Spanish food and drink ideas on Facebook

Spanish Food and Drink on Facebook – Food Ideas

I have built a Spanish Food and Drink Page on Facebook

I have been cooking for the best part of 50 years in one way or another. When my wife bought me a Ken Hom Wok, I was truly inspired. Since then I take any and every opportunity to cook.

Why Spanish Food and Drink?

I have lived here in Spain now for close to 21 years. In that time, I have eaten pretty much everything that Andalucia can offer. Some classic dishes and some, Matt Hancock might be eating in the I’m a Celebrity…get me out of here! camp. I jest ye not!

There are some truly outstanding dishes, such as Cochinillo or Lechòn (suckling Pig) and Rabo de Toro (Oxtail) and some horrors, such as Sesos (Brains in breadcrumbs look just like any other breaded meats, watch out!).

I have cooked a lot of regional as well as local dishes. I also photographed them too. So, it seemed like a good idea to make a Facebook Page and put all the photographs and recipes together. Viola! https://www.facebook.com/groups/spanishfood 

There will be all sorts of things going on this page, not just Spanish food and drink. I often cook British food as well as Italian, French and American.

American? Yes; Cajun, Creole, Tex-Mex, Soul Food, Jerk and so on. I group this diverse group of cuisines as ‘American’

Youtube the FoodTube

Spanish Food & Drink on Facebook - Rabo de Toro
The classic Rabo de Toro or Ox or Bulls Tail Stew – Served at Manolo’s in Salinas

I binge-watch Youtube for food and drink Ideas. There is an absolute wealth of videos that will give you the genuine recipes as well as versions on a theme. Some, such as Spain on a Fork and Kay’s Cooking are my favourites. One is a Spanish chef and the other is a culinary disaster: both are entertaining.

I have also added the food and drink from the restaurantes, bars and other food suppliers. The Menu del Dia (Menu of the Day) can bring up some excellent dishes. They are also good value, ranging from 8€ upwards. Tapas are also added and tapas bars.

Nerja is a fantastic place for foodies such as me. There are Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Indian and many other international cuisines represented. You won’t go hungry in Nerja.

If you are staying with Nerja Beach Holidays and are catering for yourself, this Facebook page might give you some ideas. Not just what and where to eat but, also, what to cook for yourself.

I hope you enjoy the page and I also hope that you will contribute some of your own ideas.

What to eat in Spain – Bacalao a la Vizcaina

Cod in a delicious Red Pepper Sauce – Bacalao a la Vizcaina

Bacalao recipe from Albert Bevia

Without a doubt, Spain on a Fork is my favourite Spanish recipe channel. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t watch. Spain on a Fork is presented by Albert Bevia, born in Valencia, raised in California but now, living back in Spain.

What I like about this Spanish food channel is its simplicity. The produce used is what I can get myself from Spanish supermarkets, such as Mercadona, Dia and so on. Also, the recipes are inexpensive.

On this blog for Nerja Beach Holidays, you will find that I will be posting my efforts at the recipes Albert posts on Youtube and his blog. I would also recommend watching his channel and reading his blog to familiarise yourself with everyday Spanish cuisine.

Andalucia has a varied cuisine that has many influences and ranges from 5-star dishes to basic peasant staples. From Cochinillo (Suckling Pig) to Sesos (Pig’s Brains), from Rabo de Toro (Oxtail Stew) to Criadillas (Bull’s Testicles).

You will also find videos and posts for some of the most famous and simple tapas recipes.

How to Make Bacalao a la Vizcaina or Cod in Pepper Sauce

Como Hacer Bacalao a la Vizcaina - Cod in Red Pepper sauce
Como Hacer Bacalao a la Vizcaina – Cod in Red Pepper sauce

I used cod pieces that I bought frozen from Mercadona Supermarket in Archidona, close to where I live. I defrosted the fish in the fridge overnight. Then, resting at room temperature, I made sure that the fish was patted dry with kitchen towel (stops spitting oil and makes a crust on the fish).

Coat the Bacalao (Cod) in plain flour and pat the excess flour off and rest on a piece of kitchen paper.

In a frying pan, add sufficient olive oil to cover the base and turn the heat to high. Once the oil is very hot, lower the fish into the pan, skin side down. Fry for about 3 minutes or, until you get a nice crust on the skin. Turn the fish over and do the same.

Making the Sauce

For this sauce, I used 1 whole diced onion, 3 cloves of garlic minced using a rallador (grater), half of a red bell pepper, a choppd tomatoe, four small Piquillo Peppers (they come prepared in a jar) and a teaspoon of  Spanish Sweet Paprika. (recipe on Alberts website)

In a seperate frying pan add olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add onions and garlic and fry for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the red bell pepper, piquillo peppers and chopped tomatoe and fry until softened. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down.

Once cooled, put into a bowl or other container and blitz with a hand-blender until you get a smooth sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Return to the pan and reheat.

By this time, your fish will be ready to serve

Pour some of the pepper sauce onto the plate and cover the base with an even layer. Add the cod and an optional garnish. You are ready to enjoy one of the best fish dishes of Spain.

In my version, I have added a few prawns as a nod to a local dish which features prawns as well as Angulas (Baby Eels)

Please visit the Spain on a Fork Youtube site for more great dishes from Albert.

 

 

What is a Rallador de Ceramica or Spanish Grating Plate?

Sometimes life grates on you

I’ve been looking for a rallador de Ceramica for some time now; actually, for a long time. As ridiculous as it may seem, even after two decades of living in the Malaga area of Andalucia, I never got to buy one. Honestly!

What is a Rallador de Ceramica?

The rallador is a fantastic device that Spaniards use to grate garlic, tomatoes, ginger, cucumber and just about anything else.

A traditional Andalucian breakfast is a Mollette con Tomate, a powdered bread bun, toasted and then spread with tomato, garlic or olive oil. There are some people, like me, for instance, that have all three.

The rallador is a ceramic plate or bowl that has a serrated centre on which you rub or grate garlic, tomatoes, ginger et al.

It is a simple but practical device that also looks good in the kitchen.

Searching for the ceramic grater

You really do have to take my word that I have tried for years to get hold of a ceramic grater. Even my trips into the Malaga mountains. I tried in such out-of-the-way places as Soportújar and Pampaneira.

Other places nearer to home, such as Vinuela and Velez Malaga were also fruitless.

These two villages had plenty of artisan craft and pottery but not one had the grater. Nerja was another place that proved to be a non-starter. I was very surprised as Nerja is a great place for tourists and you would have thought this particular item would be a great seller. But, no!

I was not alone – there were other grater-less Brits

Rummaging around on the social media platforms, such as Facebook opened my eyes to the fact that I was not alone in my search. There were other people who were also searching for this wonderful bit of pottery but, to no avail. It was cold comfort. Everyone was asking the same questions and, we all got the same answer.

Success! I actually found some Ralladors de Ceramicas!

The great thing about living in and around the Malaga area of Andalucia is that there is plenty to see and do. We decided to leave our base in the campo (countryside) close to the Andalucia white village or “Pueblo Blanco” of Villanueva del Trabuco and headed to the coast.

We had decided on a day out at Plaza Mayor, a sizable open-air shopping spot with a wide selection of apparel stores, including global brands, restaurants, shops, bars and a cinema. We wanted to watch BELFAST, a new film recently released. Also, we wanted to have a nice meal beforehand.

The meal and the film, I will save for another post.

To cut a long story short: between the meal and the film, we had some time to kill. We decided to do a bit of shopping and so headed towards o0ne of the many malls at Plaza Mayor.

Sat in the middle of the walkway outside the Mercadona store was a ceramics stall. My eyes popped when I saw, not just a few, but, hundreds of ralladors, all different shapes and sizes.

They ranged in price, from quite cheap to a major purchase. However; if you bought more than one item, you got a discount on both. Happily, I purchased a plate and a bowl. For 15€ (this was after a 2€ discount) I had, at last, got what I had been searching for.

This may seem like a paltry purchase, after all, there was all manner of shops I had been in, at the Plaza Mayor, including one that sold Japanese Sushi knives at 500€ a pop (yes! I’m a bit of a foodie) but, after so many years, its practical and emotional value was priceless.

Speaking to the lady who sold me these items, she told me they have a shop in Malaga city, close to the Hard Rock Cafe.

So, if you are looking for a rallador or two, you know where to go.

Ayo in Nerja – The World Famous Paella included in Eating Out Guide

Major eating out guide expands its Soletes category for summer and includes 12 new additions from Malaga province

The Guía Repsol describes the establishments in this section as friendly, appealing places that you would recommend to a friend, and that includes chiringuito beach restaurants and even ice cream parlours

Ayo in Nerja? Spain’s Guía Repsol has added 41 restaurants in Andalucía, including a dozen in Malaga, to its Soletes category this summer, as it decided to recommend places which are very popular locally but do not normally make it onto these lists. The new additions were announced at a gala event in Ibiza on Tuesday.

The guide describes the restaurants in this section as friendly, appealing places that you would recommend to a friend, and that includes chiringuito beach restaurants and even ice cream parlours.

The recommendations in this section for Malaga province are: Helados Lauri, Santa Gema, Chiringuito Gutiérrez Playa, El Tintero II, Miguelito El Cariñoso and El Caleño, in Malaga city; La Mar Bonita, in Torremolinos; La Plata Casa Matilde, in Benajarafe; Alma Playa, in Rincón de la Victoria; El Saladero and El Hornillero, in Vélez-Málaga; and Ayo, in Nerja. Read more from the Sur in English

Ayo in Nerja – The World Famous Paella

Ayo in Nerja - The World Famous Paella
Ayo in Nerja – The World Famous Paella getting dished out

I am truly amazed at the inclusion of Ayo in Nerja to this list! Not because the food is bad, not because the prices are high or the service is poor; no! It’s because Ayo and his paella are actually world famous.

You can trawl the Youtube and Internet and you will find programmes featuring Ayo’s on Burriana Beach in Nerja. There are videos, blogs, articles and so on, all featuring this great Nerja Merendero /Chiringuito.

It is one of the ‘must visit’ sites on your trip to Nerja. Along with the Balcòn de Europa and the Nerja Caves, Ayo’s is a tourist attraction. The restaurant is always packed and people gather to watch the Paella being made over a roaring wood-burning fire.

There are, of course, other chiringuitos on the Burriana beach-front. One such as La Barca but, Ayo and his paella are the best known.

So, when you come and stay at the Nerja Beach Holidays apartments or villas, go to Ayo’s.

Espeto de Sardinas – Sardines Cooked on Skewers

Top tip from the Costa del Sol’s new King of the Espeto: “The secret is to cook them with love”

Espeto, Chiringuito, Merendero Skeward fish
Espeto de sardinas served up in Torre Del Mar

The chiringuitos that made it through to the final were La Batea Churrianera, Narval Marisquería and Restaurante Las Acacias, all from Malaga city, Chiringuito Royal Beach in Mijas and Marina Playa in Rincón de la Victoria

No dish is identified as closely with the Costa del Sol as the ‘espeto de sardinas’ – sardines cooked on canes over an open fire on the beach – which has become famous worldwide.

And Malaga now has a new Espeto King, following the recent gastronomic route organised by SUR, sponsored by Turismo Andaluz and Sabor a Malaga, in collaboration with the Chiringuitos Association of the Costa del Sol and Cruzcampo.

On Tuesday, the final of a competition to find the best ‘espetero’ took place, and the representatives of five beach restaurants were charged with cooking an espeto their way for the judging panel led by SUR’s food critic Enrique Bellver to try. Read more

Espetero

A person using the espetar method of cooking. This involves driving fish/meat, skewered on bamboo, into mounds of sand close to very hot charcoal fires to cook it.

Chringuitos

A Chiringuito is a small enterprise, usually a bar, selling mainly drinks and tapas, and sometimes meals, in a more or less provisional building, often on a beach or loose surface where a more permanent structure may be inviable.

Although there are large restaurants to be found on many beaches, such as Burriana Beach in Nerja. La Barca and Ayo’s to name just two. Sometimes also referred to as a Merendero (although, strictly speaking, a Merendero is a place in the open air where people gather to eat. Usually, bringing their furniture, food and drink)

Espeto de Sardinas

Espeto de Sardinas - Sardines cooked Espeto fashion. Espetar means 'to skewer'
Espeto de Sardinas – Sardines cooked Espeto fashion. Espetar means ‘to skewer’

The verb espetar means “to skewer.” Normally, on the beaches of Nerja and other places, this will be fish; sardines usually. The fishes are impaled on a bamboo skewer (nowadays, some chiringuitos will use metal skewers) and placed close to a large, very hot, charcoal-burning fire. They are dressed with rock salt and are delicious.

Meat and other types of food are also cooked in this manner, although fish and sardines are the norms.

When you come and stay in the Nerja Beach Holidays villas, apartments or townhouses, make sure to visit the chiringuitos. The fish is fresh from the Mediterranian and off the skewer straight onto your plate.

 

Eating out in Nerja – Tapas and Sangria

Eating out in Nerja – What is ‘Sangria’?

Sangria is an alcoholic beverage originating in Spain and Portugal. Under EU regulations only those two Iberian nations can label their product as Sangria; similar products from different regions are differentiated in the name.
Now, until I started writing this post, I never knew that; the bit about the EU regulations. Although I have drank my way through a fair amount of Sangria in my 20 years of living in Andalucia.  Some of it good, some of it, shall we say, a bit on the sweet side.

How to Make Sangria

The easy way? Get a big jug full of ice, add a bottle of red wine, a half bottle of lemonade / bitter lemon and some Cointreau (Cointreau is a premium triple sec orange-flavoured liqueur) and bung in some chopped oranges and apples. Bingo! That is a basic Sangria! You can check out Kieth Floyd’s version on this Youtube video.

There are numerous versions of this drink and you may even come up with your own. If this proves a little too sweet for you, ask for ‘Tinto de Verano’ which is chilled red wine with soda or lemonade.

Tinto de verano is a cold, wine-based drink popular in Spain. It is similar to sangria and is typically made up of 1 part of table red wine and 1 part soda, usually lemonade. Traditional brands of soda, or gaseosa, such as La Caserta, can be replicated by mixing Sprite or 7-Up with carbonated water. Cheers Wikipedia

#Note: Do not mix the word ‘Sangria’ with ‘Sangre‘. One is a wine cocktail, the other is stuff that Dracula drinks…Blood!

Eating Out in Nerja – Tapas

Eating out in Nerja - Tapas and Sangria in Nerja Andalucia Spain
Salchichas en el Infierno (Sausages in Hell)

Anyone who has the remotest idea of Spanish cuisine or Spanish culture will have heard of ‘tapas’.

There are numerous stories about the origins of this delightful habit, my favourite goes as such: the king of Spain was out riding and stopped at a place for a glass or two of wine. To keep the flies out of the king’s drink, he was given a slice of bread to cover the glass.

So was born a beautiful tradition.

Since then, things have advanced (or got silly) as now tapas can be as elaborate as you like.

There are standards that you will find in almost every bar offering tapas in Nerja. Cheese in oil, anchovies, prawns, Russian salad, Serrano ham, boiled eggs, Tortilla and so on, all with a slice or two of bread.

The more elaborate tapas, such as sausage and black pudding on skewers served over a roaring flame. Salchichas en el Infierno (Sausages in Hell) can be found in Nerja.

Tapas are both hot and cold dishes. You will find all sorts of meat, chicken, fish and so-on being served up.

#Tip: For those not too keen on ‘exotic’ types of tapas, stay clear of the ‘Seso de Chivo’. They sometimes come fried in breadcrumbs.

Take a walk around Nerja, go on the Tapas trails, try different establishments and, by the time you are ready for home, you’ll be quite an expert. I can’t think of anything more enjoyable. Ask the good people at Nerja Beach Holidays where to get the best tapas, they should know.

Go further inland, they also serve their versions of tapas, they are also, in some places, free with the drink.

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed – Best Spanish Food Dishes

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

Piqillo Peppers - Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
So much joy from such a small bottle – these peppers are sold everywhere

This is a fantastic dish, as a tapa, side dish or even a main course. Piquillo  Peppers can be stuffed with meat, fish, rice, potato or a mixture of the lot. There is no end to the variations, however; there are some standard piquillo pepper dishes that you will find everywhere in Spain, not just in Nerja.

Piquillo Peppers stuffed with cod and potato

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers - Tapas, side dish or, main course
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers – Tapas, side dish or, main course

My particular favourite variation is cod mixed with mashed potato and chives stuffed into the peppers.

Method

This really is the most simple of dishes. There are few ingredients and not a lot of preperation. The ammount of peppers you need depends on how many are going to partake in this little delightful dish.

The best bet is to use all of the peppers.

Remove the peppers from the bottle and rinse under a cold tap. Pat them dry and check for any that are split, these are great for a sauce.

Boil a pan of potatoes and then mash them with butter and milk. You can then add chives or whatever herbs or spices you prefer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the potatoes are cooled, push them into a pastry / piping bag. (If you don’t have one, no worries, simply cut off the bottom corner of a plastic freezer bag, put the contents in and it works just as well)

Squeeze the potatoes into the peppers. Thats it!

You can reheat them in the microwave for 2 minutes, eat them cold or even freeze them for another day. In the picture above, I used fresh parsley.

These piquillo peppers are great as a tapa, side dish or, a main course. They are very adaptable: you can stuff them with anything. Let me know how you get on with yours. A photo would be greatly recieved.

So, when you visit us at Nerja Beach Holidays, you will have your first tapas dish to look for.

Menu del Dia – A Great Feast for 20€

MENU DEL DIA – A CHOICE BETWEEN McDONALDS AND REAL FOOD

As is the norm for a lot of ex-pats, eating out during the hot summer days, just has to be done. Fast food is fine and pretty cheap but, there is another option; menu del Dia.

Menú del día, or menu of the day, is a menu served by Spanish restaurants during lunch, one of the largest meals of the day in Spain.

Featured today were: Starters: Guiso de papas y Atun (a potato and tuna stew) and Ensalada Malagueña (Malaga Salad that includes potatoes and oranges)

Main: Costillas a la Barbacoa (BBQ Ribs) and Merluza (Hake in batter)

Dessert: Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding) and Cuajada (Cuajada is a cheese product. Traditionally it is made from ewe’s milk, but now it is more often made industrially from cow’s milk.

It is popular in the northern regions of Spain and also in Andalucia. Topped with Honey (Miel) this really is a great dessert dish.)

Also included bread, a bottle of water and 2 x Alhambra beers. All for less than the price of a Mcdonald’s of the same size; 20€ for a couple!

When you compare the Menu and the McDonalds; there is only one winner.

Next time you come and stay at Nerja Beach Holidays, make a point of going for this great meal that is served everywhere. All quite different but, still at a great price.

Further inland, the prices are even cheaper. Use your villa or apartment in Nerja as a base to discover the rest of the Malaga and Andalucia areas.

Doggy Bags to be made Compulsary in Spain

LIVING IN SPAIN IS A DOG’S LIFE SOMETIMES

Dogs in Spain - Dogs life in Spain
Pablito and his friends waiting on their doggy bags

As somebody who often takes food home for the dogs in the campo area (countryside), this is great news. Restaurants in Spain will have to offer clients doggy bags for their uneaten food.

The Spanish government has approved a new law to prevent food waste, including rules which will also affect supermarkets and farmers, among others. 

How often have we walked away, leaving uneaten food because we are too shy to ask for a doggy bag. Now, that’s one less thing to worry about.

Even if you don’t have a pet yourself, there is no shortage of takers sniffing about for a free meal. I don’t mean the human kind.

See more of this great story from the Sur in English