16 January 2009

January in Madrid: Food Edition

The joys of Spain are too numerous to mention. But just a quick run through of the past few days to get your mouth watering. I arrived at lunchtime, so felt the need for a proper menu, of the kind that cost 8 euros and include first, second and dessert, a bottle of wine and real coffee. So I sat down to all that with my Edith Sitwell letters for company. First course was paella, not really the best kind but succulent bits of chicken, an enormous mussel the size of a hoof and some little prawns almost made up for the massive bed of rice that lurked beneath. Then a slab of steak, bloody, with overfried chips and a salty salad. So Spanish, so good, I washed it down with plenty of wine and casera and had an enormously strong heart-attack coffee cortado (with a bit of milk). Everyone smoking around me, the two enormous televisions blasting out gossip television and Miss Sitwell like a harridan at my side. Later we went to Bea´s house with Maribel and Bea´s son Adri. We ate crepes with mushrooms grilled in olive oil and lemon juice, young asparagus treated the same, carne picada, more of that delicious salty salad, fresh white bread and a good ribera, a cold light red wine. Back to Maribel´s for lunch the next day and fideua, a dish like paella that has clams, squid, chicken and prawns cooked up in stock with noodles. Maribel madre is famous for this dish and by god she cooks it well. Being in Spain reminds one that cooking really is part of the fabric of life, and food part of constant conversation. Liberating for an English boy, who despite being from a foodie family revels in Spanish peasant cuisine. Again, a nice ribera (Protos) and more coffee. Delicious. And warming (it´s in the single figures in Madrid, but beautifully sunny, light streaming down on the plaza as I write this. Joy. Life is good.


  1. Yep, that's about right. Reading this was like reminiscing of a future I will have--missing this food--when I leave in four months. I enjoy having the opportunity to savor the days and weeks as they try to fly by.

    I cook a lot and try to eat out once a week. In my more impecunious days that would happen once every two months. Given that I'm from the middle class, I have gotten off very well with a menú of 8€, though my tastes have are now slightly more bourgeoise at around 10€ or under. Every third full moon I'll splurge on a 15 or, gasp, 20€-er meal.

    My new word, thanks to you: harridan. I live amidst many a harridan here Ríos Rosas.

    Welcome back; hope to catch you for a catch-up. My turn to come to the center.

  2. Have you tried the strange culinary concoction " The Sitwell Egg " with a yoke of smoked meat, a white of compressed rice, and a shell of synthetic lime. Sir George, Edith's dad, thought he would be able to market this delight, can't think why it never took off.

  3. Have you tried the strange culinary concoction "The Sitwell Egg" with a yoke of smoked meat, a white of compressed rice, and a shell of synthetic lime. Sir George, Edith's old man, thought he would be able to market this delight. Can't think why it did'nt take off

  4. I WANT to be there...
    Come home and let's recreate those things. Maybe fewer gambas though...?
    Must find good Ribera stockist too.
    Hasta pronto,
    C xx

  5. olive.a.twist(food.wine.science)7:21 pm

    I like it...please Sir, may I have some more?!