Saturday, May 2, 2009

Eating the Spanish way.

Today is lovely and sunny again and everywhere feels fresh and clean after yesterday's rain. Despite the fact that I don't need to do my main shopping on a Saturday any more, I still find myself setting out on the busiest day of the week! Today I went to the Mercadona at Garrucha. This is my favourite of the larger supermarkets around here as it has retained it's 'Spanish' atmosphere, and sells a wide range of traditional foods. I know if I go there I will be able to get empanada lorquina which I am very partial to. Empanadas are used for picnics and fiestas, much as we might eat sausage rolls. The pastry is made from maize flower so it is yellow, and the one I like, lorquina, is filled with a tuna-fish and tomato mixture.
For many weeks I have looked at the 'stew' packs on the meat counter. The most traditional meal for the land-workers in Spain is Cocido, literally 'boiled dinner'. It is basically one of these meat packs which is simmered for hours with loads of chick peas. whole bulbs of garlic, and an onion studded with a few cloves. Then you add whole potatoes, leeks and carrots and boil it for a bit longer until everything is cooked. The meat and veg are served on a plate as the main course, sometimes sliced, but often left whole, and rice is cooked in the broth which is served first as a soup. Well, this is the meat pack I bought. Food labelling here is a bit hit and miss but this one was very specific. I have, Pork-shoulder ham bone salted, salted spine, salted smoked skin and salted fresh lard, Chicken-a leg quarter, Cow-a yearling born in Portugal but brought-up, sacrificed and quartered in Spain, and of course, a choritzo sausage! Too much information for me!! Before we came away, Ben gave me a very good Spanish cook book, so I will follow the recipe in there. It sounds like a lot of salt, but I will give it a go early next week and I'll let you know how I get on with it.
My third special purchase today was a bottle of Horchata de chufas. This is a speciality of the Valencia region where only a few companies are licensed to produce it, but it is commercially available in some supermarkets. It is tiger-nut milk, made simply from tiger-nuts, water and sugar. It is served ice-cold and although it is an unappetizing looking greyish-fawn liquid, it is a very refreshing drink on a hot day. It is also low in calories and full of fibre and unsaturated fat, so it is considered to be very healthy. It is used in cooking by people with a lactose intolerance. Horchata can also be made from almonds. Cheers!

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