St Valentine’s Day in Spain

It’s not a traditional holiday in Spain, but most of the places in the world celebrate it with the traditional bouquet of flowers and romantic diners. the closest concept about it is from people of Valencia and their most romantic day of the year is, in fact, October 9th, when they celebrate both; the Day of the Valencian Community (Sant Valentin) as well as the Day of Saint Dionysius (Sant Dionís), locally known as the patron saint of lovers. This is a public holiday marked by many festivities and colorful costume parades held in the main plaza of every town and village.

A distinctive tradition on the Day of Saint Dionysius is the custom of offering ladies a Mocadora (Mocaorà) as a sign of love and appreciation. This traditional gift consists of a nice package of marzipan figurines handcrafted by local confectioners and then wrapped up in an elegant piece of silk.

In the Land of Cervantes, you don’t need a reason to get caught up in the fire and romance of Spain. The whole country is teeming with spectacular parks and gardens that inspire love.

Here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS
150 grams of ground almonds
135 grams of sugar glass
1 egg white
30 grams of mashed potato
Pastry dyes and flavor extract of each fruit. Cocoa powder
If you have too much thickened water
Some pine nuts to decorate

Start boling a potato and make a very fine mashed potato. Set it apart to use later. Beat the egg white to the point of very compact snow. Until the container is turned over, it stays well attached and does not fall. Add the icing sugar and mix well taking into account that the point does not get off. Add the mashed potato and almond flour and knead well. Distribute the dough in as many portions as we want to make different figurines and add to each portion the fruit dye, the flavor extract and let it rest for a while before making them. Take the dough and mold with the fingers the desired figures. Place in a tray and let dry a few hours and if you want to follow the tradition, wrap them in a neck scarf and give them away. If you have more dyes and flavor extracts, you can make pears, lemons, oranges, strawberries … Go on, you are totally allowed to just play with them and make fruits for the ones you love!

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Goya – Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida – Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida

A must see chapel to visit in Madrid. What I love the most is all the angels depicted on the ceiling are women.

After his death aged 82 on April 16th 1828 (having failed to recover from falling down the stairs at his Cours de l’Intendance residence), Goya was buried in a tomb in the Chartreuse cemetery in central Bordeaux alongside his compatriot Martin Goicocchea, a former mayor of Madrid and father-in-law to Goya’s son Javier. In 1899, both bodies were exhumed to be transferred back to Spain. Neither body could be formally identified. For a start, Goya’s head had disappeared! It is believed that it was stolen by one of Goya’s former models, the Marques de San Adrian, who may have sought to understand the workings of Goya’s brain by doing some “hands-on” research. Goya’s head was never to be found. The two bodies were transported in a single coffin and buried with others first in Saragosse then transferred to a joint mausoleum at the Royal Chapel of Saint Anthony of La Florida in Madrid.

The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida (Spanish: Real Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida) is a Neoclassical chapel in central Madrid. The chapel is best known for its ceiling and dome frescoes by Goya. It is also his burial place. After his death aged 82 on April 16th 1828 (having failed to recover from falling down the stairs at his Cours de l’Intendance residence), Goya was buried in a tomb in the Chartreuse cemetery in central Bordeaux alongside his compatriot Martin Goicocchea, a former mayor of Madrid and father-in-law to Goya’s son Javier. In 1899, both bodies were exhumed to be transferred back to Spain. Neither body could be formally identified. For a start, Goya’s head had disappeared! It is believed that it was stolen by one of Goya’s former models, the Marques de San Adrian, who may have sought to understand the workings of Goya’s brain by doing some “hands-on” research. Goya’s head was never to be found. The two bodies were transported in a single coffin and buried with others first in Saragoza then transferred to a joint mausoleum at the Royal Chapel of Saint Anthony of La Florida in Madrid

Goya’s fresco depicting the legend of Saint Anthony reviving a dead man

The chapel was built in the general location of two prior chapels built in the 1730s, which were on the land of a farm called La Florida. The present structure was built by Felipe Fontana from 1792 to 1798 on the orders of King Carlos IV, who also commissioned the frescoes by Goya and his assistant Asensio Juliá.The structure was declared a national monument in 1905. In 1919 Goya’s remains were transferred here from Bordeaux, where he had died in 1828. In 1928 an identical chapel was built alongside the original, in order to allow the original to be converted into a museum.On every June 13, the chapel becomes the site of a lively pilgrimage in which young unwed women come to pray to Saint Anthony and to ask for a partner. The frescoes by Goya were completed over a six-month period in 1798. The frescoes portray miracles by Saint Anthony of Padua. On the main cupola of the chapel Goya depicted Saint Anthony raising a dead man; instead of portraying the scene as occurring in thirteenth-century Lisbon, Goya relocated the miracle to contemporary Madrid.

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Gin & Tonic: Spain’s Obsession, Despite the Recession

Gin and Tonic

SRapallo, Strawberry G&T II, watercolor, 2017

SRapallo, Strawberry G&T II, watercolor, 2017

You probably always thought Gin and Tonic was just another kind of drink, right? Just put gin, tonic and some lime, right? Yeah, me too, but not in Spain. You even may think that is definitely not the most exciting cocktail you ever tried, but once again, not in Spain. In Spain the casual G&T is practically an art form, as bartenders pays attention to which gins they use with which tonics, and add thoughtful garnishes and thick ice cubes, serving the drink in goblets. They have entire booklets for G&T on bars, you can even get lost trying to choose one recipe over the other. Literally every bar you go into, from a cocktail bar to a crappy little sports bar, had 25 to 30 gins.

To write this post I made a little research over the subject and found out they have 65 types of gins, but only 5 types of tonics. There are not a ton of different tonics on the market in Spain. They have a dozen or so different tonics and a lot of companies make them. But most bars make their own tonic syrup and carbonated it. They are also very picky about the ice too. Just not any type of ice… no, most fancy bars just use Kold-Draft. Because the idea is that you want larger, denser ice with less air trapped in there, so it melts slower. It keeps the drink colder longer and there’s less dilution, which is ideal for something you’ll be sipping on.

They also have special Gin Clubs where you can choose from more than 40 gin brands paired up with their own trimmings. You can take it into infinity and beyond. It is refreshing, not overly sweet, and easy to drink. But in my case, just one drink for the night, the second G&T normally gives me a brutal headache the day after. But like the Spanish after discovering that G&T is much more than a normal and even boring drink served in plastic cups, it’s safe to say I had never tasted the true potential of this glorious convergence of grain and bubbles. Sounds even poetic.

The recipes are endless, from juniper berries, verbena, edible flower, black pepper, strawberry, cucumber, lime and lemon of course, but also orange, herbs like rosemary, chili and quinine, rhubarb, celery, melon, raspberry and thyme. You can be insanely creative on Gin & Tonic. Enough talking, let´s have a drink!!!! Here a simple strawberry gin tonic I prepared. I must say it was a pleasure night, preparing the post, making the G&T, photographing it, drawing and painting it and sipping my G&T while listening nice music. Jazz, of course!

Strawberry G&T

SRapallo, Strawberry GT, watercolor, 2017

SRapallo, Strawberry GT, watercolor, 2017

Ingredients

3 strawberries
18 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 12 oz. navy-strength gin
4 oz. tonic
Cinnamon stick

Instructions

Muddle 2 strawberries and ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper in a shaker; pour into an ice-filled goblet. Stir in 1½ oz. navy-strength gin. Top with 4 oz. tonic; garnish with a strawberry and cinnamon stick.
If life give you lemons, make a Gin & Tonic.

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Sublime Terrine

Sublime Terrine

 

I just love terrine and pates and… well, French Cuisine.  Last weekend we went to visit the Monastery of Uclés, located 98km from Madrid and I bought a bottle of Vermut by a local producer. Well, it was the excellent excuse to prepare another terrine. This time I put pork, veal and cow meat. Wrapped in bacon and also pistachios, mushrooms, rose pepper and  truffles.

We put in this terrine porcelain we bought on my last trip to Paris, at Au Bain Marie shop.  If you want to try it, below you can find the recipe.2 tbsp brandy, optional – Vermut in my case

SRapallo, Terrine, watercolor on Archer, 2017.

SRapallo, Terrine, watercolor on Archer, 2017.

    • 12 rashers bacon
    •  100 g pack pork mince
    • 100 g pack veal mince
    • 100 g pack cow meat mince
    • 50 g (2oz) pistachios, roughly chopped
    • 50 g mushrooms chopped and seasoned with truffles´s oil
    • Bay leaves to decorate
 Method
  1. In a large bowl let all the meats to macerate for 20-24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Put the 1 or 2 bay leaves in the loaf to decorate.  Use about the bacon to line the inside of a 900g (2lb) loaf, leaving excess hanging over the sides. Mix together the meats and put them on the food processor, but don´t let much time, just to cut in small pieces.
  3. Press the mixture into the loaf tin, leveling the surface. Fold any overhanging bacon over the filling; cover with remaining rashers. Press down again to make sure the surface is smooth. Lightly oil a small sheet of aluminum foil and press on top of the loaf tin. Wrap tin well in a further double layer of foil, then put into a roasting tin.
  4. Half-fill the roasting tin with boiling water from the kettle and carefully transfer to oven. Cook for 1½hr until the terrine feels solid when pressed. Leave to cool.
  5. Serve the terrine warm or at room temperature in slices with toast and salad.

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Mr. Blue Crab

Mr Blue Crab

SRapallo, Blue Crab, watercolor, 2017

SRapallo, Blue Crab, watercolor, 2017

 

For this artwork I choose a blue king crab. Mr. Blue Crab is really beautiful ans has light blue spots on his back.I had made it already digital art and yesterday I made it in watercolor. I decide to post both.

Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = “beautiful”, nectes = “swimmer”, and Latin sapidus = “savory”), the blue crab, Atlantic blue crab, or regionally as the Chesapeake blue crab, is a species of crab native to the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and introduced internationally. C. sapidus is of significant culinary and economic importance in the United States, particularly in Louisiana, North Carolina, the Chesapeake Bay, and New Jersey. It is the Maryland state crustacean and is that state’s largest commercial fishery.[2]

Blue Crab Watercolor

Sennelier watercolor on hand.book paper and Micron pen.

Blue Crab Digital Art

SRapallo, Blue Crab Digital, 2017

SRapallo, Blue Crab Digital, 2017

 

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