Tapeando in El Tubo

Zaragoza’s tapas quarter is small and perfectly formed in a web of old streets called “El Tubo“. The narrow lanes of Calle de los Estébanes and Calle de la Libertad comprise its core, with bar after bar offering gastronomic delights, and then more spin off into the neighbouring streets. Its a fine way to follow the Spanish … More Tapeando in El Tubo

Bodegas Almau

In the heart of El Tubo de Zaragoza is a small place with a big reputation. Its name is Bodegas Almau. Old and atmospheric (it’s been here since 1870), bottles and barrels adorn its yellow walls. Groups of friends crowd the floor, and the few tables are crammed.  Squeeze in at the bar to order … More Bodegas Almau

Solo in Zaragoza

My husband sent me to Zaragoza. He insisted – said he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I wondered what I had done wrong, or had I done something right? “A break”, he offered with gentle conviction. “You can think, you can write – just get away. Take two nights.” “But …” I had a … More Solo in Zaragoza

Pa amb tomàquet tonight

This evening my eldest son surprised me by making his version of pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato rubbed onto it, an olive oil drizzle, then seasoned) on the eve of the highly-charged and contentious Catalunyan referendum. He was hungry. We enjoyed this in Cambrils in the summer, but first tasted it Andalucían-style (tostada con tomate y … More Pa amb tomàquet tonight

No Pizza in Tivissa

A perilously narrow road wraps its way tightly round steep mountain curves. Our car breathes with relief at every turn taken, then we brace ourselves for the next one. Higher and deeper inland we go, into the countryside behind Catalunya’s Costa Daurada. It’s a beautiful drive on this hot summer’s day. But it’s (Spanish) lunchtime … More No Pizza in Tivissa

Con le mani

A blurred picture of the old gent who sits in charge (front of house) at the tiny but perfectly formed Lo Sdrucciolo just around the corner from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. Watching us struggling to capture the garlicky tomato mix tumbling from our bruschette al pomodoro, he decides to abandon his accustomed seat by the … More Con le mani

Lunch with Giovanna

The mid-afternoon hour is burning hot, and the busy streets of Florence are stifling, even in the shade. We seek a late lunch, a light bite washed down with something cool. So we slide into the seats of a sheltered café terrace tucked to the side of Borgo degli Albizi. We are alone. Why? Because we … More Lunch with Giovanna

French Toast Works

It’s hard to please a teenager. Required are: patience, a nonchalance to match his/hers, and an easy readiness to serve up a tasty breakfast at the first hint of willingness – and ample time – to eat it before the inevitable slam of the front door bids a wordless farewell. I seldom possess all of … More French Toast Works

Simply Tunisian

A glut-gift of turnips together with a Tunisian tip: slice them thinly, coat with harissa, and enjoy raw. My friend promises me that her old Aunt’s method is authentic and good. Turnips are not my top choice of root veg, but they have a strong track record for having sustained people through the ages. Once upon … More Simply Tunisian