Trotter Confit

auiram carnisseria

auiram carnisseria

February 9th, 2016

When I’m in Barcelona, I look out for peus de ministre – ministers feet. They were for sale in the Auiram Carnisseria (the butcher above) at €4.70 a kilo and they are available in the Boqueria for a similar price.

window

window

I know peus de ministre sounds a bit weird, but ministers feet are actually pig trotter confit.

pig trotter confit

pig trotter confit

I assume that the trotters are salt cured for 36 hours or so with herbs and spices, as with duck and then they are cooked very slowly at a low temperature – the whole process preserves them. Before the advent of refrigeration and vacuum sealing, meat that had been cooked in this way was immersed in fat, which would keep it preserved for several months in a larder.

peus de ministre

peus de ministre

These vacuum packed trotters have a 3 month sell by date and can be heated up when needed. The flesh is already soft and succulent, having been previously cooked for several hours.

cooked trotters

cooked trotters

They can be warmed up in a hot oven for 30 minutes, or more quickly under the grill (broiler) and even on the hob in a frying pan. Unlike confit duck they do not release much fat, so beware of cooking them too long as the flesh starts to stick solidly to the bones.

lentils

lentils

I like to serve peus de ministre with puy lentilssee my recipe here.

trotters and lentils

trotters and lentils

Cook the lentils and then heat the trotters separately before serving on top. Peus de ministre taste so good that they can only be bettered by Pierre Koffman or Marco Pierre White’s trotters stuffed with foie gras.

The trotters go very well with a hearty glass of tempranillo, such as Real Compañía de Vinos.

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La Mar Salada December 2015

la mar salada

la mar salada

December 3rd, 2015

I wasn’t going to post another visit to La Mar Salada so soon after the last one, but the weather was beautiful

menu

menu

and the weekly menu looked fantastic (click to enlarge) – they won me over again! As it says on their menu page – La Mar Salada is in the Where Chefs Eat guide.

mongetes de sta. pau

mongetes de sta. pau

As a starter I had Mongetes de Sta. Pau amb xipironets, carbassó, favetes i reducció de vinagre de Módena – Catalan haricot beans from Santa Pau (grown in volcanic soil), with baby cuttlefish, courgettes, small broad beans and a balsamic vinegar reduction. The deliciously creamy beans, were perfect with cuttle fish and the sharp vinegar sauce.

ous de pagès estrellats

ous de pagès estrellats

Oli ordered Ous de pagès estrellats amb cors de carxofes i encenalls de pernil ibèric – broken free range fried eggs with artichoke hearts and ibérico ham shavings – note the little yellow gelatinous cubes – this was so intriguing I nearly ordered it myself – it was almost a posh ham and eggs.

arròs negre amb galeres de la llotja de st. carles

arròs negre amb galeres de la llotja de st. carles

I shared a huge cauldron of Arròs negre amb galeres de la llotia de St. Carles i carxofes with Oli.

galere de la llotja de st. carles

galere de la llotja de st. carles

This was an absolutely stunning black rice, a paella like dish made with cuttlefish ink, white langostines (from the fish market at St. Carles), artichokes and mushrooms. It may look like rice in thick black tar, but it tasted so good I could have eaten it twice!

calamars a la planxa

calamars a la planxa

Lindsay ordered Calamars a la planxa amb tagliatelle de carbassó, espàrrecs i pastanaga i vinagreta – grilled calamari with a vegetable tagliatelle (carrots, courgettes and asparagus) in a vinaigrette made from the calamari ink.

lingot de avellana

lingot de avellana

For pudding, Lindsay and I both ordered Lingot d’avellana amb cruixent de neula, a golden hazelnut ingot and crunchy wafer.

sopa de taronja i magranes

sopa de taronja i magranes

Oli ordered a Sopa de taronja i magranes – an orange and pomegranate soup.

vi

vi

We drank a little house white and Lo Virol rosado.

Currently the three course lunchtime menu costs €17.50 per person and includes a glass of wine. We paid a supplement of €4.95 each for the Arròs negre.

La Mar Salada is at: Passeig Joan de Borbó, 58-59, 08003 Barcelona

Other visits:

October 19th, 2011
November 28th, 2011
April 23rd, 2012
December 3rd, 2012
November 27th, 2015

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Angle

angle

angle

December 2nd, 2015

A couple of weeks before I arrived in Barcelona, Oli sent me an email saying that he was owed £70 by Google Ads, but the money had to be payed into a UK bank account, which he no longer had after living in Cataluña for 10 years. He suggested that he get the money transferred to my bank account and that I exchange it for Euros in order to go out and have a slap up lunch. How could I refuse – the exchange rate was good and the £70 became a €100 lunch kitty.

angle interior

angle interior

After hours of deliberation, Oli came across a great looking lunch menu at Angle, for €45. Angle is Jordi Cruz’s Michelin starred restaurant in Hotel Cram, just above Universitat in Eixample.

menú

menú

The first three menu items (click the picture above to enlarge) were inclusive and then the fish, meat and pudding courses were either or choices. We realised that we could eat the entire menu by making opposite choices and sharing. At the time, there was a more expensive lunch menu for €80, which included all the items above, so in a way, we’d each get the better menu!

melon with cured ham

melon with cured ham

Lunch began with a classic Spanish starter transformed – a shot glass of melon juice with an almost invisible, translucent focaccia wafer on top, covered in petal like slivers of jamón ibérico. We were off to an excellent start.

foie gras taco

foie gras taco

The next starter was a crispy corn taco containing foie gras, served on a rock. The rock was somewhat eccentric and like all tacos it was slightly messy, but delicious none the less.

cured egg yolk and iberian meats

cured egg yolk and iberian meats

The final starter and perhaps the best one, was a cured egg yolk with a selection of Iberian meats.

yolk broken

yolk broken

The yolk had been prepared sous vide and came housed in the cured meat and a thin slice of crispy bread. This was deliciously creamy and what made the dish (oddly) was the savoury mashed potato under the egg, containing, perhaps,  a hint of truffle.

white asparagus and cod in papillote

white asparagus and cod in papillote

The fish courses were: cod with white asparagus in papillote (steamed in parchment) – this was beautifully tender – note the little green and yellow pearls, which look like fish roe, but were in fact fruity

sole with artichokes and black olives

sole with artichokes and black olives

…and megrim sole with artichokes and black olives. This type of sole is plentiful around Cornwall, but like hake, is fairly unloved in the UK and most is exported to Spain. IMHO the Spanish have the right idea, megrim has a firm texture and works really well with the distinct flavours of artichokes and olives. The crispy skin was fantastic!

lamb with mushroom toffee

lamb with mushroom toffee

The meats were: lamb with mushroom toffee, and a vanilla and garlic cream – perfect tender lamb with a sticky mushroom toffee like gravy – note the additional chanterelles

guinea fowl with aubergine textures

guinea fowl with aubergine textures

…and roast guinea fowl with aubergine textures – foie gras stuffed guinea fowl and smokey aubergine – it was quite astonishingly good.

chocolate, coffee, banana and olive

chocolate, coffee, banana and olive

The puddings were: a little house, made of Belgian Ale, chocolate banana and black olive – the chocoholics out there would die for this

coconut yogurt, apple and yuzu

coconut yogurt, apple and yuzu

…and an astonishing winter scene of coconut, yogurt, green apple and yuzu!

muga rosado

muga rosado

We drank a bottle of wine each – I was mainly on a Muga rosado, while Oli had a white. In a London restaurant of this caliber, one would expect to pay about £50 for a bottle of wine – well not here, both wines were around €20 each – the Muga costs at least £10 in UK shops, let alone restaurants where there’s normally a considerable markup.

petit fours

petit fours

Just as we though it was all over, they brought us a tray of petit fours! Obviously this wasn’t a cheap menú del dia but the bill for all that food and two bottles of wine was €150 – a complete bargain (this included the impeccable service). We had the most attentive and discreet service – our main waiter was actually Irish, though he’s lived in Barcelona for so long that I didn’t detect his nationality until about three quarters of the way though our meal.

hotel cram

hotel cram

Angle is inside the Hotel Cram at: Carrer Aribau 54, 08022, Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 216 7777

We made an excellent choice for a special lunch – thank you Mr. Google!

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El Setanta-Vuit

el setanta-vuit

el setanta-vuit

December 1st, 2015

I had to do some work for Adrian today, over in Poblenou (New Village) – this was once a village outside of Barcelona, which became the industrial zone (full of factories) during the Nineteenth Century. Since the Barcelona Olympics of 1992, the region has regenerated and empty factories have been turned into studios for artists, design companies, TV stations, theater companies, etc. We were over in this district a couple of nights ago, visiting a new micro brewery.

menú

menú

While the computers did a bit of crunching, we went out for lunch at El Setanta-Vuit (Seventy Eight), where they do a menú del dia for €12 – three courses including drink.

tortilla

tortilla

We stat down at a table by the window and before ordering, were presented with a little square of tortilla español as an amuse-bouche. This, IMHO, was a slice of perfect tortilla and came included in our €12 menú.

risoto de gambas

risoto de gambas

As a starter, I ordered a delicious risoto de gambas – prawn risotto

ensalada

ensalada

and Adrian had cogollos de todela – a salad of lettuce hearts.

cazuela de merluza

cazuela de merluza

Both of us chose cazuela de merluzahake casserole, as the main course. This contained a generous portion of hake, cooked with potato and tomatoes in a spicy pimentón sauce. I love hake, a neglected fish in England, but something that’s very popular in Barcelona and here it was done to perfection.

pastel

pastel

I had a sliver of pastel de fresa – strawberry tart, for pudding. This was just the right amount for me. As usual I drank rosado with my lunch.

carajillo de whisky

carajillo de whisky

To finish I had my usual pick up of a carajillo, but they’d run out of brandy, so I settled for whisky, which did the trick!

interior

interior

I was somewhat surprised at how spacious El Setanta-Vuit is – in the heart of Barcelona tables are pushed up quite close together – I suppose this is a reflection of lower building costs in Poblenou. The staff here were quite attentive (I noticed that all of them were youthful and definitely under 30) and the food was excellent! El Setanta-Vuit is in a shady street (you wouldn’t know that the sun was shining from the photo of the exterior), in the height of summer this is a great asset when eating outside.

El Setanta-Vuit is at: Carrer de Badajoz, 67, 08005 Barcelona.

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Hotel Restaurant La Ciudadela  

hotel restaurant la ciudadela  

hotel restaurant la ciudadela

November 30th, 2015

I met Nookie for lunch at the Hotel Restaurant La Ciudadela, a modern hotel next to the Arc de Triomf and just above Parc de la Cuitadella (one of Barcelona’s greenest open spaces). The weather was beautiful, 14ºC and lovely sitting in the sun. I ordered from the menú del día, while Nookie had a prawn and mushroom scrambled egg dish from the main menu.

fideos arrosejats

fideos arrosejats

My first course was Fideos arrosejats con setas de temporada y mayonesa de trufa negra – fideuà with wild mushrooms and black truffle mayonnaise. This was quite delicious, especially with the rich truffle mayonnaise.

lenguado al vapor

lenguado al vapor

I ordered Cabrito al horno (goat cooked in the oven) for my main course, but was five minutes too late and missed the last portion! Instead I had Lenguado al vapor con langostinos y salsa romesco – steamed sole with langoustines and romesco sauce. Succulent slices of sole, scampi, potatoes, courgettes and mushrooms with a red pepper, almond, pine nut and garlic sauce.

sorbete de fresones casero

sorbete de fresones casero

I had a Sorbete de fresones casero for pudding – a home made strawberry sorbet. I hadn’t expected it to be quite so big, but soldiered on regardless.

rosado

rosado

…of course we had a bottle of rosado to go with our lunch. I couldn’t help being amused by three sophisticated ladies from the South of France, on the table next to us. They had drunk a large pitcher of sangria and perhaps a few aperitifs beforehand… It became evident that it was a mother with two daughters in their late twenties – the latter were slightly inebriated and playful, while their mother looked on somewhat disdainfully. The more disdainful she became, the naughtier the daughters behaved – so much so that they were still in high spirits as they crossed the road and disappeared into the park.

The Hotel Restaurant La Ciudadela lunch menu is currently €12.50 – I thoroughly recommend it for the food and location on a sunny day. I would imagine it’s also a nice place to stay, with great views across the park.

The Hotel Restaurant La Ciudadela is at: Paseo Lluis Companys 2, 08010 Barcelona.

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Tió de Nadal

Tio3

The Caga Tió or Tió de Nadal is a Christmas Yule Log specific to Cataluña and Aragon. Translated from Catalan, Caga Tió means, “shitting log”. I believe El Tió predates the introduction of Father Christmas to Cataluña and he performs a similar function, bringing gifts on Christmas Eve, though only small items, as larger presents arrive on Kings Day (the arrival of the Three Wise Men – January 6th).

Traditionally families search for a suitable log at the beginning of December, which they decorate with a face and a little red hat (barretina). From the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) onwards, el Tió should be fed a little each evening and covered with a blanket to keep him warm. On Christmas Eve, children beat the log with a stick and sing this song:

“Caga tió, caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
caga tió!”

“Shit, log, shit nougat (turrón),
hazelnuts and mató cheese,
if you don’t shit well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
shit, log!”

Parents and relatives hide small presents under the log’s blanket and when the children beat him with a stick, el Tió appears to shit them out. I believe that naughty children may receive a piece of coal instead of turrón. See this video.

christmas market

christmas market

Wishing to bring you something unusual, Catalan, Christmassy and edible, I scoured the Christmas Market to no avail.

la paradeta del tió

la paradeta del tió

There were plenty of wooden Tiós for those who don’t have time to find and decorate a log, but nothing edible.

la boqueria en la nit

la boqueria en la nit

I got lucky one evening at the front of the Boqueria, which is a part I normally avoid because it’s expensive and mostly of interest to tourists only.

vidal pons

vidal pons

Vidal Pons sell lots of sticky sweets

caramel

caramel

and next to Father Christmas

basket of tió

basket of tió

was a basket of Caga Tiós.

Alternate verses to the Caga Tió song:

“Caga tió, tió de Nadal,
no caguis arengades,
que són massa salades
caga torrons
que són més bons!”

“Shit, log, log of Christmas,
don’t shit herrings,
they are too salty,
shit nougats (turrón)
they are much better!”

“Tronca de Nadal, Caga torrons,
pixa vi blanc,
no caguis arengades,
que són massa salades
caga torrons
que són més bons!”

“Log of Christmas, shit nougats,
pee white wine,
don’t shit herrings,
they are too salty,
shit nougats (turrón)
they are much better!”

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort – Eat well, shit hard and don’t fear death.

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Gelida

Gelida1

gelida

November 28th, 2015

On Saturday we arranged to meet four friends for lunch at Gelida, an old school bodega and restaurant a few streets above Mercat de Sant Antoni.

vermut

vermut

We sat outside and drank the house vermut (vermouth) while waiting for the others to arrive.

gelida interior

gelida interior

Gelida is one of a diminishing number of bodegas where wine is still served from the barrel, in a porrón or reusable bottle. It’s possible to come to this type of bar with an empty bottle and get it filled up to takeaway. Before the advent of modern wine merchants and supermarkets, this was a normal thing to do, just like taking a jug to a dairy for some milk.

menu

menu

They don’t do a menu del dia here (not common in most restaurants at the weekend anyway), but looking at the prices on the menu (above), you’ll see that it’s as cheap as chips regardless. Gelida is a very popular weekend lunch spot with the locals and we waited for an hour to get room at a table suitable for six. This was no hardship with excellent vermut on tap and a table in the sun outside.

faves a la catalana

faves a la catalana

We ordered lots of different things from the menu and shared/tasted most things. I particularly ordered faves a la Catalana – a local dish of broad beans, onion, sausage (black butifarra I think), garlic, etc. They were excellent!

garbanzos con huevo duro

garbanzos con huevo duro

Sylvia had some beautiful garbanzos con huevo duro – a chickpea stew with a a hard boiled egg,

albondigas con guisantes

albondigas con guisantes

and Oli ordered albondigas con guisantes – some delicious meatballs with peas.

galtes con guarnición

galtes con guarnición

The main courses included galtes con guarnición  (large pig cheeks),

salmonettas

salmonettas

salmonetes (striped red mullet, which slid off the bone and melted in the mouth),

conejo al horno

conejo al horno

conejo al horno (a very tender rabbit cooked in the oven),

butifarra con guarnición

butifarra con guarnición

and butifarra (a traditional, spicy Catalan sausage). I had wanted to try the cap i pota, a melt in the mouth sticky veal head and foot stew, I’d heard it was very good here, but they’d sold out. That’s good reason for  a return visit.

vi negre

vi negre

Debbie and I shared the vi negre – red wine decanted from a barrel at €2.80 per bottle! The others were on white.

mel i mató

mel i mató

For pudding I had mel i mató, a soft white cheese with honey.

flan de mató

flan de mató

Oli had flan de mató (a fresh cheese flan)

flan de la casa

flan de la casa

and Jonas had an outrageous looking flan de la casa.

carajillo

carajillo

After lunch I had a carajillo to pick me up.

the bill

the bill

Our bill came to €124.10, which was €20.68 each, plus a tip.

gelida window

gelida window

Gelida is at:  C/de la Diputació 133, 08015, Barcelona

After our very long lunch we walked back down to the Raval for some early evening refreshment at Iposa. Three bottles of rosado later and Oli wanted to go home for a late siesta, so I went with Debbie to a restaurant called Lo De Flor – it was quite dark and I’d a had a few drinks, so the camera took the night off. The food was spectacular, especially the duck rillettes (which were to die for) and our hostess was wonderfully charming.

Sometime later… (about 3am) we ended up at Betty Ford’s drinking frozen margaritas

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