Hi! I have not been on an extended Spanish holiday. I wish. I did make it back from Barcelona, umm..... almost 4 months ago. And yes, I did promise photos, and yes, I did take them. Lots and lots of them. About two hundred, so you will understand my dilemma here; I'm the kind of person who is crippled when I have too many options. Sometimes I think I might be happier in a vanilla only world............ naaaaaah, who am I kidding? Give me my Cherry Garcia, and make it a triple!
So, I'm afraid those Spanish holiday shots will have to wait, till I find the time to sort through all two hundred and seventeen of them..... but here's a peek at Gaudi's impossibly pretty pink house, to whet your appetite.
Now if stupid is as stupid does, then busy cooks as busy is and busy cooked this malevolently red, blessedly simple sambal for lunch today. Sambals bring out the psychic in me, because I can already see breakfast tomorrow, chilli coated cockles, slathered between two slices of (thickly) buttered bread. Hey! Don't knock my sandwich-to-be, if you haven't tried it! No one who has never tried a Marmite sandwich, will ever think it's good, and (practically) no one who has will be able to contemplate a future without one.
You'll find this, if you're lucky, at some local nasi padang stalls or if you know a kitchen maven makcik or two. Make no mistake, this is a Malay dish, and no one cooks this better than a Malay makcik (matronly aunty type woman) though I dare say my version is pretty damned sedap!
Prep 20 Cook 20 minutes Serves 4
12 large fresh red chillies, seeded if you prefer
6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 - 1 ½ tsp toasted and crumbled belacan (fermented shrimp paste)
1 stalk lemongrass
400 g shelled cockles (or clams if you prefer), thoroughly drained
1 tamarind slice
70 ml (1/3 cup) water
2/3 tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp sugar
Combine spice paste ingredients and pound or process to a paste. Set aside.
Heat 5 tablespoons oil and fry the belacan for about half a minute, stirring and breaking up thoroughly.
Add the lemongrass and fry for another half minute to release the aroma.
Add the spice paste and stir over moderate heat until fragrant and oil separates from paste.
Add cockles or clams and tamarind slice. Stir well for 3 – 4 minutes. Add water if thick, salt and sugar. Stir well and simmer for 1 -2 minutes.
Take care not to overcook the cockles or clams, unless you like them rubbery.
Turn off heat and dish out. Serve with white rice, nasi lemak or on laksa.