We did go out for dinner again on Saturday night, to the local bar, which was great...some of the food was fine and typically Catalan, some was amazing, for instance the razor clams on a plate...very simple and very good. I had a sandwich called a bikini...it is a grilled cheese, or chilled grease as I usually call it, with a slice of baloney type stuff in the middle. Hmmm.
The place is great though, there were teenagers, and old guys and families with kids, some quite small although it was 9:30 at night, a bit of everyone. It is wonderful that there is a place they all go, the groups of teens were playing card games and other table games quite happily, and were being left in peace as long as they liked, rather like a club house rather than a bar.
Yesterday was very long and very very wonderful. I got up around 5:30 the take the Chuck for a walk, then we got everyone else up gradually, and were out of the house by 7am, heading for the man's cousin's place for the day. The drive was about two and a half hours, maybe three. The Chuckster is afraid of cars. I am a little astonished how long he could sustain it. He pooped in the car once on the way out despite the fourty five minute walk, and the fact that we stopped three times on the way down to let him out and to let him run around a bit. He barfed about 3 minutes away from the end as well. Darn.
Anyway, we got to their apartment to everyone's relief, especially Chuck's. We had a quick coffee and a visit, then we got into a car and headed out to their 'finca' which means property, but it also means a cottage/farm kind of thing. Finca's usually have some fruit and nut and olive trees, plus an area for growing vegetables, and a small house of varying sophistication. After a quick view of the town from a local high point, we headed out to their land with all twelve of us - my parents are still here - plus the man's cousin and his wife, and two of their daughters, and one of their friends, and my husband's uncle. *whew that was complicated*
Their finca is lovely. The house has a great kitchen, a big dining area, a bathroom and a bedroom. There are about a hundred olive trees, plus almonds in bloom, cherries, hazelnuts, and a few others. There is also a big porch with a roof over it. We let Chuck off the leash, which was quite a mistake. He took off into the distance, down the road to the finca, with me in hot pursuit. At the end of the lane, he had a left or right choice, fortunately he chose left, as right led to the highway. When I got to the corner, he was no where in sight. I called, and thankfully he came back. Goodness. I had let him go loose, but left his leash on as it slows him down so much, but one of the daughters, who is a vet, took it off.
We got him back in, and he wandered off down the finca, seems that the fence did not go all the way around. I had to run over to the neighbours to retrieve him from their dog's cage. We got a rope at this point. I wanted to stop running. Now we know that he is not yet ready to go off leash. While he will return when I call, he has no strong desire to stay with us on a moment to moment basis. More work to be done.
After a while we started to get the calcots ready. I say we broadly as there was little for us to do. Calcots are kind of halfway between leeks and green onions, and are very traditional at this time of year in Catalonia. They are cooked on huge grilles over very hot, very fast flaming fires. Bed frames are traditional, or at least recently traditional for cooking them, and that is what we used. We all gathered brush and piled it up, the calcots were laid out on the bedframe, laid over the fire and it was lit. They were turned half way through, and then when they were thoroughly charred, they were piled into newspapers, and wrapped. Then they were brought up to the house, we put on bibs that went down to our knees, and stood around the table. I had read of eating calcots years ago, and wanted very badly to have the chance to do so. This was an absolute dream come true. Very special.
To eat them, you grasp the charred root end of them with one hand, hold onto the inner layers of the green uppers, and slide the inner part of the onion out of the charred outer part. This is then dunked in a Romesco sauce made with tomatoes, red peppers, garlic and almonds. This drippy mass is then raised above your head, you tip your head back, open your mouth, lower the end in and some more and bite it off. Oh my goodness gracious. It was so so good. We also had grilled artichokes, also dipped in the romesco sauce. When we were done with this, all three hundred and fifty calcots *oink*, we all got a little cleaner and went into the house to sit down for the rest of the meal. Truita, which is a very tall omelet type Catalan dish with potatoes and onions. There were also grilled veg, cheese, nuts and more. Then sausages of several different types, and beans, plus razor clams again, these were even better. Boy those are good. Cooked so simply and they taste like all that is wonderful about the sea. Then dessert, three different types of cakes or pastries. All accompanied by wine in pourros and cava, which is Catalan champagne.
Yummy yummy yummy.
Drove back, poor Chuck only barfed twice, and then to bed full and tired, I was so hugely full I skipped dinner altogether. Well, we sat down (rather stood around) to eat at around 1pm, and we left at 6:30 leaving the table rather early. FULL.
What a tremendous treat, and it was so fabulous. Such lovely people and a wonderful day
Here are some photos from that part of Spain.
Someone exercising a trotter on the beach. View of the mountains by the coast behind.
These are all bulls, with no real fence between us and them, we didn't stay long.
Today I taught one class this morning, and then the girls and my parents and I drove down to the beach with the dog. Well! Chuck the suck wasn't afraid of the sea at all!!!!! Who'd have thunk! I guess with only the short scary drive rather than a longer traffic and bridge filled walk, he was more open to the idea! Rolled in the sand and trotted here and there. Yipee!
Then home for a peaceful afternoon, and dinner by my folks. They bought a chicken, complete with it's head. That's how they come here. I'll let you know more as we get into it. Literally. The feathers have been plucked anyway.