We saw New Year’s Eve in in Barcelona in our usual quiet way – at home and with lots of amazing food! 31 Dec 2014 first started with breakfast for me and my brother at La Pubilla (Blai and I had a fantastic lunch there before) near the Mercat de La Llibertat. Tallats (espressos with milk) to start… Tallats … with pa amb tomàquet (excellent execution here) on the side while we waited for our main dishes. Pa amb Tomàquet Their breakfasts are esmorzars de forquilla, or fork breakfasts, proper hearty, savoury dishes on a plate, as opposed to the usual handheld pastry most people have. We split salsitxa amb patates de forquilla (sausages with panfried potatoes) … Salsitxa amb Patates de Forquilla … and ous ferrats amb terrina de peu i morro (fried eggs with a terrine made with snouts and trotters). Everything was brilliant, especially the very unique terrine (sliced and pan fried), with its mix of soft and crispy and gelatinous textures. These were my kind of breakfasts! Ous Ferrats amb Terrina de Peu i Morro This was a great start to these days of eating and I do want to explore more places for esmorzars de forquilla in Barcelona! The rest of the day was spent wandering and generally being a tourist. (This included a trip to La Boqueria on the request with my brother. I was dreading this visit and I had reason to dread it – the place was so absolutely packed with tourists, it was almost impossible to move. I do feel for the locals – I’m not sure how they manage to do any shopping there.) We were back at home with plenty of time to spare to the midnight countdown and what greeted us there was awe inspiring. Check out the table! The Table is Set There was even a trolley filled top to bottom with lots of other goodies. Top of the Trolley Bottom of the Trolley Blai’s mum really outdid herself! There were so many things to eat that it was almost overwhelming. There were even these platters of big red prawns grilled on the planxa … Red Prawns … and of her famous fried artichokes. Fried Artichokes As you can imagine, there were a lot of leftovers for the next few days! We ended, of course, with the twelve grapes for the new year’s eve countdown (that’s a fruit portion, right?!). On 1 Jan 2015, my mother-in-law also had grand plans for lunch! The over 100-year-old soup tureen was trucked out and filled with a golden broth of chicken bits and eggs. This was sopa de menuts, a Valencian soup of little pieces from the chicken – i.e. chicken offal and cockscombs – as well as chopped boiled eggs. To serve it, it’s poured over a toasted crouton at the bottom of the bowl. Soup on Top The broth is rich and meaty (chickeny?) and the bread gives a great additional texture to the soup. It’s a recipe she learned in Valencia from her own mother-in-law. My Bowl Her second dish is now possibly her most famous dish… well, to me anyway! It’s her vedella, a Catalan style braised beef that takes two days to make and that’s just so utterly melt-in-your-mouth delicious that we cleaned the entire pan. Vedella And those were our New Year’s celebrations! How was your New Year’s Eve?

This was one of the New Year’s messages in Catalunya, where I was for the past week, that plays with the double meaning of vuit (eight) and nou (nine), the former sounding like the word for empty and the latter also being the word for new. Anyway, we saw in the new year in Barcelona with plenty of fabulous food, some of it new to me.

Blai’s family and I had a fabulous feast on New Year’s Eve, laced with plenty of wine and champagne. The first course was a veritable spread in itself: octopus with paprika, foie gras pate, prawns cooked on a planxa, and salt cod croquetes. The octopus was beautifully tender, the prawns so red and flavourful and the croquetes, oh, the croquetes! Those were chock a block full of shredded salt cod and bechamel and fried beautifully – crunchy and crumbly on the outside and smooth on the inside.

Octopus

Grilled Prawns

Salt Cod Croquetes

The second course (not photographed) were beef filets cooked to a pinky medium, served with a pepper sauce with brandy and mushrooms. Yummy! And finally, for dessert, plenty of turro (Spanish almond candy usually served at Christmas time) and polvorons (a crumbly flour and almond sweet), and the usual coffees to finish. When the clock struck twelve, we each tried to down twelve grapes, one with each chime of the clock. Unfortunately, a laughing fit struck each of us in turn and I found myself spraying more grape than swallowing.

More feasting was to come the next day when we visited Blai’s extended family in the Alt Penedès, who then proceeded to fill us to bursting again.

To start (not photographed as I was trying to be polite – but then Blai told them all about the blogging and photographing and I was told to take photos!), xato, a very Catalan salad involving frisee and romesco sauce. Salt cod again on the side as well as a slice of a white bean truita (tortilla). There were also olives, delicious home cured anchovies and platters of exceptional escalivada (grilled aubergines and red peppers – you can just see the plate of them in the last photo below).

To follow was a lovely stew of wild boar (they hunted it themselves!) and potatoes. It was my first time having boar, I think, and I would definitely have it again. Stewing it made the meat fork tender and with prunes and toasted pinenuts too, it was altogether gorgeous.

Wild Boar Stew

The Table

And afterwards, there were two braços de gitano (the politically incorrect Gypsy’s Arm) from a Barcelona pastisseria – one filled with plain nata (cream) and the other with nata with turro. They are rolled cakes (roulades, if you will) filled with plenty of cream and are both light and rich at the same time. Modern ones come filled with ice cream!

Everything I was fed was excellent and I do believe Blai’s family is filled with talented cooks! However, it took me an entire day to recover from all this eating and festivities – my stomach just refused to take in very much the next day and I spent most of it dozing. Luckily, this was just for one day…