Cooking Pinxtos the Basque Way
I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a cook! Well you have to be, when you’re a fussy eater like me, and like vegetables a lot!!!
So when I was invited to the UK Cooks Basque event at the popular Spanish Bilbao Berria restaurant earlier this week, I was intrigued… Having just come back from Italy, where the veggie options had been limited (!!) I was a bit worried about how the Spanish would fare. However, I was very much catered for, and thankfully not in the minority!
The Head Chef gave us a demonstration on how to make a traditional pintxo, which was anchovy, egg, tuna, olive and chili on a skewer, drizzled with the most delicious dressing, and then his eager mentors (filled with local wine including a delicious Vina Real Rioja) were left to our own devices to create our own winning combination.
Competition was fierce as twelve journos were competing for a trip to the beautiful Basque country where pintxos are everywhere! Provided with a tray of bread, pepper, olives, Jamon Serrano, cod, soft cheese, mayonnaise and the smallest egg I have ever seen, it was difficult to know where to start! However taking inspiration from the region, I got stuck in and managed to make three (what I thought could be) winning combinations. Chef was giving encouragement all round and I was trying not to be too swayed by my neighbour’s extravagant concoction! Believing less is more; I opted for my sweet red pepper, olive and cream cheese combo for the competition. Naming it Sunshine on a Stick, I thought I was in with a chance…
The evening continued with many more professionally prepared pintxos, and even more local wine and cider whilst our attempts were being judged; By the time of the winning announcement, we were all a little bit excitable!
The Basque country sounds delightful, and a holiday was at stake.. Perfect for a beach break- with La Concha being voted one of Europes Top 25 beach resorts; San Sebastian is the hotspot for surfers, whether to admire the view, or learn yourself! And a mere hop skip and jump away is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao for some culture. My kind of break!
Alas my Sunshine on a Stick was not a winner, but I feel like a winner as I learnt some new skills, made some new friends and have another destination on my hit list!
2 Regent Street, London
to check out more delicious pintxos for yourself or see you on the beach!