Traveling to Spain is almost like coming home for us.
We speak the language, are familiar with the mentality, love the culture, climate and the glorious food this country has to offer.
We have visited several places like Sevilla, Granada and Barcelona among others before but of Madrid we've only seen the airport Barajas so far.
Unrightfully, as I must admit.
Madrid is a lovely, vibrant city that hosts several of the worlds most beautiful museums of fine art.
Close to Madrid is the city of Toledo, once the country's capital.
Toledos Cathedral, castles, monasteries and churches are true marvels and we were fascinated by the architecture and beautiful location.
Though I have to confess that the only thing I didn't expect at all was that the city is so bitter cold in winter.
Coming from a country with long, cold winters and being a fan of skiing and ice skating, I never thought that in sunny Spain we would literally every hour longing to go to a place that offers hot beverages :)
A matter of national pride: Gorgeous hams and chorizos at display at a shop in Madrid
A wonderful tasting seafood salad at a little restaurant in the neighborhood of hour hotel that offers lunch menus at very reasonable prices. Find the recipe at the end of the post.
A herald, bearing the kings code of arms, is looking contemplative since centuries at the visitors of Toledos' Cathedral.
A seven-branched candelabrum on the road to the Jewish quarter, Toledo
View of one of the breathtaking beautiful churches of Toledo
Another breathtaking beauty: Manuscript of the bible of Saint Luis from the 13th Century
Cute marketing: Vitrine of a pastry shop showing nuns preparing delicate sweets which you can buy in the same shop.
Sweets on display at the same shop
A small shop selling the famous Spanish Saffron, Toledo
Entrance to the Cathedral, Toledo
Colorful, handmade ceramics, Toledo
A Gothic style window in one of the monasteries with a view at a gorgeous orange tree bearing fruits in December despite of the cold in Toledo
Historic Chef : Portrait of George Washington's cook by Stuart Gilbert 1755-1828, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
A delicious selection of typical appetizers, Madrid
Selection of tapas on display at the market hall, Madrid
Visitors crowding at the market hall in Madrid, enjoying wine and tapas (the typical Spanish appetizers)
Mediterranean prawn salad
We had this wonderful tasting seafood salad at a little restaurant in the neighborhood of our hotel that offers lunch menus at very reasonable prices.
After coming back to Vienna, I tried to recreate this amazing salad and, according to my fiercest critics (best husband of all & sons :) ), it was a total success.
Mediterranean Shrimp Salad
1 1/2 ripe but firm finely chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 spoonful finely chopped spring onions (only the green part)
1/2kg unpeeled shrimps
1/2 cup extra virgin Spanish olive oil(best quality guarantees best results)
1 spoonful mild white vinegar
2 spoonful of prawn stock for the dressing
11/2 cup prawn stock to simmer the shrimps
1 spoonful freshly squeezed orange juice
Peel and devein shrimps.
Prepare shrimp stock:
1/4 cup canola oil
Shrimp shells from 1/2 kg shrimpsHeat oil in a large saucepan and cook shells until toasted, stirring frequently ( you want them to release their flavor only, not to brown them too much)
Add about 2 cups cup of water or until shells are covered.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
Press shells down with a spatula to extract the flavor.
Cook about 7-8 minutes.
Strain stock, season with salt and pepper, discard solids and let cool down.
Apart, bring shrimp stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.
Add peeled shrimps and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.
During the last 30 seconds add spring onions.
Strain, set apart and let cool down..
Mix shrimps and spring onions with the tomatoes.
Apart, prepare the dressing:
Mix shrimp stock,olive oil. vinegar and orange juice until creamy.
Pour over the salad, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Mix well and let rest at least for 10 minutes before serving.Bon appétit!
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