Jan 17

Feliç Aniversari!

If you’ve seen the video of Nick smashing up a paper donkey then you’ll know that last weekend was his birthday. As part of the more grown up celebrations I took the opportunity to try my hand at making a few Catalan inspired dishes.

Mel I Mato Mel style Mel I Mato and Escalivada

Now, I’m not sure where I found the idea for adding the cheese bit of this dish as now I’m looking for the link all I can find is recipes for a dessert. I didn’t make a dessert instead opting for a simple yet tasty starter and all I can think is that I was being typically Mel like and craving a bit of cheese.

A whole red pepper is thrown in the oven until the skin starts to char, then marinaded in olive oil for a while and served with a splash of cider vinegar. The cheese is local and had the texture if not the flavour of mozzarella so isn’t even the right cheese for the dessert recipe. I managed to serve it all up in true foodie style though by drizzling a bit of honey over it. The sweet and sour result was delicious and Mel means honey in Catalan, how cool is that.

Orada al Forn Orada al Forn

This oven baked fish dish is described as offering “a trip to paradise without LSD” so no pressure there then. It is meant to use sea bass, but the sea bream was on offer so that’s what we used. Getting hold of the fish was the hardest bit of this recipe due to an extremely over zealous fishmonger and my non existent Catalan. Needless to say we are currently learning some fish related vocab for our next visit to the supermarket. If only to save the dignity of a recently gutted fish. As for non drug induced visits to paradise it was pretty darn good.

Crema Catalana Crema Catalana

The dessert was probably the most complicated thing on the menu, but being able to prepare it ahead of time made a huge difference on the night. My favourite bit was smashing up the sugar to go on the top, we decorated them at the table and then devoured the lot. It’s basically the Catalan take on Creme Brulee, but with a lot less faff and blowtorches. They claim to have invented this custard based treat as I’m sure the French do also. Anyone who knows me will agree that I should probably not be let loose with a blowtorch so I think this is the version that I’ll be choosing from now on.

Bon apetit!

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