Tag Archives: Barcelona

Barcelona 1986

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28 years ago I was at Winchester School of Art studying printmaking & fine art. That covered screen printing, traditional lithography, etching, relief printing, letterpress and to some degree photography. It was fun. I lost my finger prints to strong chemicals and had a professional introduction to the uplifting possibilities of industrial solvents. I’ve no doubt in was a Health & Safety nightmare that is consigned to history unless you have extensive insurance.

One of the many other good things about WSA was the travel opportunities. Twice a year they took virtually the entire faculty to some exotic and educational location. I managed Paris, Moscow & Leningrad (as it was then) and Madrid & Barcelona.

Barcelona-Series

The piece here is from Barcelona. I took some zinc plates with soft ground resist on and little card frames with newsprint covers, all bound into a little book with masking tape. If you drew on the paper the resist came away from the plates so that the line would etch when immersed in acid. They are only a couple of inches square so the sketches were immediate, complete in a minute or so. Not unlike traditional photography the final result only really showed it self post processing and printing.

The cover image was lino cut and the text plate printed on a small Adana Letterpress. Proper print making. I even purchased paper from an ancient art shop in the back streets of the city to tie the project down.

When we flew home the Spanish customs officer wanted to know what the little heavy block of metal was for. He rubbed his fingers over the drawings and prodded them. It didn’t seem to have a detrimental effect.

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Escabeche

It being Valentines Day today, and also half term, Mrs4 and me managed to get a few hours sans offspring and go out for our biannual adult lunch. These used to be called dates and happened regularly, but when your life is littered with little charges the opportunities present them selves less often.

Escabeche is in the West Bridgford area of Nottingham (Londoners should think ‘sarf of the river) and is run by the Perkins family. They have two other excellent restaurants in Nottingham, Escabeche being the most recent development.

Set just off the high street,the building is modern but with an eclectic interior design style. The point is in the name. It specialises in mediterranean themed dishes in a Tapas style.

Whilst they do a ‘lunch special’ I definitely wanted to try the main daily menu. I knew its contents having spent to long checking it over before printing it as part of my (don’t mention the) day job.

Mrs4 likes tapas as much as I do (as witnessed by her ability to consume the largest Seafood Platter in a Barcelona back street restaurant a few years ago, sadly no picture of the centre piece, a whole cooked octopus straddling the platter with his tentacles caressing his piscine companions) so it took 20 mins to choose. This is what we decided on.

Marinated olives, pitta bread drizzled with honey, tzatziki, hummus & beetroot tapenade. That helped us through the menu until we made the big decisions.

First up, a simple tomato, mozzarella & basil salad. Always pretty…..

Next, Haloumi Fritters in Tempura batter with Harrisa & Lime Mayonaise. Harissa Mayonaise is a great idea which I will definitly use.

This arrived at the same time as the Patatas Bravas. A good tapas regular and in this case crispy seasoned roast potatoes with a mildly spiced tomato based topping with more basil.

Next out of the kitchen came the two mains. These little bad boys really upped an already well played game. First to land was Mrs4’s choice. Moroccan Lamb Stew with carrots, chickpeas topped with yogurt, coriander and toasted almonds.

This had been slow cooked and was melty and tender. Whilst not over spiced in the Moroccan style it was Moorish rather than Spanish.

Landing shortly afterwards and also served in the same type of ‘just cooked’ pot, my choice, the dish that I crossed the river for. A Spanish country classic, Duck Leg Stew.

Another slow cooked, hearty and flavoursome dish. Cooked with carrots, barley & tiny button mushrooms, this is type of thing I could eat everyday. When we go back, whatever other selections we try, I would include this.

The last dish to arrive was grilled Mackerel with celeriac, apple & sultanas. More Moorish influence, incredibly tasty and wonderful to look for the 15 seconds before Mrs4’s fork nailed it. I like enthusiasm for food!

And so utterly sated, choosing a desert wasn’t easy but if a job needs doing, I’ll give it a go. We went for a two spoon share of chargrilled Pineapple, marinated in chilli with a coconut foam, coconut sorbet, lime & orange zest and tapioca (word missing, I’m sure it has a name, I’ll look it up and get back to you). Another really interesting combination and beautifully painted on the plate.

An utterly first class lunch. I’ve had lots of great Tapas meals but this was one step ahead.

I would recommend Escabeche to the committee. I hope their venture continues to be successful . They had a good turn out today and a Valentines evening bash later in the day.

If they did a recipe book, I’d buy it.


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