I did my usual Saturday morning ride with the "Bayside Bandidios - midlife cycling gang", a group of 100 members consisting of both genders ranging from their 30s to 60 plus. It was a balmy sort of morning with pink morning skies and a promise of high winds in the afternoon.
It was almost noon when we jumped in the car to trek across the other side of town to shop for ingredients for Saturday night's meal - Sue wanted to do Spanish and the shop she needed to buy from is in the inner northern suburb of Fitzroy.
I'm told that there is a soccer match on tonight but I'm watching Le Tour.
An indcation we just might be in the Spanish sector of Melbourne.
We are here, the Spanish Deli in Fitzroy and Sue is at the door ready to SHOP!!
Yes there were people in the shop but I found a people free view. It was very squishy-squashy in there with different nationalities shopping.
Fitzroy is home to many international culinary shops and restaurants. Several weeks back we ate at an African restaurant there. The Spanish sector is quite small but if Spain ( and they did - late getting this post out ) wins the World Cup, the area will share in the glory as the local council is going to close off the main street for the celebration festivities.
I remember this happening many years ago in Lygon Street, Carlton when Italy won the World Cup.
We are so fortunate in Melbourne to have so many international cuisines.
Back to the shopping in Fitzroy - we were lucky to find a parking spot close to the Spanish Deli, not an easy thing to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Maybe I should ask Sue to tell you about the Deli.
It's called Casa Iberica, and it has not just Spanish food products, but also from many Sth American countries. No idea what a lot of it was!
Got some good stuff and came home to play with Tapas. I have ordered a tapas book from my favourite online store, The Book Depository UK, but it hasn't come yet. It's worth having a look at their website, as they have free worldwide delivery and pretty good pricing. They also have a cool webpage with a map of the world that shows you what people are buying as it happens. I digress.
This is what we had.
Prawns cooked in garlic butter (absolutely evil I know, but once in a while...)
I egg washed artichoke quarters and coated them in polenta and parmesan before frying them golden. Layered them up with crispy charred slices of chorizo, garnished with mint and parsley and topped with lemon oil.(Straight from a TV show here)
Made a parsley salad with capers and olives and put lightly grilled slices of pork fillet on it and topped with a dressing make from sherry vinegar, eschallot, anchovies, lemon rind and olive oil.
Cooked up some lardons (sliced pancetta), tomatoes and white beans with a little smokey paprika and added lots of parsley at the end.
We had it all with stripey charred slices of baguette.
I had also bought some squid, but we were full before I got to it, so I cooked it the next day as salt and pepper squid.
Our 22 year old was most disappointed to be going out when he knew we were tapasing (?), but girlfriends beat tapas I understand. (As they should, don't you think?)
On Monday morning, after Spain won the world cup, the party in this Spanish quarter spilled out into the street, Johnston Street, a major road, and the police closed the street to traffic to let the party continue. Isn't that great?
Seeing we were going to eat Spanish, I thought we should also drink Spanish so we stopped in at Uncle Dan's (our effectionate name for the large wine merchant, Dan Murphy) on our way home to see what was on offer. We were surprised to see a dry sparkling at a reasonable cost and I have to say, every bit as good as I've had in the past - Sue like to have a sparkling to sip on as she cooks.
She also located a Spanish white in the "end of run" bin for AUS$8.00 - not bad at all.
My selection was a 2005 Spanish Cab/Sav @ $23.00 - really nice and I have to go back for a few more bottles.
Not being a great Champagne drinker, I found this one to my liking.
The white was an end of bin special at $8.00
But this Cab/Sav was excellent.
Tonight was the first night of the Tour de France mountain stages and after this wonderful meal, I wondered how I could stay awake to watch. It started at 10 pm to 2 pm. Put on the PJs and settle into the couch. Bad mistake, I fell asleep instantly to awake at 12ish luckily to see the real action. Victory went to the Frenchman, Sylvian Chavanel, his second stage win and back in yellow. The French need another hero as their Grand Tour has been lacking a rider that they can worship for many years. Where have the Fignons and Hinaults of the past gone?
Chavanel's second victory at this year's TdF and back in Yellow. Good luck to the French.
From cyclingnews.comI'm pleased to see Cadel Evans getting some good luck for a change. He may not win the TdF but he deserves to. He's a cool guy in my books. The sort of person that I would like to invite with his wife Chiara to our dinner table to discuss music, cars, wine and food. I feel I almost know him through his book on his life to date. He's an average Aussie sort of guy with an amazing talent.
Cadel on the pave - riding well on the cobbles of France.