Friday, December 29, 2006

Cooking in Barcelona

Mom, Ellen (my sister) and I took a cooking class in Barcelona with Cook&Taste.
Highly recommended!

We first visited Barcelona's famous market, La Boqueria. These are just a few of the many, many photos that were taken!
We then headed to the kitchen.
Our instructor, Pau:
We made the following items:

Cold tomato soup with fresh tomatoes (peeled and pureed) and topped with parsley, pine nuts, cheese, and aoli sauce:
(tomato soup shot flavoured with idiazabal cheese)

Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 20 gr idiazábal cheese, grated
  • 20 gr of allioli sauce
  • 2 spoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 25 gr of walnuts
  • 25 gr of hazelnuts
  • parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt
  1. Peel the tomatoes, seed and blend them together with the vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  2. In a mortar, pound the garlic cloves, the parsley and all the nuts. Emulsify with a little of oil.
  3. Serve in a small cup and decorate with a teaspoon of what you’ve got from the mortar, a teaspoon of allioli and some grated cheese.


Tortilla Española _______________________________________________________________

(potato omelette with tomato bread)

Ingredients (4 serves)

Tortilla de patatas

  • 300 gr of potatoes, peeled, chopped (10 oz)
  • 1 onion, peeled, in half rings
  • 3 eggs
  • olive oil
  • salt

Pan con tomate

  • 4 slices of farmhouse bread
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Tortilla de patatas

  1. Peel and rinse the potatoes; dice them thinly.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it in half rings.
  3. Fry the potatoes in plenty of hot olive oil. Add the onion into the frying pan when the potatoes are half done.
  4. Leave over medium heat until both the potatoes and the onion are well done. Set aside over absorbent paper.
  5. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and season with salt. Pour the drained potatoes and onion in the bowl and mix.
  6. Remove excess of oil from the pan. Pour the mixture over the heated pan and cook until the bottom starts to brown. Flip it over, and gently slide the tortilla into the pan again so the uncooked part is face down and finish cooking.

Pan con tomate

  1. Peel a clove of garlic and cut it in halves. Cut the tomatoes also in halves cross wide.
  2. First rub the bread with the garlic with the cut side, and then with the tomato, squeezing gently. Sprinkle it with salt and drizzle it with olive oil.


Paella de Marisco

PAELLA DE MARISCO (seafood paella)

Ingredients (4 serves)

  • 8 prawns
  • 2 squids (or cuttlefish), in rings
  • 500 gr of clams and / or mussels (1.1 pound / 17.5 oz)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed
  • 1 tomato, peeled, minced
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 400 gr of rice (1 pound / 14 oz)
  • 1,1 l of fish stock (4.4 cups)
  • 8-10 saffron threats or colouring


  1. Heat the oil in the pan and fry the prawns until slightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the the tomato in the same hot oil and fry slightly. After some minutes, add chopped garlic and fry over medium heat.
  3. When the tomato starts to burn, stir in the squid and the clams and mussels.
  4. Stir in the stock and the saffron and bring it to a boil.
  5. Add the rice and distribute it evenly. Rice can’t be touched beyond this point!
  6. After some minutes add the prawns in a decorative pattern.
  7. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for (+/-) 8 minutes, rotating and swirling the pan to distribute the heat evenly. Reduce heat to minimum and cook (+/-) 10 more minutes.
  8. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.


Crema Catalana


CREMA CATALANA (Catalan cream)

Ingredients (6 serves)

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 200 gr of sugar
  • 1 l of milk
  • 40 gr of starch
  • peel of one lemon
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • vanilla (optional)


  1. Blend the egg yolks and the sugar until it becomes a fine cream. Add 750 ml of milk and stir to get a good mixture. Add the lemon peel and the cinnamon.
  2. Heat it over medium-high heat in a saucepan.
  3. Meanwhile, dissolve the starch in the remaining milk and stir the mixture into the saucepan.
  4. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and set aside right before first bubble.
  5. Let it cool for a while, still stirring, and distribute it in little earthenware dishes before it cools down completely.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Tasty Travels: Amsterdam and Paris

When most people think of Amsterdam, they think of the red light district-- pot and prostitutes. OK, it exists. But it's a shame that Amsterdam is most known for that, when it's full of world class museums, beautiful canals, and great food!

One specialty you should try is Rijstaffel, or Indonesian Rice Table, a Dutch Colonial version of the Indonesian dinner.

We headed to Sama Sebo for ours, and it was delicious! Make sure to make a reservation for dinner this small establishment.

On to Paris...

As a 21-year old backpacker, I visited this fondue restaurant. I was excited to take Tim there upon my return to Paris. It is not the most Parisian experience- ok, hardly at all- but it's really, really fun!

Refuge des Fondus
17, rue des Trois Frères 75018
Tel: 01-42-55-22-65
Wine is served in baby bottles- red or white- something about a tax on wine served by the glass?!?Mmmm.... cheese fondue!
On another day, we took a bike tour of the Palace of Versailles. Part of the tour included a stop at this local market in Versailles to pick up supplies for our picnic.