August 12, 2006 at 5:52 pm 5 comments

Wow, this has been one boring week. On Friday I thought I’d repeat Thursday and go to the gym. I was going to swim 4000 metres in however long it took. I figured at least I’d be doing something. Didn’t work out though, I got to my club only to discover that it was closed until Monday. They are doing major renovations to the facilities and I guess they reached a point where they needed to shut down. We do have access to other Claror clubs so we’re not left out completely. Anyhow, I head back home. Now I have to face what I’ve been avoiding all week. Cooking ……………….

A little background here. Jackie and Sebastien had organized a cooking party. All the cooking and preparation was to be done at their place and each person was to cook something from their country of origin. Alex was cooking bobo de camarao and I was making tarte au sucre. I had been stressing about the pie crust all week long and now it was time to organise my ingredients and directions for both the crust and the filling. I found a recipe for pie crust on the web and went with that. Gordon sent me the following recipe for the filling and that’s what I went with…………..

Tarte au sucre (Tante Monique)

Quantité Ingrédient

1 tasse Crème 35%
2 tasses Cassonade
2 Jaunes d’œufs
½ tasse Farine
¼ tasse Beurre
1 cuillerée à thé Vanille
1 cuillerée à thé Lait


Préchauffer le four à 400oF (205oC). Battre un des jaunes d’œufs dans une tasse de crème 35%. Mêler la farine, la cassonade et le beurre, et y ajouter le mélange jaune d’œuf/crème. Faire cuire en brassant continuellement jusqu’à ce que le mélange épaississe. Ajouter la vanille. Laisser refroidir. Verser ensuite le mélange refroidi dans une abaisse de pâte à tarte non cuite. Recouvrir de languettes de pâte en damier. Mêler le deuxième jaune d’œuf avec le lait et badigeonner les languettes de pâte avec le mélange. Cuire au four pendant 20 minutes jusqu’à ce que les languettes de pâte soient dorées.

Once I was organised I helped Alex clean and shell the shrimp. She showed me how to remove the heads by twisting it off. Yikes, I was traumatized. I had to cut the heads off ten thousand shrimp, ok maybe not ten thousand but a lot of them. It took us most of the afternoon to clean them then we packed everything up and headed off to their place and I started my pie crust. It looked ok but then how do I know what it’s supposed to look like. I’ve seen bread dough so I figured it should look like that. I finaly got there and then it was time to start the filling. After adding, mixing, stirring and heating I put the pot aside to cool. It did not look very appetizing. Sorry Gordon and Jean, I did not do your recipe justice.

Meanwhile, more people are arriving and cooking space is becoming prime real estate.

I grabbed the oven before anyone else could and put my “creation” into the heat for 20 minutes. What came out of the oven was a boiling mass of primordal guck. Needless to say my worst fears were realized, I had failed as a world class dessert chef, how depressing. I might add that Sebastien runs a chef school here in Barcelona and with everyone running around you could see he was enjoying himself.

What an amazing menu. I couldn’t begin to name all the dishes that people cooked up but I absolutely enjoyed every one of them (except one lonely pie) . There were German, Australian, Spanish, Catalan, Canadian, Brazilian, Chilean, Uruguayan and French dishes. Nat and Mandy brought kangaroo meat, it was great. I have to confess, I had two kebobs of the meat. We ate and drank and enjoyed the camraderie made even better by full stomachs and the warm glow brought on by fine wine.

At the beginning of the evening, Alex was feeling a bit under the weather and running a slight fever. We think it was a touch of food poisoning. She was well cared for by Francisca and Jackie and towards the end of the evening was not doing too badly.

I am constantly awed by the personalities of the people we’ve met here. To me, they are all true individuals who are living life to it’s fullest. Each and every time we are invited to Jackie’s we meet another individual who is right up there. Last night was no exception. Backtracking, Alex and I plan on doing el Comino de Santiago when she graduates and before she starts working and last night we met Franko, a friend of Sebastiens.


He left the Lake Constance area (border of Switzerland and Germany) in May and did an extended version of the camino. He walked 2444 kms to Santiago. What an amzing period of self discovery he must have had. He was saying that he did not need map or compass as the trail is clearly marked all the way to Santiago de Compostela. I regret I didn’t have the opportunity to sit down and discuss his experiences because it wasn’t really the time or place to have such a discussion.

Last but not least, a hearty welcome home to Ana who was off in Austrailia for the past month. She just arrived home this morning and was already out with her friends……Welcome home Ana


Today, Saturday is slow. Alex is still not up to speed so we’re just hanging around. Besides, it’s a rainy, cool day (for a change) here in Barcelona. Looks like my boring days are over.

Entry filed under: Barcelona, Blog, boredom, Camino de Santiago, Cooking and food, Friends, Parties, Spain.

Aftermath International feast

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Franko  |  August 12, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    we love you alan. i cannot believe that after a full night of vino tinto de Verano you are fit today to give this beautiful account. how is alexandra? oh gotta go to see the fountain. naomi is a shark and a blok shark. she eats people but we still love her and she also is full of energy and wrote down the menu for yesterday´s dinner. now she will start a book…we are still looking for a name…so let´s just call it -gb-gluton book

  • 2. Alexandra  |  August 12, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    Hi guys,

    I’m getting better. I just wanted to say thank you to Francisca & Jacquie for all the wonderful attention they gave last night. I slept most of the day and I’m slowly starting to feel better. Hopefully I’ll clear this bug out of my system soon enough.

    Shall we go to Gracia on tuesday??

  • 3. Leonie Ebert  |  August 13, 2006 at 5:00 am

    You are absolutely wonderful; not only do you keep me upto date with your journey but you also let me know about Naomi and other friends. Jackie looks good in the photograph-I am so happy.
    Also glad Ana got back safely. Giver my love to all of them when next you see them. I have just returned from Canberra having visited my 95 year old Aunt who is in hospital and doing very well. When I was not at the hospital I visited with my friend Barbara the Percy Grainger Exhibition and 2 other art exhibitions and saw a preformance of Black Coffee by Agatha Christie. Also went out to dinner on three occassions which included two visits to Indian Restaurants. The Indian Affair was extremely good. I love Canberra. Also I am an owner of a mobile phone( a gift) which Naomi organised. Now I have to learn all about using it. Never thought I would own one. Try your dessert again -you will be a great success I know. Love to Alex -glad she is better. I wanted to do the camino -a small part. Wonder if I will?

  • 4. deb  |  August 14, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    I loved the pictures of all your new friends! You must have some really interesting conversations with everyone coming from different backgrounds. That’s why I am crazy about Europe – such diversity and a much more interesting way to learn about the world and other cultures. I’m afraid that if you ever do come back home you may find us a little boring.
    Have to mention the paella!! It is my favourite all time food and my mouth was watering when I saw the picture. Would have liked to have been there and ate that!!! Sorry to hear about Alex. Hope she is back to her usual self by now. Great picture of the two of you, by the way. Keep on doing what you are doing because it obviously looks great on you guys.

  • 5. annette laver  |  August 30, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    hello, i have been trying to contact franko (pictured above) as i met him on his camino while i was on mine. he is truly an amazing person and seeing him again would be amazing. we finished in finisterre together (22nd July) and his perserverence and humility moved me. i also got to see him dance for the first time for him in months, noone on the camino wanted to dance along the way as the feet were too sore and the body too tired. but in finisterre there was a party. please pass on my greetings to him, should you ever see him again, or via sebastien
    many thanks annette


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