This blog is an ode to the beauty of a Mediterranean kitchen with a Catalan heart. Since I moved to Barcelona five years ago, I have been traveling all over the world, discovering new foods and new ingredients to cook with. Each memory I have of place is connected in some way to what I’ve eaten there. I’ll never forget the rich and savory lobster bisque I had in Helsinki or the crispy platter of pesce fritto misto that I shared with a friend in Venice, the rich and creamy labneh I ate along the water in the Jaffa neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the cold sweet custard of a pastéis de nata from Portugal. The excitement of a new dish or a new taste was a large part of what made living abroad a self-renewing and deeply gratifying experience. However, each time I returned home, it quickly became clear to me that I never really needed to leave my backyard to make new discoveries. The region of Catalunya is full of ingredients and recipes that were foreign on my tongue, and I spent time teasing out the traditional Spanish food from the local Catalan recipes.
Living in the world as an outsider made it habitual for me to want to catalog the world around me, perhaps as an exercise in seeing where I fit into the familiar and the sometimes uncomfortably unfamiliar environment around me. First I did it in quiet reflection, and then with my camera. So, it seemed only natural that I would eventually put these ideas into “print.” With the recipes I’ve included in this blog, I have also shared stories about living abroad and reflections on the art of eating well in a foreign place, sometimes easier imagined than done. While not all the recipes are Catalan, nor even strictly Mediterranean, they are nevertheless built around the endless bounty of fresh ingredients that are easily found in this region and which inspire my daily cooking. Many of the ingredients and recipe names are in Catalan, sometimes in Spanish, and I’ve explained those where it seemed appropriate. Please send me an email with questions if you have them. I’ll do my very best to be in touch. Until then, menja bé!