It was an impulsive decision that led me and my partner to fly to Madrid for a great uncle’s birthday over there.
We thrive off moments like this – hence why we always have savings just in case a last minute deal pops up.
Both of us have visited Spain a handful of times in recent years: including Madrid and Alicante. Each time, being summoned to a refreshing cocktail, Sangria, Spanish wine and omelette.
Back in England, we’re teetotallers, but there’s something about great company and a Spanish party which calls for a glass (or two) of cocktails from Spain.
Experiencing ‘Real’ Spanish Food
Whenever I’m travelling to a different country, I feel it’s respectful to delve into their culture – and not just by visiting museums. With the great uncle marrying to a beautiful Spanish lady, we couldn’t wait to get a real taste of Spain (pun unintended).
A degree of Spanish infamous treats included:
- Chorizo (a huge fan!)
- Paella (not so much)
It’s not just the bold flavours and unique tastes that you can only experience in Spain (Tesco’s version of Spanish omelette just isn’t the same) that got me excited, but how suitable their portions are for parties too.
On Saturday 9 July, it was the official birthday party – the reason we’d flown over. No matter where you go around the world… serve 16 people with food and they’ll be your best friend. Same in Madrid.
Family, friend and business associates. Everyone was gathered to celebrate the 65th. With the sun beaming at 35 degrees and a back garden with a private pool, my happiness had peaked.
No orderly queue for the homemade buffet, famished pals headed for the food. Plates piled high with omelette, bread rolls, sausages, chorizo, tuna pie, vegetable salad (similar to an English potato salad) and much more.
A profusion of nibbles meant that everyone made 100 trips until there was nothing more than one lonely bread roll remaining for the dog.
No family secret recipes in this house, as the wife shared her kitchen methods with me.
How To Make A Perfect Spanish Croquette
These little babies are so tasty. You can customise their fillings to your likings, but the most common ingredients are: ham, cheese, tuna and potato.
Here’s a ham version to make in your kitchen for your next party.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter
- 80g ham, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp flour
- 350ml milk
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Olive oil for frying
- In a saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat
- Once melted, add flour and whisk for around 3 minutes
- Pour in 120ml milk and turn to medium high heat
- Bring to the boil and add remaining milk
- Turn heat down to medium until the mixture thickens, without any lumps forming
- Add ham to the mixture and cook for a further minute
- Pour mixture into a dish and spread evenly
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours
- Remove from fridge and gently cut out a portion to roll into a golf ball size
- Roll each croquette over breadcrumbs and then dip into egg. Roll again over breadcrumbs
- Add oil to a pan over high heat and once 4-5 croquettes are made, add to the oil for about two minutes. Eat up!
You can buy these at any good bar in Madrid as tapas (snacks). Though you can’t beat a personal homemade one. Your ingredients make up the product, so invest in healthy materials such as olive oil and organic butter.
Spanish Cocktails In The Sun
Sunbathing in a secluded garden with a Spanish cocktail in hand for most of the day is anyone’s notion of bliss. Admittedly, this is what we spent most of our time doing – especially as we were wined and dined around the city for our trip last year.
Not one for the dry taste of gin but merely a drinker of it for the low calorie intake, I opted for my usual at the house. “Gin and tonic please”.
Unbeknown to me, it was amazing! Lime substituted with lemon and a specialised gin made from grapes instead of the usual juniper berries; it was an absolute gem.
Apparently, this is a typical way to make a G&T in this culture and they’re baffled why anyone else would opt for a sour lime.
The delightful sweetness of the gin got me pumped to buy it from our Lidil back home, however I’ve yet to find it *sad face*.
Another of my favourites was a lemon liqueur. It can only be described as a Bailey’s with a lemon flavour, and it goes down a treat after a few croquettes and omelette.
Serve with ice and sip away in the sun.
So there you have my brief encounter of a spontaneous trip to Madrid. Lavished with drinks and food, it will be one to remember and I endeavour to recreate the tasty masterpieces we ate.