Mousse de piquillos y bocadillo crujiente de parmigiano reggiano-Feliz Navidad

"Tapa, small snack, great pleasure"

"Catch a falling star an' put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star an' put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day"

Perry Como
Yes its the countdown to the entertaining season.As fast as Charlize Theron can leg it up a hundred metres of satin Christmas is here.
J´adore the scentimentality of it all. No longer do we have to go around smelling of Tramp.(Tramp by Mayfair was an Oriental floral fragrance for women.The must have Christmas gift  was launched in 1975. The fragrance featured citrus, floral and oriental notes)
The slushy adverts only encourage us to dig our heels in and ignore supermarkets yonder, beckoning us with promises of a gluten free Christmas. God spare us all,we are wiser.
Nothing seems special any more. Prosecco Valdobbiadene, once nectar of the gods is now available in Iceland,where apparently you can also purchase a chocolate cake, hand finished with a star.Now what makes me think I would not fall for that one.That reminds me ,I must spritz my optimum body areas with Perry Como (my friend Stacey´s endearing term for my 360º by Perry Ellis cologne) on Christmas morning.The Daily Mail´s Maybelle Morgan suggests pulse points,including wrists and backs of knees as preferred optimum body zones.Areas such as the belly button emit heat and maximise scent intensity.Maybe Maybelle knows,or maybe she´s really Maybelline but she´ll have us all into fifty shades of temptation the worse this Christmas if we follow that sort of advice.
I am starting to sound like a bah humbug Katy Hopkins ( not to be confused with Mary Hopkins, "those were the days my duck".No seriously,what is left that is special? Please dont say 3 game birds rolled and stuffed inside each other.Its neither tasty or clever.I think to bring back the magic and make Christmas a little special again you need to go a little off piste and I have to say this is easier if you are living abroad, and this was more than evident on a recent Christmas food shopping trip to Andalucia.I commented on the amazing array of seasonal treats to be had from lovely old fashioned grocers shops where you can sit down with a glass of pedro ximenez after making your purchases.
 Without a doubt tapas are the principal hallmark of Spanish gastronomy as well as one of the country’s principal exports. Many  have created their own versions of this typical Spanish style of eating.
Here is my version of a tapa from  Pamplona, a much loved destination of Hemingway in the 1920´s. Pamplona was his first obsession – a mutual romance. Even now, though sizeable of reputation, the capital of the Navarre region is a small city, hemmed into the north-east corner of Spain. In Hemingway's heyday, this was trebly the case – a little-acknowledged citadel barely grown beyond its medieval youth,like Christmas a secret package waiting to be unwrapped.Nowadays it has become a city famous for its small bites-Tapas.

Mousse de piquillos y bocadillo crujiente de parmigiano
Known as the 'red gold' of Navarrese market gardens, the Piquillo pepper is indigenous to the south-western part of Navarre in northern Spain.They are easily recognisable thanks to their small size, triangular shape with an incisor-like slightly curving tip, deep red colour and smooth texture, and the stamp of the Control Board which appears on every can and bottle to endorse their excellent quality.

150g piquillo peppers
6 garlic cloves,cut into slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons of vegetable bouillon,preferably Marigold
100ml whipping cream

125ml tomato purée
1 leaf of gelatin
2 parmesan crisps per portion
salt and sugar

Poach the sliced garlic in olive oil.When they start to colour add the piquillo peppers and season with salt and sugar. Saute for ten minutes, add stock, cream and tomato purée cook five minutes more.Blitz in  a processor, strain and return to the pan. Put the gelatine to soak in cold water and add to the warm cream mixture, add salt to taste.Fill small porcelain dishes or ramekins with the pepper mousse right up to the brim.Put in the fridge to set for at least four hours or preferably overnight. Make the parmesan crisps from the link above.When ready to serve, stand 2 parmesan crisps in each pepper mousse and bring to the table.

Whats that terrible smell it must be ma griffe!!!!       Feliz Navidad a todos


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