Saturday, October 20, 2012

Handmade Spanish Tiles

handmade terracotta tiles from spain
Visiting Spanish ceramics manufacturers often throws up a few surprises, you certainly can't knock the generosity of the Spanish when it comes to food... There have been numerous occasions where we have been blessed with homemade cakes, fresh strawberries for the kids, home grown veg and all manner of other delicious stuff from the kitchen or garden.

After a trip to to see Juan Manuel who's studio lies hidden away in the backstreets of Guadix town in Granada to investigate his range of handmade Spanish tiles we actually came away with not just some beautiful tiles but an enormous bag of fresh mushrooms. 

setas de cazuela
Juan, besides from spending most of his day behind the potters wheel creating all types of objects and cookware is also a fan of the Spanish tapa. In his usual style which involves informing us of clay types (most of which he makes himself) and telling us about his adventures in Indonesia on a Harley Davidson on this occasion (and having passed comment that we always come away knowing something different) he offered to show us what else goes on behind his studio.

Upon entering a room which was almost as vast as the main part of his business we entered what was clearly a storeroom full of sculptures, clay and.... mushrooms. Half a dozen black bags lay on the floor which were stuffed with hay gathered from the countryside, each bag had holes from which mushrooms grew apparently a fairly rapid rate especially during the colder winter months.

Out came the pocket knife and Juan lopped off a couple of  bundles for us, of course the various ways to cook them then followed! 'Setas' which are commonly available from greengrocers in Spain are commonly known as wild mushrooms but by the best way to eat then is as fresh as possible - and they didn't come more fresh than this! After an hours journey home they went directly into a cazuela on the gas hob and were served within minutes, we also cooked some setas which had bought from the village a couple days previously and the difference in flavour was quite extraordinary, a difference perhaps the same as between fresh eggs from the farm and those from the supermarket.

Setas de Cazuela (Tapas)

1. Choose the freshest mushrooms you can.
2. Chop larger mushrooms in half if required.
3. In a cazuela heat a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
4. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black peppercorns.
5. Lightly fry for 4 - 5 minutes.
6. Serve with fresh crusty bread with another drizzle of extra virgin.

Tiles: Up and coming will be a new range of Spanish handmade terracotta tiles, made and glazed by Juan in Guadix, smaller quantities will be available through the website and Juan also welcomes larger commissions. The initial range is due to be published this coming Nov/Dec 2012.

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