Andorra's Pa amb tomàquet and Mel i Mató

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's been six months since I last posted for #GlobeCookingMad series. Trust me, I have been working on finding a good recipe for Andorra and even cooked some of them but they weren’t to my liking. There were days when I thought of moving on to the next country as I lost the "spark" for finding a good dish from Andorra.

Within the first few days of swarming the internet, I learnt that most of their dishes are seafood or not halal which left me with very few options. You should know by now, I don't cook seafood as F doesn't eat (except for shrimps) and I am not a great fan either. Currently, we have a whiff of tuna that Ragee relishes every day!

About the country, Andorra is officially called the Principality of Andorra and is in South-Western Europe sharing borders with Spain and France. Which is why Andorra’s cuisine is largely influenced by Catalan cuisine.

I spotted Pa amb tomàquet, which translates to bread and tomato in Catalan; a very easy recipe with most simple and basic ingredients. As it is too easy to appear alone on the blog, I continued the hunt for another Andorran recipe to adorn my blog and compensate the time I spent researching! :-P That is how I came across Mel i Mató, a cheese dessert!

Pa amb tomàquet 

Andorra's Pa amb tomàquet and  Mel i Mató

Pa amb tomàquet is traditionally served alongside a meal. The custom is to first rub a halved clove of garlic on a toasted slice of country bread, followed by a halved tomato, and finally, top it off with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt. Garlic, tomato with olive oil soaks into the bread resulting in an explosion of flavour that is crunchy and soft. I was truly amazed how a simple dish can bring out great flavours. This is also served combined with cold cuts of meat which I am sure would make a great snack.

INGREDIENTS

Toasted slices of any rustic country bread
Tomatoes
Garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt

Serve as a starter individually or in a big salad plate so each one can dig in and make their own bread and tomato.

Mel i Mató 

Andorra's Pa amb tomàquet and  Mel i Mató

Mel i Mató is a very local Catalan dessert made from mató – a fresh whole milk cheese made from sheep’s or goat’s milk which is very similar in texture to ricotta cheese but milder in taste. Mel i Mató is served with any Fragrant or floral local honey, such as acacia, rosemary, or orange blossom, which is drizzled and a medley of nuts sprinkled.

I made the Mató cheese from scratch and was bowled at its smooth and creamy texture. Honey adds a sweetness and the nuts add a crunchy texture, resulting in a light yet delicious dessert. Mel i Mató is definitely a healthier option when compared to cakes and puddings so guilty feelings are at bay.

Adapted from Shbarcelona 

INGREDIENTS

500 ml full-fat whole milk 
1/2 lemon's juice 
Choice of honey 
Choice of nuts, crushed roughly (walnuts, pine nuts, and pistachios)

Things: fine mesh colander and cheese cloth 

METHOD

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a boil and then take it off the heat 
  2. Add the lemon juice to the hot milk and stir well until it curdles 
  3. Line a fine mesh colander with a cheesecloth and press the mixture through until all the visible whey is drained off and you have a lump of mató cheese 
  4. Place the colander over a bowl and keep it in the fridge for couple of hours to drain off the excess water and keep the cheese cold and ready to serve 
  5. When you’re ready to serve, add the honey and the crushed nuts 
  6. Scoop and enjoy!
Andorra's Pa amb tomàquet and  Mel i Mató

The flower you are seeing in the Mel i Mató pics is from the bouquet F got me that week. I used it to capture the memory of both the events - the gesture and the cheese making! :-P

Andorra


Phew.. Adieu to Andorra!

Here I come Angola! 

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