lemons. Sad, but true. (Are you thinking about pearls and swine by now? I'm not surprised)
Likewise, Puro Fuerte, is a dark roast and makes me think that Puro Noble is "medium" in this whole new universe. Like Tall Grande and Venti, except, of course, NOT, because in every way superior to that chainy mermaidy stuff.
There was also a sachet of hot chocolate that my children pronounced top notch. They are actually conoisseurs and can tell Cola-Cao from Nesquik a mile away. Perhaps they should have done the whole review?
So there you are. Watch the video, browse Puro Fairtrade Coffee, save the rainforest, see if you can find a place nearby that serves it because it really is good in every possible way.
And if you're really good and I get permission one day I'll post the recipe for the cabbage salad.
Brits are different from every else. They love to make a point of this in every possible way and so here we are, with a two week school holiday in October. It is mysterious and not all that convenient, but on the other hand, it's a holiday, so let's not complain.
I'll be flying home to Madrid, of course. And I'm already daydreaming about all the things I want to eat there. I won't manage them all, but I will try. Having the kids along will be a great excuse, because it's all a part of their cultural education, see?
Here are a few, in no particular order:
Pinchos and champagne at Cuenllas.
There is non-cooking, almost non-cooking, and then there is get-out-of-jail-free-card cooking. By which I mean, tin opener cooking, or twist of the wrist cooking, which is, in fact, not doing anything cooking. Dolce far niente.
A meal of salad, paté and toast, with some rhubarb and custard at the end, is perfect.
The crayons and pencils and watercolours come outdoors after a whole winter inside, and so we have more sketches, which can only be a good thing.
I've been away for a month and during all that time I would think "oh, I have to do a post about this" but then I'd forget, or I'd have to meet a deadline, or I'd rush off to the other end of the Mediterranean, or I'd go to a wedding, or a carrousel, or have to choose the colour of a wall. It was pretty exhausting, let me tell you.
When we got back, I thought it would be good to do a post about the food you eat when you come home after a month. And another about the foods I was glad to have again. And another about what I brought back in my suitcase. But then I got sidetracked by packing, and then, bla bla bla. You know. The usual.
Which is to say, I will be back, I will write, I will post, and there will be recipes. There is a certain olive oil cake that brings tears of joy. A salty yogurt drink. A nifty way with run-of-the-mill mozzarella. Etc. But first, I need to do some work.
In the meantime, I leave you with this sketchbook page. It has drawings of all the faces in last month's Observer Food Monthly. Geeks may recognize my clumsy attempts at Nigel Slater, Rene Redzepi and Danny Bowien there somewhere.
Will report back. Ciao for now
Aren't you glad I'm going to spare you a bunch of fuzzy edged high contrast yellowed out Instagram pics?
I don't even have any sketches, because it was very cold and stopping for even a second was impossible.
We walked and walked and it was lovely because it always is. And like I always do I had steak tartare and it was beautiful.
So there you are.
Next up, a proper post about cocido madrileño, to counteract all this francophilia.
I'm off to Paris, to the Gourmand cookbook fair. Just as a spectator. But because you never know, I've made a batch of business cards to take with me. Handmade, since moo.com offers so many choices that in the end I couldn't choose.
I have nothing to do for two days but walk around, eat, sketch. I pack no wet wipes, emergency bananas, cardboard copies of The Gruffalo, and it is pure bliss.
But of course I love my children and will be sure to bring back their requests: green and brown macarons for Pepe, pink and brown for Pia.
And by the way, my website has a new, streamlined look. Just so you know.