Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Simple fare

I've been thinking about the food we ate in Galicia . . .

In Pontevedra, behind the Saturday morning clothes market near the river, we ate octopus that had been boiled in a giant cauldron, snipped up with scissors and drizzled with olive oil. Simple but very good.

One evening we sat in one of the dark shadowy squares, drank the local beer and ate plates of tapas – including this sculptural pile of razor clams.

We took the bus to O Grove, once an island – now joined to the mainland by a sandy isthmus, to go to the famous Seafood Festival. It was it's 47th year, so the organisers have cracked the art of serving thousands! The system works well – you pick up a list of stalls, wander round ticking the things you fancy eating, take your list to a large raised dais with girls with computers and tills like a bank and pay for your selection in return for vouchers, then at leisure you take the vouchers to the stalls and swap for plates of freshly prepared seafood . . . brilliant.

Oh, and you eat the seafood with bread washed down with wine, while standing up at high wooden tables, to the accompaniment of the Gallician bagpipes . . . here's a flavour of that heady mix . . .

Back home, sadly we don't have easy access to fresh seafood, but there was another Galician staple that inspired me to cook a simple peasant dish – Caldo Gallego.

I drove to the next village to visit my favourite local butcher . . .

He'd put aside one of the key ingredients – trotters, four for £1. I asked him to split them so all the goodness would cook out and make a delicious jellied stock flavoured with vegetables, herbs and garlic.

Instead of chickpeas I soaked some of my home grown Poletschka beans and added then to the boiling stockpot.

I poured off two litres of the stock to use to make soup at the weekend and removed three of the trotters before adding diced potato, shredded cabbage and chopped chorizo to the pot. I adjusted the seasoning and added a sprinkling of hot smoked paprika (a great holiday purchase).

Tonight's supper – my version of Caldo Gallego – simple, cheap and delicious :-)


  1. Isn't stew season marvelous? I confess to never having cooked with trotters. I wonder if you have anything over there like our southern salt pork? Amazingly good in thick soups and winter greens.
    It looks like the restaurants used wonderful plates. Did you bring dishes home? It'd be hard to resist the colorful pottery.

  2. We call them good old pig's feet. I would much rather call them trotters. Sounds so much more appealing.The stew looks yummy.

  3. Excellent! Love the porky improv...

  4. Fabulous ... I LOVE pork trotters, and so does my terrier. I make a long-lasting jellied stock which adds richness and smoothness to everything, 1 tsp is all you need. After I make it, using four trotters, I eat one, and the dog eats three.

    Lovely hearing about your travels


  5. I love that music!
    What is often looked upon as peasant food is usually brilliant. Making the best of inexpensive ingredients. Salivating now!

  6. Your blog feed has been hidden in my GR! I have missed so luch loveliness. SO sorry I haven't been over here - you seemed to disappear. Bloomin technology. This looks totally yummy (rather unexpectedly)

    Are you free next Friday evening?

  7. such lovely music! the stew looks great.

  8. My grandfather loved pigs feet, I've never had them, but your stew looks yummy!

  9. Your Galician food looks fab, as does your stew! Never used trotter though and not quite sure about them.

  10. my goodness, you really did blog about food and such amazing food it is!!

  11. My closest friend is from Galicia and the seafood is superb! You brought back all sorts of lovely memories with this post and I love the dish - will definitely try it! Glad you are looking forward to autumn - lots of hearty soups and breads and open fires...love it!

  12. Your Caldo Gallego looks amazing! and I had never seen that type of bean before. From the name I'm guessing some sort of polish connection?


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