Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Andalucia Calling

I got a voicemail yesterday on my mobile from the Bull and Last telling me that the Spanish wine tasting with Richard Hemming had been cancelled. It was on my first visit to the Bull and Last that I bought tickets, having been so impressed by the food there. It was a runner up in Time Out's eating & drinking awards 2009, Best Gastropub category. But what did it for me was the review in the The Times by Giles Coren.

On our visit we tried the home made charcuterie plate which consisted of delicate slices of duck prosciutto. For the main we choose the braised pigs cheek with foie gras which was cooked the perfection. Sides, we had the triple cooked chips and the scotch egg, both dishes were excellent.

The cancellation of course was a disappointment, however the Spanish theme was set to continue. Exactly this time last year I was in Andalucia for a week, it's rugged dry rocky landscape at first looks desolate but delve a little deeper then you come across some if not the best and most exciting food Spain has to offer. During the trip I was fortunate enough to visit the home of Ines Rosales, the home of Torta de Aceite. Ines Rosales is the name of the woman who started out making the these wonderful tortas and sold them by a crossroads near Seville station.

Today the tortas are still made by hand and the woman who make them make around 3 tortas every 20 seconds, in order to do this they need around 3 months of training in order to reach the required speed. The tortas are simply made from flour, baking powder, extra virgin olive oil, salt, aniseed, sugar and sesame seeds. Once the dough is made it's then hand shaped then baked at a very low temprature before being hand wrapped. Ines Rosales is still the only commercial torte de Aceite that is hand made, all other brands are made by machine.

Following on with the Spanish theme on Wednesday evening is good 'ol Jamie Oliver, love him or loath him, Oliver is back with his new series - Jamie Does.

Although I'm not that impressed by the first episode in Marrakech, I'm keeping an open mind and looking forward to the second episode, Jamie does Andalucia. I do think he's got it easy, the landscape and food is purely magical and instantly draws you in.
At the weekend C and I picked up a copy of his new book. Like all cooking books, I use them mostly for inspiration, they awaken the mind and get the juices flowing, well not literally! In the book he skims across 6 different cuisines so its by no means a comprehensive guide to the places he visits. But in true Oliver style he keeps the dishes exciting, authentic and along with great photography it does the job and C and I are both pleased with our new purchase. Friday finishes off our Spanish week with a Tapas evening with friends, raise your glass to Andalucia and let the Manzanilla flow!


  1. watch jamie in andalucia on 4oD


  2. Great post! I'm cooking my way through '1080 Recipes' by Simone and Inés Ortega in 1 year on my blog if you're interested in Spanish cooking.
    I missed the Jamie Oliver show in Spain, but to be honest I find his recipes a bit fiddly as his list of ingredients is so long!