martes, 25 de enero de 2011

A Mexican hearthrob, my help up in the skies, and a light savoury flan

So, I arrived OK at my destination, my beloved Barcelona. No more snow, no more problems. The flight back was another story. To be honest, I HATE flying (it started some years ago, I used to love it) The thing is that I always try to look for a way of distracting myself, and a portable DVD or a laptop loaded with my Mexican soap opera really does the trick. So, I'm up there, enjoying my soap opera (by my favorite "telenovela" actor heartthrob Fernando Colunga) when that bloody turbulence started, and I was OK at the start, but the turbulence carried on, and it were stronger than ever! Then, the pilot made an announcement, and that scared me the most, everything was OK until I heard his voice, I was more or less OK, but when I heard his voice my mind just panicked, even though the poor man was trying to calm everybody down. "We are surrounded by what it's called "clear air turbulence" and unfortunately it's going to continue like this until we get to London" (and we were only over Nantes!) "If any of the passengers has any trouble (that would be ME!) please, don't worry, this happens all the time and blah, blah, blah..." Why did he have to speak? The man beside me started rocking back and forth, maybe praying? I couldn't calm him down, how could I possibly do that? who was going to calm ME down? I grabbed the seat with my nails, I looked at the screen (why aren't you helping Fernando?) when suddenly, and after ten horrible minutes everything went smooth (thank you, thank you!) until we got to London. When my feet touched the ground, I did what I always do: congratulate myself for being so brave (what a lie!) This is a personal trick to give me the strength I need to get on the next plane, because I know that very soon, Fernando Colunga and I will be back up there...

And now I am back to normal life, to the cold weather and to the blog, and with a light starter, for starting the year, for keeping everything a little bit low, after the holidays. Is great coming back home (I mean your parent's) you find the same faces, the same atmosphere, the same traditions, and the worst of all is when you have to come back and leave those loved ones behind, and you are back to the other faces, the other atmosphere, the other traditions. "The blank space" is what I call the morning after I come back, because you can't help but thinking about your parents, about the fact that they are there, on their own, and you are not there for helping them. So, I always get a little sad. I guess that happens to everyone who lives far from their families. The good thing is that with all that, I start thinking and planning a new date for my next visit and I already have a couple in the very near future. I'm so happy I live so close to Spain, and hour and forty five minutes and I'm there, in my beloved BCN...

This is a light starter, a tomato and Parmesan flan, with a very delicate and intense flavour. It's an excellent starter which can be part of a three course meal or a main course for a light lunch or dinner. Sauté the tomatoes first, and it will give them a caramelized touch, before adding them to the savory custard.


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 180. Butter six ramekins and line the bottom with baking paper. Butter the paper.

In a frying pan, warm the olive oil and add the tomatoes until they are soften and the liquid is reduced, about six minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato mixture evenly among the ramekins.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk, and the egg yolk. Pass it through a sieve. Add the parmesan and fill the ramekins with the custard.

Place the ramekins in a shallow baking tray and fill with hot water halfway of the ramekins. Bake until set, around 35 minutes. Carefully tranfer the ramekins to a wire rack and cool slightly.

To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins, place a serving plate on top and invert. Lift off and peel off the parchment paper. Scatter tomatoes and slivered basil leaves on top of each flan and serve warm.