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Gazpacho – a Spanish Cold Soup

Tapping on my husband’s Spanish heritage, we often turn to cold soups to beat the heat.  Whether you serve it with croutons like a soup, or you serve it in a glass with ice and a straw like a bloody Mary, Gazpacho is certainly one of those dishes that keeps you cool. It’s also very practical when  all you have to do is just take it out of the fridge and prepare some garnishes to go with it. Tomato, cucumber and green pepper are the base of this soup, and while you can follow the recipe for guidelines, you can add more or less of each ingredient, to fit your taste.

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Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)

Considered the key dish of Spanish cuisine, tortilla is one of our go to recipes when we have guests or when we are looking for an easy fix with few ingredients. Distinguished from its Italian cousin frittata by its characteristic thickness, it can also contain other featured ingredients, such as chorizo, like this one does. But of course, tortilla can be enjoyed by vegetarians, who instead of adding chorizo can add their favourite greens, or simply add a lot of parsley to the mix. This serves eight if eaten as a starter or four as a main – but keep it between two, and you can have seconds! Continue reading “Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)”

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Pollo en Pepitoria – A Spanish Sunday Lunch

Making Spanish dishes often feels like taking a trip to the origin of my Sardinian heritage. As Sardinia was invaded by the Spanish for many years, I always look for similarities with their culture: from the syntax, to the societal constructs, to the ingredients we put on our table. Almonds are definitely a staple in both Spanish and Sardinian cuisines. In Sardinia we have bitter … Continue reading Pollo en Pepitoria – A Spanish Sunday Lunch

Spanish Potato Salad – Papas Aliñás

When your partner is from Andalusia, you don’t just become familiar with Spanish habits, expressions and dishes. You soon learn that Andalusia is an entirely different ecosystem entailing different dishes, subculture and slang from the rest of Spain. This vegetarian potato salad recipe has the philosophy of an Andalusian summer built into its core. One of those perfect dishes to have ready in the fridge: fresh for the sultry weather, nutritious because you’ll probably have a freezing beer with it. The Andalusian passion is carried in its name, which instead of being the correct, extended version “patatas aliñadas” (try to ask for that at any Andalusian tapas bar and you’ll cause hilarity amongst diners and hosts!), is the condensed, coarse version “papas aliñás”. Continue reading “Spanish Potato Salad – Papas Aliñás”

Madrid: a culinary city break

When I told friends that the city break in Madrid was quite a culinary one, they said that, well, every time I go on holiday it ends up being a culinary trip! But what better than food to tell you the story of the place you are visiting? Out of all the curiosities travelling might trigger, this one is undoubtedly the most satisfying. Knowing what people eat is like entering into their everyday life, inside their habits, their most familiar thoughts. At Blender and Basil we represent two of the most traditional cuisines in the world, where eating is so important that every life event is discussed or celebrated around the table: decisions and compromises, promises and arguments, hellos and good byes. In Spain, too, it goes just like that, so I did my best to taste some of the most traditional dishes in the country.

La Daniela

Can you have a whole banquet inside a croqueta? At La Daniela I learned you can. We visited this wonderful restaurant at our arrival in Madrid and on an empty stomach. Once sat at the bar and chatting away with the most pleasant waiter, we definitely got carried away with the orders. Croquetas de Cocido, Croquetas de Jamon, Callos (tripe), Salmorejo soup with aubergines, Russian salad and, on the house, Ropa Vieja (another Cocido derivate dish). The highlights of our quite extensive menu were definitely the Croquetas de Cocido and Callos. Both rich on the palate and heavy on the stomach, these dishes are very representative of the city. The former, a derivate dish of the cocido madrileño, in croquetas the heart of all cocido tastes mixed with beshamel sauce. The latter can be a tricky one to get right, as tripes are very fat: but this one had just the right mixture of elements to make it irresistible. Just like their personelle, who made us feel at home and let us stay a little later after closing time to chat away and finish our vino.

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