Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Big Belly Bilbao Break

Their names: forgotten. The food: written down somewhere upstairs that I am too lazy/drunk/food coma'd to go fetch. The important thing: Bilbao rocks in the
pintxos league. More so than it did a few years ago. What's my authority on making such a statement? I have no authority, anywhere, just that we really really both seemed to like the pintxos more than last time, which was... what, already four years ago??? And as there is nothing more boring than flicking through someone elses holiday snaps... Here just some of the pintxo bars we've been to:

Typical lunch in Bilbao's Puerto Viejo:

There we go, but wait, we'll be back, soon again, with a few more pintxo-related illustrated stories!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A weekend of eating outside

Mushrooms on toast

On a rare sunny Sunday in summer, try saying that with a mouthful of raw onions, Team SaltySquid decided to hang, hungoverly outside. Breakfast - also know as food of the un-hungover, was missed like the last bus home when you were sixteen and your parents thought you were watching a movie in a friends, but the truth was you were really watching a movie alone because you had no friends. That or smoking crack. Well, snap out of that haze now and take that crack pipe out of your mouth. This tasty fungus will clear the cobwebs.

The most important thing about mushrooms on toast is Harissa. A very spicy, salty, garlic, amazingly paste that originated in Moroorroccco (along with the crack too probably!). The shit is amazing. You can add it anything - except porridge - I tried it once and let me you tell you it was disgusting. Soups, stews, toasts, pestos, sauces - anything at all. It will give anything you make a good grab by the goolies.

Anyway, I digress. Toast bread. Instead of butter spread Harissa all over the toast. Add the nicely cooked mushrooms, well seasoned of course, top with some random cheese lying in the back of the fridge and pop under the grill to melt. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!

Spaghetti with pork & leek sausages, squid and peas

If the mushrooms on toast have failed you like a child riding his bike for the first time, then this is for you. Cook your spaghetti, but do it properly. Water - lots of it and boiling. Salty as the sea.

While the pasta does its thing, score your squid tubes with a sharp knife and slice. Cut your sausages in to chunks and have some garlic cooking away in a pan with some oil. Add the sausages and get a good colour on them. Followed by the squid then some frozen peas and a small bit of chicken stock. About a cup. Add the pasta once almost cooked, toss and add lots of fresh parsley and black pepper.

Stir-fry with loads of greens and minced beef

The trick is to have all your veg ready before you start cooking. Over a high heat cook your onions, ginger, lemongrass. Add an egg and scramble it, followed by the minced beef and garlic and season well. When the meat starts to colour add the veg - carrots, broccoli, green beans - whatever you have and toss well. Add toasted sesame seeds, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, fresh chilli and coriander. Toss well and add noodles that you cooked off already and cooled under cold water.

Gooseberry & Almond Cake
stolen from Nigel Slater

180g butter, 180g muscavado sugar, 2 eggs, 80g ground almonds, 150g Self Raising flour, vanilla extract, 350g gooseberries

For the crumble blitz the flour and butter and add the sugar.

Cream the butter and flour until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs. Fold in the almonds and sift in the flour. Use your hand to incorporate if you want but be gentle. Add the vanilla extract and pour mixture in to a cake tin. Add the crumble a bake at 175c for 60-75mins

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beer and bloating in Austria & Germany

One thing worse than food blogs with 'what I ate' entries, is when the bloggers put up a self indulgent post about their most recent holiday. Here is ours.

In short, we went to Germany and Austria. First stop was Frankfut where we ate mostly meat. Lots of meat. Huge amounts of meat. Especially sausages! Sausages, Schnitzel, and sautéed potatoes. Always started and followed by beer... enough beer to fill a swimming pool with it.



I had never been to Austria before, nor had I eaten cake in a car before. Two firsts!! We had a six hour drive to Austria so I guess our friend Ingrid figured the best way to keep me quiet was to feed me her Almond cake.

Ingrid's Mallorquin Almond Cake

8 eggs (separated)
250 g icing sugar
250 g ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
peel of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
few drops Vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder

Beat the egg whites. Beat the yolks with sugar and Vanilla essence until creamy and pale. Fold in almonds, cinnamon, baking powder and lemon peel. At the end fold in the beaten egg whites carefully. Bake approx. 40 minutes at 175 degrees.

We stayed in a place called Mittelberg, second last spot where you can leave your car before starting the climb up the mountains. An amazing place with only locally sourced foods and wines. The place below was definately the best by a long shot. Waitress was serving us wearing a "Dirndl" (a traditional dress based on the historical costume of Alpine peasants), and all the meat is sourced from the mountains around, even the farmers get a mention and a photo! Seriously recommended.

"Die Walser Ravioli"
A lamb a cheese ravioli with crispy shallots to start! Named after the Walser region. I swear I knew that!

„As Wild mit Blauchruudknöödel ond Türggastrudel“
This was deer leg roulade, stuffed with porcini mushrooms, with a polenta strudel, deep fried red cabbage and chocolate dumplings and a vanilla and juniper berry sauce!

„Bachene Fleischkrapfa“
Lamb mince, wrapped in studdel pastry, deep fried, served with a wild mushroom sauce.

We finished our meals with a regional cheese board with a Quark mouse:

We drank:

2009 Grüner Veltliner „Ried Kreutless“ Federspiel
Smoky and nutty with a core of quince. A hint of pink pepper. A decent white to start a meal.
Vineyard Knoll, Unterloiben, Wachau
2007 Cuvée 7², Sieben Sommeliérs Kleinwalsertal
Ruby-red with violet reflexes. Distinctive flavour of cherries, damson plums and cinnamon. Compact and full-bodied, lots of Tannins, and ripe fruits, really enjoyed that one!
House-red, in cooperation with the Vineyard Gager, Deutschkreutz

Chalet at the foot of the "Widderstein" peak, 2500 m)

"Walser Germknödel"
Like Dampfnudeln, Austrian Germknödel are a flour-based dessert, a proper house-made speciality. "Germ" is the Austrian word for yeast and these yeasted dumplings hide a surprise inside. A spoonful of "Powidl
" (plum butter) is placed on the dough, which is then formed into a ball. Served either with melted butter or vanilla sauce and poppy seeds crushed with sugar.

... and "Apfelstrudel"

(we got the first slice, straight from the oven...!)

flushed down with a pint of a local "Weizen" beer:

Later on we got hungry again (surprise!), this was our chalet-dinner:

Beef & pork sausages with Sauerkraut

Speck-Knödel with Sauerkraut

Vegetable Omlette with mountain herbs

Our last pint at the second chalet, the "Mindelheimer Hütte", shortly before we hit the road down from 2000 metres ...

5 hours, 2 bus trips, few blisters, legs like jelly and absulutely idiotic-looking sunburnt later (despite using SPF 50+), hunted by a vision of spending the rest of the day (and probably night) stuck on the way, covered in mud because cought by a coming up storm, we arrived back in our village, where we luckily found a hotel room to spend the last night. And there it was again, a thunder storm! On the next morning, back to 29 degrees, we headed back towards Mrs Saltysquids parental residence. Unable to walk for days, we committed to more BBQs, beer in the sun and maybe this time a little more salad and veg...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fish Gouijons, Potato-Skewers and Fried Manchego Rolls

Blogging, blogging, blogging. Who cares? Really, who cares what we cooked and how we made it and how great it was. You were not there. You didn't taste it. You have no idea whether it was good, burnt or ordered from the local take-away.

We take beautiful pictures of our food with well placed spoons and forks, adding dimensions to the photos like they were our own children and we were entering them into a beauty pageant. We fold napkins in a 'this isn't folded I just threw it onto the side of the plate/table/board' way that takes so much time to get exact. It's the 'straight out of bed look' for food. We spend hours, minutes or days cooking a meal and for what? For it to go cold while it gets violated by a camera?

Food was supposed to taste good not look good and most of the food I eat anyway, is supposed to be eaten bloody hot. And why? Why do we care? Why do you care? Do you even care? It's hard to have a real genuine interest in food and want to learn more about, but you have to sort your way through blogs and text that make everything sound so nice. Everything sounds so perfect. So amazing! So seasonal! So inspiring! Oh! I wish I was there eating that. Rubbing that all over me or maybe Miss Salty Squid if she is drunk enough. It's hard trying to see past all the shite out there. I don't know what the point to this text is, so I guess it will blend in nicely with most of the other blogs out there.

We did manage to get a few minutes last weekend however, to think of and cook, three tapas and post about. It felt good. Just wish we could do it more often.

Fried Courgette & Manchego Rolls

Manchego cheese, slice into cheese triangles; a courgette, thinly sliced, some breadcrumbs, a beaten egg and some seasoned flour. Salad leaves if you fancy.

Peel the courgette, then thinly slice and blanch in hot water for less than a min. I prefer to hire a personal trainer, stand him on a box and have him time the one minute. Perhaps the trainer could shout motivating slogans at the courgette - suggestions welcome dear reader. Plunge them under cold water - or in cold water, the main thing is that they get cold and stop cooking and don't loose their colour. Putting them under cold water literally, probably won't do anything. Leave to drain. Breadcrumbalise your manchego and fry in oil until nicely coloured. Remove from the pan and roll up in the courgette.

Potato Skewers with Parma Ham and Sage

3 potatoes, washed and cut in thick wedges; fresh sage; Parma Ham; vegetable oil; salt, pepper & smoked paprika; wooden skewers

Roast the potatoes until tender. Remove from oven and season. When cool enough to handle skewer them and some Parma Ham. Stick back into the oven for 10mins to crispen up the ham. Remove and eat. Purple monkey dishwasher.

Fish Goujons with Mayo(s)

2 white fish fillets (we used Oirish whiting), skin removed; breadcrumbs; beaten egg; flour; salt & pepper; lemon juice
For the mayo: 2 egg yolks; rapeseed oil; white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard; Harissa; tomato puree; fresh herbs (thyme, dill, chives, parsley...)

Make the mayo by beating the egg yolks in dark room, with a lightbulb hanging from the roof furnished with a solitary chair, with the mustard and vinegar then slowly adding the oil. Finish with the fresh herbs and or the harissa mayo.

Skin and portion your fish into bit size portions. Breadcrumbalise the fish and fry in oil until golden and the fish is cooked.

On the stereo:

Nelly Furtado, Beck. Tindersticks

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Supper Club Pop Up Restaurant

Sunday 27th March,
Ormond Wine Bar, Dublin.

On Sunday 27th, Salty Squid was very lucky to attend the first night of a new, monthly, communal eating binge in Dublin. Two very talented and slightly insane chefs undertook the ever more insane task of cooking a 10 course tasting menu for 35 hungry people served by kind, friendly wait staff.

To say the food was amazing would be an understatement. In fact the whole night itself was great
. That sing along at the end, was the 11th course! Thank god we have no photos.

Squid cannot even spell the names of what we were served, nor can our limited grammar or below par writing skills describe how good this was. But we can stick up some photos to try give a sense of how great it was. Amazeballs.

Some background: The Supper Club is the brainchild of chefs, Sandy and John. The whole idea is that once a month they will pop up in a different venue, in Dublin city, and cook a load of amazing food. Visit to book or The Supper Club on facebook for more information on the next one. Spaces are limited.

Goats cheese, Baby Beets, Pistachio, Aged Balsamic, Purslane

John & Sandy

Sweet Corn Veloute, Lyonnaise Onions, Smoked Bacon, Girolles...Sweet Jesus

Wine Glasses, Random People Making Friends, Cake Stand

Dark Chocolate Silk Cake, Honey Combe, Coconut Sorbet

Petit Fours: Bon Bon, Marshmallow, Chocolate Fudge

Braised Veal Brisket, Gnocchi, Gremolata, Capers, Desmond Cheese

Foie Gras, Braised Chicory, Salted Grapes, Golden Raisin

Cod, Clams, Shaved Cauliflower, Baby Gem