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

Olhão Fish

Olhão is the Algarve’s biggest fishing port, and it has a fish market to match. Its abundant stalls provide a schooling in sea food, and its Portuguese terminology. Hard-working stall holders make art with their freshly-caught fish, and at the end of the morning they scrub the place spotlessly clean. If you dislike fish (and … More Olhão Fish

Olhão Azulejos

Our trail through the sun-baked lanes of Olhão in the Eastern Algarve is coloured by the azulejos which cover many a wall. No two designs are the same, some are crumbling but all are still beautiful. They decorate houses, shops, corners, churches, and surround windows and grates. In the market, they tell the story of how … More Olhão Azulejos

Vai e Volta, Olhão

Half-way through our meal, No. 4 realises something: “We didn’t order anything, but they brought us everything.” The perfect kind of place where the “menu” is for information only. No decisions, no scope for arguments, just platefuls of deliciously simple food squeezed onto our table. Fresh fish chosen at Olhão’s morning market, grilled in the … More Vai e Volta, Olhão