Saturday, 6 October 2007

Spain, Madrid

El Rastro, Madrid

Chipirones en su tinta - Squid in its own ink

We consider Madrid in Spain our second home - of course we are very spoilt because our sister in law and brother live there and we get to live like insiders.

My sister in law is from the Basque country and cooking is very much a part of her culture. She shares a passion for cooking and taught me how to make the most perfect Tortilla, and prepare squid in its own ink.

Chipirones en su tinta (squid in its own ink) is a traditional basque recipe. I loved the feeling of cleaning the squid and pulling it inside out - as macabre as it sounds as I type these words, the feeling was one of real achievement. The ink will stain your fingers and get under your nails, but it is all a part of this wonderful cooking sensation. The ink becomes a thick salty sauce, and we add red onions for taste and then we steam everything together in a large metal pot.

Supermarkets will sell packets of squid ink separately. I have used the ink as a base to make a sauce for monk fish and cod that I have pan-fried and then baked in the sauce in the oven.

We have travelled to Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Bilbao, Saragossa as well as various towns in between by road. Spain is Coeliac friendly, and you can find bread, biscuits and sauces in most supermarkets and pharmacies. One of the largest food supermarket chains in Spain is Mercadona.

We have eaten Russian food, kangaroo steaks, tapas, and how about this....roasted suckling pig in Segovia.

Here is a very useful translation for trips to Spain.


Do you have a menu wheat and gluten free?
Tienen un menu de platos sin trigo ni gluten?

Perfecto Tortilla
Tortilla is a thick Spanish omlette - at least three to four centimeters deep, with a golden top and full of tasty sliced potatoes and fluffy egg.

I make tortilla as a snack, and if I cut it in smaller squares, it makes for a tasty canape. Because it is just potatoes and egg you will be absolutely safe ordering this as part of your tapas, or even for your breakfast. Thick black espresso and a slice of cold tortilla is delicious.

Anna taught me to make perfecto tortilla by lightly frying chopped onions, then closing my eyes to pour a heart attack amount of extra virgin olive oil in a deep pan. In a separate pot my peeled and sliced potatoes come to the boil and will be firm but soft. After I have drained my potatoes and washed them, I put them into the hot oil and then pour in the eggs. Now for the second heart attack - at least six eggs lightly whisked - and I add fresh chopped corriander and parsley.

Keep the pan on a low heat until firm. I then put my deep pan under the grill (not for very long) just to set the top, then placing a large plate over the top of the tortilla, I flip it over and there it is in all its glory.