The madness of Madrid

Another year, another Madrid Fusion. Nick Harman goes to see what chefs are cooking up this time as they bring their tools, their tricks and their taste in tattoos to Europe’s premier culinary showcase.

DSC_0814 Elena Arzak is painting a balloon green, or to be accurate one of her team is painting a balloon green but it isn’t actually paint, it’s a form of edible starch dissolved in fish stock mixed with blended parsley. The luminous result is left to dry before  the balloon is deflated to leave a crisp Mekon-style helmet behind. Continue reading

Pincho me, I’m dreaming

It’s a paradise of pintxos, a terrific place for tapas and it’s only ninety minutes from London. San Sebastian is still the food capital of europe.

It's a blur of food

It’s a blur of food

When Franco was in charge of Spain he tried to outlaw the Basque language. Ostensibly it was to crush dissent from the notoriously feisty Basque people, but it may also have been an attempt to safeguard the country’s stockpile of ‘x’s and ‘k’s. Every word in Basque is a tongue twister and a potential winning score at Scrabble. Continue reading

Get your mojo working in Tenerife

Who needs a gym? I’m working up quite a sweat in Bodegas Monje restaurant, furiously pounding green peppers, coriander and almonds and I swear my right bicep has perceptibly grown in the last five minutes.

I’m making Mojo, a classic Tenerife sauce, under the watchful eye of the chef and also, I’m guessing, his mother. Her clucking and tutting is interspersed with bursts of terse Spanish and I mutter ‘si’ and ‘bueno’ through teeth clenched with effort. I have absolutely no idea what she’s saying but whatever it is I think the safest thing to do is agree.

Mojo making in Tenerife

Got my mojo working

I’m told Tenerifians are tough but friendly people, but then living on a volcano probably does that to a person. At 3.718m high the witch’s hat of dormant Mount Teide,, looms over the island and can be seen from almost everywhere it’s tonsure of cloud contrasting against the black rock and the blue sky. Travel by cable car  to its highest reachable point and it’s cold and getting colder. In winter the slopes will have snow and it’s possible to sunbathe and ski in the same day. Continue reading