Pau Arboix with his Casa Sendra salchichón (Photograph supplied)
The door handle is a large, gold letter S. There is no signage, no indication of what lies beyond the curtained windows on this shopping strip in the town of Vic, in Catalonia, Spain. Entry must be requested after ringing a doorbell. Inside, a small showroom oozes luxury. A huge chandelier hangs above a round wooden table that is polished to a brilliant sheen and surrounded by elegant, upholstered chairs. A huge, silver-edged mirror takes up an entire wall. There’s a large stone sculpture of a curvaceous, naked woman, her back turned, a pig at her feet, by the Catalan sculptor, Josep Maria Subirachs, whose best-known work is the Passion Facade of the basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Dangling enticingly along a wall is what we have come to see: row after row of sausages.
These are not just any sausages. An arm’s length and as thick as the barrel of a baseball bat, they’re salchichón – a type of dried, cured pork salami traditional in this town. These particular specimens, wrapped in glossy white paper, bear the insignia of Casa Sendra – the region’s oldest salchichón producer. Read the full story here.
I love to cook. But i love people cooking for me just as much. And i’ve had UK-based celebrity chef Anjum Anand cooking wicked Indian curries with me in my kitchen for the past week — well, almost. Continue reading
Filed under Chefs, Cuisines
A pintxos laden bar in San Sebastian
Pintxos (pronounced pinchos): it’s the Basque region’s answer to tapas and a more extravagant, elaborate and eccentric display of delectables i’d never seen, until i arrived in San Sebastian.
In San Sebastian any bar worth its salty anchovy has pintxos lined up buffet or banquet-style on large platters and plates. You tend to pay and eat on a kind of bar tab system: the waiter either clocks what you order and charges you as you leave, or you keep the toothpicks that many pintxos are pinned to and are charged accordingly. It’s a little ad hoc, as are the pintxos. But that’s all part of the fun and games. Continue reading
I’ve been busy: busy getting to know Paris. Busy getting blisters from all the walking. Busy not getting lost on the metro, which as a solo traveller with an abysmal sense of direction was far from guaranteed. For a while i was busy checking the pocket-sized metro map repeatedly before hopping on board to make sure i was taking the right line and then double, even triple, checking the first few stops, convinced I’d head in the wrong direction. I didn’t. Then i got busy zig-zagging the city on multi-coloured metro lines in search of gastronomic adventures: including cooking at Le Cordon Bleu and Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse where we simmered pots of stock for hours until they reduced to glossy, syrupy jus, learnt the art of pastry making, confiting and how to make impossibly crisp and pretty croutons. I’ve been busy enjoying 28-degree days and beers in busy sidewalk cafes. Busy in a gastronomic bliss bubble of steak frite, tartare, and tartin.
With its beautiful blue, intricately designed, padded cover, From India: Food, Family & Tradition by Kumar and Suba Mahadevan is a cookbook worth coveting.
I’m a big fan of the Mahadevan’s work. We’ve visited their first restaurant, Abhi’s in the Sydney suburb of Concord, for a number of years. We’ve taken friends there, celebrated birthdays there, consumed festival banquets there, and it’s fair to say we’ve never been disappointed by a meal. We’ve dined at its higher-end sibling, Aki’s, and I’ve ripped Kumar’s recipes out of newspapers, so it’s about time that they pulled their finger out and published a cookbook! Continue reading