Indian Sabor

indian sabor

We noticed a new Indian restaurant here, last week, Indian Sabor (just around the corner from us in Calella). It has opened in time for the summer season and they seem to have spared no expense on the decor. We thought it would be polite to go and visit…

interior

At first glance, it looks like there are about 6 tables, with a modern open kitchen and bar at the back.

brass cooking pots

I was quite taken by the brass cooking pots, though I’m sure they are more decorative than practical these days.

courtyard

However, when you turn right at the bar, there’s a vast covered courtyard, with vaulted, sliding roof, which will be fantastic during the the summer. We did appreciate the open air and moon gazing this early in the season.

vega del cega

Vi rosat seemed to be an appropriate drink and the Vega del Cega was quite tasty (though there are many far more local wines which are equally good).

papad dum

We had some papad dums to start

lime pickle

and I was pleased to see that they came with lime pickle (which I find quite addictive). Here they contain caraway seeds and are freshly fried in ghee.

paner palkora

Nookie ordered paner palkora, as a starter – this is a delicious Indian fresh cheese fried in a chickpea batter.

tandoor wings

Oli and I, were impressed by with the tandoor chicken wings – I’ve never had this before, but imagine that the inspiration comes from American buffalo chicken wings with hot sauce. I’ve enjoyed a lot of buffalo chicken wings in the USA and now I’m completely converted to tandoor wings – they are fantastic!

palak paneer

Nookie is a big fan of paneer – so palak paneer was her obvious choice. For those who haven’t tried this before, it’s a fresh (cottage) cheese like dish with spinach.

squid masala

Oli and I shared a delicious squid masala (complete with ten tickles)

shahi gost

and a shahi gost – lamb cooked in a spicy coconut cream sauce.

basmati rice

Everything came with a light and fluffy basmati rice.

keema nan

In addition, we had a keema nan, which seems to have become quite pizza like. I’m far more used to this (and prefer it) cooked as a flat bread stuffed with lamb and cooked in a tandoor oven.

sailor sam

Nevertheless, we really enjoyed the food here and were well looked after by the staff. I couldn’t help noticing an old and quite French looking decoration at the back of the courtyard, no doubt from a previous incarnation of the local. I’m pleased to see, what must be a French man in a traditional striped jersey and beret, astride a brandy or wine bottle, kept for posterity. He has a certain amount of charm and I’m glad he wasn’t thrown out with the bath water.

Our dinner for 3 came to just under €87, including 3 bottles of wine. So far, I can see no trace of the restaurant on the web, but no doubt there will be good reviews on Trip Advisor in due course.

Indian Sabor is at: C/ Amadeu 24, Calella, Barcelona, 08370

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Día de Sant Jordi

pa de sant jordi

Today, April 23rd, is Sant Jordi’s day in Cataluña. Sant Jordi, A.K.A St George, is the patron saint of Aragon, Cataluña and  Valencia (the former Crown of Aragon), England and several other countries.

The Kingdom or Aragon and the County of Barcelona (including Provence) were joined by marriage in 1137 – Valencia, Majorca, Sicily, Malta, Naples, Corsica and Athens became part of this empire thereafter, and before the Kingdom of Aragon was united with that of Castille and León, again by marriage in 1469. During the years of the Aragonese and Catalan union (empire) the de facto capital for administration, culture and economy was Barcelona.

Sant Jordi, or St. George, was a Greek Roman officer who was martyred between 64 and 313 AD, though later legends from the 11th Century suggest that George slayed a dragon in defense of a king’s daughter in the city of Silene (Libya). He was offered great riches for his valor, but instead gave them to the poor. St. George is venerated by both Christians and Muslims alike, but the cross of St. George was taken up by European soldiers fighting the Crusades and has subsequently been incorporated into many national flags and become symbol of the Red Cross.

It is said that Sant Jordi, appeared for the Aragonese army and led a charge against the Moors at the battle of Alcoraz in 1096. This siege of Huesca had been going on for two years and Sant Jordi led the Christians to victory. From that day on, St. George became the patron saint of Aragon.

Roses have been associated with St. George’s day since medieval times and recently el día de Sant Jordi has become known as el día de la rosa y el día del llibre. In 1923 a Catalan bookseller promoted the day relative to commemorating Cervantes and Shakespeare – this really took off from 1926 onwards. Today this celebration is the Catalan equivalent of St. Valentines Day, where men give women a red rose and women give men a book. It is said that half the book sales for an entire year are made on 23rd April! Book and rose stalls line the Ramblas in Barcelona and smaller celebrations take place in Catalan towns, like Calella, where I am now.

cross section

Sant Jordi’s day is also a big celebration of Catalan culture. This is shown by displaying the Catalan flag alongside that of St. George. The Catalan flag (also Aragonese) is yellow with four red stripes (quatre barres) – this represents the shield of Wilfred the Hairy (Guifré el Pilós), who is said to have run his bloody fingers down his yellow shield, after being wounded in battle against the Moors in 897.

Alongside books and roses, one can buy yellow cakes with red stripes (pasteles de Sant Jordi) and savory breads (pa de Sant Jordi), my favourite and pictured above, contains cheese in the yellow stripes and sobrassada in the red.

roses

We also came across some pretty rose clips. Oli bought the yellow one for his lapel and we attached the red ones to our menus.

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Gemignanos

gemignanos

On Saturday we had supper at Gemignanos Gastrobar – a small bar restaurant in neighbouring Pineda del Mar. We discovered the place a few months ago while waiting for a table to become free at Domestic. Eduardo, the Argentinian proprietor was so charming and friendly, that we had to come back to try his steak.

gin and tonic

We drank gin and tonics while perusing the menu – they add flavour to the drink by sprinkling on a few cardamom pods and other aromatics.

pimientos de padrón

Nookie ordered Pimientos de Padrón as a starter, which we all shared, since she only wanted a couple of them.

risotto funghi

Oli and I shared a fantastic creamy Risotto Funghi, made with boletus mushrooms and truffles. Dorian abstained, as he was saving himself for the main course.

scrambled eggs

As a main course, Nookie ordered eggs scrambled with vegetables. This was something off the menu and prepared specially by our obliging hosts.

risotto milan

Dorian had an excellent Risotto Milan, a creamy risotto made with Gorgonzola cheese and pear.

ternera argentino

Both Oli and I had steak – this is what we’d come for. Eduardo cooks veal steak medium rare (on the grill) and flavours it with chimichurry. Chimichurri is a typical Argentinian sauce, used to marinate and flavour grilled meat. The word comes from the Basque tximitxurri, meaning mixed things. The main ingredients are garlic, parsley, olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes and wine vinegar.

el supremo

We drank El Supremo Malbec red wine with the steak, as suggested by our hosts.

Our meal with the gin and tonics, a beer and two bottles of wine came to about €100. The risottos cost between €6 and €10 and the steaks were €12. I thoroughly recommend Gemignanos – the food is excellent and the service is genial.

Gemignanos Gastrobar is at: Carrer de Cervantes, 2, Local 2, 08397 Pineda de Mar, Barcelona.

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El Rellotge

el rellotge

On Saturday we walked south from Calella, to Sant Pol de Mar, where we had a fantastic lunch at El Rellotge.

playa la platjola

It was a leisurely 30 minute walk, past Calella lighthouse and round the coast (above right). El Rellotge is situated middle right in the picture.

el rellotge interior

This is a tiny unpretentious bar by the sea, run by Lluís with his wife and daughters.

menú

Aside from the blackboard, there isn’t a sign outside with the name – the thing that matters most here is the food! You will see from the menú, that Lluís sells tapes, paelles, fideuà and vermut (plus other drinks).

berberechos

There were four of us, so we ordered lots of tapas. Berberechos (cockles), were the first to arrive. These are Nookie’s favourite and were ordered twice!

salsa espinaler

We sprinkled the berberechos with a particularly good local sauce, Salsa Espinaler – it’s made of wine vinegar, pimentón, black pepper and spices.

cresta rosa

We drank Cresta Rosa – a slightly fizzy (from a natural second fermentation) rosado wine, from nearby Emporadá.

it’s frothy man

The cold rosado was quite refreshing in the hot sun.

alcachofas y garbanzos

Next to arrive were alcachofas y garbanzos – artichoke hearts and chickpeas with garlic.

croquetas

They say you can judge a bar by the quality of it’s croquetas – the homemade ones, like these above (made with bacalao), are outstanding.

pulpitos

I ordered a plate of pulpitos, which I love – they came in a rich and savoury sauce

vi blanc

At this point Oli switched wine to blanc – it came with a number, the bottlers name and address, without wine name or grape. No complaints here, it was an excellent dry white.

sepia

The above plate of sepia was cooked with peas and a garlicky sauce – I’m quite sure it was the most tender cuttlefish I’ve ever eaten.

albondigas

The albondigas were fabulous and I was surprised to discover they were made with chicken.

boquerones

We enjoyed a plate of boquerones – fresh anchovies marinated overnight in wine vinegar and served in olive oil.

patatas bravas

Dorian ordered patatas bravas – fried potato pieces, usually served with a shop bought, spicy red sauce. Here the potatoes had been perfectly fried until they became puffy

salsa brava

and the salsa brava was home made (it was quite special too)!

lluís

Having been completely sated, over the course of about 3 hours, we bade farewell to our affable host Lluís and family

sant pol de mar

…before walking round to Sant Pol de Mar station, which is practically on the beach.

Our meal, with copious bottles of wine, came to about €102 for 4 people.

El Rellotge is at the far end of Avinguda Doctor Furest, as you walk round the edge of the sea, from Sant Pol de Mar.

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Jordi’s Bar

jordi’s bar

On Thursday I had supper with Oli at Jordi’s Bar. This is a local restaurant in Calella which specialises in Asian and Thai Fusion food, though I believe you can have steak and chips if you ask for it and they cater for vegetarians and people with a gluten free diet.

specialities

Oli raved about the Jordis back in November, but somehow it’s taken 3 months for me to dine here. I was assured that the food is better than the real (non Catalan) far eastern restaurants in Calella. At the weekend there’s even a queue to get in!

nems

I visited the loo, on arrival and could smell nems as I passed the kitchen. I mentioned this when I returned to the table and nems were on their way with the wine. The nems were perfectly crunchy and the spicy sauce left a lingering hot stickiness on the lips.

clos primat

We drank a local Clos Primat blanc with our food – this is an excellent local wine on many restaurant wine lists in Calella. It’s about €3.50 in the shops and relatively cheap in restaurants.

panang curry

Oli ordered a Panang Curry which was moderately spicy and contained chicken. Panang curry is a type of red Thai curry containing peanuts and coconut milk.

green curry

I had a hot green curry – typically made with chicken, green chillies, lemongrass, coconut milk, ginger, cumin, cilantro and Thai fish sauce. This increased the tingle on my lips and gave me a pleasant, warm internal glow.

carajillo

I finished my supper with a carajillo (an espresso with a large measure of brandy in it) the day had been quite mild (16º C with bright sunshine), so we ate al fresco, but by this time the night was closing in and it was getting nippy.

jordi senior

We were served (mostly) by Jordi junior, but when we went in to pay, Jordi the owner chatted to us about the family history. While we drank chupitos (on the house) Jordi pointed out his father, Jordi (the previous proprietor) who’s picture is on the wall. For anyone wondering, the name Jordi is the same as George (in English) and the patron saint of Cataluña is Sant Jordi.

Expect to pay about €45 for two people.

Jordi’s Bar is at: Carrer de Sant Josep, 20, 08370 Calella, Barcelona.

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Lapin a la Moutarde

lapin a la moutarde

I had a lonely rabbit in the fridge, in need of some TLC. I looked at some traditional French Lapin a la Moutarde recipes and wondered if a sprinkle of Coleman’s Mustard Powder might cheer up the bunny, without him needing several more hours in the fridge with a Dijon poultice. I’m delighted to say that Mr. Coleman worked wonders, forcing me to repeat the recipe a week later in order to photograph it.

Lapin a la Moutarde recipe (serves 3 people):

1 wild rabbit (jointed)
3 slices smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
6 pieces garlic (finely chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1 stick of celery (chopped)
6 medium mushrooms (chopped)
2 bay leaves
4 sage leaves (torn)
a teaspoon of Coleman’s Mustard Powder
a heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
a few of sprigs of thyme
6 juniper berries (crushed)
1 teaspoon plain flour
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 pint game stock
rabbit blood
white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
goose fat

coleman rabbit

First and foremost, the Coleman isn’t intended to replace Dijon mustard completely, it’s merely a method of getting the mustard flavour into the rabbit quickly, instead of having a lengthy marination process …and it works wonders!

Allow the rabbit to come to room temperature and cut it up into about 7 or 8 pieces (remove the rib cage from the back bone and use it for stock). Dust the meat with a teaspoon of mustard powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, just before frying.

rabbit browning

Brown the rabbit in batches, using a mixture of goose fat and olive oil in a cast iron casserole. When the meat has taken a little colour, remove to a plate.

bacon and onion

Caramelise a large onion in the same casserole and oil. When the onion is suitably golden, fry the chopped streaky bacon with it.

mirepoix

When the bacon is slightly crispy, mix in the carrot, celery and garlic.

mushrooms

The chopped mushrooms go in next, along with juniper, sage and flour.

stock

Stir in a good splash of white wine vinegar and 1/2 pint of game (or chicken) stock. The bay leaves, thyme and a heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard can go in now too. Let this bubble away for a few minutes and taste – the Dijon mustard is far more mellow than the Coleman’s. At this point, adjust the seasoning to taste – add more mustard and vinegar as you see fit.

rabbit in stock

Return the rabbit to the casserole, make sure it is simmering before putting the lid on and removing to a preheated oven at 150ºC. Cook for 90 – 120 minutes (or until the rabbit is tender) stirring every 45 minutes or so. This rabbit was quite large, but started to feel tender to the fork after about an hour, whereas the previous one needed longer in the oven.

rabbit blood

When the rabbit is done, stir in the blood to thicken the sauce. If there’s no blood available (or you don’t fancy it), use am additional teaspoon of flour before adding the stock. Check the seasoning again and cook with the lid off for a  final 20 minutes.

Serve with mashed potato and Brussels sprouts – a nice glass of Château de Mercey Bourgogne will compliment the flavour of Dijon mustard.

Other Rabbit posts

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Partridge with Caramelised Onion

partridge with caramelised onion

It’s a bit late for partridge, since the season ended on February 1st, but I’m sure some people (like me) will have a few birds in the freezer …and this will also work perfectly with quail, pigeon and poussin!

shirley partridge

The Red-legged Partridge is a small game bird introduced to Britain from mainland Europe (particularly common in France and Spain) in the 18th Century . It’s estimated that there are between 72,000 and 200,000 breeding pairs in the UK. See my post here for plucking and dressing.

Partridge with Caramelised Onion recipe:

Breadcrumb Stuffing:
5 slices of stale sourdough bread
4 chestnuts (chopped)
1 slice of onion (chopped)
2 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
the juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons of herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme – ground in a mortar and pestle with coarse sea salt, black peppercorns and 4 juniper berries)
(finely chopped)
extra virgin olive oil

The Partridge
1 partridge per person
1 large onion (sliced into rings), chop one ring and use it in the stuffing above
6 whole pieces of garlic (bruised and peeled)
6 chestnuts (quartered)
Breadcrumb stuffing
10 Kalamata olives
1/4 pint game stock
a splash red wine vinegar
salted butter
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper

breadcrumbs

Cook some bite sized pieces of stale bread and ground herbs with a drizzle of olive oil in the oven, on low, at 120º for about 45 minutes. Do keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn. When the breadcrumbs are brown and crunchy, remove them from the pan.

chestnut, garlic and onion breadcrumbs

Gently fry the single chopped onion ring and garlic for a couple of minutes, before returning the breadcrumbs to the pan.

chopped chestnuts

Mix in the chopped chestnuts. This quantity of stuffing will do at least two partridges – any leftover can be frozen for a another day.

onion

While the breadcrumbs are in the oven, gently caramelise the onion in a mixture of olive oil and butter. I find that this works best in a cast iron saucepan, as opposed to a frying pan, regular stirring is necessary, but there’s less chance of burning the allium. Don’t stint on the olive oil!

caramelised onion

The onion will go golden brown and reduce by about two thirds, becoming sweet and sticky.

partridge stuffed

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon onto the breadcrumbs and stuff the partridge – add a knob of butter inside first, to keep it moist. Put the carmelised onions into a baking tray, along with the Kalamata olives, whole garlic cloves and quartered chestnuts. Place the bird in the middle, splash on a little game stock and red wine vinegar and sprinkle a pinch or two of leftover breadcrumbs on top. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in a hot oven for no more than 20 minutes (or the partridge will dry out)!

onion gravy

Rest the bird in foil (breast down) for ten minutes of so. Add the remaining game stock to the onions and heat on top of the stove to thicken the gravy. Serve with Brussels sprouts and celeriac mash.

This will go nicely with a glass or two of Clos de Torrbas Crianza from the Penedès region of Cataluña.

Other Partridge posts

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