Part 2 of our culinary Spanish Road Trip is all about the beautiful city of Cordoba and the very south of Spain. Of course it will be a lot about food because I just can’t help myself! Plus I will throw in the recipes of two of my favorite tapas: albondigas and tortilla.
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The Beautiful City of Cordoba
After relaxing on the beach in Roses and Alcoseber for a few days we drove to Cordoba. If you have missed part one of our Spanish Road Trip have a look at it here. Cordoba has an absolutely stunning old town and the Mezquita is definitely worth a visit. The Mezquita ( mosque in Spanish) was the largest mosque in Europe and after the Catholics conquered it back from the Muslims a large Cathedral was build in the mosque. Amazing! Cordoba is the third largest city in Spain and it is also the hottest city in Europe. And that my friends did not escape our attention. It was hot and I mean really hot! It actually was too hot to do a lot of walking around. Thank goodness the Mezquita was nice and cool.
Parador de Cordoba
Paradores are state-run hotels throughout Spain, often housed in ancient buildings and the perfect stay during a Spanish road trip. I love Paradores and the Parador de Cordoba is one of the nicest ones I have ever stayed at. It has a wonderful terrace where you can enjoy cold drinks and a wonderful meal treated by a stunning view of Cordoba. Because it was so hot we spent quite a bit of time enjoying the amazing pool and luscious gardens. One of the staple dishes in Cordoba is Rabo de Torro ( Oxtail) so of course we had to try it. The flavor was good but we thought it could have been cooked a bit longer. Another favorite dish is Salmorejo Cordobés con Huevos de Codorniz y Puntas de Ibérico which is a cold thick tomato dish ( like a thick soup) with quail eggs and Spanish ham. This we really enjoyed. We also tried Partridge Foie ( yum!) and stuffed chicken wrapped in some kind of pastry, it was deep fried but surprisingly not too heavy. It is safe to say we ate a lot that evening. So for our second evening we got some tapas instead of another big meal.
Estepona, Costa del Sol
After a couple of glorious days in Cordoba it was time to continue our Spanish road trip and drive to the most southern destination of our road trip: Estepona at the Costa del Sol. Now this to us is coming home a bit. We have family and friends in this area which means a lot of food, wine and fun. There is something I did not tell you yet, we never book anything in advance (ever!) so in the car driving towards Estepona we where talking about where to stay. My friend Yolanda ( she is a friend that became family and we love her to bits, not only because she is our cousin Celia’s mum but because she is an amazing woman!) always opens her house to us so we never have to worry about having a roof over our heads. We decided a little while ago we where staying at a hotel or in an apartment this time.
Anyway, we where talking about where to stay and both thought of MacDonald Villacana in Estepona. Villacana is like a little village and we had the cutest little apartment. Quick piece of advice: if you are like us and never book your stays in advance always look at the internet before you go to see if they have rooms available. When we arrived at Villacana and the guy behind the reception told us the price of our apartment I had already checked it out online. So I knew we could get it for half the price he told us. So I made an online booking right there and than. Yes it was a little bit awkward but hey who cares if it saves you that much money!
Oh my, those beaches
After some strange looks from the receptionist at our newly booked resort we got the key to our little apartment and where even helped with our luggage. If we travel by car we usually have a lot of stuff with us because well because we can I suppose. We put on our bathing suits and went straight to the nearest beach bar for lunch. We had a fantastic Ensalada Mixta with a side of fries and a nice cold glass of wine. Ah the perks of being on holiday! The recipe for this wonderfully fresh and simple salad is in part 1 of our Spanish road trip and you can find it here. We just love hanging out at the beach in Spain. There are great beach bars and around lunch time you smell the sardines grilled over charcoal every where. Life does not get better than this!
Family and friends
That same night we where invited to Yolanda’s house for dinner. She had texted me the day before that it was a good job we where not staying at her place because she had an unexpected guest that was staying for a couple of days. One of her relatives she said. When we arrived at her place ( packed with Dutch goodies for them) and rang the door bell the door was opened by someone we did not expect: our son Jim. He decided he wanted to surprise us and we where so happy he did. We had a great night with a lot of talking laughing and a lot of wine. we stayed for a couple of days and had a great time.
Of course we had a lot of tapas in Spain and I want to give you the recipes for two of my favorite ones: Albondigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) and Tortilla (Spanish potato omelette). Easy, fresh, home-made and delicious!
For 6 servings of tortilla you need:
- 4 large potatoes ( use any kind that will stay firm after cooking), peeled, washed and cut into 1/2 cm slices.
- 1 onion, peeled and diced.
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced.
- 150 grams of Chorizo, skin taken off and cut into small cubes.
- 6 tbsp of olive oil ( use a good brand like this one).
- 6 large eggs.
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 pinch of pimenton ( or more if you like)
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and fry the potato slices for about 15 minutes making sure they will not burn or get too brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Separate the eggs over 2 bowls and whisk the egg whites until they form peaks. Gently mix the stiff egg whites with the yolks and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add garlic, chorizo and onion to the potatoes and fry for about 5 minutes. Poor eggs over potato mixture and turn the heat to low. Put the lid on the skillet and gently fry for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the tortilla around with the help of a large plate and fry for another 5 minutes. Let it cool down slightly and cut into triangles. sprinkle with pimenton.
Albondigas are meatballs in a very simple but tasty tomato sauce. For about 16 albondigas you need:
- 1 tsp of red pepper flakes.
- 3 heaped tbsp of Panko breadcrumbs.
- 4 tbsp of dry white wine.
- 2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced.
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced.
- 125 grams of minced pork.
- 125 grams of minced beef.
- 1 egg, lightly beaten.
- 1 pinch of pimenton.
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, shredded.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250 grams tomato sauce.
- Place minced pork and beef in a large bowl and add Panko breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, white wine, shallots, egg, pimenton and flat leaf parsley. Add salt and black pepper to taste ( I found that just under 1 tsp of salt works perfect but adjust to your own taste please) and mix until well combined. Form about 16 small meatballs.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and fry meatballs until they are golden in about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and fry for about 2 minutes. Poor tomato sauce over meatballs and cover. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add some more flat leaf parsley. Serve with crusty bread.
To transform the Spanish Albondigas into Italian style meatballs take a look here.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our culinary Spanish road trip! If you want to see more Spanish recipes please let me know in the comments.