It finally feels like spring. The castle gardens are waking up in full colour after a battering this winter.
Our restaurant is up to speed after the post-Christmas hibernation – we are wide awake and cooking up a storm, or should that be “Cooking on gas!” as Maria likes to say!
Mothering Sunday on 27th March was fun and busy. Here in Britain, Mother’s day is linked to the date of Easter so varies each year, but it always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent (there, I’ve learnt something new today!) In Spain Mother's day is celebrated in May.
“We planned delicious things for all the Mum’s. Mothers are special, in Spain they are very important – respected!”
“Ok, so we made Pollo En Salsa – a chicken breast stuffed with apricots and cream cheese in a lemon and white wine sauce, totally delicious! Also, we had stuffed mushrooms and salmon in a vermouth sauce and lovely desserts. Cheesecake, poached pears, almond tart, all really totally delicious.”
H: “Maria you spent all day cooking for everyone else’s mum, who cooked for you?”
M: “Haha! I love cooking. I cook every night even when I’ve been cooking all day!”
H: “So if you had one day off and we cooked for you, what would we make? What’s your favourite dish?"
M: “Paella! I am Valencian of course, it's our dish! Paella or Fideua maybe. I made Fideua for Nigel Slater, he came to my cottage and he filmed me making it for his TV programme Eating Together!”
H: “It’s become a bit of a tradition in Britain to take our Mums to afternoon tea to celebrate their day. Does that happen in Spain?”
M: “In Spain we have Merienda. Usually we eat Merienda between 5 and 6:30pm in the evening, although it can be eaten any time before dinner. It’s a chance to take a break, eat and chat with our friends and family!”
“We eat pastries, maybe toasted bread, some toppings. And then churros and chocolate – it’s famous in Spain – famous in the whole world! We have a cake, Bizcochos, it’s light, baked with olive oil, in lemon, chocolate, and apple flavours, totally, delicious.”
“But, best is my biscuit cake. My sons love it, my grandchildren, I make for birthdays, it is for celebrating. It’s really, totally simple. You will need…