White Mice for Breakfast

"O mischief, thou art swift to enter in the thoughts of desperate men!"

Iberian Indulgence! July 1, 2010

This week, scallops, I will be describing the delectation of:

That’s right, TAPAS. Or to be more precise, certain delicious southern Spanish foodstuffs, the ciruelas of Córdoba, the mariscos of Murcia, the limón of the Levante, the ajo of Andalucia, all steeped in the aceite of Olivar del Desierto in the Tabernas desert.

Yes, crumpeteers! Your favourite intrepid literary food writer has been gadding away from the green shores in search of new and noteworthy dishes! And I am delighted to announce that my success has been as resounding as a ladle in a le cruset! Not only does your devoted Esther have news of sumptuous SPANISH sustenance, I have also located a new ‘Cheese of the Week’; so flip to a free page on your E.C. memo pads and watch out for another post hurtling into the stratosphere!

FIRSTLY, langostinos, we shall discuss the initial repast of the day, and although the beginning is a very odd place to start in my opinion (Leavis is also of a mind about this; why not simply plunge in mid-way, crumps, avoiding preliminary dilly dally? That singing nun has misled a whole generation, I’m sad to say) we shall begin with BREAKFAST.

Indeed, the daily desayuno. No metropolitan, Madrileño chocolades con churros to be found here, beets! Rather, the fascinating tradition of TOSTADA. A cheap, nom-licious dish, made from toasted baguette halves ‘barra’, pricked with a fork and drizzled with olive oil, before being rubbed with crushed, de-skinned tomatos and light flourish of salt. (In my case, I should also request a cafe SOLO, a coffee as strong and dark as a power-lifted covered in tar. But do not let me sway you, I’m sure cafe con leche is acceptable).

But Esther! I hear you cry. Surely this provides the perfect canvas, the base, for tasty additions? If, dear eaters, you have visions of serrano HAM, CHEESE, other ethereal savouries wafting o’er your palates, do not be alarmed. For indeed, this was also explored most thoroughly! Myself, being a traditionalist, sampled a simple tostada con tomato, ajo y manchego:

My dear friend Miss Pamela Vartue, on the other hand, braving the Andalucian sun and risking her fair complexion with only a jaunty continental hat for protection, was most inquisitive and sampled a fascinating TOSTADA of tomate y ajo con jamón serrano y huevos de codorniz: (tomato, garlic, serrano ham and quail egg… these sound infinitely nicer in Spanish, no?)

My other dear travelling companions also performed admirably in the food-discovery objective; I do believe Miss Vartue and Geraldine discovered some delectable mejillones, whilst Ms North fed my ever-increasing love affair with manchego and queso curado (and semi-curado for that matter…) and we all four  lit upon a wondr’ous dish of patatas alioli, a garlicky romance to the cuisine of Córdoba.

Although Leavis preferred to stay behind and read up on salmon, Barthes did attempt to tag along. Luckily we gave him the slip at the aerodrome, by shouting ‘By God, is that Empson by the luggage carousel?’ and running away while he was distracted.

Keep a watch for that cheese, dumplings!

Más mantequilla!

Esther. xxx

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More Popular Than Cheeses? Esther’s Cheese of the Week February 18, 2010

Filed under: Savoury Delicacies — theotherhand @ 7:29 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

This week:

... such thing as too much Brie... ... nom

CAMEMBERT.

That’s right, dear crumpeteers, BAKED CAMEMBERT. Not fried; not like those frozen-synthetic-greasy-cheeze-tubes-with-low-grade-redcurrant-gloop-with-incomprehensible-labels-from-Lidl… Hoooo, no, no. Jamais de la vie. But baked. Baked in an oven, profoundly aloof in its own wooden box, singular, empyreal… transcendental. Cheese in motion, quite literally.

Step back from the keyboard now. I have a picture.

Drool likelihood: HIGH.

Yes, I can read your cheese-tainted thoughts, my dear rollmops. Why adulterate such quintessence of flavour with an importunate sprig of rosemary? Is NOT the poetry of the cheese found in its subtle lightly peppered delicacy?

To this, I reply: let us not discriminate in the world of CAMEMBERT. Let us instead rejoice in its diversity, it’s potentiality. I myself recently enjoyed, nay REVELLED in a camembert of most elegant simplicity, with my acquaintance of many years, Dr. Hnoss. With reverent anticipation, we merely removed said cheese from its wrappings, sliced off the top, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and indulged, dear eaters, with some handy baguette and a bottle of nearby Cabernet.

But do not think the CAMEMBERT adventure ends here, rather to the contrary. The celebration continues, and I, your food maestro, intend to tread new paths into the baked cheese world, sampling it sprinkled with white wine, endowed with garlic cloves, crowned with cracked peppercorns…

To idiazabal and beyond!

Esther. xxx