Tag Archives | spanish

New Podcast: A Spanish Lunch

Just a quick note to share what I’ve been up to lately with my good friend Ben Curtis. Many of you have probably seen his blog or listened to his podcast before–he’s been writing and talking about Spain longer than anyone else on the internet! For the past five years we’ve been having lunch on a regular basis and we’ve had so much fun eating our way across Madrid and elsewhere that we’ve teamed up to create a new podcast about it.

Check it out!

www.aspanishlunch.com

If you like it and you’d like to give us a hand promoting it, please rate our show on iTunes, it would be a huge help for us. Thank you and hasta pronto!

Mike

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The Cocas of Camarasa

A few years ago my cousin Jaime and I were looking for a river in Aragon but one thing led to another and we ended up looking for a pizza in Catalonia.

Perhaps I should explain. The idea was to paddle a river. I had two inflatable kayaks and all the other bits of gear needed, as long as the water wasn’t too big. But it was early May. All the rivers flowing out of the Pyrenees were raging with meltwater from the snowfields high in the alpine. It was a warm day but the river was only a few degrees above freezing. An unplanned swim would be pretty grim.

In the town of Broto, just outside of Ordesa (one of the jewels of Spain’s national park system, you really should go if you have the chance), we walked into a store selling commercial rafting tours. The guide said we might be able to pull off the River Ara, which flows right through town. Thanks, we said, and walked down the street to the bridge across the Ara.

The river’s roar alone was discouraging. And then we saw it. The water looked the way you’d expect it to look, considering the roar. It was very fast and technical, with lots of rocks sticking out. It didn’t strike me as a very good idea. That hasn’t always stopped us in the past, but this didn’t look so much adventurous as it looked just plain dumb. (There’s often not much difference between the two.) Continue Reading →

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Jamón, The Podcast. Part One

mike-randolph-spain-animated

My good friend Graham Roumieu, a very accomplished visual artist, made the above illustration for my podcast cover art. (And this one blinks every five seconds. Cool, eh?) I think it’s perfect. Funny but also elegantly simple and incisive. Thank you Graham!

In this first of a two-part series about jamón Iberico de bellota, I talk about the history of pigs and pork with author Mark Essig. If you are a fan of food and history, buy his book (see the affiliate link below). It’s impeccably researched and written in a plain, clear prose style, making it both enjoyable to read as well incredibly informative.

Get a taste of it by hitting play on the podcast link below. I hope you enjoy and thanks for listening!


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New Podcast: The Spanish Food

chorizo

Chorizo and manteca colorada hang in the market in Cadiz, Andalusia.

With my photo book of Spain finished, I’ve been wanting to take on a new project and I’m happy to announce that it’s already online: The Spanish Food podcast! Episode numero uno is ready to download on the iTunes store here. (If you don’t have iTunes, you can also listen on Soundcloud, or right here on my own site.)

It was an easy choice for me. I love podcasts and I love Spanish food. I’ve asked a lot of travellers to Spain how important food is to them and for most people it’s not just important, it’s everything–the central thing around which all other activities are planned!

And podcasts are such a great way to, well, consume content about Spain. You just download episodes to your phone or iPad and then you can listen whenever and wherever you want. Think of it as radio on demand. And there’s something special about listening to high-quality audio. It’s been called ‘the most visual medium’ for good reason. It transports you to another place, and the sounds and words excite the imagination like nothing else.

So please join me on this new adventure. If there’s anything in particular you would like to know more about, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

The Spanish Food

A mouthwatering new podcast from Spain. Sign Up for free updates on new episodes plus tips, recipes and more...

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Last Chance!

A Spanish mastiff, guarding a flock of sheep in the woodlands of northern Burgos, seems a bit worried about my sudden presence at the side of the road, taking pictures. Mastiffs in Spain may not be used to photographers, but are very friendly dogs, which is a good thing since they roam freely and many hiking trails crisscross their territories. They are not so friendly to wolves, however. Photo ©Mike Randolph

As of this moment, there are only 38 hours left in my Kickstarter project, a photo book on Spain, and the funding has reached 121 percent of my goal. Success! Thank you to all who have participated, and for those of you who haven’t yet, there’s still time! As a way of saying thank you to all the backers of the photo book, in addition to your name going in the credits as a photo editor, for a limited time I’ll be offering prints at super low prices. This is a one-time thing and these images–240 of them–will never be offered at this price again. Exclusive to backers of my photo book. Only a few hours left, so don’t miss out. They also make great gifts for the Spain lover in your life.

Thank you all once again. We did it together!

Un saludo muy cariñoso desde España,

Mike

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The Places In Between

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around Spain over the years, usually to take pictures of a specific destination. But what about the places along the way? Here’s a random selection of eight images taken

Continue Reading →

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Mystery Thing (Solved–see Update)

[wooslider slide_page=”mystery-manjar” slider_type=”slides”]

Do you know what these are? I mean, aside from delicious? Be the first to name this mystery food and win a free 8×12 print of your choosing. The answer must be the full name in Spanish or English (or latin, if you want to show off). Leave your guess in the comments section below. Good luck! Photos ©Mike Randolph

UPDATE  We have a winner, EnriqueB, author of the Spanish food blog www.dorarnosella.com. They are criadillas de tierra. That is how they are known in Extremadura, where they are most common in Spain, but they are also known as turmas in Murcia and papas crías or criadas in the Canary Islands. In English they are most commonly called desert truffles. They are related to the white truffle, though I bought mine for 12 Euros a kilo whereas white truffles are a tad more expensive–3,000 Euros a kilo. They grow in arid, sandy soils in Spain as well as parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Fungi expert Antonio Rodríguez has an excellent post on them here.

While not nearly as aromatic as white or even black truffles, they do have a wonderful mushroomy, earthy, hard-to-define taste. Some people slice them thin and use them in place of potatoes in a tortilla. But most people prefer them with scrambled eggs. They are moist, but dense, and fried in olive oil they are quite lovely. March and April is the season for fresh desert truffles, though they are also sold in jars, minus their soil-covered skin. As Julvic noted in the comments, they don’t look very appetizing. Last fun fact: Criadillas means calf’s testicles, so the rough translation for desert truffle in Spanish is calf’s testicles of the earth.

Thanks to all who participated.

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Pollo (chicken) al Chilindrón

Healthy. basic ingredients.When my mother found out I was making Pollo al Chilindrón with green peppers, she put her foot down. Sort of.

“Well you can put in whatever you want, but then it’s not Chilindrón.”

“Yeah but I have a bunch of different recipes from respectable authors who all say to use both red and green peppers,” I told her.

“That’s because they don’t know the authentic chilindrón,” she said.

Pollo al Chilindrón is a classic Spanish recipe for chicken. It originated in Aragón or Navarra or the País Vasco, depending on whether you ask, as I did, people from Aragón, Navarra and the País Vasco. I’m going to have to go with Aragón, because that’s where my mother is from and I lived there myself long enough that it felt like home. So make of it what you will, but Chilindrón is definitely from Aragón.

It’s a simple recipe, but still there was the matter of pepper choice to consider. “Call uncle Michael,” my mother said. “He’s got a recipe book from abuela Andréa.”

Abuela Andréa was my great grandmother. She was born in Morata de Jalón, about 70 kilometers south of Zaragoza, and legend has it she was a great cook. While my uncle went to look for the book, he passed the phone to my aunt. Ilse is also a great cook and she said that Andréa always used just red pepper. By this time my uncle had returned with the book–sadly there was no recipe for chilindrón in it–and I could hear him in the background voicing objections to the red-pepper-only approach and then suddenly he had the phone.

Abuela Andréa made it all three ways. With just green pepper, a mix of green and red, and just red pepper. The green peppers came in earlier in the season. She just used what she had.”

That seemed pretty sensible to me so I used what I had too, and it so happens I had them both. If that’s the way my great grandmother made it at the turn of the last century, well that’s authentic enough for me. Click on photos for written steps.

Pollo al Chilindrón is a great recipe for a number of reasons. First, it’s surprisingly delicious. Second, it’s easy. And third, it’s a healthy mix of vegetables and chicken and a little olive oil, which also makes it economical. Not only is it a complete meal, but it can be made ahead of time, re-warmed the next day and it’s just as good if not better. Chilindrón refers to the sauce; abuela Andréa also made Cordero al Chilindrón, which substitutes lamb for chicken.

 

Pollo al Chilindrón

Serves 4 to 6

Notes: If you don’t have any jamón, that is truly unfortunate, but you can get by with other dry-cured hams such as prosciutto or even bacon, though you might want to fry it a little first. I prefer quarters of chicken leg and thigh, but some people use boneless breast instead. Just make sure it doesn’t overcook and dry out.

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

2 green peppers

2 red peppers

4 tomatoes

100 grams of Jamón Serrano

1 cup white wine

4 chicken quarters, cut into small pieces

In a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients, pour in a few good glugs of olive oil and sauté the chopped onions until glassy, about five minutes. Add the garlic and peppers, both chopped, and cook for another ten minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, de-skinned and chopped, a little salt, the jamón (preferably diced, but strips work fine too) and then the white wine. (My abuela didn’t use wine but I think it adds a lot.)

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, brown the chicken pieces in abundant olive oil. When the chicken is nice and toasty, add it to the pepper mixture and cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.

Traditionally served with French fries or rice.

The Spanish Food

A mouthwatering new podcast from Spain. Sign Up for free updates on new episodes plus tips, recipes and more...

 

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