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After visiting the central market in Almeria we had worked up an appetite for lunch, and remembered that this ancient tapas bar was not far away.

Having installed ourselves at a table we asked the waitress to bring us a selection of what was good at the moment. She suggested the house salad, a couple of plates of fish and fried potatoes topped with broken eggs and the local made chorizo and morcilla. Perfect we said, not realising what culinary delights lay behind these simple descriptions.

The house salad arrived. Rich green corn salad, walnuts, pine nuts, raisins, and a halo of tomatoes surrounding a mound of blue cheese ice cream. The waitress had a small bowl of dressing – olive oil and sherry vinegar with seasonings – which she poured over the salad, then she cut the ice cream into pieces and gently mixed it with the salad.

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It was heavenly. I am working on a recipe for the ice cream – maybe have it perfected for the next post.

The fish course was next –

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Fillets of baby Cod and Smelts in light batter and fried served with the best Ajo Blanco I have ever tasted. You could taste the slight bitterness of the almonds, a hint of garlic that was not overpowering, the sauce was made smooth with bread and olive oil and balanced with white wine vinegar.

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Jureles en Escabeche. Escabeche is a way of mildly pickling fish. It is gently poached in a broth of olive oil, white wine vinegar and water which is flavoured with onions, peppercorns, saffron and bayleaves. Frequently smoky Pimenton is added as well, but in this dish of small fish it wasn’t needed.

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Next was the Potatoes with Chorizo, Morcilla and broken eggs.

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To finish the meal a succulent large date each, dark chocolate covered raisins and mint tea.

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