Archive for the ‘Christmas’ category

Iberico Ham

December 28, 2007


Check out these splendid specimens of cured Iberico ham hanging out in the supermarket.  Arturo insisted on buying in a whole one as he claimed last year a single ham lasted him six months.  We’re making well sure that this year it won’t!  In Cataluña people eat lots of ham finely sliced with bread rigorously rubbed first with a clove of peeled raw garlic, and then with a juicy chunk of ripe tomato.  Bread prepared in this way is known as ‘torrades’ and it’s certainly an outstandingly handy way of making sure your toast is moist.  That’s something to consider, as the bread here seems to be solely white, crunchy and refined.  We have it toasted every morning which is lovely for a change… as we never eat white bread at home, but I think it would tend to lose its novelty after a short while of waist expansion.  We have hardly seen a fruit or a vegetable for days.  However, we’ll certainly see some tomorrow, as we are off to the exciting and colourful La Boqueria food market in the central of Barcelona.  Last time I went – four years ago with my mum – we were unable to have a really good look around as we were being followed by a shady man intent on snatching our valuables.  This time however I will be with two fairly large Peruvian males and I will surely not be able to resist taking lots of pics, so please stay tuned!



Gloriously Gastronomical Getaway

December 25, 2007


We’re spending the holidays in Spain, enjoying a gloriously gastronomical getaway and staying with Tito’s brother Arturo and his girlfriend Silvia.  We brought my mum along, Silvia’s mum has joined us, and Santa’s here too, apparently.  Below is a typical Catalonian bread called Coca, decorated with pretty preserved fruits and pine nuts.   It’s more usually enjoyed for a summer festival, but it’s so beautifully festive we couldn’t resist eating it for Christmas breakfast, with strong, freshly brewed coffee. Bon Nadal!


Spiced Turkey Stuffed with Cranberries, Raisins, Garbanzos, Black Olives and Feta

November 30, 2007


This was the trial run for Christmas – we can now rest assured that this recipe (adapted from typical Chiclayano home cooking) is scrumptious enough to serve up to family and friends with the utmost confidence.  The three and a half kilo turkey we procured was far from enormous, but as there’s two of us it has lasted all week.  This has been just great as the flavours mature with time and become even more delicious… 

You will need: 

1 Organic turkey – 3 ½ kilos (if your turkey weighs more or less, adjust the other ingredients accordingly)
Olive oil for basting
8 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon each of: aji amarillo, aji panca (if you can’t get South American condiments you can substitute paprika), cumin, salt and pepper
6 or 7 cloves of garlic – crushed
3 cans of garbanzos – drained
200 grams of mixed raisins and cranberries
100 grams of dried, salted black olives
1 packet feta – diced 

Total cooking time: 2½ hours

Marinading time: 24 hours 

Marinade the turkey in cider vinegar, crushed garlic, pepper, salt, aji amarillo, aji panca and cumin for 24 hours.  Pierce the turkey and rub the marinade well into the skin. Turn the oven to 220ºF, and cook in a large roasting dish, covered with foil for one hour and a half. 

Mix the garbanzos, raisins, cranberries, olives and feta in a large bowl.  Remove the turkey from the oven and stuff with the mixture.  Baste generously with olive oil. Turn the temperature down to 180ºF. Put the turkey back in, with the foil removed, and cook for a further hour. 

Enjoy this as a meal in itself.  In Peru, on Christmas Eve, it’s served with wonderful, homemade cinnamon-infused hot chocolate.  The spicy, sweet, savoury and salty flavours are an adventure for your palate.  I just love it, and we’ll definitely be preparing this wonderful meal at Tito’s brother Arturo’s place in Barcelona this Christmas (less than a month away now!).