Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another bone to pick with rick Stein . . . In this week's program he extolled the virtues of pimentón. Although he didn't explain, this is paprika and it comes in two forms – sweet (dulce) and spicy (picante). Nowhere is it used more than in Galicia, where it forms the base of about the only sauce you'll ever get with a fish dish. Specifically Merluza a la gallega. This is a piece of boiled hake, accompanied by a kilo of “the best potatoes on Spain”, covered in the pimentón sauce. Frankly, I'm sick of it. But, anyway, if you see 'a la gallega' on the menu, you now know what to expect.

And Hugh Thomas too. Writing in “Rivers of Gold”, he tells us that Padrón is west of Santiago. Well, not when I last went through it a couple of weeks ago. It was – and I believe still is - south of that city After his telling us, wrongly, that Bayona/Baiona is in the mouth of the Miño/Minho, I'm beginning to wonder if he's ever consulted a map of Galicia. But I'm grateful to him for a few interesting facts which I'll be sharing with you sometime soon.

I've touched on Spanish regional politics in the past, suggesting that the provincial governments might be a luxury which Spain can no longer afford. This week, indeed, there's been news of jobs being shed by incoming regional/provincial administrations. Anyway, here's an introduction to politics at the provincial level, from fellow blogger David Jackson.

I see that the regional bank The CAM has been nationalised, to stop it going under. I mention this only because it reminds me that, at the height of Spain's crazy building bum, the CAM opened a branch in the centre of Pontevedra and then advertised it was opening another one less than a hundred metres away. It didn't, in fact, and I wonder how much longer the one we've got can stay in business. After all, it's not from these parts and no local politician is going to do anything to save it.

As for the sounder banks . . .  "A combination of moribund economic growth and the deterioration of the country’s property market after a decade-long real estate boom continue to chip away at the profitability of the country’s medium-sized banks, with the level of bad property loans across the sector having hit a 16-year high in May." More here. The biggest banks - Santander and BBVA - report next week.

This is a picture of a dog I saw this evening in town.

As you can probably tell, it's smaller than, say, a male Siamese. Prompting the question – If you want something the size of a cat, why not get a bloody cat? Which reminds me . . . One of the more fashionable dogs of Pontevedra is the French bulldog. This is smaller but less ugly than its British counterpart. If you want something uglier, you have to opt for the equally fashionable pug. Of which I have difficulty telling one end from the other.

Talking of dogs . . . I learned today why there are bottles of water on the floor near the entrance to some shops and flats in town. It's because of the tendency of dogs to piss there. But I don't know how they work. Are they meant to be a deterrent or is the dog-owner expected to wash away the urine when his/her dog's finished?

In Ponters tonight we have Bobby Rush, as part of our Jazz & Blues program. Good but not quite up to the standard of B B King in San Sebastián the other night. 

Finally . . . Conversation of the Day. Between me and my lovely neighbour-but-one, Manolo (the poor chap who lives with his wife and two quiet daughters on the other side of Nice-but-Noisy Toni and his increasingly loud two sons).
Manolo, am I allowed to paint the door of my house any colour I like?
Your gate? I think this has to be white.
No, the front door of my house. I want to paint it blue.
I'm not sure but I don't think you can?
Well, you're the President of the Community. What do the Statutes say?
Dunno. I haven't got a copy. Never seen 'em. You'll have to ask the company which administers the community's business.
I did two years ago but they couldn't find them.
Ah, well . . .


Diego said...

You can always paint your door with water based paint, i am sure the Statutes will miraculously appear shortly after that if someone is bothered by your chosen color.

If they then say you're not allowed to paint it you can just wash it off.

You know, in case of doubt do, and apologize profusely after the fact.

Colin said...

Yes, of course. The Spanish approach. Must practice my humble apologies . . .

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Put some olive oil in a pot and add paprika to it and then after heating it, pour it onto your Brussels sprouts or cauliflower. Lovely! I can see you smacking your lips now in anticipation! You can't beat Galego cooking.

Colin said...

Of course! Why didn't I think of that!?

Thanks, Mike.

Colin said...

But which? Sweet or spicy?

Mike the Traditionalist said...

It doesn't matter sweet or spicy and also don't forget to add "colorante alimentario" to your rice or even boiled spuds. Put Rick to shame with your new found talents.

Colin said...

Looking for, but failing to find, curcuma yesterday, I fleetingly wondered about buying this stuff but decided not to. I wonder what's in it. Tartrazine would be my guess.

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Here is another sauce you can make with your peas. Two tablespoons of olive oil, half a cup of red wine and add tomato puree. Put the ingredients in a saucepan and heat to boiling point. Add your peas and let it boil till the wine has evaporated. The remaining ingredients will get darker and thicker so it is now ready for eating. Be careful not to burn your sauce. I have no idea what curcuma is and I am not one for spices. I don't eat much fish but I do like fish fingers and chips on Fridays so you can see I live up to my title of traditionalist. Glad to say I can eat in any Galego restaurant here in Galicia because I know the food is plain. Rick Stein I hope you are reading this.

Colin said...

Now, that's more like it. As I have a huge bag of peas that defrosted in my car last night as I was watching Bobby Rush, I will try it tonight!

Thanks, Mike.

No chance Rick Stein is reading this. Not one of my Followers . . . .

But I wonder if he has anyone checking on net citations. If so, there's a slight chance he'll post a comment. But I'm not holding my breath.

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