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| A Taste of Galicia - Octopus a Feira Quite often when you research information into the various cultures and cuisines that make up countries it is quite possible to find a common theme common name for the food of that country. Such as French food, Italian food etc but with the regards to Spanish food or more accurately described as recipes that originate from the country of Spain it could be argued that it is not quite that simple.
The reason for this is that you could quite easily argue that technically there is no such thing as Spanish food and the reason being for this is that Spain is an amalgam of its constituent parts that is to say it could be described as a political construct which is made up of disparate groups with their own languages, cultures, cuisines etc. The various autonomous regions that comprise Spain have been slowly pulled together through a variety of different processes some by force, some by choice but they all have one thing in common and that is they have kept their own individual features.
The number of autonomous different regions that form what we would nowadays refer to as Spain is 17; they all have their own linguistic variations of the language, in some cases it's a different sub language entirely and as well as their own cultures most definitely have their own individual cuisines.
One of those autonomous regions comprises the north-western province of Galicia. Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean and it is pretty understandable to think that for a region that has such an involvement with the sea, its cuisine would also be heavily influenced by the sea.
The above having been said not all of Galicia’s finest recipes are all seafood based and the region can lay claim to quite a variety of dishes all of which are most definitely worth investigating further.
Lets top talking about the food and get down to business. Let’s eat!
The ingredients for four people with this dish are as follows:
1 Octopus of about 2 kg in weight.
2dl of Olive Oil
1 Spoonful of Sweet Paprika
1 Spoonful of Hot Paprika
Basically this dish is all about preparation. Clean the Octopus carefully first, remove the ink sac, and the beak that it has between the tentacles and empty the head. Beat it with a mallet and wash it in plenty of water.
Put the Octopus into a tall pan with boiling water and the onion, and then take it out with the help of a skewer roughly three times. The aim of this exercise is to actually scald the meat rather than cook it at this stage.
Once this exercise has been repeated then put the Octopus back into the pan and then continue to cook it until the meat is tender. The time that this would take does really depend upon the quality of the Octopus that you are cooking.
Once the meat is tender enough then remove from the pan making sure that at all times that the skin doesn’t disintegrate. Remove the octopus from the pan with the aid of a skewer and this way your fingers are less likely to end up being seriously scalded!
Dry the cooked octopus and cut into 2 or 3 centimetre pieces. Put the hot octopus pieces on to wooden plates and season with salt and sprinkle with the two kinds of paprika and the olive oil.
This would make an ideal first course or a light snack!
TRADITIONAL DISHES FROM SPAIN
Pavo Trufado de Navidad (Christmas Turkey with Truffles)
1 turkey of 4 kg.½ kg. minced lean pork
1 kg. minced veal
Salt and ground black pepper
1 glass of brandy
1 large glass of dry oloroso sherry
3 tins (of 90g) truffles (mushrooms)
150 g "jamon serrano"
200 g belly of pork in rashers
Apple puree, Plums, Pineapple, oranges and maraschino cherries
For the stock..
Carcass and giblets of the turkey
½ kg carrots
½ kg leeks
½ kg onions
1 stick of celery
1 bottle of dry sherry
2 ham bones
36 g gelatin
Place the turkey upside down, cut the skin along the backbone, and using the fingers, ease away the skin in one piece, first on one side of the backbone and then on the other. It is elastic and should come away easily.
Keep the breasts apart, making fillets of the thickest parts and cutting into strips. Remove the meat from the legs and wings, etc., and mince it with the pork and veal, putting it all into a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper, sprinkle with the brandy and sherry, add the chopped truffles and their juice, and the ham and belly of pork in strips. Leave to marinate for 4 hours, together with the beaten eggs.
Remove the sliced truffles and the strips of ham and belly of pork, and reserve. Then knead together the filling thoroughly by hand.
Now spread out the skin of the turkey on the working surface and lay the fillets on top like the pages of a book. Cover the breasts with a layer of the minced meat and then with one of ham and belly of pork strips, breasts and slices of truffle, repeating the operation until the ingredients are used up. Using a stout needle, sew together the edges of the skin and also the holes made by the wings and legs.
Place the sew-up skin with its filling on a white napkin, roll it around and sew with large stitches, then tie it into a roll with uncolored string.
Put the roll into a large saucepan, together with the cut up carcass and cut up vegetables and pour over this the bottle of dry sherry. Add the ham bones, the gelatin and a few egg shells. Cover with 3 liters of cold water and boil briskly for 3 hours (1 ½ hours each side), seasoning with salt and ground pepper. Make sure that it is evenly cooked, then remove the roll and leave it on a dish to drain and cool.
Remove the cloth in which it is wrapped, wring out the juice into the cooking liquid, rinse out the cloth and again wrap up the roll without sewing. Put it on a dish, place a chopping board on top, and on top of this a weight of 3 or 4 kg. Press for 12 hours and then put into the refrigerator.
Boil the cooking liquid without a lid, reducing it to 1 liter if converting it into a jelly. If strained, this makes a magnificent soup or consomme. If required thicker, add three or four leave of gelatin. Cut the roll into slices 1 cm. thick. Serve with puree of apples and plums and decorate with slices of fresh pineapples and orange and with maraschino cherries.
8 egg yolks
A few drops of vanilla essence
1 pint milk
2 tbls. syrup
4 oz. sugar
Heat 3 tbls. sugar with ½ tbls. water until it is of a brown caramel consistency. Pour into an oven-proof dish or little individual dishes, which have previously been dipped into cold water and not dried (this prevents sticking). Make a custard by beating the yolks well, adding the milk and flavoring and pour into the caramel-lined dish or dishes and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool, turn out and keep in cool place until served
Try some Delicious Galician "Leche Frita"
This dish is a truly wonderful dessert dish and should take you about 13 minutes in total to prepare and you can serve it all year round.
First let's take a look at the ingredients. We want to be able to make it is or so for people and their full we will need the following:
1 L of milk
75 g of flour
80 g of sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 cinnamon stick
1 lemon rind
First of all sets aside a little milk in a small cup, and with the rest of the milk heat with the cinnamon and lemon rind. Whilst you are doing this mix the flour and sugar in the milk in the cup remembering to keep staring until the flour and sugar are completely dissolved. Once the flour and sugar in the middle off completely and well mixed, at the boiling milk and stood and energetically with a spatula - a wooden cooking spoon will do, for five minutes and towards the end of this process add the egg yolks.
Remove the mixture from the heat and pour onto a tray that you have previously greased with butter. Leave the mixture to cool which should not take too long and weighing the mixture is cold cocked into portions cover these portions in flour and beaten egg and then fry these portions in oil with several lemon rinds to add flavour.
At the end of this process you should have delicious Galician “Leche frita”
Spanish dishesTypical dishes are:
- Mariscos: Shellfish. Best shellfish in the world you can eat in the province of Pontevedra.
- Calamares en su tinta: Squid in its ink.
- Chorizo: Spain's most popular sausage is made from pork, ham, salt, garlic and pepper and is produced in multitude of varieties, in different sizes, shapes, short and long, spicy, in all different shades of red, soft, air dried and hard or smoked. Be careful: this kind of sausage may keep repeating on you.
- Fabada asturiana: Bean stew from Asturias.
- Gambas pil pil: A little prawn with garlic and chile.
- Gazpacho Andaluz: Cold vegetable soup.
- Merluza a la Vizcaina: The Spanish are not very fond of sauces. One of the few exception is merluza a la Vasca. The dish contains hake (fish of the cod family) prepared with white asparagus and green peas.
- Morcilla: Sausages made from pig blood flavoured with anise, it comes as a fresh, smoked or air dried variety.
- Aceitunas, Olivas: Olives, often served for nibbling.
- Lentejas Españolas: A dish made from lentils with chorizo sausage and/or Serrano ham.
- Paella: Famous rice dish originally from the Catalan Lands. Paella in Catalonia is with seafood, while in Valencia is without seafood.
- Pimientos rellenos: Peppers stuffed with minced meat or seafood. The peppers in Spain taste different than all other peppers in Europe.
- Potaje de espinacas y garbanzos: Chick pea stew with spinach.
- Jamón Serrano: Air cured ham similar to Italian Parma Ham.
- Tortilla de patatas: Probably the most popular dish in Spain. You can easily assess how good a restaurant is by having a small piece of its potato tortillas.
- Food and Drink in Spain
Eating out in Spain is often cheap and meals are substantial rather than gourmet. One of the best ways to sample Spanish food is to try tapas, or snacks, which are served at any time of day in local bars. These range from cheese and olives to squid or meat delicacies and are priced accordingly. Restaurants are classified by the Government and many offer tourist menus (menu del día). Restaurants and cafes have table service. Cocktail lounges have table and/or counter service. There are no licensing hours.
• Seafood: cod vizcaina or cod pil-pil (Basque provinces); Angulas, the tasty baby eels (Aguinaga); shellfish and hake à la Gallega (Galicia); lobster Catalan (Catalonia); fresh anchovies (Andalucía).
• Paella based on meat or seafood (Eastern provinces).
• Butifarra sausage stewed with beans (Catalonia).
• Roast meats: lamb, beef, veal and suckling pig (Castile).
• Gazpacho, a delicious cold vegetable soup (Andalucía).
• Jabugo ham (Huelva).
• Sherry (there are four main types: fino (very pale and very dry), amontillado (dry, richer in body and darker in colour), oloroso (medium, full-bodied, fragrant and golden) and dulce (sweet)).
• Wine: Rioja (Logroñ); Valdepeñas (midway between Madrid and Cordóba); Ampurdán; Chacolí (Basque Country) and Perelada (Catalonia); Cava (sparkling wine): Codorniú and Freixenet .
• Spanish brandy: Lanjarón, Vichy Catalan, Malavella and Font Vella.
Tipping: Service charges and taxes are usually included in hotel bills, however in addition, a tip should be left for the chambermaid and porters should be tipped per bag. It is also customary to leave a tip for the waiter. Restaurants often include service in the bill so a tip is discretionary. In cafes and bars, it is 5 to 10 per cent. Tip taxis 10 to 15 per cent when metered.
Spaniards often start the evening with el paseo, a leisurely stroll through the main streets. A cafe terrace is an excellent vantage point to observe this tradition, or enjoy street theatre in the larger cities. The atmosphere is especially vibrant at fiesta time, or when the local football team has won, when celebrations are marked by a cacophony of car horns, firecrackers and a sea of flags and team regalia. Tapas bars offer delicious snacks in a relaxed, enjoyable setting and it is fun to try out several bars in one night. The nightclubs of Ibiza, Barcelona and Madrid have attracted the attention of the international media, but the variety on offer caters for most tastes. Things work up to la marcha (good fun) relatively late and it is possible to literally dance until dawn. Flamenco or other regional dancing displays provide an alternative for those who prefer to watch dancing.
In Spain, the shopper can find items of high quality at a fair price, not only in the cities, but in the small towns as well. In Madrid, the Rastro Market is recommended, particularly on Sundays. Half of the market takes place in the open air and half in more permanent galleries, and it has a character all of its own. Catalonian textiles are internationally famous and there are mills throughout the region. Spanish leather goods are prized throughout the world, offering high-fashion originals at reasonable prices. Of note are the suede coats and jackets. In general, all leather goods, particularly those from Andalucía, combine excellent craftsmanship with high-quality design. Fine, handcrafted wooden furniture is one of the outstanding products; Valencia is especially important in this field, and has a yearly international furniture fair. Alicante is an important centre for toy manufacturing. Shoe manufacturing is also of an especially high quality; the production centres are in Alicante and the Balearics. Fine rugs and carpets are made in Cáceres, Granada and Murcia. The numerous excellent sherries, wines and spirits produced in Spain make good souvenirs to take home. A seven per cent VAT is added to rates for all restaurants and hotel rooms. Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 0930-1330 and 1630-2000. However, most commercial stores and malls stay open from 1000-2100/2200.
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