Tag Archives: Olive Oil

The mamas and the Papas

Potatoes are called Patatas in most of Spain, but in southern spain they’re called Papas. Papa, to the discontent of many Romance-language-speaking fathers, is the Inka word for potatoes. Papas aliñás, literally “Seasoned potatoes”, is served as a starter or as side dish. It is popular as a summer dish in Cádiz. There is a large variety of summer dishes in the Cádizian kitchen, as well as in Spain in general – like the Gazpacho in the previous post. In the wintertime, Tino told me, the cold dishes would give way to the traditional stews.

Engridiants for Papas Alinias in a busket

Participants: 1 Kg. potatoes, 2 small onions, 2 eggs, 100 gr. Olives, 2 cans of tuna, 1 cup Olive oil, 2 tablespoon wine vinegar, 5 Parsley branches. Out of frame: 2 tablespoons Salt.

I’ve never heard of this dish before. But as I received the ingredient list from Tino, I realized it really resembled that of… Niçoise salad. Except that the Niçoise – at least as far as I know – is served fresh and usually in big pieces serenely laying together on one big plate, and in Cádiz they mix all the ingredients together and let them all sleep on it, to see what they’d say tomorrow. Tino had a problem deciding if we should use an egg or not: the traditional way would indeed include an egg but – well – the Mamas leave it out. His own mother would not use it. After much debate, we did use one.

Egg being peeled

One of the funnier things about meeting people from different culture, is how the same words are sometimes used to describe different things. Tino mentioned to me that he has some friends who are Sefaradi. Sefaradi being the Hebrew word for Spaniard, I was not surprised; But it turns out that in Spanish, this word is used to describe Jewish Spaniards. So Tino certainly got a kick of it when he realized that I would use this word to describe any Spaniard, including him.

Tino and I speaking in the kitchen

So, it was finally time to eat! Both dishes are better served after a few hours, to let the tastes merge together, but they were also wonderful like this.. Lucky for me, Tino made enough of everything to feed a hungry football team after a world cup final, so I could enjoy it the rest of the week, after the two dishes had a long time in the fridge. Hurray!

Here’s a link to the recipe.

Tino, Elas and I eating on the balkony



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Revenge is best served cold

Tino tasting Gazpacho

Celestino Sánchez’s email to me was my first encounter with the name Celestino. To my great shame, I had assumed it was a girl’s name – shame, because after learning Italian for 4 months, I should have realised that -ino is a male ending in Latin languages. He, on the other hand, read my ad at his language school and for some reason assumed I was a guy. So after a long email correspondence, we had a pretty interesting first phone call…

Tino, as he is called, is a pretty good cook. He doesn’t cook with measurements or recipes: the vast amounts of salt and oil he uses are poured heartily into the bowls and pans. In order to supply the quantities written bellow I had to collect recipes from the net and try it all over again.

First Dish: Gazpacho

Gazpacho plate

It was hot this week in Berlin. Air conditioners are not common here (’cause what would you do with them the rest of the year??), and people were just dripping with sweat. The atmosphere got even hotter during the World Cup finals. Spain has won the world cup; I guess I chose just the right week to have a Spanish man over to make me a cold soup.

Tino is here for the summer. He studies civil engineering in Spain, and hopes to get a job here after he graduates, so he tries to put a lot of effort into his German. He definitely chose a bad week to come here, as much as he’s concerned: It was rough to watch the Spain-Germany semifinals, in which Spain has won – but then to miss the euphoria as Spain won the cup?!

Gazpacho is served on warm days in Spain, just before the mid-day Siesta. (well, you can also have other dishes in between, but you know what I mean). It is either served as a refreshing starter or as a drink that goes along with the meal.

By the way, the only reason I write here “Gazpacho” is that this is the Spanish spelling for it. If I had to transliterate the dishes name into English phonology, at least the way Tino says it, it would have to be something like: Gaetschtspatshao. More or less. According to Wikipedia, the origins of the dish go way back, even earlier then when the Tomatoes were brought to Europe. Now how can that be? They just made the dish WITH NO TOMATOES IN IT. Yes, the Andalusians had a cold soup dish consisting of bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt. The Andalusians added the main ingredient only later on, when it was introduced in Spain – anywhere between 1493 and 1521.

Participants: 7 tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 green peppers, 1 red pepper, 1 cucumber, 1 small bun, 2 garlic cloves, olive oil, red wine vinegar (we used white wine vinegar but traditionally you’d use the red kind). Out of frame: Cold water, Salt.

The language spoken in this gathering was a mixture of broken German and broken English (Elsa used her good English and it was good enough for us to understand her). My German is OK by now, Tino’s is pretty good, but still we had to make some things up. For example, whenever we had to boil anything, we used the German verb brbrlbkben. It worked.

So in order to peel of the tomato shells, we brbrlbkbed some water and cooked the tomatoes in it for two minutes. My trick was always to cut a cross at the bottom of the Tomatoes and pour some water on top of them from the kettle; Tino’s way proved better.

Peeling tomatoes

“could you give me the quantities for that?”, I asked, innocently.

“Oh, just what feels right” answered Tino.

Then we mashed everything together with a hand-held blender and Tino put in some more olive oil. And some more.

“We Spaniards like a lot of olive oil. It’s almost as if we drink it!”

Almost.” I thought.

Tino pours olive oil into Gazpacho

The mixture was blended, along with some ice-cold water, and after a some more tasting and correcting, Tino was pleased. All there was left to do now, was to give the splendid mixture a nice two hours’ Siesta in the fridge. In order to be able to hold our breath, we went ahead and made the “Papas aliñás”; About this adventure you’ll read right here in just a few days.

Tino blending Gazpacho

I’ve listed the recipe in a separate post, to make it easier to track stories and recipes. Just scroll down and you’ll see it!

You can also just follow this link.


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Gazpacho – Recipe

This is a recipe given following my post Revenge is best served cold.

(13 servings )


7 tomatoes

1 onion

2 green bell peppers

1 red bell pepper

1/2 cucumber (European size), peeled

1 small bun

2 garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoons salt

Gazpacho in serving and personal bowls, olive oil being poured

Method of preparation:

  1. Bring tap water to a boil, and cook the tomatoes in it for 2 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, cut the bread to large chunks and soak them, in one cup of water, in a big bowl.
  3. Strain the tomatoes and easily peal off the shell. Take the stem off and put the tomatoes in the bowl.
  4. Peel cucumber, onion and garlic cloves, empty seeds from bell peppers (use running water if needed), and cut them all in large chunks. Put everything in the bowl.Bell peppers emptied from seads
  5. Add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Mash with a hand-held blender.
  6. Correct seasoning if needed.
  7. Leave in the fridge for a few hours and serve cold.

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