Saturday, 20 June 2009

Food Adventures in Mallorca

Florence had been a gift from T for finishing uni, so I got to boss him around and make him eat weird food. Mallorca was a chill out holiday with friends from uni, and each of us had our own odd food habits. These included, but were not limited to:
  • preferring processed cheese over real
  • no red meat
  • no fish
  • no food with "bits" in (such as chocolate chip ice cream)
  • no rice
  • no white bread
  • no brown bread
  • no ham
  • no chorizo
  • only drinks white wine
  • only drinks red wine
  • no mushrooms
  • no spicy food
  • no well done meat
  • no rare meat
  • no dairy
  • no butter
  • no olives
  • no lemon/"acidic" flavours
So between seven of us, cooking dinner was a bit of a challenge. We were also feeling quite budget conscious, so we didn't want to eat out too often either. We had a couple of nice barbecues, and one night I made roast chickens with an improvised patatas bravas and spinach salad. I've never roasted two chickens at once, so that was fun. I've also never made patatas bravas, so I cobbled together a vaguely piccante sauce, although the potatoes weren't as crispy as I would have hoped as they were a little crowded in the small roasting tray. As is always the case with picky eaters, five of the group divided up four chicken breasts, while me and another feasted on four legs and four wings between us. I also ate both the parson's noses before the chickens even made it out of the kitchen, which is totally the best bit of cooking for seven.

Monkfish tail with prawns, potatoes and a dollop of caviar

We did go out a couple of times, and I nearly always went for seafood. I scored a decent monkfish tail (with a tiny dollop of caviar on top!) in Portals Nous, and a good attempt at paella in Santa Ponca. In Portals Vells, I had some sickly sardines, but they passed the time while the others sunbathed on the beach. I suspect I might be mildly allergic to sunlight, so I prefer to remain pale and interesting.

Paella with whole langoustines, prawns and mussels

While I don't get Italian food, I love Spanish food, and was disappointed we didn't manage to get to a tapas bar or two. I did get a few cafe cortados though, which is always good. A cortado is similar to a macchiato, in that it is an espresso with a dab of milk, but a cortado uses warm milk, while a macchiato uses foamed. I also tried an ensaimada, a typical Mallorcan pastry, which reminded me of the faworki my Polish grandmother used to make me 20 years ago. A crisp, sweet pastry, where filling and toppings are an optional extra. I think an ensaimada is baked, so the texture was fluffier, but the taste was almost identical.

Ensaimada and Cafe Cortado

The other Spanish delicacy I tried for the first time was deep fried whitebait. They were quite big, so I'm not sure if they were true whitebait, or just mature specimens. It felt a bit weird eating a whole fish (eyes! brains! bones!) but they slipped down rather nicely. The smaller ones were particularly nice, as the larger bones in the bigger fish were quite bitter.

My flatmate A is English, although his parents now live and work in Spain, so he spends a lot of time out there. We would like to attempt a Spanish meal at home, especially as there seems to be a decent Spanish population in Edinburgh, so many of the ingredients are available nearby. Bring on the pan con tomate!