Spanish food which I've fallen in love with
Whilst living here in Spain, I've been introduced to so many new things ... one of the most memorable being the FOOD! And as this year abroad seems to be coming to an end, it seems like the perfect time to pay homage to the special food in my life which I've fallen so in love with and will be forever in my heart.
1. Chorizo. I will never forget the roaring cackle of my students when they asked me what my favourite Spanish food was and I replied 'chorizo'. To them it's just a typical food, like the equivalent of 'ham' in England I guess, but to me it's so much more! The spicy, fatty sausage is so delicious, I love it. Usually it's served with bread as it's so rich and the juices ooze out of it and drip into the bread; leaving a bright reddy, orange stain in its place. It's also often served with paella or potatoes.
2. Rosca de Reyes. This is a traditional cake, eaten to celebrate Ephiphany. The texture is a mixture between pastry and sponge cake and it's shaped in an oval with a delicious, thick, creamy custard in the middle and decorated by sweeties and a sticky, sugar-based sauce. Let's just say that after the Christmas holidays, when I returned to Spain, I definitely had my fair share of this cake!
3. Huevos Rotos. A combination of roasted/fried potatoes, mixed with Iberian ham and served with two fried eggs on top. In translation this dish means 'broken eggs' and therefore the egg yolks are broken and the eggs are cut up so that they mix in with the dish fully. The runny, bright orange egg yolks ooze into the mixture and creates perfection. The different textures from the crisp outsides of the potato which contrasts with the soft, fluffy middle, mixed with the smooth, salty, tasty Iberian ham and gorgeous eggs cooked to perfection gets my taste buds tingling!
4. Tomatoes. Yes, I know, I know, I know. They're just tomatoes!? But ... they're not! They are the most juiciest, tastiest, delicious tomatoes I have ever tasted! Spain grows an abundance of tomatoes due to the perfect climate. They grow so many tomatoes here that they hold an annual tomato festival called La Tomatina. I adore tomatoes served in many ways, a few of my favourite serving ideas include:
5. Gazpacho. A cold, tomato-based soup which is so refreshing and tasty, I could drink it all day.
6. Tomato on toast. When I first came to Spain, I was really curious about what everyone seemed to be putting on their toast. I later found out that it was in fact, tomato. Add a few spoons of this tomatoey sauce to your toast with a glug of olive oil and you will be set for the day. It's much healthier than butter and jam.
7. Plain tomatoes. And of course, just as they come! There's nothing better than biting straight into a plump, juicy, ripe tomato. Try adding a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and crushed garlic and you're in heaven!
8.Frozen Yoghurt. I'm well aware that it's not traditionally Spanish, but where I'm based there seems to be an unhealthy amount of frozen yoghurt shops and I have become addicted. The yoghurt is served in a small pot and has the texture of a 99 ice cream, but instead it's yoghurt and supposedly 'healthy', although after the toppings and sauce which you add, I highly doubt it. When you place your order, you're faced with every topping and sauce possibility which you could imagine. My favourite is white chocolate sauce with cookie pieces.
9. Croquetas. A delectable mashed potato based, meat-filled (ham or chicken) croquette, fried and served crunchy on the outside and soft, delicious and oozing in the middle. I've found that they're often served with a mayonnaise-like sauce or, if you're really lucky, garlic mayonnaise. I've tried buying the frozen ones and cooking them in the oven at home, but they're nothing like the freshly made, fried ones which they serve in the tapas bars.
10. Patatas Bravas. I was hesitant to include this last one as, after consuming way too much of this, I don't particularly like it so much anymore. But I thought that due to my initial love for it, it's only fair to include it in my list! This dish includes fried potatoes accompanied by a spicy, rich tomato sauce and a contrasting, cool, creamy mayonnaise. The two sauces make the perfect combination and if cooked right, the salty, creamy potatoes make it gorgeous. Though, it's often served with more sauce than potatoes and if you eat too much, it can put you off. Perhaps ask for the sauce in a separate dish so you can choose how much sauce you use.