Introduction

Introduction

By
Omar Allibhoy
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849497602

In this book I want to introduce you to the home-cooked meals that are widely enjoyed in my country, Spain, the food I grew up eating and that I cook every day at home, the dinners that made our gastronomy so famous. My philosophy in the kitchen has always been the same: cook without fuss and eat like a king – quite simply. Eating great food is a luxury we all have the right to, so make the most of it.

I have a passion for Spanish food and tapas which I love to share – so much so that it has become my mission in life. I have felt this way ever since I left my beloved Madrid over a decade ago and I was exposed to other cuisines.

As a chef I had the pleasure and honour in my early years of training with and learning from some of the most talented chefs such as Ferran Adrià and Gordon Ramsay… As a diner I have travelled and eaten across dozens of countries, visited their restaurants, learned how they cook – but more importantly experienced how locals eat daily in their own homes with their loved ones.

It was on these travels that I began to realize how incredible, generous and tasty the food I grew up with was compared to the food I was discovering all over the world. Don’t get me wrong: I love all food, but the dishes one grows up with leave an indelible mark on your heart, from the flavours, aromas and memories around them, to – in my case – the quick and easy dinners my mum used to rustle up in minutes, and the bigger family feasts where great conversation and laughter were vital ingredients around the table. Invariably, the most vivid memories of my life have centred around food with my family and friends.

Spain has a huge influx of tourists. I know I am a bit biased, but its popularity isn’t surprising to me, as it’s a sunny country blessed with beautiful and varied geography and landscapes, historically fascinating cities, stunning gastronomy and generally very funny and outgoing people with the greatest lifestyles. However, essentially what makes us all happy is not a location, the way the streets look or the weather, but actually the culture and lifestyle that we live and enjoy.

Working abroad for so long and running my own Spanish restaurants have given me the opportunity to appreciate the kinship so many people feel for my country when they first visit, which then turns into love when they come for the second time. This is the type of response that makes me very proud of my people and feel lucky about where I grew up.

I have experienced first-hand how much everyone loves our food and tapas, no matter where they themselves come from; it’s the first thing they talk about when you ask them about Spain. I have concluded that food is one of the most important things in making a culture what it is because of how much pleasure we get from it and what it means to all of us.

I hope all this articulates why I am so passionate about Spanish food and why I have the urge to share it with you. My aim is to convince you to add some of my favourite dishes to your weekly repertoire.

Inside these pages you will find the best recipes I have to oer, for all sorts of occasions including quick midweek suppers, weekend lunches, full-on evening gatherings and of course some tapas. They have all been translated from my Spanish kitchen where most of the recipes are unwritten; they are just passed on verbally from generation to generation. They are authentic and simple – but some have necessitated a few phone calls to my mum and aunty, I must confess!

Food changes a lot through every season and every province across Spain to suit both the local climate and produce. This is part of the beauty of the country – with such a wealth of variety, it feels like our gastronomy has infinite potential. The following recipes hail from every corner, from the hot Andalucía to the cooler Galicia, passing through historic Castilla and all the Mediterranean coast. I hope you’ll find it a journey of discovery through the best-tasting and most authentic dishes.

I have tried to describe the recipes vividly and portray them as simply as I could so that no method, technique or ingredient sounds alien to anyone. You will find some shortcuts of the kind that I often employ at home, because unfortunately time is of the essence at Casa Allibhoy, too!

Buen provecho.

Omar

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