As promised here’s the second part of our weekend on the Costa Brava at the end of September. Our tale of L’Estartit was only the start!
This time I’m taking you to a place of great beauty, a place that as I stepped off the coach I was captivated by the countryside around me, the vineyards line upon line stretching out into the distance, the sun setting over the Pyrenees in the distance and the sense that I had arrived somewhere special. I grabbed my camera and wanted to snatch a few photos before our evening’s cooking demonstration.
We were led down to a small house in the midst of the vines and inside Jordi and Anna from I Cook It were waiting for us, Jordi was going to get us to cook our dinner in true Catalan style. A table of bites was prepared including the ‘Pa amb Tomàquet’ or Bread and tomato which is so easy to prepare.
Pa amb tomàquet
- Cut a tomato in half and rub the flesh over the bread hard, pressing the pulp into the bread
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Drizzle olive oil and eat.
I offered my services for the making of the utterly delicious Gazpacho which always reminds me of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 comedy Women on the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown. Do you think I could remember the name of the film that evening? No but how could I forget when it was the film that started Antonio Banderas’ career? Anyway back to Gazpacho but do look out that film it’s really good.
Gazpacho for 41 kilo plum tomatoes 1/2 small onion 1 small green pepper 1 small cucumber 1 small cup olive oil 2 dessert spoons vinegar 200g bread (yesterdays if possible)
- Put the tomatoes, onion, pepper, cucumber, vinegar, oil and bread in a liquidiser. If you want to dilute it add a glass of water, you can also add fresh garlic to the mix for a tangy taste.
- Serve in glasses as shown below or in bowls with portions of extra diced tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and croutons so people can add as they prefer.
Dad offered his help towards making the Surf and turf Catalan paella, the girls stepped in to help with the stirring. Dad was so impressed with his handywork he made another when we got back to England.
Surf and Turf Catalan Paella for 4360g bomba rice (I found paella rice) 750ml of of fish stock and 750ml chicken stock 4 king prawns, 4 mussels, 4 clams 2 small cuttlefish 50g pork ribs + 50g chicken + 50g little sausages 2 onions 400 gr tomatoes 1 green pepper some vegetables – can include asparagus, peas, saffron and so on.
- Stir fry the cuttlefish and add the meat in bite size pieces in a pan with olive oil.
- Add 1/2 inch of oil to a pan or casserole and heat well. Add the onions, reduce the heat and cook until softened stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are golden brown adding a little water if necessary. Don’t let the onions burn.
- Add the tomatoes and mix well cooking until all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes start to ‘melt’ into the onions.
- Add the meat, cuttlefish and rice and stir well.
- Add both stocks and cook on a medium heat taking care to stir as little as possible. Add stock as necessary to make sure the rice is covered. Add any vegetables you wish to include.
- After 10 minutes add all the seafood and cook the rice for another 6 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, wait 2 minutes and then serve.
Crema Catalana for 41 litre of milk 200g sugar 8 egg yolks 45g corn flour 1 stick of cinnamon 1 lemon peel
- Bring to the boil the milk, cinnamon and lemon peel.
- In a bowl beat the eggs, cornstarch and 3/4 cup of sugar until thoroughly blended.
- Add the milk and mix until frothy.
- Gently heat the liquid stirring continuously until thickened. Remove pot from the heat immediately.
- Ladle the milk mixture into 4 – 6 ramekins. Allow to cool then refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top of each dessert and burn with a torch or broiler.
Disclosure: We were invited, as a family, to spend a weekend on the Costa Brava by the Catalan Tourist Board, all expenses were paid and we’d like to thank them for a wonderful experience. All recipes above were kindly handed out by I Cook It.