Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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Food and Drink in Spain

One of the things I love most about Spain is the food. Simply cooked, with quality ingredients, and healthy as you want it to be, since it’s low on fat and high on flavour. And the drinks are so cheap too! Look out for recipes and restaurant reviews, but you’ll only get positive stuff here. If you want to share a recipe, or you’d like a review for your restaurant, get in touch, and I’ll do what I can to spread the love about Spanish food and drink.

The first fresh orange juice of the season!

Oranges ripening rapidly on the trees in the groves around Algorfa

Oranges ripening rapidly on the trees in the groves around Algorfa

Walking through the orange groves as Paddy chases the rabbits, I’ve noticed for several weeks now that the oranges are changing colour. However, they are still pretty solid to the touch, and welded firmly to the tree, so I didn’t actually expect to enjoy local fresh orange juice until I returned from the UK. And you cant get more local than a five minute walk from your doorstep, can you?

Just an information point here. If it’s an unfenced grove, the farmers in Spain don’t mind if you take a few oranges for your own use, as long as you’re not too greedy. What they’re not keen on is the likes of the guy who came in at night with a lorry and took €10,000 worth of oranges from various groves to sell on the markets.

Anyway, in the groves yesterday, I noticed that a few oranges had fallen from the trees. Checking them, I found three fairly large oranges that felt soft and smelled wonderful, so I brought them home with me. This morning, I took the juicer out of summer storage and we had our first new season orange juice. It was a little bit sharp, but oh, what a fresh flavour! Far superior to what’s been available through the summer.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, summer juicing oranges just don’t taste as good as the ones you get through the winter. Maybe our region does winter oranges better than  summer ones. Or maybe there’s some truth in the adage that free food always tastes better. Either way, we enjoyed our fresh winter orange juice, so when Paddy has his run this afternoon, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more windfalls. I absolutely love living in Algorfa, with the orange groves on my doorstep!

Why I’m mad about Spanish food

Paella - just one of the Spanish foods I'm mad about!

Paella – just one of the Spanish foods I’m mad about!

‘Mad About Spanish Food’ is the title of one of my blogs on Eye On Spain, and it’s a perfect description of how I feel about Spanish food and cooking. For around 20 years before we moved to Spain to live, we holidayed here, mainly on the Costa Brava. Tony and I have a rule that wherever we travel, we eat the local food, and we’ve always loved Spanish food because it’s made with  fresh, seasonal ingredients, and there are no fancy sauces to mask the flavours of the dishes.

While we were preparing to move to Spain, I started to read up on traditional Spanish cooking, and I realised just why Spanish food tastes so good. It’s because most recipes have very few ingredients, which means the flavours come through loud and clear. It’s unusual to find a Spanish recipe with more than half a dozen ingredients, and that makes cooking Spanish food almost as easy as eating it. Whether it’s tapas or a three course meal, even a novice in the kitchen should be able to produce an authentic Spanish meal for the family. To me, as a former catering manager, anything that opens up cooking to more people has to be a Very Good Thing.

Another great thing about Spanish food is that it’s healthy. The Mediterranean Diet – which very much reflects how Spanish people cook and eat – is acknowledged to be one of the healthiest eating plans in the world, because it’s based on lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and olive oil. And it’s all natural – any self-respecting Spanish madre would rather cut both arms off than allow an E number to cross the threshold of her kitchen.

On a purely personal note, that is great news. I have Lupus, which means I am always battling internal inflammation. And because of other health issues, I can’t take anti-inflammatory medication. However, thanks to the Mediterranean Diet in general, and Spanish food in particular, I manage to keep the inflammation under control through diet.

And since much traditional Spanish food is based on peasant-style recipes, cooking Spanish is inexpensive as well as tasty. Even the iconic paella started life as a basic but filling meal for the workers in the Valencian rice fields.

So thats why I’m mad about Spanish food, and why there is a special category in the blog devoted to food and drink in Spain. I’ll be sharing recipes and tips for cooking Spanish meals, reviewing my favourite restaurants and telling you about my favourite Spanish foods. Oh, and the drinks too – I’m also mad about Spanish wine. At Piddock Place, any time is Cava O’ Clock!

Photo credit: Maggs Perkins @ maggs224.com