Happy April 7th, also known as Mad Men day! I know everyone is a little shell-shocked that it’s April already – this is probably the umpteenth time you’ll see this, but I really do feel the same. I can’t believe that in just four little months I’ll be saying adios to the incredibly satisfying Spanish way of life – but I won’t think about that yet, and take things as they come. The start of every month is my busiest time for work, which means photos have been gathering quite rapidly on my beloved Samsung. I figure my phone needed a spring clean, since the apartment went through an arduous cleanse today. I’m a bit of a clean freak, so it wasn’t the nastiest of tasks, but I can be guilty of neglecting the dusty clumps of fuzz that dwell behind bedside lockers and underneath radiators.
Getting back to how the Spanish do things, the entire week building up to Easter was very enjoyable. Although Salamanca pretty much cleared out with students going home or travelling through Spain, there was lots going on and they really cherish every moment of their celebrations here; their ability to get family and friends together and really enjoy every last drop of an event and the company that surrounds them is something I really appreciate in Spanish culture.
Our Easter week/Semana Santa started with dinner. I love having people over, and even though it was just Amy on her own, we had a great time. She arrived at 9pm and left at 6am, so I think the feeling might have been mutual!
We had lots of wine for dinner, but plenty to choose for digestifs, from our little collection we’re building. Amy went for O’Galwan’s, which is a really good (and incredibly cheap) substitute for Baileys. If you’re ever in Spain and want a Bailey’s fix, a bottle of O’Galwan’s is €4.95. The original is very impressive, but I recommend to steer clear of the flavoured ones (mint, caramel) they’re quite disappointing, and not even worth a fiver.
The apartment was cozy and lit by candlelight, just how I like it.
Dinner was caprese salad, rosemary seasoned potatoes, Almondy Daim cake for afters (it was a busy day!) and Jamie Oliver’s chicken noodle soup – one of the best soups you can make. I just bake chicken breasts in olive oil, salt and pepper in the over first and then cut into shreds..Jamie’s recipe calls for the bones and carcass of a chicken.
More wine to my face. Hi Mam!
A great start to Easter celebrations before Amy skipped off to Seville for the holidays.
Good Friday was bitterly cold, but our walk down to the town was a pretty one.
We went for drinks in The Abbot (the name might be wrong!) just outside the Plaza Mayor. This bar has a great selection of unusual tapas, a little different from the touristy fare consisting of a huge selection of tortilla. Tortilla is delicious but it’s nice to feel curious over what you’re ordering, and try and test what you like and don’t like. I sat beside the organ, in a little snug corner.
Later on that night, arriving back at the apartment, it was time for some good old homemade pizza.
On Easter Saturday, we woke up to the fantastic news that my friend Ash is engaged. Her boyfriend, now fiancé, Kev, is like my brother. We grew up together as our parents are very close. He’s big into all things Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Terry Pratchett books. So naturally the engagement was carefully planned with cryptic clues, taken from some of his favourite novels and movies. Very sweet and creative.
Another trip to Doze Bar! I just can’t help myself. The barmen are so incredibly friendly and put so much care into what they do. I’m dying to try out the restaurant too. If you’re in Salamanca, you’ll definitely find yourself on the Rua Mayor. Go to Doze Bar, it’s one of the city’s greatest spots.
After our fill of cocktails, we watched the Easter processions. The smell of incense, huge crowds, both old and young and the beautiful yet morose music played by the perfectly in time marching band made every single procession I saw just as special as the last.
On Saturday evening, I got into the swing of all things Easter. I wore what I have dubbed to be my Easter dress, which I mentioned in a previous post. It was a purchase from the H&M conscious collection, and it’s covered in bunnies. White is not something I wear, so this was a nice change. It was very loose and flowy, nice on it’s own but I felt a little lost without a belt. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I think it will make an appearance during the summer again, with a (hopefully!) tan.
I shoud have known that myself and white don’t mix though, as I went for some wine and tapas, only to drop fried black pudding (morcilla) on my lap, ruining my dress. Doh.
This particular morcilla is from La Casa de Las Morcillas, a new find of ours. The best morcilla I’ve had since I moved here, this place specialises in innovative tapas/pinchos and a whole host of morcilla variants, not to mention it’s incredible value for money and the morcilla is delicious. On the tiled wall, you can see the offerings of Morcilla, named after different towns in the surrounding area. We went for Morcilla de León, which was black pudding chopped up and fried, served with a slice of fresh baguette. The spices and dull but incredibly interesting taste of morcilla lingers long after you finish your little plate. I highly recommend it – sounds weird when I say ‘dull’ taste, but you’ll understand if you give it a try. 2 beers, 2 glasses of wine (of any region of your choosing) and two tapas came to €8.40.
Another place I highly recommend in Salamanca, and it’s literally a stones throw from the square. Just look for the sign and walk down the stairs. This is a basement-type affair. You can also try a combinado, an offer consisting of a bottle of wine accompanied by an incredibly generous plate of morcilla and freshly baked baguette to share (no families we saw could finish it) all for €15.00. Everything is cooked fresh (no microwaves!) and the staff are friendly and attentive. They will take you through the various types of morcilla and wine on offer with pleasure.
Easter Sunday. I wore my dress again, in attempts to cheer up my hangover. I washed most of the morcilla from my dress with cloths and soap. There’s a faint lingering off-grey colour though. I chose to ignore it and enjoy Easter! I started the morning with coffee and the Easter egg Amy brought me as a hostess gift. It was from Valor, and very rich. Valor is a chocolatier here in Spain, which also do some seriously heavy churros.
Our starter was asparagus wrapped in pancetta, with a citronette sauce. It was the most simple thing I have ever made, yet it looks so elegant and tastes incredible. The recipe is from Food & Wine. Give it a go for a dinner party. It looks impressive and what’s more, it’s incredibly inexpensive.
Our main was roast chicken, which was perfect and some veg and potatoes. All very simple here. Although, Niall outdid himself with tasty gravy!
Our dessert, served with big frothy coffees was jumbo m&m peanut cookies. I snagged the recipe from beautiful India’s blog. India’s recipe makes 20 cookies, and embarrassingly, all 20 were gone, between only the two of us, on Easter Sunday. I’m going to ignore our binge, considering we weren’t at home in Ireland to get a mountain of eggs so I think we deserved each and every cookie.
We finished our April 1st Bank Holiday with traditional patatas bravas in Cuatro Gatos in Salamanca with chats of Easter week and our plans for April.
I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed Easter and their time off (I hope you had one or the other!)
I usually get about five Easter eggs, which I pile into a four foot high chocolate pillar. What did you do for Easter? I hope you all ate, drank and felt merry. After all, it’s almost like Christmas dinner number two!
♥ ♥ ♥