something for the journey

I have always enjoyed travelling. Not necessarily because I want to get somewhere in particular, but for the simple joy of the journey: the “time between places” when, particularly if you travel alone and on public transport, you can duck out of life and be someone else entirely.

Chance encounters in the buffet car, casual conversations that crop up between complete strangers, momentary glimpses of other people’s lives, things seen from train windows – and, as in the photo above, sometimes even the trains themselves in their festive glad rags.
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food for thought

IKEA catalogue cover
With their pristine kitchens and artfully messy family rooms, IKEA homes always make me feel inadequate. Somehow the simple storage solutions aren’t enough to help me keep my house in order, though I admit that’s my problem, not theirs.

Still, there doesn’t seem much hope that spending a small fortune on stackable storage units and designer drawers will improve matters, so when I picked up a copy of the catalogue, rather than thumbing through and compiling a wish-list, I stopped to ponder the cover, which in itself provides a host of images to question and wonder at.
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a little bit of this…

bread label (spanish)

One of the basic foods that I miss when in Spain is bread.

They do eat plenty of bread here, but it’s mostly white – a sort of faux baguette – and has no more flavour than I would expect from cotton wool or cardboard.

Other than the incredibly expensive pan artesano on sale in the village square some Saturdays, there is, however, one type of bread here that I like.

Since I buy it at the cut-price supermarket, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s cooked from frozen dough rather than made on the premises. It’s labelled as pan 6 cereales – six cereal bread. I was a little taken aback, though, when I read the ingredients list more closely: Continue reading “a little bit of this…”

putting the tail before the bull

In Spanish it’s RABO de TORO estofado; in French it’s RAGOÛT de QUEUE de taureau. And in English it’s:

packaging labelled "tail's bull stew"
 

photos of food

Christmas lunch (detail)

Clearly the world is too much with me as this is the first post in a week and, like the last one, it is based on reality.

I’ve been wondering what has prompted this recent fixation with taking pictures of a meal before eating it.

Why, once a meal is on the table – particularly a special meal, where extra effort has been put into the preparation and a delay may have a more than usually detrimental effect – would anyone decide to dash off and find a camera to immortalise the moment?

I’ve seen it happen on a number of occasions recently, and each time the focus of the photograph has been the food rather than the people present.

When I cook, I’d rather the guests sat down and ate while the meal was hot and fresh, than spent so long admiring the visual effect that it all got cold. Maybe I’m just more of a gourmand than a gourmet.

what’s for dinner?

As a vegetarian, I’m used to seeing things on Spanish menus that really don’t appeal to me. Yesterday, though, I was particularly taken – or not – by the top two items on the meat section:

Carnes: secreto, lagarto, chuletillas, cochifrito...

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more balls

Doing a bit of checking for yesterday’s piece about silver dragées for confectionery purposes, I came across a couple of things I found interesting.

First of all, in America, at least some of the confectionery suppliers such as shopbakersnook still use the word dragée. (Well, ok, without the accent.) That particular site sells “dragees for cakes and cookies” in a variety of colours, including pink, blue and white. I can see that they might think “blue dragees” sounds better than “blue balls”.
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