October 14th, 2011.
I returned from Poble Nou on Friday evening and Oli was cooking calf cheeks with celeriac mash. This is something I’d cook myself – celeriac is in season and cheeks are an old fashioned cut of meat that have become popularity again recently. The cheeks and celeriac came from Barcelona’s beautiful Boqueria market, just off the Ramblas. Unlike Britain, cheeks come on the bone here.
Oli peeled, cubed and boiled the celeriac, much as I would. You boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes (until tender) and then mash with some butter and milk – the mash always seems to want a surprising amount of salt and pepper too, so make sure you taste before serving.
All types of cheek should be braised slowly for 2 – 3 hours, ideally with garlic, herbs, onions, carrots and celery. I noticed that Oli had used lots of sage and rosemary – his addition of cumin was quite different to the way I’d cook them, making them quite Moorish and therefore more Spanish.