Barcelona on Saint George’s Day 2015, a cultural, loving and yummy feast!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Spain, Majorcan, Aragonese and Catalans celebrate their national patron saint, St. George the dragon-slayer, or Sant Jordi in Catalan, on the 23rd of April.

Barcelona’s unique celebration on 23rd of April, rather than an occasion entrenched in patriotism, quoting the best seller writer Ken Follett, while signing copies of his new novel: “Edge of Eternity”, in Barcelona, said -Sant Jordi should be celebrated in the whole world. It is the best feast I have ever been to, and on top of it, is about books-.

We certainly take seriously the book celebration but we also express love through roses and because there is no celebration without good food, we have our own Sant Jordi’s bread and cakes, making the whole day one of the most beautiful days of the year. It is a working day, but the celebrations, the endless bustling crowds of people and the constant activities make Sant Jordi a wonderful experience and the year’s most beautiful day in Barcelona.

Cultural! World Book Day traces back to Barcelona


“En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo…“ which translates: “In a place in La Mancha, whose name I do not wish to recall, not long ago there lived a nobleman …” is the opening sentence for the first modern novel Don Quixote, published in 1605 in Madrid, by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.

Back in the 1920s, Valencian Spanish writer, based in Barcelona, Vicente Clavel Andrés urged by the ideal of universal access to education through books proposed to have a day dedicated to books, the idea reached the Spanish king Alfonso XIII, who in 1926 signed a Royal Decree enacting the celebration of the Spanish Book Day. By 1930, 23rd April was picked as Spanish Book Day. Spaniards love celebrations, no wonder it quickly spread across Spain, especially in University cities such as Barcelona, where the day coincides with two celebrations more: Sant Jordi or the Catalan version of St. Valentine’s Day and The Day of the Rose, making it the most colourful, aromatic, sweetest and loveliest day of the year.

For 85 years now in Spain we have been celebrating the Book Day, in Barcelona, even under the dictatorship of General Franco, when the open sale of Catalan language books was banned for 39 years, the tradition has been kept. With its first edition in 1976, a year after Franco’s death, The Miguel de Cervantes Award for literature in the Castilian Spanish Language is the highest recognition granted to the creative work of Spanish and Latin American writers, the prize is awarded at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Cervantes’ birthplace, by the King and Queen of Spain.

Spanish Book Day original idea has expanded in time and space and since 1995, to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright, UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day falls on April 23rd, marking the death of Spanish authors Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, and the English poet William Shakespeare, although ironically they did not pass away on the exact same day because at the time, Britain was still using the Julian calendar, whereas Spain had already adopted the Gregorian calendar.

April 23rd is also the date of birth or death, of other prominent authors, such as the Catalan Spanish Josep Pla, the Colombian Manuel Mejía Vallejo, the French Maurice Druon, the Icelandic Haldor K.Laxness and the Russian-American Vladimir Nabokov.

23rd April is a notable day in many countries, it is Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, and Saint George’s day is commemorated in several countries, cities and villages, the Spanish version, San Jorge or the Catalan version Sant Jordi, are celebrated in various cities but the most gorgeous of all happens in Barcelona where three celebrations in one day flocks all Catalans to their streets to enjoy a lovely, usually sunny and warm day, transmitting its enthusiasm to puzzled tourists that wonder the cause of this happy madness of people, books, roses, Catalan flags bread and sweets.

Loving and yummy!. A rose for love and a book for ever

Let me tell you about all that happy madness happening every April 23rd in Barcelona.

On the calendar, 23rd April is marked as Sant Jordi, our Patron saint is the Catalan name for Saint George, the day is popularly named as “Diada de Sant Jordi” or Saint George’s Day and is known as “Dia dels enamorats” or Lover’s day because it is also the Day of the Rose, the symbol of love as it is a day for culture celebrating what has become the International Book Day.

In Catalonia, the popular legend says… once upon a time there was a dragon that terrified a little town, in order to appease the beast, the inhabitants used to feed it two lambs every day, when lambs became scarce it was fed with one lamb and a person chosen by lottery until one day, it was the king’s daughter’s turn when, Saint George, a knight riding on a white horse happened to pass by, he slew the dragon with his lance Ascalon and freed the princess, in exchange for the inhabitants to be converted to Christianity. From the blood that flowed from the lifeless dragon was born a red rose which the knight gave to the princess.

In Barcelona, since the XV century, the rose fair has been celebrated on Sant Jordi and imitating the legend where the knight gifts a red rose to the princess, men gift women roses, a custom that has survived till today.

 

Until recently you could only smell a rose and read a book, nowadays thanks to the creative minds of Catalan pastry chefs, you can also eat both your rose and book in the form of cakes, thus, ending a great celebration day!

Nowadays, within the city centre, three big avenues showcase the core of the three celebrations in one day, the book, the rose and Sant Jordi:

Les Rambles, next to La Boqueria market, former Casa  Figueras with beautiful Art Nouveau décor homes award-wining pastry chef Christian Escribà and his wife Patricia Schmidt’s cake shop, they are well known for their superb creativity and delicious sweets. Pasteleria Escribà, on Les Rambles, 83.

They have a bigger cake shop on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 546 next to their Escribà Academy where they offer pastry and food photography courses. There, I joined a valuable and lovely food photography course with the professional food photographer Margaret Stepien.

Escribà cake shop, Sant Jordi window-shop   Food styling workshop by food photographer Margaret Stepien and Irene at Escribà Academy

Rose museline cream with rose jam and hazelnut streuzzel topped with a candied rose petal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweetology book by pastry chef Josep Maria Rodriguez

 

 

 

Towards the end of La Rambla de Catalunya, when it crosses with Carrer Aragó, you will be able to taste yummy rose cakes by 2011 world pastry champion Josep Maria Rodríguez at his pastry shop La Pastisseria, on Carrer Aragó, 228.

He recently published his first book “sweetology” and signed it to me with an encouraging lovely message. He is also a talented pastry chef instructor. I learnt a lot in his pastry workshop at Hofmann Culinary School, where I am graduated as a cook.

La Pastisseria, cake shop by pastry chef Josep Maria RodríguezPastry chef Josep Maria Rodríguez and Irene
Rose cakes by pastry chef Josep Maria RodríguezPastry chef Josep Maria Rodriguez and  Irene at Hofmann's workshop learning to make his pastries

Bubó at Bulevard RosaWithin the Bulevard Rosa mall on Passeig de Gràcia, 53, do not miss award-winning pastry chef Carles Mampel’s cake shop and bar Bubó.

He will delight you with both sweet and savory offers. Not only he is a remarkable pastry chef, he is also an effective and knowledgeable communicator as I was fortunate to take part in his Choux pastry workshop.

Pastry chef Carles Mampel and Irene at the choux pastry workshop     Sant Jordi's chocolate rose Pastry chef Carles Mampel and Irene at the choux pastry workshop

Sant Jordi's savory coca A blood-red rose for the beloved lady, and a wide choice of other colours for family, friends and colleagues. The rose comes with an ear of wheat, symbol of fertility and the Catalan flag called senyera, symbol of the patron saint of Catalonia, Sant Jordi, this is why you will see many balconies and buildings decked with the gold background and four red stripes of the Catalan flag or senyera, on this day.

As mentioned before, it is tradition that men give women a rose in memory of Saint George and the dragon, and since 1930 thanks to Vicente Clavel, women give in exchange a book to men. In modern times, the mutual exchange of books is customary.

The city centre is a frenetic apogee, with readers looking for the latest titles and the writers who sign them sitting elbow to elbow in stands of banqueting-hall length with street vendors of roses dotted among the bookstalls. Everybody enjoys the festive mood and takes advantage of the exceptional 10% discount on books.

These have been my choice for this year:
I had the pleasure to meet two of the authors and the head chef of Celler de Can Roca Restaurant:

Chef Pastry Oriol Balaguer & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)Spanish book author & bread making entrepreneur Xavier Barriga & Tita Irene showing the Dali Bread he showed us to bake in the Masterclass. January 2014.Head Chef Joan Roca from El Celler Can Roca, #1 best restaurant in the world (2013) & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Left: Pastry chef Oriol Balaguer & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) after the chocolate workshop, March 2014. He published his second book: “Obssesion”. Center: Spanish book author & bread making entrepreneur Xavier Barriga & Irene Morcillo in his Masterclass, January 2014. His latest book is: “Cocas y Tortas” Right: Head chef Joan Roca from El Celler de Can Roca, #1 best restaurant in the world (2013) and Irene Morcillo. He had published two interesting books I have read and this one by Carles Cabrera is about the operative side of El Celler de Can Roca restaurant.

If you feel like dancing, head for the Plaça Sant Jaume where sardana, the national catalan dance is performed throughout the day. Nearby, you can also visit for free on the only day of the year when is open to the public, the Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona’s principal government building, a Gothic palace which will be decorated with roses just today.

For the last 27 years, Barcelona has added another way to celebrate Sant Jordi: Eating bread!

7_2014 Gremi Flequers con Antoni Valls_IMG_20140226_224034

The Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona’s master bread maker Toni Valls and Irene Morcillo in the class

Sant Jordi’s bread from Fleca Balmes on Carrer Balmes, 156.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona or Gremi de Flequers de Barcelona, where I have studied, wanted to celebrate Sant Jordi with specially baked bread for the occasion; they asked for it to master baker Eduard Crespo whom I have the pleasure to know and interviewed him three years ago for an article on my blog (Barcelona’s traditional breads and cakes on Saint George’s day) Eduard was awarded the Gold Medal at bread making, the highest honour. Eduard has his bakery Fleca Balmes located on Carrer Balmes, 156. He ceded his bread’s recipe to the Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona and taught his fellow artisan bakers how to make it. This way, all bakeries could offer Sant Jordi’s bread. The bread inspired by the Catalan flag, made of three different doughs, one for the yellow background made of Emmental cheese, one for the red strips made of sobrassada, a pork sausage with paprika, and a third dough wrapping the other two, made of nuts with butter. It is delicious! and if it follows the original recipe it has no colourings.

Bread master bakers Eduard Crespo from Fleca Balmes and <a title=From right to left: Bread master baker Jordi Morera from L’Espiga d’Or, Irene Morcillo, bread master baker Eduard Crespo from Fleca Balmes and Jorge Pastor from Richmond Club España.

Fleca Balmes 6_Pan Sant Jordi_DSC_0082

Enjoy !

April & May 2015 Cover

Tags

, , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

See the Welcome to tita irene message framed on a food photo at the top left in this blog?

It will change next month and the next and then again, the next month…

There is a month’s contest starting on every 25 of the month on my Facebook page Tita Irene to choose from 3 photos that you can vote so to have your say on which photo deserves to be on the cover of tita irene, so to have one different food cover every month.

# 17.  April & May 2015 – Ecláirs filled of chocolate almond ganache and glazed with a kumquat caramel

Ecláirs filled of chocolate almond ganache and glazed with a kumquat caramel

Ecláirs filled of chocolate almond ganache and glazed with a kumquat caramel

2015 Tita Irene’s Turkish food with a creative twist calendar

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

Two years ago, out of a necessity I came up with the idea of making my own calendar, I have photographed my cooking so many times that I have reached an embarrassing number, counted in thousands, of food photos. In the past weeks I have been asked whether I was making another food calendar again and I am happy to say, here it is for all of you, with some enhancements!

  • Seasonal produce information.

See what’s in season year-round and plan your shopping to suit. Each page  includes, depending on the version, bilingual information English-Spanish or English-Turkish on seasonal fruits, mushrooms, herbs, veggies, fish and seafood growing in the Mediterranean area.

  • Multilingual calendar.

English, Turkish, Spanish and German.

  • Marks International holidays/observances plus country specific

The Calendar shows some Observances and common International Holidays as well as Holidays relevant to:

United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) – Northern Ireland (NIR) – England (ENG) – Wales (WAL) and Scotland (SCT), Ireland (IRL).
Germany (D), Austria (A), Switzerland (CH).
Spain (E) – CAT (Catalonia), – AR (Aragón).
Turkey (TR).
France (FR), The Netherlands (NL), Sweden (S).
Seasons and Food and Water United Nations observances are also included.

  • Elegant and functional layout.

Fixed 5 week grid gives plenty of space to allocate appointments and events.
Week numbers included.

Tita Irene's Calendar Cover

Please click on the links below to print or download the Calendar.

Sharing with you, only for your own personal use, my homemade with love 2015 Turkish Food with a twist Calendar featuring the meals and desserts I have cooked in my home kitchen. My friends tell me these pictures make them drool, I hope they will cause the same effect on you.

Below you will find 2 versions, both of them display a Monday starting week, one bilingual English-Spanish seasonal produce information and another English-Turkish seasonal produce information, so you can choose the most convenient for you.

2015 Tita Irene’s Turkish Food with a creative twist Calendar A4 – Monday 1st, English-Spanish seasonal produce information

2015 Tita Irene’s Turkish Food with a creative twist Calendar A4 – Monday 1st, English-Turkish seasonal produce information

With 13 stunning seasonal food photos of mine, one as a cover and the rest a 12-month calendar which pages can be displayed in a frame, pinned to an inspiration board or taped to a wall. A binder clip can also be used to hang the pages on a nail.
I had my calendar printed in color and in a larger size, in A3 to enjoy it the fullest, I truly hope you like it!

Wish you a healthy, colorful, happy and successful 2015!

Irene Morcillo (Tita Irene)

February & March 2015 Cover

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

See the Welcome to tita irene message framed on a food photo at the top left in this blog?

It will change next month and the next and then again, the next month… 

There is a month’s contest starting on every 25 of the month on my Facebook page Tita Irene to choose from 3 photos that you can vote so to have your say on which photo deserves to be on the cover of tita irene, so to have one different food cover every month.

# 16.  February & March 2015 – Turkish pumpkin sweet or kabak tatlısı

Turkish pumpkin sweet or kabak tatlısı

Turkish pumpkin sweet or kabak tatlısı

September 2014 Cover

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

See the Welcome to tita irene message framed on a food photo at the top left in this blog?

It will change next month and the next and then again, the next month…  This month you can see one of my favourite Turkish recipes, one that I have twisted to incorporate some Spanish additions making it even more richer…

There is a month’s contest starting on every 25 of the month on my Facebook page Tita Irene to choose from 3 photos that you can vote so to have your say on which photo deserves to be on the cover of tita irene, so to have one different food cover every month.

# 15.  September 2014 – Baked Turkish Rice Pudding or Fırın Sütlaç

Fırın Sütlaç

Baked Turkish Rice Pudding or Fırın Sütlaç

STAR CHEFS MADE IN SPAIN

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From left to right: 2 starred Chef Nacho Manzano, 5 starred Chef Paco Pérez, Pastry chef Lola Vélez, 2 starred Chef Paco Roncero,  2 starred chef Mari Carmen Vélez, 3 starred Chef Quique Dacosta, 7 starred chef Carme Ruscalleda and 2 starred chef Ramón Freixa.

From left to right: 2 starred Chef Nacho Manzano, 5 starred Chef Paco Pérez, Pastry chef Lola Vélez, 2 starred Chef Paco Roncero, 2 starred chef Mari Carmen Vélez, 3 starred Chef Quique Dacosta, 7 starred chef Carme Ruscalleda and 2 starred chef Ramón Freixa.

Chef Nacho Manzano, Restaurante Casa Marcial, in Parres – Arriondas (Principality of Asturias)
Pastry chef Lola Vélez & chef Mari Carmen Vélez, Restaurante La Sirena, in Petrer (Alicante)
Chef Paco Roncero, Restaurante La Terraza del Casino, in Madrid
Chef Ramón Freixa, Restaurante Ramón Freixa Madrid, in Madrid
Chef Paco Pérez, Chef Quique Dacosta and Chef Carme Ruscalleda, please see below.

I am proud to say that Modern Spanish cuisine is an artistic creation to delight the senses and the hottest thing at the world’s dinner tables these days. Some of the most famous chefs in the world hail from Spain, award-winning Chef José Andrés, often credited for bringing the small plates dining concept to America, owns restaurants in several cities in USA and was named as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2012.
In the fall of 2010, chefs Ferran Adrià and José Andrés taught a culinary physics course “Science and Cooking” at Harvard University.

Barcelona's Palau Robert exhibition unveiling the creative universe of Ferran Adrià run from February 2012 till February 2013. Then moved to London. Ferran Adrià and elBulli: 1961-2011 Risk, Freedom and Creativity.

Barcelona’s Palau Robert exhibition unveiling the creative universe of Ferran Adrià run from February 2012 till February 2013. Then moved to London. Ferran Adrià and elBulli: 1961-2011 Risk, Freedom and Creativity.

Over the years, Ferran Adrià has become a global icon of gastronomy.

Over the years, Ferran Adrià has become a global icon of gastronomy.

 

Ferran Adrià, a Catalan revolutionary chef, was head chef of the 3 Michelin stars elBulli restaurant and Number One for a record five-time in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. Chef Adrià engaged the diner’s five senses, hoping to evoke irony, humor, and even childhood memories with his creations. He said he “turned eating into an experience that supersedes eating”. ElBulli defined avant-garde cuisine during its 25-year life span. ElBulli restaurant is now converted into elBollifoundation to safeguard the legacy of elBulli and to create BulliPedia, an online database which will hold every bit of gastronomic knowledge ever uncovered, the aim is that culinary students and chefs worldwide gain access to relevant, well-organized and inspiring culinary knowledge. Adrià’s legendary talent and gastronomic innovations like deconstruction, food-foaming and spherification led to a culinary revolution known for its molecular gastronomy.

 

DSC_0630 He has written various cookbooks, one specially for the home cooking with the adapted meals ElBulli staff ate every day. Absolutely fantastic!

 

The spirit of elBullirestaurant –creativity, talent, imagination, innovation, leadership, teamwork, risk, internationalization– is still alive thanks to the several stagers who spent time at elBulli and have since become globally renowned cooks. Two of them became #1 best chef in the world: Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, in 2013) and René Redzepi (Noma, in 2010-11-12) And other fortunate students who are now among the best chefs in the world: Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz), Grant Achatz (Alinea), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana) José Andrés (Think Food Group) and Paco Pérez (Miramar, Enoteca, CincobyPacoPérez).

Chef Susi Díaz, 1 Michelin star (from 2006 to 2013 in a row) owner and chef of La Finca Restaurant in Elche (Valencian Community) & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Susi Díaz, 1 Michelin star (from 2006 to 2013 in a row) owner and chef of La Finca Restaurant in Elche (Valencian Community) & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Ramón Freixa, 2 Michelin stars chef at Ramón Freixa Madrid within Hotel Único Madrid & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Ramón Freixa, 2 Michelin stars chef at Ramón Freixa Madrid within Hotel Único Madrid & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Dishes by Catalan and Basque chefs such as Adrià, Arzak, Berasategui, Aduriz, Ruscalleda, Subijana and Roca have placed Spain at the forefront of international haute cuisine.

Did you know that the city with more Michelin stars per square meter in the world (a total of 14) is San Sebastián, known as Donostia in the Basque tongue, located on northern Spain’s Bay of Biscay coast, just 20 kilometers from France?

San Sebastián, has in fact, three out of the eight Spain’s Michelin three stars restaurants: Arzak, Akelarre and Berasategui, I will talk about their chefs below.

SPANISH CHEFS IN THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS LIST

At present we are living the countdown for the 2014 World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards organized by Restaurant Magazine that will be announced on April 28th from 8:15pm UK Time.

Here I will introduce you to the 7 best Spanish restaurants in 2013 according to Restaurant Magazine.

#1 El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona (Catalonia).

In 2013 Spain regained the throne with the Roca Brothers from El Celler de Can Roca Restaurant that has put again (last time was in 2009 with elBulli) Catalan cuisine at the top of the world’s best restaurant list. The three brothers who run this ultra-modern Michelin 3-star restaurant in the town of Girona are jokers as well as clever cooks. They start dinners off with caramelized olives, which come to the table on bonsai trees; from there diners get classic Catalan ingredients that made the region famous in the days when Ferran Adrià of elBulli was king.

I had the pleasure of meeting enchanting Head Chef Joan Roca at the 2014 Alimentaria Food & Drinks Fair in Barcelona.

Head Chef Joan Roca from El Celler Can Roca, #1 best restaurant in the world (2013) & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Head Chef Joan Roca from El Celler Can Roca, #1 best restaurant in the world (2013) & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Joan Roca at his Masterclass in Alimentaria Barcelona last 1st of April,2014

Chef Joan Roca at his Masterclass in Alimentaria Barcelona last 1st of April,2014

The Roca brothers’ passion for cooking was nurtured in the Restaurant Can Roca, the establishment their parents still manage, their mother, Montserrat Fontané passed onto them a key learning: cooking with respect, affection and generosity. The oldest brother, head chef Joan helped pioneer the widespread use of sous-vide cooking in the ’90s via his Roner machine, in short, he helped widespread a cooking method consisting in sealing food in airtight plastic bags submerging them in a low temperature water bath for a long time.
8-Joan Roca_DSC_0627 On the other hand, one of the cookbooks in my shelves that I treasure most is his book titled “La cuina de la meva mare” which translates as “My mum’s kitchen” a homage to his mother and his grandmother with the recipes elaborated at their parents establishment, it is also a tribute to traditional Catalan cooking which is the foundation to his cuisine at El Celler de Can Roca.

DSC_0636The book that makes my cookbook collection almost reach the 300 cookbooks is chef Joan Roca’s book titled “Cocina con Joan Roca – Técnicas Básicas para cocinar en Casa” which would translate as “Cook with Joan Roca – Basic techniques to cook at home”. The concept of the book is a cookery course, address to the homecooking, which collects, organizes and synthesizes his 25 years cooking and 20 years teaching at the Cooking school: Escola d’Hosteleria de Girona. It has a section on healthy eating and another help us in organizing a kitchen, is beautifully illustrated and also includes 80 recipes with step-by-step photos.

From left to right: Michelin stars Chefs Javier Torres, Joan Roca, Dani García and Sergio Torres, after a blind taste in support of the National Organization of Spanish blind people (ONCE)

From left to right: Michelin stars Chefs Javier Torres, Joan Roca, Dani García and Sergio Torres, after a blind taste in support of the National Organization of Spanish blind people

From left to right: Michelin stars Twin brothers Chefs Javier and Sergio Torres, Dani García, gastronomic journalist Cristina Jolonch and  chef Joan Roca with ONCE directors after a blind taste in support of the National Organization of Spanish blind people (ONCE)

From left to right: Michelin stars Twin brothers Chefs Javier and Sergio Torres, Dani García, gastronomic journalist Cristina Jolonch and chef Joan Roca with ONCE directors after a blind taste in support of the National Organization of Spanish blind people

8-Roca_DSC_0628Josep Roca, the middle brother, is the sommelier, and the youngest brother, Jordi Roca, is in charge of desserts, a great collection of them are in his book “Los postres de Jordi Roca” which translates as “Jordi Roca’s desserts”, I myself have elaborated some of the recipes and they were a hit, this book occupies a beloved place in my cookbook collection.

In 2013, Spain took two other spots in the top 10, Mugaritz (4th) and Arzak (8th) completing the hat trick, but for the last 5 years these same names have been consistently appearing at the crest and the situation in 2009 was: elBulli (1st), Mugaritz (4th), El Celler de Can Roca Restaurant (5th) and Arzak (8th), a guarantee that Catalan and Basque cuisines hold privileged places in the world’s gastronomic preferences.

#4th Mugaritz, in San Sebastián (Basque Country).

A 2 Michelin star restaurant by chef Andoni Luis Aduriz who states that Mugaritz has become synonymous with R+D and the word “restaurant” has ceased to exist. Mugaritz closes for four months a year, a window which is devoted almost exclusively to creativity. Aduriz has managed to achieve a balance between avant-garde and traditional Basque cuisine. He has given classes at prestigious culinary institutions and is author of several culinary books.

#8th Arzak, in San Sebastián (Basque Country).

Chef Elena Arzak, Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) and chef Juan Mari Arzak

Chef Elena Arzak, Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) and chef Juan Mari Arzak

Arzak, a 3 Michelin star restaurant by father and daughter chefs Juan Mari and Elena Arzak offer signature cuisine rooted in traditional Basque Cuisine in constant evolution leading to original creative avant-garde cuisine. Evolution has kept this fourth-generation restaurant founded in the 19th century, at the forefront of the world’s culinary achievements.

From left to right: Chef Juan Mari Arzak with his creative team: chefs Elena Arzak, Xabier Gutiérrez and Igor Zalakain, at the Masterclass conducted by gastronomic journalist Cristina Jolonch

From left to right: Chef Juan Mari Arzak with his creative team: chefs Elena Arzak, Xabier Gutiérrez and Igor Zalakain, at the Masterclass conducted by gastronomic journalist Cristina Jolonch

On the top floor of Arzak’s restaurant they have their own gastronomic lab where the creative imagination of chefs Xabier Gutiérrez, Elena Arzak and Igor Zalakain makes a clear contribution to the prestige of this three-Michelin-star restaurant.
Elena Arzak was awarded the best female chef of the world in the 2012’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony.

Chef Xabier Gutiérrez & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Xabier Gutiérrez & Irene Morcillo

Chef Xabier Gutiérrez’s cookbooks I have in my cookbook collection

Chef Xabier Gutiérrez’s cookbooks I have in my cookbook collection

Chef Xabier Gutiérrez is an enthusiastic highly creative chef author of 16 cookbooks from which at the moment I am proudly owner of 2 of them: “Recetas sencillas para novatos y cocinillas del laboratorio de Arzak” which I could translate as “simple recipes from Arzak’s lab for the novel and the experienced cooks” and “Renueva tus recetas de siempre” which translates as “Update your classic recipes”. I had a friendly nice chat with Xabier while learning about his interesting culinary work.

At Arzak’s Culinary Master class

At Arzak’s Culinary Master class

Chef Juan Mari Arzak showing me the salt recipient created at his gastronomic lab

Chef Juan Mari Arzak showing me the salt recipient created at his gastronomic lab

At the 2014 Alimentaria Food & Drinks Fair in Barcelona I was fortunate to attend Arzak’s Culinary Master class where not only I could learn from Juan Mari and Elena but also from their creative team that was there, Igor Zalakain and Xabier Gutiérrez, all beautifully conducted by the experienced gastronomic journalist Cristina Jolonch book author of “Guía Secreta, dónde comen los mejores cocineros” which translates as “A secret guide, where the best cooks eat”.

At Arzak's Masterclass we sampled a creative dish: Manzana sanguina

At Arzak’s Masterclass we sample a creative dish: Manzana sanguina

Arzak's pic at La Vanguardia newspaper captured me in the background

Arzak’s pic at La Vanguardia newspaper captured me in the background

So much interesting information was generously shared I could hardly stop writing… Juan Mari expressed a couple of ideas to which I subscribe: “To cultivate creativity you have to think like a child” and then he explained how he always asks questions, he stated that is the way to learn and advance. And when they don’t find answers they create them… just like Ferran and Albert Adrià, Arzak and his team create their own tableware because their special dishes require special plates and recipients on which to serve delicate art food.

#26th Quique Dacosta, in Dénia (Valencian Community).

Chef Quique Dacosta and Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Quique Dacosta and Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Quique Dacosta is part avant-garde chef, part ecological researcher. His eponymous restaurant in Dénia is a hub for food research and boldly top-end dining. In his 3 Michelin star restaurant, Quique Dacosta he cooks the Mediterranean in its essence. Quique once said: “our job is to give pleasure” and he indeed strives to accomplish it in every dish of his.

6--Quique Dacosta_DSC_0624Valencian Community is the rice cooking kingdom in Spain, world famous Paella was born here! And Chef Quique Dacosta has written a book like no other about rice, it has a more modern, complete, technical and rigorous approach than any other, is titled: “Arroces Contemporáneos – Nuevos conceptos creativos, filosofía culinaria, desarrollos” which can be translated as “Contemporary Rice Dishes – New creative concepts, culinary philosophy, developments”, a book that I am glad to have added to my cookbook collection.
I follow chef Quique Dacosta’s work mainly through Instagram. I was not aware he was coming to Barcelona, but then, I noticed his Miró’s pic on Instagram stating he was in Barcelona and immediately I thought, I hope I can meet him in this gastronomic event, can you imagine how happy I was when I did meet him? He is a nice, kind, extraordinary chef.

#44 Asador Etxebarri, in Atxondo (Basque Country).

Asador Etxebarri by chef Victor Arguinzoniz, the food style is Rustic Spanish cooked over a wood-fired grill with fresh local produce from the region surrounding the restaurant.

#64 Martin Berasategui, in Lasarte-Oria (Basque Country).

Martin Berasategui was placed in the 29th post in both 2008 and 2011. A 3-Michelin star restaurant where Martin started his creative and inventive cooking through a profound understanding of flavour and a deep respect for ingredient. I had the honor of meeting great chef Martin Berasategui while attending a culinary masterclass of another 7 Michelin stars chef, the Catalan Carme Ruscalleda.

From left to right: Chef Martin Berasategui, Irene Morcillo (tita irene) and Chef Carme Ruscalleda

From left to right: Chef Martin Berasategui, Irene Morcillo (tita irene) and Chef Carme Ruscalleda

Chef Martin Berasategui holds 7 Michelin stars shared out among his establishments, 3 for his eponymous restaurant in Lasarte-Oria, 2 for the M.B. restaurant located within the Abama Golf & Spa Resort Hotel in Guía de Isora (Tenerife) and 2 for the Restaurante Lasarte at the hotel Condes de Barcelona in Barcelona, just in front of it, Loidi, a contemporary bistro, with Chef Martin Berasategui’s signature making his exquisite cuisine accessible to everybody.

Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) & internationally renowned Spanish politician Mr. Javier Solana

Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) & internationally renowned Spanish politician Mr. Javier Solana

Loidi is one of my favorite places in Barcelona where some time ago while having lunch there I bumped into the renowned Spanish politician Mr. Javier Solana, former European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union and Secretary-General of the Western European Union, meeting him just made my day, as I share his political views and admire his integrity, I could not refrain from introducing myself to him and that on the left is the image of a nice chat and lovely memory.

#77 Tickets Bar Tapas in Barcelona (Catalonia).

Chef Albert Adrià&Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) at Tickets Tapas Bar, April 2012

Chef Albert Adrià & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) at Tickets Tapas Bar, April 2012

Tickets Bar Tapas by chef Albert Adrià, who worked alongside his older brother, Ferran, at elBulli for 23 years. He is currently continuing with the concept developed at elBulli, channeling their haute cuisine skills, experience and their carefully sourced raw materials into the traditional world of tapas.

You can sample both savory and sweet tapas at his Tickets Bar Tapas recently awarded with a Michelin star as it was awarded as well his 41º, a cocktail lounge and experimental snack bar. Albert Adrià’s goal is to convert Barcelona into a gastronomic Mecca, he is already running 4 establishments and opening 2 more in the next few months through grupo BCN 5.0.

A UNIQUE FEMALE CHEF: CARME RUSCALLEDA

Chef Carme Ruscalleda & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Carme Ruscalleda & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Catalan Chef Carme Ruscalleda has achieved global recognition and the only one with the most Michelin stars in the world, surpassing her French female counterpart, the six-starred Anne Sophie Pic. Ruscalleda now holds in total seven Michelin stars: three for her first restaurant, Sant Pau in her hometown Sant Pol de Mar (Barcelona), two for the Restaurant Moments at the Hotel Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona and two for the Tokyo-based restaurant Sant Pau.

Ruscalleda bases her cooking on Catalan culinary tradition though she is open to world influences. She defines her style as “home cooking, because I learnt from my parents and from my surroundings, then added my own ideas and the teachings of the great European chefs”.
Many years ago I lived in the Maresme area where the Sant Pau restaurant is located and as the train passed just by her restaurant’s garden I used to look over the restaurant and think how proud I was of such a great chef. I had the chance to meet this exceptionally good chef at her Masterclass at the 2014 Alimentaria Food & Drinks Fair in Barcelona.

At chef Carme Ruscalleda's Master Class, tasting the green caviar

At chef Carme Ruscalleda’s Master Class, tasting the green caviar

She insisted on the importance of selecting fresh seasonal local high-quality produce as she was explaining us the wonders of an exquisite variety of pea: the pearl pea (guisante perla or guisante lágrima) a variety that is cultivated in the Basque Country and in the Maresme area, this delicious pea needs artisanal treatment, can only be collected manually and has a small-scale cultivation, hence no wonder she turns it into green caviar with her exquisite skills.
Another idea that caught my attention was when she stated that we should consume only local products when in season because we still are carrying our grandparents’ genetic memory and they could only eat what was locally in-season available. Chef Carme Ruscalleda was accompanied by gastronomic journalist and book author Pau Arenós (books: “La cocina de los Valientes” and “Hecho en casa”)

7-Carme Ruscalleda_DSC_0625 Carme Ruscalleda is the book author of numerous cookbooks with the Mediterranean diet in mind. An innovative book is the one that Ruscalleda with her son Chef Raül Balam and the collaboration of Dr. Manuel Sánchez from the Antiaging Unit of Clínica Planas have published under the title: “Recetas Antiaging. Gastronomía y Ciencia” which translates as “Antiaging recipes. Gastronomy & Science”. Even the appealing title I still took with me the one I like most “Cocinar para ser feliz” which translates as “Cooking to be happy” and she kindly dedicated it to me with a lot of love.

GREAT SPANISH CHEFS PUT SPANISH CUISINE ON THE RISE

Basque chef Pedro Subijana
Pedro Subijana_IMG_20140402_16535
Chef of his restaurant Akelarre holding 3 Michelin Stars, cookbook author, TV cookingshow chef and cooking adviser. Chef Pedro Subijana alongside Juan Mari Arzak and the cooking teacher Luis Irizar were the founders of the New Basque Cuisine in the mid 70s, a gastronomic trend consisting in applying the nouvelle French techniques to traditional Basque cuisine leading to the Spanish culinary avant-garde.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Pedro Subijana at the 2014 Alimentaria Food & Drinks Fair in Barcelona.

Andalusian chef Dani García

Chef Dani García & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Dani García & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

2 Michelin star chef Dani García who developed his skills as an apprentice at mythical chef Martín Berasategui’s restaurant in Lasarte-Oria, offered a creative brunch showcooking in Barcelona at the 2014 Alimentaria Food & Drinks Fair, an opportunity not to be missed for a brunch lover like myself.

Chef Dani García offers me his savoury Carrot Cupcake with edible paper

Chef Dani García offers me his savoury Carrot Cupcake with edible paper

I was the luckily chosen to eat in one bite as Dani told me to, the unique savory carrot cupcake he prepared with oblaat, a Japanese edible paper. It was a melt in your mouth wonderful sensation, the paper was absolutely undistinguishable both in odor and texture. He explained us that the paper had a color cocoa butter bath in order to retain the humidity of the carrot-cod fish foam.

Chef Thomas Stork heping out at Chef Dani García's showcooking

Chef Thomas Stork heping out at Chef Dani García’s showcooking

Eggs Benedictines by Chef Dani García

Eggs Benedictines by Chef Dani García

Another bite that was absolutely fantastic was his interpretation of eggs Benedictines, a mini tapa with brioche, a thin rasher of bacon, quail egg and glazed Béarnaise sauce infused in a fermented tuna fish fatty part.
Dani García has recently opened his 2 newest establishments within the Hotel Puente Romano Beach Resort in the internationally known jet-set city of Marbella in Málaga (Andalusia), the Dani García Restaurant with 2 Michelin stars and Bibo Andalusian Brasserie & Tapas, where he will be working with who was named Best Chef in Andalucía in 2013, Thomas Stork, the Executive Chef of Hotel Puente Romano Beach Resort.
8-_Dani García_DSC_0626
As Chef Joan Roca did with his mother, Dani García is another chef that pays tribute to mum’s home cooking with his book titled “En la Cocina de mi madre” which translates as “At my mum’s kitchen”. He was kind enough to dedicate it to me.

Basque chef Karlos Arguiñano

My chef Karlos Arguiñano's books: Cocina Vasca de Karlos Arguiñano & Como en Casa, recetas para triunfar cocinando.

My chef Karlos Arguiñano’s books: Cocina Vasca de Karlos Arguiñano & Como en Casa, recetas para triunfar cocinando.

Karlos Arguiñano is a Basque chef, Spain’s number one TV Chef, presenter and producer, businessman, actor and cookbook author of nearly 40 books. I have always loved his amusing and passionate TV showcookings and some of his books are the pillars in my cookbook collection.

I am proud to say that we follow each other through Instagram.

He has a lovely hotel & restaurant, Hotel Restaurante Karlos Arguiñano situated in a stately mansion built in the first half of the twentieth century on the beachfront in Zarautz (Basque Country), a favorite beach for surfers in the area. At his restaurant he, his team and 4 of his children use local seasonal ingredients offering a balance between tradition and innovation in Basque cuisine. Definitely a place to go in my next vacations to the north.
He runs his own cookery school called Aiala

Catalan chef Carles Abellan

Tapas24 Bar in Barcelona

Tapas24 Bar in Barcelona

The Maestro of Avant-Garde Tapas, a Michelin star Catalan Chef at Comerç24 who worked in his origins at ElBulli for 6 years, has several establishments in Barcelona, one of them, is my favorite place for tapas at the heart of Modernist Barcelona, called Tapas 24, it offers tasty original and traditional creations at an informal establishment where the waiters’ costumes are out of the ordinary.

Tapas24's dessert: Olive oil, chocolate ganache, salt & toast.

Tapas24’s dessert: Olive oil, chocolate ganache, salt & toast.

He masterminded long ago the concept of gastrobar, the tapas bars combining tradition and innovation to create a whole new take on tapas: top cooking and attentive service in an informal setting and at everyday prices.

 

1-Carles Abellan_La Boqueria_DSC_0609

His newest project is Yango Urban Food, the name is a tribute to a delicious Catalan sausage called ‘llonganissa’, twisted as yangonissa, in short Yango, ’ where this sausage substitutes the hot dog concept, the idea is to prepare sandwhiches of grilled ‘llonganissa’ with the recipe of 9 countries through their sauces and toppings. With his own idea of street food in mind Abellan is opening a local in the foremost tourist landmark in Barcelona, the popular market of Mercado de La Boquería and a mobile version with the foodtruck touring places as music festivals.

Yango Urban Food, Carles Abellan’s new project

Yango Urban Food, Carles Abellan’s new project

At the 2014 Alimentaria Food & Drinks Fair in Barcelona the Yango Urban Food stroke my curiosity and even before I found out about Carles Abellan’s new project I took some pics of the foodtruck, in fact, I think I saw him there, pity I did not dare to confirm my thoughts…
I am happy to say that we follow each other in Twitter, though.

chef David Muñoz from Madrid

The New York Times said about him he is Spain’s New Culinary Enfant Terrible, his restaurant DiverXO in Madrid, is the sole restaurant in Spain’s capital holding 3 Michelin stars. DiverXO is currently being moved to the Hotel NH Eurobuilding. He also runs a low cost version of DiverXO within El Corte Inglés Department Store at Callao in Madrid, the StreetXo, which will open in London a branch next summer. His cooking is highly creative, shocking with impossible pairings but cooked with passion, taste and a free spirit to deliver an unforgettable experience.
He states that at DiverXO he employs 31 people to serve 26 diners, that’s an impossible ratio worker/client in any kind of spectacle. Needless to say DiverXO loses money, something in common with, in his day, another 3 Michelin star Chef Ferran Adrià’s elBulli, who said that if he were to live from elBulli he would starve. Fortunately they both built a strong brand foundation and have parallel businesses/activities that would render incomes allowing them to be free at their kitchens.

Catalan chef Paco Pérez

Chef Paco Pérez & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Paco Pérez & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

One of the best exponents of the avant-garde cuisine, flavor-driven, creative, consistent, hard working, revealing the essence of each product and the freshness of the Mediterranean in his dishes, is what describes Catalan Chef Paco Pérez, who worked in his origins at elBulli and is a declared fan of Ferran’s cuisine. Chef Paco Pérez is holding a total of 5 Michelin stars, 2 for Miramar, his first restaurant in Llançà on the Costa Brava, 2 for Enoteca within Hotel Arts Barcelona and one for Cinco by Paco Pérez within the Berliner Hotel Das Stue. He runs other establishments, among them, L’eggs, the first gastromomic restaurant in Barcelona that has the egg as the protagonist, acompanied with excelent coctails by the ginmaster Javier Caballero.
I love eggs so I decided to try L’eggs and I absolutely recommend it, great establishment, delicious meals and fair price. My chef instructor at the cookery school Hofmann stated about Paco Pérez that he was one of the most imaginative and skillful chefs in Spain who I was fortunate to meet some days ago.

A TRIBUTE TO CELEBRATED CATALAN CHEF SANTI SANTAMARIA

At Santi Santamaria's tribute, Hotel Hesperia Tower, 9th July 2012

At Santi Santamaria’s tribute, Hotel Hesperia Tower, 9th July 2012

Chef Santi Santamaria was the first Catalan chef to be awarded 3 Michelin stars (from 1994 to 2011 in a row) for his restaurant El Racó de Can Fabes in Sant Celoni (Barcelona), now closed and it was voted 31st best in the World’s 50 best restaurants list organized by Restaurant Magazine in 2008. Santi was a legend who championed Catalan cuisine and brought it to international attention, his establishments added up 7 Michelin stars. He teamed traditional Catalan recipes with French nouvelle cuisine insisting on the importance of locally sourced fresh produce. He was also known for being the most outspoken critic to Ferran Adrià.

Irene Morcillo at Chef Santi Santamaria's tribute cocktail

Irene Morcillo at Chef Santi Santamaria’s tribute cocktail

Irene Morcillo at Chef Santi Santamaria's tribute before the dinner

Irene Morcillo at Chef Santi Santamaria’s tribute before the dinner

Menú at chef Santi Santamaria's tribute

Menú at chef Santi Santamaria’s tribute

Chef Santi Santamaria died suddenly aged 53 in February 2011 in his Singapur’s restaurant kitchen the Marina Bay Sands while giving Spanish food critics a tour of his newest restaurant. He had just served up to critics a plate of pan tumaca, the traditional Catalan appetizer of bread spread with olive oil, fresh tomato and shavings of Spanish ham.
On 9th July, 2012 Chef Xavier Pellicer, executive chef at El Racó de Can Fabes after Santi Santamaria’s death organized a dinner tribute to Chef Santi Santamaria at the Hotel Hesperia Tower in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, home to one of his restaurants, the futuristic Evo, currently closed. 1.000 people attended the tribute, myself included!
Santi Santamaria was a humanitarian chef stated Jordi Roglà director at Càritas, as he collaborated with several non-governmental organizations and this tribute was a thank you for so many years of generosity.

While researching for this post I bumped into another most recent tribute to Chef Santi Santamaria, something that put a smile on my face. The one that Catalan Chef Francesc Fernández aka Franki made some days ago at his establishment SAMFAINA Resto&GastroBar by Franki in Shanghai as the first of a series of Chef Franki‘s tributes to different chefs that have influenced his way of cooking.

tribute menú by Chef Francesc Fernández aka Franki

By Chef Francesc Fernández aka Franki

FOR DESSERTS, A SWEET GLYMPSE TO SPANISH PASTRY CHEFS

Oriol Balaguer , famous award-winning revolutionary Catalan Pastry chef and owner of Oriol Balaguer establishments

Chef Pastry Oriol Balaguer & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Pastry Oriol Balaguer & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Pastry Oriol Balaguer

Chef Pastry Carles Mampel & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Pastry Carles Mampel & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Carles Mampel , internationally recognized award-winning Catalan Pastry chef and owner of Bubo establishments

Individual Cakes at Bubó

Individual Cakes at Bubó


A rose cake prepared by one of the best World’s best pastry chef Carles Mampel, since 2008 a member of prestigious Relais Dessert.

A rose cake prepared by one of the best World’s pastry chef Carles Mampel, since 2008 a member of prestigious Relais Dessert.

Christian Escribà, the exceptional Catalan Pastry Chef is an artist.

Pastelería Escribà at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 546, BCN.

Pastelería Escribà at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 546, BCN.

Pastelería Escribà at La Rambla, 83

Pastelería Escribà at La Rambla, 83

Individual cakes at Pastelería Escribà

Individual cakes at Pastelería Escribà

Josep Mª Rodríguez Guerola, is the 2011 Pastry world champion, he started studing at the same pastry and cooking school were I am studying, at Hofmann, from there he worked for the best in the pastry world, till he opened his own Pastry Shop: La Pastisseria Barcelona, in Barcelona.

La Pastisseria Barcelona at Carrer d'Aragó, 228, BCN.

La Pastisseria Barcelona at Carrer d’Aragó, 228, BCN.

A rose cake prepared by the World's best pastry chef Josep Mª Rodriguez. Roses commemorate the St. George's celebration in the city of Barcelona.

A rose cake prepared by the World’s best pastry chef Josep Mª Rodriguez. Roses commemorate the St. George’s celebration in the city of Barcelona.

9-PacoTorreblanca_DSC_0629Paco Torreblanca one of the most famous and marvelous Pastry Chefs, he beautifully explains some of his desserts in his book: “La cocina dulce de Paco Torreblanca” which translates as “Paco Torreblanca’s sweet cuisine”.

 

 

 

 
 

Raúl Bernal, awarded and brilliant chocolate pastry chef and instructor at the Chocolate Academy.

Chef Pastry Raúl Bernal & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

Chef Pastry Raúl Bernal & Irene Morcillo (tita Irene)

One of my Chef Pastry instructors, Eric Ortuño, Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) and Mey Hofmann, at Hofmann Cookery School in Barcelona

One of my Chef Pastry instructors, Eric Ortuño, Irene Morcillo (tita Irene) and Mey Hofmann, at Hofmann Escola d’Hosteleria in Barcelona

March – June 2014 Cover

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

One day I found myself with a huge quantity of carrots, I bought them with a healthy intention but at the time, having an old juicer it was a tedious task to wash it, nowadays I am happy to have changed my juicer to a top notch for a healthy and easy to keep lifestyle…

I had in mind to prepare a Turkish Carrot-Orange soup but I was not quite satisfied with the outcome of the recipe, hence I googled for carrot orange soup and luckily I came accross this one recipe that has become a success at home.

The recipe is from a well-known Australia’s based Chef Simon Bryant . The recipe is included in his book “Simon Bryant’s Vegies”. It uses all ingredients I love, it’s easy to prepare and absolutely delicious!

The recipe is called:  Carrot Farro Coriander Mint And Orange Soup

Here is the link to the recipe and Symon Bryant’s book:
http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9781921382703/simon-bryant-s-vegies/310054/carrot-farro-coriander-mint-and-orange-soup

Here is the link to Simon Bryant’s website where you can also find some of other inspiring recipes of his.
http://www.simonbryant.com.au/

See the Welcome to tita irene message framed on a food photo at the top left in this blog?

It will change next month and the next and then again, the next month…

There is a month’s contest starting on every 25 of the month on my Facebook page Tita Irene to choose from 3 photos that you can vote so to have your say on which photo deserves to be on the cover of tita irene, so to have one different food cover every month.

# 14.  March – June 2014 – Carrot Farro Coriander Mint And Orange Soup

1_MAR'14_B_Carrot Farro Soup_DSC_0105 - copia

Carrot Farro Coriander Mint And Orange Soup, recipe by Australian based chef Simon Bryant from his book “Simon Bryant’s Vegies”

1_MAR'14_B Otr_Carrot Farro Soup_DSC_0138 - copia

Carrot Farro Coriander Mint And Orange Soup, recipe by Australian based chef Simon Bryant from his book “Simon Bryant’s Vegies”

A simple yet delicious way to use stale bread: Candied Orange Bread Pudding

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aromatic Candied Orange Bread Pudding

I love bread! Can you think of a more comforting smell of that of fresh baked bread? Ohh, it’s so good!
In most households, even those of the thoughtful foodies at one time or another we found ourselves with day or even days old bread with no idea how to cope when the freezer is already full!

Because I love baking I have completed two bread making courses, the last one at Gremi de Flequers de Barcelona or Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona.

Tita Irene at the end of one of our bread making classes at the Gremi de Flequers de Barcelona or Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona. July 2013.

Tita Irene standing behind a table with the most typical breads of Spain, at the Gremi de Flequers de Barcelona or Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona. June 2013.

Toni Valls, our Bakery instructor at Gremi de Flequers de Barcelona or Bread Bakers Guild of Barcelona & Tita Irene. September 2013.

I am always looking for improvement and some 3 weeks before baking the bread pudding recipe I share with you below, I attended a Bread Making Masterclass by Spanish book author & bread making entrepreneur Xavier Barriga.
All these wonderful classes have in common a big quantity of exceptional quality bread.

Spanish book author & bread making entrepreneur Xavier Barriga & Tita Irene showing the Dali Bread he showed us to bake in the Masterclass. January 2014.

Throwing away food is a downright shame I cannot bear, so why not giving good bread a new lease on life with a flavorful easy to make recipe with simple pantry ingredients like this one?

But before starting the recipe, please take a close look at your bread, has it got mould of any kind, white, green? Then there is nothing we can do to rescue it, you need to throw it away, the whole of it, not just the spore-covered part. Mould contains toxins that are no good to us.

Good bread will keep well for a long time and I have a great book with ideas of what to do with yesterday’s bread, in fact, I adapted the following recipe from the book by Xavier Barriga “Recetas Caseras con pan de ayer”.

Book by Xavier Barriga: Recetas Caseras con Pan de Ayer

Candied Orange Bread Pudding Recipe

Yield: 1 baking pan of 21 x 10,5 x 6 cm deep (8.26 x 4.15 x 2.36 inch deep).

Ingredients:

  • Stale white bread, great with wholebread too – 140 g.(4.94 ounces)
  • Milk, whole fat works best – 420 ml.(14.2 oz fl)
  • Aroma, I added Saffron Gin*, a spiced gin with some orange aroma, Cointreau liqueur or simply orange aroma are other good options – 15 ml or 1 tbsp
  • Demerara Unrefined Sugar – 90 g.(3.17 oz)
  • Medium size eggs – 3
  • Candied orange (I do my own with organic orange peels) – 120 g.(4.23 oz)
  • Some butter to grease the baking pan/ramekins

* Courtesy of our friends Andy and Chris from Sheffield. Thank you!

Method:

1 – Mise en place:  Cut or break the bread in cubes or small pieces. Cut the candied orange in small cubes.

Adding stale bread to hot milk

2 – In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk to the boil. Retire the saucepan from the heat. Add the bread pieces and let sit for 30-45 minutes.

3 – Preheat the oven to 180˚C ( 356˚F).

4 – With a fork smash the bread till the bread and milk form a homogeneous mixture. Add the Aroma and mix.

Adding aroma to the bread-milk mixture. A spiced and sweet aromatic gin courtesy of our friends Andy and Chris from Sheffield. Thank you!

5 – In a medium mixing bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar until fluffy. Pour the bread-milk mixture on to it and mix well together. Add the candied orange cubes and mix.

6 – Grease a baking pan of 21 x 10,5 x 6 cm deep (8.26 x 4.15 x 2.36 inch deep). The capacity of the baking pan, 1 liter, suits perfectly the quantity on this recipe. Alternatively, you could also distribute the mixture in ramekins.

7 – Pour mixture into the greased baking pan till it fills about ¾ of the pan.

8 – Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45’, but check the pudding when is half cooked, around 25’, insert a knife in the middle, if it comes out clean, then the pudding would be ready by now, if not you need to keep cooking. You can sprinkle some candied orange on top of it for a nicer look at this half point.

Out of the oven: Candied Orange Bread Pudding

9 – Take it out from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Then, carefully place it onto a cooling rack to cool.Do not slice it immediately; wait till it cools down to avoid breaking it.

Candied Orange bread pudding has cooled down and is ready for slicing.

Notes

The bread pudding will rise a bit when cooked, thus is important to leave some space on the top of the baking pan/ramekin.

Another hint to spot the bread pudding is done cooking is that it will separate itself from the sides of the pan, but still you will need to check the middle of it with a knife or as I do, with a small brochette spike, if it comes out wet, it needs to stay in the oven a little longer.

As the quantity of candied orange is high, I did not add any sweet spice, I just let it be orangey and it worked beautifully.

Times in baking depend on type of oven, type of baking pan… that is why time is not precise and you need to check frequently.

This Candied Orange Bread Pudding kept well in the fridge for 5 days.

Adapting this recipe I also baked this Bread Pudding with Mixed Caramelized Nuts that was a cover pic on this blog in January 2013:

Bread Pudding with Mixed Caramelized Nuts

¡Buen Apetito!
Enjoy it!

February’s 2014 Cover

Tags

, , , , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

I hope you are enjoying my 2014 free-printable calendar on this blog under the menu Tita Irene’s Food Calendars!

See the Welcome to tita irene message framed on a food photo at the top left in this blog?

It will change next month and the next and then again, the next month…

There is a month’s contest starting on every 25 of the month on my Facebook page Tita Irene to choose from 3 photos that you can vote so to have your say on which photo deserves to be on the cover of tita irene, so to have one different food cover every month.

# 13. February 2014 – Swedish Dill Bread Roll

January’s 2014 Cover

Tags

, , , ,

Dear Food Lovers,

I wish you all a Happy & Sweet New Year and I hope you will enjoy my 2014 free-printable calendar on this blog under the menu Tita Irene’s Food Calendars!

See the Welcome to tita irene message framed on a food photo at the top left in this blog?

It will change next month and the next and then again, the next month…

There is a month’s contest starting on every 25 of the month on my Facebook page Tita Irene to choose from 3 photos that you can vote so to have your say on which photo deserves to be on the cover of tita irene, so to have one different food cover every month.

# 12. January 2014 – Chocolate & Pistachio Turkish Baklava