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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Indulge this weekend..

I had a craving today for some tapas like nibbly scrumptious foods. My cravings are specific. They are my childhood foods, eaten when on holiday in Mallorca with my parents, or in Mexico. They are delicious, try them and see.

My first passion are nuts.

Salted marcona's (almond's), pistachios, peanuts, and lastly cacahuates Japoneses. The last ones are to be found in Mexico - direct translation is "Japanese peanuts". I know they are not Japanese, I don't know why they are described as Japanese, in Spanish "Japoneses". They are, however, truly delicious, crunchy, lemony, divine. If you don't believe me, here is the bag so you can see they are really called Japanese (in case you go to Mexico and must satisfy your craving, these are the best)....

Secondly I love olives. Mmmmmm, Glorious Olives. I didn't honestly like them until my older brother introduced me to them at the age of about four. I liked them because he liked them. At first I was shocked at this salty grape, and spat it out. Seeing all the adults enjoying them so I strived to love them. Lo' and behold, now I do. I love them both, green and black, any kind, from any place...(well I love the black kalamata most). Just look at them! Yum!

What about some meat? I am no meat eater really, but give me some jamón serrano or jabugo and I eat it all, licking my fingers as I go! Jamón serrano is a dry cured Spanish ham. There are many types, and the quality depends on the type of pig, what it was fed, what part of it was used to make this scrumptious ham, and the manner in which the ham was cured.

The best is Jamón ibérico, Iberico ham, also called pata negra, is made from the black Iberian Pig.....

This pig lives mostly in the south and south western parts of Spain, and southeast of Portugal. There are three categories of Jamón ibérico;
  • The finest, juiciest, and incidentally most expensive jamón ibérico is called jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn). Roaming oak forests (called la dehesa) along the border between Spain and Portugal, these pigs have a strict diet of ONLY acorns. during this last period. The roaming and acorns combined have a wonderful impact on the flavour of the meat, and after it is cured for 36 months (!) it is worthy of being a person's last meal...
  • Second best (but still, pardon my French, fucking divine!!!!) is jamón ibérico de recebo. These piggies get acorns AND grain (how the other pigs must envy them!)
  • Lastly (and again, absolutely to die for..) is the jamón ibérico de pienso, or simply, jamón ibérico. This little piggy is only fed grain....then cured for 24 months.

Sometimes you hear Spanish people say "Jabugo" as an umbrella term for jamón ibérico. This is because the little village of Jabugo, in the north of the province of Huelva, is almost entirely devoted to making jamón ibérico. Their piggy's are happy 700 metres above sea level, and enjoy the weather .... Meaning that their ham is scrumptious, and well known, so if you hear Jabugo, now you know why and what it is (jamón ibérico).

Now add to the mix some cheese, something simple, manchego cheese (a sheep's milk cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain).

Almost done now.

Try some boquerones fritos (fried anchovy's. Did you know, I always thought there were sardines. I hate anchovy's! Apparently I don't! ha! One learns something new everyday no?)

These glorious little fried fish fit right in your mouth. Add some lemon, and indulge. Crispy, tasty, with a zing, you just cannot go wrong with these little fellas.

You REALLY need something to wet your pallet with all this salty food, so I would have some jerez (sherry) such as, Tio Pepe (fino) or a glass of a wonderful red wine I found the other day called, Les Charmes de Magnol 2006, Barton & Guestier, Médoc. It is about £12 but worth every penny. Share it with a couple of friends...that will make it taste even better.

If you are in London try the Tapas place in Borough Market called Tapas Brindisa.
If you want a good list of tapas places in London try this website:

Also, it seems that tapas are being expanded to not only Spanish food but Italian. Polpo, on Beak Street, has a cosy feel to it. Enjoy a glass of rose, in an actual glass not wine glass, some olives, and several Italian small plates. Tasty, delightful. Having opened only 13 days ago Polpo has done exceedingly well. They are also very friendly. Go have a look, it is worth it.

Okay, well I leave you for the weekend. I hope it is a greatly magnificent one, eat well, drink well, laugh lots, enjoy friends and family...if you need more inspiration go to Timeout London :



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