Wednesday 8 June 2011

Masterchef: Valencia

I wasn't in Valencia long enough for any life-changing culinary adventures but two meals stood out.

I am slowing getting used to the meal times in Spain and at 3pm yesterday, it was time for some lunch. Wandering aimlessly through the back streets of Valencia, I stumbled across Cerveceria 100 Montaditos, my new favourite Spanish food-chain. The concept is simple, there's a menu of 100 small baguettes (7-10cm long each), you write down the ones you want on an order form, and they call out your name when its done. Most baguettes costs 1Euro but some gourmet ones are 2Euros; perfect for a backpacker. For someone who's knowledge of Spanish culinary terms is limited to jamon, queso, pollo and gambas, it was a case of lucky-dip. I knew I'd ordered jamon, but with what???

I loved it and recommeded the place for dinner to my roommates for the night, Skye and Effie (and ended up eating round 2 with them). The concept fitted in very well with my "eat a little, often" idea; lots of variety, small portion sizes.

Effie's plate: tortilla with salsa, chocolate and tuna

The preparation area

On my second day in Valencia, I decided to set myself a challenge as since leaving San Sebastian my diet has been primarily bread, jamon and cheese. So today was to be a day without any of it.

I headed to the Central Market, one of the oldest in Europe to find some supplies to cook at the hostel's kitchen for dinner. Feeling like a contestant on Masterchef, I had to create a gourmet dish, with unlimited fresh produce but limited condiments and spices. So how did I go?

Well, I cheated a little. I bought some chicken that was already marinated and mixed with onion and assorted peppers so all I had to add was some spinach for greens. For such a simple dinner, it tasted heavenly. I actually could feel my stomach rejoicing at being reunited with vegetables!!

Dinner underway

The finished product

So, feeling like the girl on the Healthy Choice television advertisments, I can now say "Yes Mum, I am looking after myself".

1 comment:

  1. Emily-

    I wanted to drop you a note and say hello. We never actually met however, I was sitting alone at teh table to your left when you were eating at Arzak. Later that evening I ran into Annik and Per-Henrik at a tapas bar. They ended up inviting me to join them that Friday at Mugaritz which was amazing, especially since Per-Henrik turned us over to the sommellier for wine parings.

    I shared your feeling about Arzak and am very glad I had a chance to try Mugaritz as a point of comparison. I must say, the photos of your meal at Asador Etxebarri look like that might have been the best of them.

    Sounds like you have a great trip planned. I am jealous and wish you the best of luck.

    Mike (


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