It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part II)

Hola CTTBies! Howdie?

In my last post I began a “profound”  journey, diving into Spanish cuisine. Today we’ll conclude with part II! In this article, we’ll be looking at some common items that are served in restaurants, or eaten at home.

In one of my previous posts, I discussed the Spanish custom of taking  strolls and spending a lot of time outside. I also talked about tapeo, which is going from restaurant to restaurant eating snacks. Because of that, many items on the local menus are designed to be quick, “portable” while remaining delectable.

Common home ingredients or restaurant items

Fideuá

It’s a sort of “pasta version” of paella. I’m personally not too fond of vermicelli in general (because of the texture), but the taste is good!

Huevos rotos

It’s a combination of fried eggs, potatoes and ham. Fun fact: in Spanish, the name means “broken eggs”.

Patatas bravas

Simple yet satisfying, this pommes sautées dish is topped with a colorful, delicious intertwining alliance of aioli sauce and a special, slightly spicy “ salsa brava” (some restaurants use ketchup instead).  It’s a perfect choice for a quick but savory and filling dinner.

Croquetas

Looking cute and lovely, they are crunchy on the outside yet soft, creamy, on the inside . A perfect match!

 They are usually stuffed with ham or mushrooms.

Bocadillos

¡Señoras y señores, más pan! (Ladies and gentlemen, more bread!)

Aside from potatoes, Spaniards eat a lot of baguette as well. Anything that can fit in it is good to go. There are therefore a variety of stuffings: chicken breast, chorizo, bell pepper, etc… Ta-da! A sandwich is born. I love how they are generously filled until they can’t hold it in again; it’s a nice way to show love to customers!

The most baffling combination for me is baguette stuffed with a piece of tortilla de patata (potato omelette)Nice, but too much carbs at once (in my opinion)… Anyway! If it fits in the mouth, then it’s fine.

Calamares rebozados

I love these squid rings. Crispy, stretchy and delicious, they have everything to make me happy.

Just a by-the-way joke: I still remember the day I munched into a similar meal, just to realize they were onion rings. Moral of the story: onion rings and squid rings should not be confused.

Tapas

Tapas is anything that qualifies as a snack (based on the cook’s opinion). The requirement: be small in size.

From mini skewers to battered shrimp, majority of tapas are made of a slice of bread topped up with some salad, or a piece of meat, fish vegetables with some dressing.

Churros

Crunchy and cracky, It is a very common snack sold at any time of the day. On demand, it can be accompanied by a cup of thick, smooth hot chocolate a la taza.

Jamón

The Spanish national treasure that they cannot live (and even leave anywhere) without.

Gazpacho and Salmorejo

Eaten cold, the two following dishes are soups made of blended vegetables (mainly tomatoes, bread, oil and garlic). They’re really popular in summer when the heat wave strikes and one doesn’t feel like cooking with the stove making the house even hotter. Nevertheless, they’re eaten all year long ; they aren’t exclusively summer-specific.

Migas

Made of bread crumbs savored up with some chorizo, they’re one of the specialities of the autonomous community of Aragón.

Arroz con leche

A widely spread dessert, this sweet rice porridge is cooked with milk and flavoured with an exotic touch of cinnamon.

Those that cause international arguments

Queso y vino

Some say the French ones are best, others say the Spanish ones are best. I like both. I consume the product of the country I’m in.  Simple.

Though I must say that French pastry wins over the Spanish one. I said it! Now I’m out.

Take care, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part I)

Hola CTTBies!

It’s time for a new article! Today I’m going to focus on the Spanish cuisine. Just like the title says, paella may somewhat be the most popular dish internationally, but there are other  foods that are very appreciated locally. I divided this first part about the mentioned topic into the three following categories.

Vamos a comer! (Let’s eat)

1. My favorites of all times

Arroz negro

It’s rice made with squid ink and shrimps. Aside from seafood paella, this is my second rice-based recipe. I imagine you might be curious about the taste if you’ve never tried it. Hmmm… How to put it? It’s nothing out of the world, it only tasted very… seafoody. (Sounds like a bad joke, but I’m serious). It’s just the color that is particular. 

Tortilla de patata

Lika a Pacman made with potatoes and eggs fried together (some add onions), forming a cute yellow “cake”, this little guy stole my heart when I first came. It’s quick to cook and goes well with other “side characters” like salad or bread.

Chorizo

Made of pork meat and paprika, This lovely dried sausage goes well with a lot of meals. Sliced in thin rondelles, it comfortably rests down between bread layers for a tasty sandwich.  Diced, it flavors up your soups. At the beginning, I must say that I got highly addicted and suffered from withdrawal syndrome when I was out of Spain (it may be found in supermarkets abroad but nothing beats the local taste). Curiously, I don’t crave it much nowadays because I feel full already when I see lots of it while doing the grocery.

Ensaladilla rusa

Surprise! It’s… potato salad. Despite its foreign name,  this meal has fully settled down in Spanish menus and is often present during informal gatherings. Usual ingredients are potato, olives, tuna, some sausage or york ham covered with tons and tons of mayonnaise. An awesome treat.

Now that we’re done with my favorites, let’s look at the next category. 

2. The meditaranean “quick fixes” that save you when you don’t want to cook

Prickles, prickles and more prickles

Sold in traditional grocery  stores like Martín Martín ,  there is a lot of variety.  Shallots, cucumbers, olives, octopus, anchovies, eels,  shrimps floating in special seasonings and vinegar.  Of course, their canned version also exists in supermarkets but it has less glamour,  so I left that for the end.

3. Those important guests that must not be absent from the table

Baguette 

I’m always amazed about how anxious Spaniards are to make sure there’s bread on the table whenever I eat outside or I get invited for a meal. In restaurants, no matter what you order, they add bread alongside (except for dessert, of course). If you go for lunch and the host forgot to get some, he might get ansty and make you sit to go buy it before he serves.

It’s a tradition I don’t get too much, but well, I adjust myself. I’m a simple woman: I see food, I eat. Bread is food, so I eat it, why not.

Coffee

After eating, your Spanish host or waiter will surely ask you if you’d like some coffee. They usually have it while doing sobremesa, which is sitting at the table and chatting for hours (it’s a bit exaggerated, I confess) while digesting. 

Such a wonderful country…

In my coming article, I will continue with more local dishes in the Spanish menus. Stay tuned! Don’t forget to like and share!

Warm regards and see you in my next post,

Nuna Blomevi

Disclaimer: pictures from the Internet ; no copyright infringements intended

If Korean dramas were African Dramas (I): How to invite your crush to your house

After watching so many series and getting addicted, every hardcore fan becomes familiar with some typical scenes that make Korean dramas so peculiar compared to other shows, and so enjoyable as well: the funny drunken scenes, the piggyback ride, the kiss that takes 16 episodes to happen and… the unforgettable “ramyun” invitation. What would the equivalent be in dramas from other countries?

Today, let’s convert a typical K-drama scene and imagine what would happen in an A-drama.

*How to invite a guy to your house:

In Korea: “Oppa, do you want to come over for some Ramyun?”

In Ghana: “Honey, do you want to come over for some Banku?”

In Togo: “Tonton, ava dou Akoumé zozo déah?”

***

He accepts her invitation and drives her to her residence after work. The weather is hot in the tropical country and the meal is also steamy, so he partly unbuttons his shirt. She discreetly looks over her shoulder to take a glance at the nicely shaped muscles hiding under in his corporate suit. She then quickly turns her head, not knowing he had already caught her peeking. “Your eyes might fall off, darling”, he thinks, trying very hard to hide his smile.

I should add some extra red oil in the soup”, she ponders, her cheeks lifted up by the agreable sight.

She directs him to his seat and sets the table. He takes off his jacket, leans back comfortably and inhales the spicy smell of the hot soup. He takes a little bite, savors the taste, sits up and eats more rapidly.

“Hmm, this is delicious!”, he comments. Delighted, she replies: “Yes, we are all good cooks in our family. You could eat like this every day if you want…” she subtly answers.

He smiles but he can’t reply because the food tastes too good and he is focused on eating.

She goes to the kitchen to bring him some water but accidentally trips on her way. Startled, his hand twitches, and the red oil splashes on his spotless, blindingly white and impeccable shirt.

“Goodness! We have to wash it fast, if not the stain won’t go! Let me give you something to change into…”

(The episode then concludes on a typical cliffhanger, and the ending song starts playing in the background.)

No time+ No money: How do I maintain a healthy diet while living abroad?

Google Translate ⬇

I haven’t been eating well of late but money is so tight. What should I get?

“I haven’t been eating well of late but money is tight this month. What should I get?”

On many occasions, as students or as young adults living abroad go through this dilemma while going for grocery shopping. There’s no time for cooking between cramming, going for class or looking for a stable job. Pre-cooked meals, pizza, snacks, junk food etc… On the long run they end up not only increasing your weight but also affecting your health.

Here are some tips to improve your food intake and improve your health:

  • On the green side:

Fruits can sometime be expensive and vegetables may not be to our taste. Therefore, we don’t want to spend money on them. But you can add these affordable and tasty ones to make your meals more colourful:  * Bananas and apples are very common, and cheap.  *To replace brocolis (one of the greenies with most haters internationally aside spinach), carrots, zucchinis and cucumbers are a great choice. You may want to try a tomato salad as well (we’ll update you with the recipe).  Also, you may try cooking with frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones, it saves so much time!

  • Proteins

Sausages, chicken breast and eggs should be the first on the list. easy to cook, easy to fry! Compared to the other types of meat, the taste is also acceptable on the go without having to use them in elaborate recipes. Though you may want to add some little black pepper to season up the chicken breast (in case you may want to ask, note that the breast and wings are easier to cook than the drums, taste and time wise).

Chorizo is awesome too, but may feels greasy on the long run. Cut it in thin slices, then let them drizzle briefly on a frying pan to help reduce the fatty part (the little white dots). You can have it with some toasted bread on the side. Simple, but terrific!

  • Carbohydrates

Rice is king! Rice is king! And the queen, Ramyon! (Instant noodles). These two reign in the world of cheap, quick-fix and “goes-with-everything” category. Spaguettis are also tasty, but…. you have to boil it aside and then add a very good sauce (usually tomato) or another “topping” – let’s call it that way. Potatoes make another option, but leave you in the ordeal “How on earth to I peel this without getting burnt…” To shorten the cooking time, slice them into dices (nice rhyme). Also, take note that the skin is way easier to remove after you boil them. Last but not least, canned beans or chick peas provide to be really filling and don’t need much “retouching”. To enhance the taste, you may heat them with some onion, garlic and/or seasoning for some minutes, but it’s optional.

As we mentioned before, we’ll keep updating you with ideas for recipes and cooking tips. Stay in touch!

And all the best to our hardworking CTTbies. Keep strong, and all the best for your studies/ work/job search!

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