May 20, 2013 by Giulietta
Every month the challenge of the MTC becomes bigger and bigger. And, in April, Mai challenged us proposing us the fideuà, a Spanish dish (Catalan, to be precise, because I learned that Castilian and Catalan aren’t the same thing), a sea dish, a complex dish, but simple at the same time, because it was born on a fishing vessel, so you’ll need few ingredients and tools (believe me, cooking on a boat is not easy at all).
In addition, this dish helped me to recall a very far past (even if it was only 2009) and a trip to Barcelona in the middle of winter, and in that moment I didn’t give to that city the possibility to amaze me, to capture me with its eccentricity, his sinuous shapes , its pulsating life. It was such a different period of my life, in which the beauty of the eccentricity, of the peculiarity had a lesser power on me, a period in which I wasn’t ready to see the essence of Barcelona. Therefore, I believe I have an offset memory of this city: in my mind I see it as a city that has the color of the sand, where nothing seemed to me finished or definitive (but, while now this appears to me as a sign of hope and constant evolution, once it seemed to me as a simple lack of something). I can’t see its colors in my head, I can’t smell it or taste it, and remember it as a cold city (and it was cold, indeed, at least its weather conditions) and so far from Barcelona seen through the eyes of Pepe Carvalho, who describes it as a hot, pulsating city.
It’s amazing how moods or stages in life can change so much our own perception, so that an entire city can change with it. And I am a sea lover, so I usually love seaside town no matter what: even in the most banal or awful seaside town I can find something to love. However, I never felt anything for Barcelona (and -how strange?!-some time ago I lost all the pictures I took there and that were stored in my laptop), every memory is blurry, fuzzy, muffled.
But now I have something to start with, before I come back to Barcelona, I hope with my eyes changed: I have this seafood dish, a dish that I tried to transform, but without transfiguration, adding some artichokes (also available in a 1915 vessel that docks in a Spanish harbour – oh, yes, Spain produces artichokes) and using almost exclusively black squid (but also some prawns) with their ink black (my mom’s idea, I recognize that).
A sort of black and white picture of the original fideuà, something like my black and white picture of Barcelona. Who knows, maybe sooner or later I’ll go and add the necessary colors.
Category Contest, First course, Pasta, Sauces, Sea first course, Shellfishes, Spanish cuisine, Vegetables | Tags: artichoke,catalan cuisine,contest,fideuà,first course,ink black,mtc,pasta,prawns,sauces,sea first course,seafood,shellfishes,spanish cuisine,squid,sun dried tomatoes,vegetables | 5 Comments
July 15, 2011 by Giulietta
Ok, I admit it, I invented this recipe's name … but I invented the recipe, so I can claim the right to name it, or not? But I chose this name not by accident: both the rice and the ingredients I used for this recipe smelled like the Mediterranean, in my humble opinion, so why don't give the recipe the name of this sea and of this enclave of Countries that, somehow, contributed to its genesis?
I was looking for a cold first course for one of my birthday parties (yes, I chose to make a cold dinner and, of course, the night I celebrated there were more or less 20° C… typical!) and I didn't want to make my classic rice salad, which is a bit banal …. so, starting from the beginning, ie rice, I made a replacement, and instead of "normal" rice I chose a more special, refined one, the riz rouge de Camargue, which is perfect for salads, 'cause it stays firm after cooking, and 'cause is very crisp.
Reading here and there some information about this colorful and crisp rice, I read that one of the recommended combinations was with fish, so … why don't make a sea rice salad?! And so appeared shrimps and tuna/mackerel filets. But I had to put some vegetables (I love them) … and so I put some crispy celery, sauté zucchini and, for a real Mediterranean taste, sun-dried tomatoes and black olives -with their stone (I know that olives are not strictly vegetables, but grant me this unfair allocation). And yet something was missing … herbs, maybe Occitan ones … and so I added oregano, thyme and marjoram. Add some dressing (lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, a few tablespoons of dried tomato patè), et voila, you're done! This was more or less my thought process that, from the first choice (rice) led to the creation of a brand new rice salad, very tasty and crunchy, perfect for a dinner with friends (you can serve it in single portions, putting 3 or 4 tablespoons of rice salad in a pudding mold, and then turning it upside down, as you see in the first two pictures) or for a picnic (blessed be the Tupperwares) in good company.
Category Cold dishes, First course, Herbs, Pasta rice and cereals salads, Sea first course, Shellfishes, Single course, Vegetables | Tags: black olives,celery,first course,fish,mackerel,pasta rice and cereals salads,riz rouge de Camargue,sea first course,shellfishes,shrimps,tuna,vegetables,zucchini | 12 Comments
April 21, 2011 by Giulietta
Lately I allowed myself too much fun, too many colors, too much spring on this blog! So today I say "that's enough", and I purify myself with a total-black post, where black rules the roost .
This as for the eyesight, but for the taste?!
The taste is vernal, fresh and strong, that anticipate the summer with his sea notes, but its roots are still in this middle earth which is spring, because of the risotto (which I don't consider a summer dish, except for rice salad, a summer evergreen)
I won't dwell on the smell (rhyme), since it's fish, and fish or you love it or you hate it, smell included … certainly I won't buy a cuttlefish eau de toilette, but to cook and then eat fish (and I know that cuttlefish is not a fish, but a cephalopod mollusk, but you understood the concept) I am ready for everything, even its fragrant smell (although cuttlefish doesn't have such a stench).
What can I say about tact?! If you really want to know, cuttlefish is quite slippery and tough, not a particularly pleasant texture, but so like the smell, there's worse! However, if you have strange desires related to abnormal hair colors, cuttlefish ink would be fine!
We lack only the hearing … but since -even in my short life- I never heard a cuttlefish speak or sing, you have to wait for the development of appropriate supernatural powers.
Category First course, Risotto, Sea first course, Shellfishes | Tags: cuttlefish,cuttlefish ink,first course,risotto,sea first course,shellfishes | 14 Comments
March 17, 2011 by Giulietta
How many times as a child I played the "if I" game, and sometimes I still play it now, especially if someone triggers me off .. and it's not a game as simple as it might seem, or as we thought as children, because it's often hard to find an answer that will fully represent ourselves.
For example, today I tried to dedicate myself for the umpteenth time to this game, and there have been some "if I" really difficult to determine! For example, I wondered, "If I were a song"… Well, I would be "Grace" by Jeff Buckley or "Wish you were here" by Pink Floyd! No, come on, I would be "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, or perhaps "La strada" by Modena City Ramblers! But noooo: I would definitely be "Un blasfemo" by Fabrizio De Andrè! Eventually, after hours of intensive listening, I realized that if I were a song, I would probably be "Piece of my heart" sung by Janis Joplin, a song about love and anger, strong and intense, sung by a female and hoarse voice, both powerful and fragile … Yes, I think I would be THIS song. I began with the most difficult task: music contains so many facets that it's very hard to choose a single song … but other choices are not simple, as well!
If I were a poet I would be Pablo Neruda, but if I were a poem I would be the fourth of "Dieci poesie per una lucciola" by Clemente Rebora, if I were a color I would be the color red, if I were an animal I would be a dog, if I were a drink I would be a Beer "Super" by Baladin.
If I were a novel I would be "Monsieur Malaussène" by Daniel Pennac (Malaussène, Malaussène, always Malaussène), if I were an album I would be "Non al denaro, non all'amore nè al cielo" by Fabrizio De André, if I were a movie I would be "Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind" (I refused to write its title in Italian), if I were a film director I would be Pedro Almodovar, if I were a comic book I would be "Venerdì 12" by Leo Ortolani… and so on …
But how many exclusions, how many thoughts and afterthoughts to reach these conclusions! And I'm sure I'll change my mind again and again!
But when I found myself thinking (thanks to a big help from the outside) "if I were a recipe, what would I be? ", the response was immediate: "I would be a dish of pasta with clams"!
Category First course, Pasta, Sea first course, Shellfishes | Tags: clams,first course,parsley,pasta,sea first course,shellfishes | 6 Comments