Saturday, 4 July 2015

Madrid - El Cisne Azul for amazing mushrooms & other dishes!

We were in Madrid for a friend's wedding and stayed near the Retiro park, just close to the Chueca neighbourhood of Madrid. I went on my trusty Yelp application to look for somewhere to eat. I do prefer using Yelp over TripAdvisor since it is less popular so there are fewer fake reviews, and a lot more used by locals than tourists so I trust it more. When I looked close by I found El Cisne Azul (which a friend explained means blue swan) and I was sold as soon as I saw they specialised in mushrooms. I am OBSESSED with mushrooms! So we headed on over for our lunch the day after the civil ceremony, before the party that evening.

Gosh am I glad we did! We had an AMAZING lunch! More expensive than other meals we had in Madrid but worth every penny! We didn't start with mushrooms, we saved those for our main course. G started with bacon and eggs since we hadn't had breakfast, and I spotted courgettes with flowers and couldn't pass those by.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Barcelona - Bodega 1900 - Tapas bar by the Adria brothers

I was on Twitter saying I was heading to Barcelona next and a fellow foodie recommended going to Tickets and Bodega 1900 which are by the famous chef Albert Adria, brother of Ferran Adria who of course is partnering with him on these ventures in Barcelona (which also include a cocktail bar amongst others) but Albert runs the show.

Tickets is an apparently amazing tapas bar, with more of a molecular gastronomy take / fantastical approach to delight customers, but you have to book online, and the spots are all booked up within 10 minutes of the online booking opening (2 months before at midnight) so we couldn't get a spot. Luckily, there were still tables to be had at Bodega 1900 which is just across the road and pitched as a turn of the century Spanish tapas place which he says Tickets would have been had they lived 100 years earlier.

We loved it, some of the dishes were just mind-blowing.

As usual, read on for more info....

Monday, 29 June 2015

Meatless Monday - Aubergine Tarte Tatin

I was getting into a panic as it was Sunday and I hadn't cooked anything I could use for a Meatless Monday post! I had eaten various veggie options but nothing very new. So I decided to head to my usual source of ideas (Pinterest) and came across something new - an aubergine Tarte Tatin. Tarte Tatin is a French dessert usually made with apples where the tart is cooked upside down, with pastry on top and the apples underneath at the bottom, where the apples (or other fruit) are caramelised in butter and sugar first.

You must be wondering.... a savoury tatin? How does that work? Well, quite similarly to the sweet version with some tweaks (plus I of course as usual tweaked the Pinterest recipe as I didn't have all the ingredients and I thought it was missing some elements!)

So what went into my Aubergine Tarte Tatin and how do you make it?

Friday, 26 June 2015

Barcelona - Pan & Oli - Crazy Crazy Bravas

As you may have seen, I am on a "best patatas bravas" hunt - especially in Barcelona (using the TimeOut list as a reference). I was fascinated by their description of Pan and Oli's which topped their creative patatas bravas section with the following description:
"The best ideas sometimes spring from need. Carlos Ortiz, chef of this little bar/restaurant with very serious intentions, had to prepare a meal for 400 people one day. Salvation came with this idea: patatas bravas whipped up and served in a glass, a tasty potato confit slow-cooked for five hours at 60° C, and then topped with a sauce made of garlic, chilli and paprika. A small yet great variation."
I at least wanted to try the bravas so I convinced the hubby to go for a pre lunch snack to try the bravas and then wander on into another area of town as there didn't seem to be much else around the Barcelona Sants station area. In the end, hubby spotted the menu and couldn't resist so we stayed for lunch and did not regret it in the slightest! If you are near the station (or even if you aren't) you should try Pan and Oli for a meal (the lunch menu was only 12 euros!)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Barcelona - Districte Born to try their bravas & enjoy their pan con tomat

I am on a mission to try as many of the patatas bravas on the Time Out Barcelona list as possible! One of the places on the list (I had already been to Elsa y Fred the previous time we went to Barcelona) was close to our Air BnB place this time so we headed to Districte Born to check out their bravas. And of course eat a few other things whilst we were there ;) I must say their coca bread pan con tomat came close to rivaling the amazing bread at Elsa y Fred!

Read on for more.....

Monday, 22 June 2015

Meatless Monday - Mozzarella & Sundried Tomato Ravioli with Asparagus & Walnuts

Another Monday, another Meatless Monday, another experiment in our kitchen inspired by a trawl through Pinterest. I spotted asparagus walnut ravioli and ran with it, adding my own twist and creating a vegetarian filling (no idea what the filling was in the recipe, or the sauce, I tend to just look at the picture and the title to get ideas).

Here is the result of our Sunday experimenting, so pretty and so amazingly good!

What went into it? Well the filling was basil, buffalo mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes.

The sauce was pesto, chopped mixed tomatoes, asparagus and walnuts.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Nice - Rene Socca for Socca and Pizza in Old Nice

I was starving on the way from work the other day, when we were waiting for an appointment to view and apartment (we are house hunting again!) Whilst Chez Pipo is my favourite spot for Socca in Nice, I would say the Rene Socca is a decent back-up plan in Old Nice. I am still to try a few other famous spots like Chez Therese and Socca d'Or, I hope to soon though, and of course I will tell you about them.

But back to Rene Socca.

The way it works at Rene Socca is you queue up and order your food which you can then take away or eat there, but if you eat there you have to order drinks. We did of course.

I didn't take a picture of the other side where the display case is full of things they deep fry for you with things like fish and veggies and all sorts. This is the pizza and socca side. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Nice - Deli Bo Boutique on Rue Fodere for yummy dessert!

You will have seen my pictures of the shop here on my Deli Bo post, but here are some of the treats I bought for my husband who had been away for 3 weeks. Deli Bo now has 2 locations, the original Deli-Bo where I had afternoon sweets with friends, and the shop where you can buy all their goodies.And I picked up enough cakes for a couple of days as I am dreadful at deciding things and tend to just buy everything rather than have to choose.

Here is my usual collage of all my choices!

I can confirm they are all as tasty as they look.