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The pointlessness of my list and some photos from Seville

I bet they are working on a list

I have a list. Really, I do and I try to stick to it. But I just hate sticking to lists. I love grabbing my biro and adding to it. It is stupidly long.

Everything is in the wrong order, but who cares, right? I don’t. Perhaps, I should. But caring about lists is just not my bag, baby. I love clambering up and down my list, reviewing, striking things off because I am bored of just the idea of it. I find it difficult sometimes to get things done. I do always get there in the end though.

I definitely indulge my whims far too much.

I have been cooking all day and have so many recipes to share with you. My favourite would have to be big green olives from Spain stuffed with homemade ricotta, sobrasada (spreadable spicy sausage from Mallorca) and sage, breadcrumbed and then deep fried to form little olive bullets.

The filling is like spicy creamy molten lava. It will shock, burn and make you smile. And you will go for another one. With sobrasada running down your chin, you will dip your hand back in and risk another shot.

Oh and I made candied bacon apples too. Yes, I did, I really did. They are awesome.

Lots more too but, you know, I just fancy sharing some of my photos from Seville with you right now. My list is on the verge of a tantrum. I will deal with it tomorrow.

Patience, readers, that olive recipe will be with you very soon. For now, enjoy a little immersion in Sevilla.

E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Tuna Belly! On toast. At E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Tuna Belly! On toast. At E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Amazing anhovies. On toast. At E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Amazing anhovies. On toast. At E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Not a looker but a fantastic spiced chickpea and spinach dish. At E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Not a looker but a fantastic spiced chickpea and spinach dish. At E Morales in Sevilla, Spain

Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Migas at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Migas at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Amazingly delicious tiny fried fish with egg and other tasty bits at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Amazingly delicious tiny fried fish with egg and other tasty bits at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

iberico pork at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

iberico pork at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Happy campers at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Happy campers at Casablanca tapas bar, Sevilla, Spain

Wonderful flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain

Wonderful flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain

Wonderful flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain

Wonderful flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain

Wonderful flamenco dancers in Sevilla, Spain

Churros! In Sevilla, Spain

Churros! In Sevilla, Spain

Little love locks, in Sevilla, Spain

Little love locks, in Sevilla, Spain

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Jamon, Jamon! The World of Jamon Iberico de Bellota

I have a cultural and genetic obligation to love the humble pig. Traditionally all Irish houses had one, hiding behind the half door, and it would feed a family for much of the year. Bacon and cabbage is a national institution, we’re obsessed with white and black pudding, and the Christmas ham is wheeled out all through the year. My mother was raised on pigs head and trotters (we call them crubeens – little feet in Irish), but we never had them as children. They would be raised as a threat if we wouldn’t eat our mash and peas. Now as an adult, I adore them.

Jamon Iberico de Bellota - curing

Spain takes the humble ham to a different level with their Jamon Iberico, specifically Jamon Iberico de Bellota. The pata negra (pigs with black feet) love acorns and live in an area where there are many. They are like small shuffling acorn junkies. They are allowed a lot of space to move, and to forage for and snaffle acorns so they get a lovely dispersal of intramuscular fat. This fat delivers intense flavour and a lovely melt in the mouth texture (the fat starts to melt at 20 deg C).

Sierra de Sevilla Pata Negra Farm

The farm I visited – part of Sierra de Sevilla – had 300 pigs on 900 hectares – that’s 3 hectares each. They cruise around munching, eating so much that they put on up to 40kg in their last 3 months.

One of the curing rooms at Sierra de Sevilla

Fat? Well, we shouldn’t be afraid of fat anyway, our bodies need it, even if many diet book wielding folks would tell us otherwise.  Especially good fats, and my friends, the fat in Jamon Iberico de Bellota is good. With high percentages of oleic acid (also found abundant in olive oil), due to the acorn munching obsessive nature of the pig, this fat is thought to help to reduce bad cholesterol and raise levels of the good one. It’s that healthy Mediteranean diet again, isn’t it?

Ham cutter at the tasting room at Sierra de Sevilla

I now have an addiction, I already did. Add that to my current truffle problem and I fear I may need to get a part time job to support it.

Details: I experienced the Jamon Day as a guest of Hospes Hotels, a lovely boutique hotel in central Seville. A day trip with driver and car for up to 4 people to the Sierra de Sevilla farm, jamon factory with jamon carving session and tasting costs €520 all incl. 

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A Postcard from Seville

Seville is charming and very pretty, and even though I am back, I had to post some photographs. This is just a selection of the ones I have gone through so far so it’s not comprehensive. I took so many, and it takes a long time to go through them all.

More soon on my visit to the pata negra farm (black pig) and jamon iberico de bellota factory. Swoon, I miss that jamon. So delicious. Also, my favourite tapas which were at El Rinconcillio, Cafe Bar Las Teresas & E Morales (listed now as a few of you have been in touch asking for recommendations :).

Cathedral gardens in Seville

Old & New Seville

Snails at the market

Breadhead (couldn't resist - I was started by this - funny!)

Pretty sunset in Seville

Entrance to the Alcazar

Tapas at E Morales, Seville

Lovely man, and lovely tapas at Las Teresas, Seville

Pata Negra Farm

Pata Negra!