After a week in Catalonia I’ve fallen head over heels for their regional wine and
cuisine. As the area has a long wine-making tradition, and cava also originates
from there, we had a lot of fantastic wines to choose from. Due to the Catalonian
geography and climate the cava and all of the wine is served chilled, even the red.
You can bring the flavours of Catalonia to your table (and fridge!) by
investing in some Monastrell reds, any of the Spanish rosés and any wines made
from the black tempranillo grape. Have fun finding Spanish wines to accompany,
say, a plate of European charcuterie, or a variety of Cornish cheeses. It's always
worth pushing your budget with Spanish rosé too, because you get a lot more
taste for your money.
Food-wise, one thing that intrigued me was that the Catalonians use a rice
base as the foundation for many of their dishes, much as the English use
potatoes. One night it’s ‘Arròs negre’ (also written as arroz negro) where the rice
is turned black and rendered to a delicious creamy consistency by using
cuttlefish ink. The next night the same base with a few adjustments accompanies
sausages. The rice is grown in Spain and is popular in the Northern region.
Cuttlefish ink is now widely available. Give it a go.
If all this is making your mouth water you will be pleased to hear that I’m
promoting the Spanish approach to cooking (many different plates of
deliciousness that just keep coming and coming, rather than one big meal to
labour through) by putting together a both a tapas course and, separately, a
purely Spanish course for the New Year.
Back in Philleigh Way we are excited that local heroes Cornish Seaweed are
running a seaweed course here next month. Cornish Seaweed founders Caro
and Tim are not only world-tested experts in renewable energy, conservation
and bio-diversity, but they also know their way around the Cornish coast. They
give seaweed ‘haircuts’ rather than removing the entirety of the plant, in order to
ensure continued seaweed health and regeneration. The seaweeds harvested can
be used in smoothies, soups, stews, salads and even bread. The course will teach
you identification while foraging, and their recipes will enable you to boost
existing dishes’ nutritional value while also enhancing their taste.
Meanwhile, with Christmas on the horizon, if you want a company party with a
difference, or a team-building day to remember, then why not try a course at
Philleigh Way? Whether baking bread, filleting fish or hand-making Michelin
quality chocolates it can be a great way to spend a day with your team. You will
generally cook in pairs and with the day made merry by eating, drinking and
chatting with your colleagues, the Philleigh staff and me, it’s fun all round.
The Just for Men course and Sausage Making course make great gifts too for
those men who have everything except culinary know-how. Also if you want
a bespoke course do contact me to discuss the options because I may well have
all sorts of great ideas to suit you.
Slide easily into the Christmas spirit with a day of prep and a glass of fizz at
Philleigh Way with Christmas Baking (6th and 13th Dec), Christmas
Cooking (29th Nov, and 8th Dec) where I will show you how to be well prepared
ahead of the game with your Canapés and Cocktails, and of course the all
important Christmas Wreath-making class (7th and 8th December).
Happy cooking everyone!
Rupert’s All-Cornish Knock-It Back November Sparkler Cocktail: