As some of you may have seen on the news we have been somewhat flooded out here. Thankfully the farm is on its own little hill with good walls holding up the terraces of lime trees, so nothing wandered off. One of my neighbours did lose some of his oranges trees to the torrent. The internet and phone were lost for a few days though, so I am catching up now.

The cuisine of a country is like its language, if it stays the same, then it stagnates. The classic tapas of Spain are fantastic, but now with foreign influences and a move away from the heavier dishes that an agricultural society needed, young chefs are experimenting with new flavours and presenting us with some alternatives to the traditional dishes. Here are some of the dishes we tried in Bar La Plaza situated in the Plaza Merced, a couple of doors up from where Picasso was born.

Aubergine Caviaraubergine_caviar

This was a creamy puree of roasted aubergine mixed with chopped almonds, and flavoured with garlic, oregano, olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The aubergine can be roasted in the oven or microwaved which is quicker. To microwave you must prick the aubergine all over with a fork to prevent explosions, then cook a couple of minutes on the top heat. Turn and cook again. Keep doing this until the aubergine is cooked and soft. Let cool before removing the flesh and mashing to make the puree.

The crisps that it was served with were interesting. I think that they were made from flatbread that was cut into bite sized pieces that were then dusted with the flavourful smoked sweet paprika  from Jarandilla La Vera, and then quickly deep fried until crisp. A perfect spicy foil to the creamy aubergine paste.

Sweet & Spicy Ribsspicy_ribs

Although not photogenic, these little ribs cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce were very tasty. The sauce was made with soy sauce, tomato puree, orange juice and white wine vinegar and flavoured with garlic, ginger, five spice powder, and brown sugar.

Lamb Tagine & Cous Couslamb_tagine_tapa

The classic Moroccan dish in miniature. Little cubes of lamb slow cooked with onions, garlic, cumin and coriander, a little chilli and raisins. Served with cous cous and a yogurt, mint and cucumber relish.

Seared Salmon with Anis Sauceseared_salmon_with_anis_sauce

A perfectly rare cooked miniature salmon steak served with a creamy sauce flavoured with Anis Dulce de Chinchon, Spains answer to the Pastis of France and garnished with fennel fronds.