Calle Argumosa

Also known as Lavapies Boulevard connects Plaza Lavapies with Ronda de Atocha and is named after Doctor Diego de Argumosa, a renowned surgeon based in the nearby Hospital which is now the Reina Sofia art museum. He also served as mayor of Madrid for a year.

Last time I counted there were 35 bars/restaurants on this street, however Covid has changed our maps as well as the way we live.

As you enter the street with the new building of the Reina Sofia to your right and a shoe shop on the right (which seems to have a sale on every day of the week) there’s an entrance to a swanky bar/club on your right (1) and a sushi place to your left (2). As you head towards the fountain there is a Galicia bar/restaurant called O pozo de lugo (3) on your left and a raw wine bar/restaurant called Canibal (4). Behind the fountain are two bars, Argumosa 39 (4) and La libre de Lavapies (5). About once a year the driver of a private bus, presumably picking up or dropping off school kids to the Reina Sofia, gets the bright idea of taking a shortcut and gets stuck as he can’t get his bus around the fountain onto Calle Doctor Forquet, which means idiots who bring their idiotic cars into our barrio decide they must prove their idiocy to everybody by wailing their idiotic horns idiotically for hours. As you head past the fountain towards plaza Lavapies and the metro you pass a new bar with no name (6) run by the son of the couple who run Café Amanda (7) possibly the worst bar on the street. Next to Amanda is (a quite pricey) flower shop and then a small bar/restaurant called Tostas y bacalao (8) run by Antonio who also owns Mercadillo Lisboa in the market, it’s a small bar that used to be called Casa de Tostas, and serves Portuguese food and drink. Then there are two nonedescript Indian restaurants next to each other (8 & 9)…you rarely see local guiris dining here so you have to assume the food isn’t pukka, but the Spanish seem to like it. Next to that is a new Mexican restaurant (10). The street then splits in two and if you turn right you’re on Dr Piga but if you stay straight, you are still on Argumosa. The building at the corner is owned, like many many properties (and almost all carparks), by the family of the catholic dictator Franco. After a shop selling kitchens and ceiling fans and after a shop selling furniture there are two bars next to each other. The first is Bar Revuelta (11), a small bar that has a cheap menu del dia. I once had a slight tiff with the waitress who didn’t really want to serve me beer without foam (madrilenos love foam on their beer…more foam than beer unless you ask for it without foam) and told me it wasn’t foam it was “crema” so I corrected myself and asked for beer without crema. Next door is Achuri (12). A decent bar for decent people at decent prices. The menu del dia is so so at best but the evening food is very good value for various salads and various bocadillos. Staff are friendly. On the opposite side of the the street is primavera (13), the best pizzeria in the area. Obviously you order a margherita pizza, because why would you order any other pizza?. Past Achuri is Bar Automatico which is famous for I’m not sure what. I haven’t been in here for a long old while, I think I just find their chairs uncomfortable. Then there are two African bar/restaurants next to each other (14 & 15)…oh and I forgot a kebab place (16). Next is La Buga del Lobo (17) which serves good coffee but I’ve always found the staff a bit snippy and I’ve heard the food is bad value. Next door is a new bar/restaurant called Tatena (18) which I’ve never been in. Opposite is Funda Mental (19) which is the only bar that still shows football. Of course, the bar staff are way too cool for school so they wont put the sound on and will just turn up their music. Does tend to attract a clientele that could best be described as “twats”. Next to Funda Mental are two Bangladeshi run bar/restaurants that serve Spanish food as well as kebabs and Indian dishes (20 & 21). Cross over and after 2 small clothes shops and a drycleaner there is La Playa Lavapies (22). La playa used to be my local and I used to come here after work every day and have 3 beers, as the good lord intended a working man to do. The staff used to be extremely friendly, and the manager was great at his job and was about the only person I ever spoke to in Spanish, even though he spoke great English. I say “only person I spoke Spanish to” not counting any Venezuelan women I happened to be sleeping with who didn’t speak English. And there have been a lot of them over the years. Surprisingly many. New management has come and gone, and this bar has got worse and worse so now I don’t even bother going in. I’m no homophobe but it’s basically a gay bar now and only plays the worst music possible. Staff not friendly at all and spend more time giving themselves and their friends each other shots than they do actually serving. There only every seems to be one person working and at least one person you’re not sure is working there or not.

Next door is my new/old local El Economico (23). When I was training to be a teacher in Madrid 25 years ago I had my first Spanish meal here. At the time it was run by two tiny bald twins and their mother did the cooking. And it was cheap. Having barely a word of Spanish at the time (I have 8 words now) I looked at the menu and knowing “carne” was “meat” and thought to myself “I like all meat” poinyed at something and was soon faced with a bowl of callos/tripe. Madrilenos have convinced themselves that they eat a “Mediterranean diet” …they certainly don’t. they love nothing more than deep fried food and entrails. And if they can deep fry entrails the happier they are. El Economico has been under new managements for many years now and at the moment is run by a north African fella and a Spanish-french lady. Two waitresses (possibly sisters) are very nice and very good at their jobs. Has wifi.

Opposite is the Asturiana (24). Hit and miss menu del dia but you get full bottle of wine with it, which is becoming rarer and rarer. You generally don’t need an evening meal if you drink in here as they give you proper pukka free tapas with your drink. Next door is a cocktail bar called Eucolipto (25). Opposite are a couple of clothes shops….why is there any need for so many clothes shops? And 2 tiny bars (26 and 27)that have been there forever and I cant see how they remain open as can only fit 2 people inside the bar and terraza only has a couple of tables each. Just before you get to the metro there is another small bar with a small terraza (28) and yet another clothes shop.

28 then, so maybe last time i counted i counted wrong. wouldnt surprise me, I can barely count

Rebirth & Casa Pedro

 Some of you are Facies (Facebook friends… not shit) and so may already know this but some of you may have found yourself here by googling “eating and drinking in Madrid” in the hope of finding useful information about your quest for good eating and good drinking in Madrid, so skip to the end because this post is more for Facebook friends, some of whom are actual friends or have been actual friends, to let them know what is going on with me.

My “role was repressed” which means I no longer have a job at the company i worked at for 16 years, and even more sadly, I no longer have an income other than the dole. It was no great surprise as I worked in a declining market and neo-liberal economics governs everything and has no time for….well…time…’s all about the shor-term and balancing the last financial year with the coming financial year. No time for slow growth, no time for gratitude, honour or pity. On a happier note, my compensation was fairly large, so I don’t have to rush into any job that doesnt really offer me any dignity. So I have an excess of time on my hands for the next few years unless I find a dignified way of making money which i can share with billionaires who want to fly around in space. This brings me to this blog…

I began this blog when I was a teacher with plenty of time on my hands, but not a huge anmount of money. It started to die when my career took off and my freetime declined. Now that my career is over I have an excess of time again, yet still have some brass in my pocket. Hence the “rebirth” of this blog. I’m going to update the blog more often and it will be less eating out and more eating in as I share some damn fine cooking and recipes with you. Recipes from places I’ve lived such as Ireland, England, Turkey, Portugal, Italy and Spain. and fusions of those. Doubt there will be too much Irish food in there as we arent famed for our cousine. But you never know.

It’s quite fitting that this post, aside from the bollocks you’ve just read, is going back to the original ethos of the blog…a pukka Menu del Dia for decent people who cant really afford to waste money on tiny square plates served to you as you have to listen to Nouvell Vague doing 1980s Indie songs (wanabee hipster bars and restaurants, please have an original idea! That goes for everywhere…not just Madrid…it’s the same from Istanbul to Lisbon)

I should explain exactly what a pukka menu del dia is. 3 courses, a bottle of wine not a glass or a small carafe, a fucking whole bottle. A digestif at the end wont be sniffed at. It should cost somewhere between 6euro and 18euro. Prices in Madrid almost never corespond to quality, they only correspond with greed, so that the 6euro menu del dia may well be much better than the 18euro one. The last thing I should mention about the Menu del Dia is that it is largely becoming extinct in the centre of Madrid as Hipsterization takes hold and chokes our culture harder and harder every given day.

As my barrio was named #1 neighbourhood in the world by TimeOut magazine, it was inevitable that the Menu del Dia would be hunted down and killed. You have to walk a bit south to find a decent Menu del Dia these days. No point walking north, that’s where all the criminals, the pot bangers, the tax dodgers, the PPeros and the Voxers live…sure there are pockets of decent people there but generally scumbags…like the Madrid version of Bracknell or Worksop.

So I headed down south to Casa Pedro

Menu del Dia was solid and 10euro

The first thing you’ll notice is…full bottle of wine;Glass with ice and a bottle of Casera. Wine in Spain is cheap, it’s cheaper than water. However, cheap wine does tend to need a splash of Casera (kind of like a cross between seltzer and 7up) to be enjoyed. Then the first course is what I think of as the quintessential menu del dia first course….Cuban Rice….rice with tomato sauce and a fried egg. I forgot about taking a photo so i’d already cut the egg. Actually here there was too much rice for one egg so i only got through half the mound of rice.

Second course was madrid style Lomo. Madrid style anything tends to mean battered in some form and lomo is like a thin pork steak

I was a bit embarrased that I could only manage about a third of it.

My stomach couldnt take any more food so i swapped my third course of pudding for a small glass of patxaran as a digestif

Patxaran comes from the north of Spain, up by Navarra, which would explain that Basquesqe X in the name. It’s basically a brandy made from sloe berries and annise. The good stuff doesnt taste very annisey.

My waitress was young and very pleasant and the granddaughter of the original Pedro. I don’t talk to people so I only heard this as an old dear having her lunch on next table was asking her about her family.

So that’s it…there’s a small terraza outside and a fairly big dining room behind the actual bar. A decent place for decent people.

Here are the deets:

Casa Pedro

C. de Tomás Bretón, 39, 28045 Madrid. Down from Atocha station towards the Train Museum and then a left.,-3.6949813,17z/data=!3m2!4b1!5s0xd42263757d3aa91:0xb5116d5af4568d2f!4m5!3m4!1s0xd42263757e00da3:0x7db6ea1d2623d3bd!8m2!3d40.3974203!4d-3.6928018

High end cooking2021

When the apcalypse began my working life went cracray, like most people. 15 hour days 7 days a week. For the first time in my life food was just for eating, there was little pleasure involved. It was energy to keep me going. In Madrid we were allowed out to go to the supermarket and the visit to the supermarket meant a long wait outside as was one-in-one-out. Instead of shopping on a daily basis i was shopping twice a week. All i did was bung some frozen veggies and onions, some hydrated asian mushrooms into the slow cooker, stirred in mustard, miso, soy, tomato pure and a can of beer and turn it on im the morning, then added a cubed chicken breast halfway throuygh the day and then some dried asian noodles before i was ready to eat my main meal.

as the apocalypse went on, life and work got easier and after a few months we were even allowed out for a one hour walk between 8pm and 9pm, my working day became far more human and i was able to enjoy binge watching Netflix.

Xmas came along and i had a nice break coming up, without having to waste days travelling back to the wesht of Ireland and then back home to Madrid. I realised that i needed a bit of self love and to get back into cooking properly.

Pre Xmas high end cooking was Sartu di Riso. Never had it, never seen it, certainly never cooked it but it was mentioned in an Inspector Montalbano novel i was reading.

this is how it looked when served. surprisingly easy to make.

Make your favourite ragu. I made with minced beef.

Cook most of a box of quality risoto rice in stock, add a couple of bay leaves. drain. add a couple of eggs into the rice and loads of parmesan. stir obviously.

Get one of those baking tins with an open circle in the middle. butter the sides of the tin and then add breadcrumbs, shake it around so the tin has breadcrumbs all around it. put a good 2/3rds of the rice into the side, using your hands to press down the rice at the bottom and the sides of the dish all the way around. add sliced fresh motsarela around the bottom of the tin. add enough ragu so that it goes to 2/3rds of the top of the tin. now use the remaining rice create the top of the cake. add some more breadcrumbs to the top.

stick in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Take out of the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes,

it’ll hopefully come out looking like that. Then get a large tray and put that on top, flip over. add any remaining ragu into the hole in the middle. grate some cheese on top


For Xmas eve i made a lovely fish pie. don’t need to tell anyone how to make a decent fish pie…you’re not animals.

For Santa’s birthday on the 25th of December, I had decided to stay Italian and has prepared a porchetta.

I aksed the butcher to buterfly a loin of pork, which he was happy to do. then i brined the pork overnight (never done that before but i read that it was a “game changer”). i soaked the pork in water and changed a few times. dried by patting with paper towels. i covered the pork with various meats such as salami and ham, and a sauce of spinach, onion, garlic, chicjpeas and olive oil. Rolled all this together tightly as i could and put in a plastic bag which i vaccuum packed. Then i cooked sous vide for 24 hours. When the timer went of i carefully cut the plastic off and to my delight the time spent in the sealed bag cooking, had made the roll fairly robust

no way i was getting through that so i sliced in half

vaccum sealed the other half and put in freezewr. the remaining half i put in oven on high heat to crisp up any of the fat and to brown it. sliced and served with mash and a sauxe made from the cooking liquid. Was nice.

New years eve i did what i alwats have for new years eve…a curry. I won’t bore you with the details. fish and prawns, chickpeas and spinach. popadoms. rice. I had a guest who described it as “orgasmic”. i hid my blushes

There you go. Worship me as a god


Been a while. You haven’t changed a bit.

Even before the pandemic and the lockdown started and ended I’d kind of pretty much stopped going out to eat. Only ever go to Badila, which you can read about in an earlier post. It’s still there and it survived the lockdown, ate there yesterday in fact. As good as ever though, understandably the price gone up a bit. Still more than worth it tho.

My meal last week…

Pasta with a shellfish sauce

beef meatballs in a white wine and saffron sauce. chips, bottle of wine, casera


I should really have created more cooking content but lockdown was crazy for me work wise, never worked so hard in my life and didnt do much cooking even though I was in the house 24 hours a day. I kind of used my slow cooker most days in the first few months of lock down…onions and veggies, garlic and ginger, tomatoes, honey, sliced chicken breast, can of beer and turn on in the morning before I started working, then added some dried noodles into the pot, ate that then back to work for a few hours.

I certainly cant complain about the pandemic, as well as everybody I give two hoots about, I’ve been spared ill-health, death, kept my job and (more importantly) my salary still appears intact in my bank account every month, I even managed to go on holiday (very good timing…middle of July, numbers in Spain had gone down so much we were allowed out and were allowed into Greece, so I went to the Island of Milos. No brits allowed in. Pool in the villa to myself. Lovely)

Not that you care.

So what am I going to tell you? hmmm….ok, easiest dish you could possibly make that isn’t spaghetti with oil and garlic and Parmesano….the classic Balcalhao con Natas.

I say a classic but it wasnt actually invented until the 1930s. Thus I feel you can do whatever you like with it. It’s not old enough to be a sacred cow. I made last week using hake/merluza, although truth be told not a huge difference between hake and cod. Unless that sound ignorant and Speciesist

What I’m going to drop on you is fairly “traditional”

cut, say, three potatoes into smallish cubes. up to you if you want to peel the skin off or not. fry in some olive oil until slightly browned. stick in a receptacle with a strainer. in same pan add some sliced onions, some garlic. While onion is cooking in another pan bring some milk to the boil with some bay leaves, a star anis…turn the heat off or very low…add in your fish and leave for a few minutes. using the strainer, when the onion has softened and about to brown, add in the fish and stir in…do the same with the cubed potatoes, stiring it all in together well. add chopped parsley. pour in the milk and stir well and cook out the milk until you have a thickish sauce. you can add some flour here if necessary. now pour all that into a baking pan. put some breadcrumbs or panic on top and if you feel like it some grated cheese. no rules during a pandemic. bung in the oven for about 25- 30 minutes until the top is browned.

There it is done.

High end cooking

Short post just so you know who you’re dealing with

That’s my take on lamb kofte with bulgur

Hard to find minced lamb in Iberia. Butchers aren’t keen on cutting the meat off a leg and mincing it. Even the halal butchers in my ‘hood. But I got some last week. Shredded red onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, bit of shredded thumb and blood. Cooked old skool on the plancha. Meanwhile finely chopped onion, pepper, tin of chickpeas, chopped tomato, chopped aubergine, chili, stock, bulgur (thick bulgur Turkish style not tiny bulgur North African style)

When both cooked… Fashioned the bulgur into a heart shape using a wee metal shape.. Put in top of kofte.. Added a bit of yoghurt and a torn slice of mint. Job done

I am a cooking rock star innit

gimme some (new) truth

there are some truths we just accept

  • an authentic Chinese restaurant will be full of Chinese clients (this may not be true in China)
  • a pukka Indian restaurant will be full of Brits
  • if you’re in North America and want a decent doughnut, go to a place full of coppers and hope they don’t shoot you because of the colour of your skin (ie. dark, swarthy…they don’t tend to shoot sunburned people or anyone with a low melanin count)
  • if you go to an “Irish” pub showing rugby, you’ll be surrounded by the worst poshest English people you have ever have the misfortune to share a postal district with. leave as soon as you can before you wish you were an armed racist American copper and just waste them all.


but let me lay some new truth on you….

  • old people know a decent menu del dia


yes, they can be annoying….they often have unpleasant, fanatical views about how other people should behave; they make your queue in the supermarket so much slower; they’re quite happy to let their dogs shit in the street and pretend not to notice…and Jesus, don’t get behind one waiting for the cash machine…I’ve no idea what they are doing, transferring nazi gold from their Swiss bank into krugerrands and then printing it onto a 1950s style paper account ledger? there’s apps for that shit!

but they are useful if you’re looking for a decent menu del dia. follow them. isn’t hard, they don’t move so quickly and they won’t notice what is going on around them…but trust me, they know where its at when it comes to a menu del dia

I’ve mentioned menu del Dias many times here….it is a staple, an integral part of our way of life…and its being eroded, almost as badly as politicians and the media erode trust, or carbon emissions erode the ice caps, or as much as politicians ignore the erosion of the ice caps. Menu del Dias are becoming as scarce as a polar bear competing in a speedway race. so when you find one…a real one…one with 3 courses and a decent amount of wine (ie a bottle or equal measure of a carafe) then you have to take that restaurant and you need to clutch it to your bosom and you must cherish it and not let it go.

my friends, (do you mind if I call you friends?), I’ve found a place too cherish. Bar/Cafe Moratines on Calle Moratines, off Calle Embajadores. There’s only 4 tables and so you need to pre-empt the old people’s lunch…actually, a lot of people I notice come in for a menu to take away…so be there before 2pm or after 3. fella behind the bar is as taciturn as you’d expect, his wife is portuguese and does the cooking, the daughter serves the food. 3 courses, bottle of wine, bottle of casera, 10euro. boom! what more do you want?!


I got there slightly before 2…so was able to watch a bit of the only cooking programme on Spanish TV (dunno…I’m probably wrong…I haven’t turned on the TV in 9 years) and the beginning of Spanish Wheel of Fortune…which is…FUCKED!…before every question the crowd start cheering and singing along to a popular song and the contestants have to stand there dancing and pretending they aren’t embarrassed. I ain’t going to watch Spanish University Challenge, I can tell you

First course, bean stew with rice and chorizo.



Second course…Russian fillets with tomato sauce and chups. I love Russian fillets. more in my head than in my mouth….but although I tend to order fish on a menu, if there’s anything involving mince I’ll go with that. your Russian fillet is like a beef burger that has been punched and covered in breadcrumbs and tends to be served with tomato frito sauce. I imagine it comes from the austerity that Spain suffered when the Russians were here trying to save the people of Spain from the fascists and the Vatican…before austerity got so great they had to eat cats and pigeons.20190614_135841.jpg

could’ve had dessert. but I;m not goloso (sweet-toothed) and you know its just going to be flan or pudding or a bit of fruit. I wasn’t planning a siesta because I didnt get up until nearly midday (living the motherfucking dream) so I had a coffee….delta coffee…portuguese coffee is the BEST coffee in the world. well, the world I have been to, which includes Portugal.

the end


Rice, paella, feel me?

As you know, English food is Feesh and Cheeps, Portuguese food is bacalao, Turkish food is Doner Kebab (or durum if you once went outside your house) and Spanish food is paella. without chorizo apparently…who knew?

obviously I’m being sarky…English food is the best in the world, Portuguese chicken is the dogs bollocks, there are about 400 different kebabs as well as everything else in the Osman mutfak (ottoman kitchen)…and there are different types of paella.

there’s the type you get free with a tapa outside a tourist spot, that is overcooked and theirs the type that you pay for in tourist spots that is overcooked and costs bair geld.

but actually…in the kingdom of Valencia, they take pride in their paella…which in their language (Valenciano) they pronounce without the L sound. weird I know.

What tourists think of paella it is a rice dish which includes chicken and seafood of some description. Valanecian paella is made using rabbit and snails. there’s paella from Alicante that is cooked in the oven and is finished off with baked egg.

There used to be a non-joke for non-madrilenes in Madrid, if anyone asked them where they could find a decent paella in Madrid, the answer was “Valencia”….Valencia is 5 hours drive from Madrid unless you drive like a coked up Spanish driver and then its less than 4 hours. its less than 2 hours if you’re not a cunt and take the train, or 74 hours if you walk.

but…you can actually find a decent paella in madrid. Shall I tell you where?

between la Latina and the rastro, you’ll find alliolli

Calle de Carlos Arniches, 14, 28005 Madrid

best to make a reservation as I;ve tried to go there a few times and has been full. also, with paella anywhere…you have to be more than one person….one person isn’t allowed to order paella…sorry widowed lady, you’ll have to remarry…so bros could order no problem, but Michael Jackson wouldn’t be able to….ok, for the moment that’s probably a good thing. also the rice dish you choose will take about an hour to cook, so you can let them know beforehand or just be a less greedy fucker and enjoy the very reasonably priced house wine (9euro a bottle and really nice)

My partner and I started with a bottle of wine and then tempura of vegetables


the aubergine with honey was particularly great. the portuguese invented tempura. and the umbrella.


then we got paella seniority (with fish and prawns) eaten off the paella directly. second bottle of wine obvs.

I dont dessert and the chocolate cake, brownie, whatevs, was packed with evil nuts anyway. glass of valencian digestif which was refilled.

I dont tend to notice service unless they dont bring me food or wine or overcharge me….but I have to say, exceptionally friendly service.

highly recommendable.

I want to go to t’bed with you

Below is more or less a conversation which took place in Bakırköy (a western suburb of Istanbul) in 1997, the first year of my international career. Names have been changed

Her: I want to go to t’bed with you!

Me: really?….

Her: I know it sounds crazy and dangerous but I want to go to t’bed with you!

Me: Well, I wouldn’t say crazy or dangerous to be honest….

Her: I know it sounds crazy and dangerous, but I want to go to t’bed with you and Danny!

Me: oh…I’m quite open minded but I;m not sure how up for that I’d be….

Her: I know it sounds crazy and dangerous but I want to go to t’bed with you and Danny….and meet the Dalai Lama

Me: ah….you want to go to Tibet

A disappointing climax to that conversation.

I really thought she was developing a North Notts accent.

22 years later, I find myself hungry and am told about a fantastic Nepalese (yes, I know Tibet and Nepal are different places…but they are next to each other, like England and France, or Sweden and Norway) so decide to go all the way out into the Eastside of metropolitan Madrid to ch-check it out y’all (and you don’t stop!)


Tube to El Carmen, the stop after Ventas, green line (5)


spacious, nice enough place. very friendly staff. Male waiter had a very upright hat that I imagine is all the rage in Nanga Parbat. His soft looking shoes seemed to be tap shoes as he clip clopped from table to table. Tho not a tap dancer per se or even at all, the sound of tap shoes makes me think of Roy Castle and thus my father. My father wasn’t Roy Castle but my dad was a big fan of his as he played nightclubs in east Africa quite regularly in the 50s and 60s.

We (that’s the royal we…my stomach and I) ordered the Momo to start, as I had read this was a must try Nepalese dish. Basically vapour cooked dim sun filled with spicy minced chicken. They were very delicious. came with a dipping sauce which I didn’t try as I had forgotten to mention my nut allergy and it looked like the kind of sauce that might hide evil within it.


The local native, who recommended this restaurant to me, suggested the lamb “sizzler” which was marinaded cubes of lamb cooked in the tandoori oven and known in this part of eastern Madrid as “Pahadi Khasi”..I was hoping it would be more Pahadi and less Khasi. I was also told the naan bread was the best in Madrid.


quality of the lamb was much better than you usually get in Indian restaurants in the centre of Madrid.

3,50euro for a large jara of mahou, pretty standard. 2 each that makes….let say….7euro? Starter of 6 momo for two people, the lamb sizzler, naan, rogan josh and plain rice, 4 large beers for 2 people, 25euro each more or less….oh and don’t worry, a free popadom each at the get go.

I’d give a double thumbs up if it were a bit nearer to civilisation.

Restaurante Himalayan Tandoori, Calle Raquel Meller, 7, 28027 Madrid

Bifana 2.0

Is there anything better than a decent sandwich? requited love maybe, a lie in, the first cup of tea of the day?

The bifana is the greatest love and its easy to achieve….if you live in Portugal. I dont so I decided to make the greatest bifana

this is what Anthony Bourdain said about the bifana. but I can do better….

Another great portuguese pork dish is the porto alentejano…pork with clams. I love both equally and can’t stop myself thinking…why not both?

So I marinaded a loin of pork in white wine, garlic, paprika and clams.


I let it marinade overnight and then sous vide to perfection


then browned the pork on a high plancha


lived some bits of the pork and put on the plancha againSnip20190217_4


added some of the marinade


roll and honey mustard


hey presto….sous vide alentejana begins



I’m expecting a call from the Portuguese prime minister to offer me the legion of honour

Time Management

I’ve been working full time for more or less the last 30 years. In that time I’ve worked with thousands of different people. One thing I have noticed is that those people that go on about how much work they have and how little time to do it, tend to be the people you rarely see actually working. Sure, you see them AT work, but more often than not they are making tea or drinking tea or asking people if they wouldn’t mind putting the kettle on, or they are going off to have a fag while their tea is mashing. I’ve suddenly found myself complaining about how much work I have to do and how little time. That’s because I have too much to get done. More tea? Don’t mind if I do.

My employer recently did some sort of streamlining of the workforce and streamlined 85 people. Streamlining in the way that the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force streamlined Pearl Harbour; or the way Thatcher streamlined British Industry (see how well British Industry is performing now? British what now?). This Streamlining was as successful as Mayhem/Gove/Bojo the clown and the Pigfucker’s Brexit if you added in extra absolute incompetence. I said EXTRA incompetence What this means is I’m currently doing the job that 4 people used to do. Unfortunately one of those people is still employed, its just we can’t decide what he…or she, it could be a she….what he actually spends all day doing…but in any case, I’m doing what he used to do. or she. Don’t worry, if he is actually forced to do some work without managing to pass it off to someone else, he…sorry, I forgot, or she….he goes on like it’s the first time anyone in the history of the world has had to actually do something and we should be grateful that he….or she…was there to do it and that next time it’s our turn to do whatever “it” was.

Anyway, that’s one reason I’m rarely able to update this blog. I go to work, I come home, I go to bed, I wake up early in the morning panicking about the work I was unable to do the day before and which will bite me in the arse today, then I go to work…then I come home and I go to bed. and repeat. This has slightly changed recently because a great sandwich place has opened up near my work. So in the bit that says “I go to work” I often (but not always) manage to nip out and buy a sandwich and eat half of it at my desk, and have the other half when I get home, before I go to bed.


the sandwich at my desk….

oh cry me a river! turning your head to one side is sooo fucking difficult.


the sandwich at home before bed. yes that’s a badger.

Now, before this place opened there was nowhere to get a decent sandwich in Madrid. Unless you’re talking about a deep fried squid sandwich, of course.

There is a chain of sandwich shops called “Rodilla” (meaning “Knee”) but I wouldn’t call them “sandwiches”…they are small slices of sweet shitty bread with the crusts cut off…I know! like as if you were a spoilt, fussy 3 year old…which then has mush shoved into the front of the bread. the mush comes in various colours. Madrilenos have great affection for these shit coloured mush “sandwiches” and the chain itself. But I imagine in the same way that Yorkshire people (officially “The Worst People in The World”) have affection for Sir Peter Sutcliffe…”call that a ripper, your southern jack ain’t owt compared to god’s own ripper”

This place is called Dilieto and is the answer to my hopes and dreams. My hopes and dreams are small and pathetic, solely based on a decent sandwich shop opening up in the desert that is Madrid and preferably near my work.


The place is run by two sisters from Gijon whose brother has a successful sandwich shop on Fleet Street in London. I have a “melt” with focaccia (they have with olives, with herbs, with sun-dried tomatoes or with jalapeños…the least nice of these is the latter) and filled with chicken escalope, cheese, bacon and salad, This costs 5euro and is bigger than my head. As I say, I only have half for “lunch” and the other half when I get home at around 10-11pmSnip20181024_2.png

“lunch” is when you eat something at your desk while getting work done. In the old days, before Neo-liberalism and the failure of capitalism, lunch was a meal you enjoyed somewhere between the hours of getting up and the hours of going to bed. I wonder what medieval surfs called “lunch”

Yes, I know…I’m not moaning. I do realise how lucky I am to actually have a job and how lucky I am that I have a job that pays me enough to live on. Not many people these days are lucky enough to have any job, let alone a job that pays them enough to live on. More than that. I even managed to stick 4 and a half grand into a savings account last month. but can’t help wondering if it’s worth it…at this rate I’ll be dead before I turn 50. Not that I’m paid to wrestle hungry and angry tigers, but constant stress has pushed my blood pressure up to worrying levels. thankfully, I lost my hair in my early twenties.

Slutty pasta sauce

After all that solipsism, I thought I’d go back to eating, or actually helping you to eat well.

We all know that the Spanish don’t really get pasta, they don’t get the texture…you could say the same for mashed potato, they think both are closer to some sort of puree than they should really be. Non-italian cuisines don’t fully get pasta either…they dont really get that there are reasons for different pasta sizes and shapes and that they go better with the sauce due to their size and shape…which is why you just wouldn’t get spaghetti with ragu sauce…because you eat the spaghetti and you’re left with the lovely lumps of meat and veg from the ragu…which is why you serve it with bigger pasta such as rigatoni or pappardelle.

this sauce doesn’t have particularly large bits in it so I’d suggest spaghetti or bavette

first thing…boil water for your pasta. add a wee but of salt. when it boils add your pastapasta.jpeg


Take a tin of decent tuna (from your press/pantry/cupboard)…I’m not suggesting you just take it from a shop without paying. But whatever gets you through the day and allows you to sleep. Open the tin and pour the olive oil into a pan, add some chopped onion and a tooth of crushed garlic into the pan and let the onion soften on a slow to medium heat. put the tuna from the can in their and continue to fry. add salt and pepper to taste. also a chopped red chili to taste (which, if you’re Spanish means, throw away the chili and dont even bother chopping it. dont buy it either. you can probably avoid the black pepper earlier too, come to think of it). add in some capers and some olives (doesnt matter what colour but I’d suggest without stones). add a squeeze of tomato paste and a glug of white wine.

you’re thinking this “this is just puttanesca, Dave…do you take us for eedjits that cant even make a puttanesca?”…it’s similar yes but bear with me…it’s more of an amateur slut that a full on puta. which is why I call it “slutty”

chop a tomato or two and add them to the sauce. as the wine has cooked off more or less pour in about a glass of the pasta water (the pasta should have almost cooked by now…how long do you need? 8 minutes?)sauce.jpeg

finally, drane the pasta and put the pasta into the sauce and serve. how long did that take? ten minutes?pasandsauce.jpeg

a story…if your a facefriend, you’ve already read it

I wrote this story on facebook, and face friends liked it so I thought I would put it on here…my blog has become far more, or far less depending on how you look at it, than just eating and drinking in madrid on a budget.

So, I’m going to tell you a story. it’s not a pretty story but it’s the only one I’ve got! and you can laugh at me and think I’m a nob. I have no solid media connection with anybody mentioned. and my facebook name isn’t even my real name, so I;m thinking its not going to embarrass anybody other than me (Daze is what my godson calls me cos he cant say Dave…the little idiot)
the start is a bit sad but bear with me, you’ll laugh later….

the context:
I was going out with this lass…wonderful lass and astonishingly beautiful. after about a year together she dumps me…its not you its me, at this point in my life I cant be in a relationship with anyone…nobody has ever heard that before! “with anybody” does mean “you specifically”
I heard, from her directly that she was now back in a relationship with her ex fiancé…who she had left because of his multiple affairs…he had then emptied their joint bank account and left her stranded penniless in a foreign country (Mexico). she managed to get back to madrid and started to get her life back together slowly…then he arrived back, stricken with grief and intent on getting her back, which meant constant phonically and insistence on meeting because ge was so depressed and wanted her back so much. she even cried on my shoulder once due to his constant attempts to get her back. so she was lucky that she met a (not so) handsome (not so English) Englishman (me, you idiot!). she dumped me in march….though possibly was earlier…I;m a bit slow and we didnt see her as she was a bit ill and work and the ex fiancé was taking up a lot of time. so she told me recently that she was now back with the ex fiancé. so…I felt…not so good…this guy treats you like shit and yet you’d rather go out with him than me. thanks.

I honestly don’t have any ill will towards this girl. you cant help someone not liking you as much as you would like them to. she is, though she is in the past so we can use the past  tense, she was…a lovely and loving person. she just made bad decisions…possibly going out with me in the first place was one of them. we’ve all made bad decisions. mine tends to be constantly going out with lasses that really really aren’t for me. ok, by her actions getting back with the fella she is officially an idiot..but most of us are idiots. and its weird that I keep going out with Spanish lasses whose father is a fascist. or are all fathers in Spain far right pieces of shit?

so, I tend to apply SOP_B after a breakup (Standard Operating Procedure for Breakups). Block and delete on phone and social media..try to forget about them, help this by getting back on the horse as soon and as often as possible until that person or those memories that hurt you are distant and innocuous. to help get back on the horse, I use dating apps. hey! they’ve worked before…I was a massive slut before I met the girl I;m talking about. and basically…if you meet someone in reality its just incredible luck that you were in the right place at the right time. I spend my life at work or at home. I don’t meet people at home cos I live alone and that fella I see in the mirror on the odd occasion I shave…well, he’s not my type. and I dont meet people at work…cos I;m not mental. and I dont meet people between work and home because I;m looking where I;m going…I dont want to bump into people or step in shite.

I;m registered on a dating app. I;ve got the search engine set to 35-55 as I’m 47. although I look 46 in the right light. I suddenly get a message from a 27 year old nurse. we have a chat and arrange to meet. maybe I didnt look at the profile because was a bit of a surprise. we meet one Friday night. she’s a fairly good looking lass but tall, almost my hight…with broad shoulders and blimey she can put away the beer. but a really nice girl. date ends earlier than she seemed to want as I was falling asleep…I was up at 06:30 and at work at 07:40 and hadn’t had a siesta. second date was much the same…I felt a bit of a paedo as she was so young and told me her first concert was Britney Spears! but at the end of the date I take her to the station so she can get the metro back to her home in the suburbs. we have a bit of a snog. mouth, tongues, she’s a really good kisser. so next day she has sent me a wink or something on the app and I actually read her profile and right there it says “chica trans de madrid”…so that would explain the broad shoulders and the beer drinking.

the denouement:
now I felt awful. not because I had kissed a trans person…but because I thought she was a really nice girl,,but suddenly I didnt want to see her again. maybe I am a conservative and closed minded piece of shit. but to be honest, I didn’t particularly fancy her and because she didnt have a word of english, after two long dates I was running out of things to talk about easily in Spanish…I have to think what to say and then how to say it…and I;m pretty rubbish with those in English.
What did I do? I partly lied to her. always a good option. I sent her a message saying that she was a wonderful girl and I was really glad I;d met her but that I;d met someone else. the someone else wasnt better in any way but was closer to my age and we had a lot in common and I thought we had a future. she responded well, I;m sure my charms hadn’t made her fall in love with me or anything and she was very nice and said she had enjoyed spending time with me and wished me luck with new girl.
I didnt feel disgusted that I;d kissed someone who was born a bloke. she was a really good kisser and she was attractive as a girl. not like she had a deep voice and I thought she might beat me up
I just felt stupid because its probably the main reason I read the profile….they are almost always the same…love life, love laughing, travel, travel, travel, I;m so happy, no ONS, love life….but I;ve already swiped left when they write “chica tran” before my brain decodes that they had written “china tranquil”
and the trans thing…its still leaves out a bit of information…if your trans it means you live your life in the gender you weren’t assigned at birth…so you have no idea what is going on down there until you come across it…so to speak. I’m not penis-phobic…but I dont really want to have much to do with one that isn’t mine.

so thats my story. I suppose the moral is to read profiles a bit more carefully. I told the woman I;m spending the day with on Saturday the story…and she laughed…but I asked her to wear a skirt rather than jeans or trousers just so it will be more obvious if she has a cock.


see the pic above…you’d never know she was born a boy

I love Travelling!

Anybody who knows me, knows that the title is not true for me at all. OK, there are places I would like to be, but the place I like to be most is home. And getting home is extremely easy. And when I’m home I understand everything I’m going to say…I don’t even have to read the menu to know what’s good for tea.

As I may have mentioned, I’m back using dating apps for the simple reasons that A) the (almost) last person I was seeing decided that she preferred her life without me in it, which is fair enough, it’s her life and she should live it the best way she can…obviously, I think it was a terrible lapse of judgement on her part, but that’s by the by and bye-bye…and B) my life is spent at work, at home or travelling between the two…and I don’t meet people at work because I’m not mental…and I don’t meet people at home, except myself and even I don’t want to shag me…and I don’t meet people on the way between home and work, maybe because I’m too busy looking where I’m going and avoiding dog shit. Dating apps are kind of great because whoever you meet IRL (In Real Life, for you old people) it’s just  random circumstance anyway…you happened to be in the right place at the right time, said the right thing, at the right time in the other person’s life story, you were born attractive, you happened not to give the impression you were a serial killer, you hadn’t gone out forgetting you had left a mackerel in your back pocket for the last month, you found the courage to speak to someone or at least didn’t rub baked beans in your hair and burst out crying when they looked in your direction. See? Matching IRL is just a matter of random circumstances all falling into place at the right time. Matching on an app means you don’t have to be in the right place, you can be in completely wrong place and you don’t even have to worry about that mackerel. One particular negative side of dating apps or dating online is a very simple one, and is also just as true for IRL dating/copulation/relations…most people…OK thats way to general…a lot of people….fuck it…let’s KiR (Keep it Real! I just made that up, it will be the new TMI or TLDR, mark my words)…almost everybody is fucking dull. Especially the ones that have done amazing things with their life…cos they drone on about those amazing things or at least mention it once or twice, “yeah give it a rest, Leonardo, you did a fucking painting and invented some shit”. A life hack I’ll share with you is that…if they mention how much they love travel…if they have a picture of a place they have been…or any place…then avoid them, they are dullards and why waste your time trying to have sex with a dullard. unless, you really want to have sex of course. with someone.

99.9% of the 100% dullest people say that they love travelling on their profile. If I read one that said “I love sitting on a overcrowded bus for hours when I;m desperate for a piss” or “I love having to take my shoes off to prove there’s not a bomb in it…I even do it when I enter the supermarket and when I get on the bus” ” Sometimes I just pretend I’m on a plane by pouring away 80% of a bottle of wine and overpaying for it by 700% and sitting in a chair solely designed for the comfort of Toulouse-fucking-Lautrec”…yup! I’d swipe right. I saw one that said “I like travel, travel and travel” and I have seen countless profiles that say something like “Visited 36 countries and counting”…Well, for your information I’ve had two shits today..and the day is still young. OK, the last one who had visited x amount of countries, she had a massive knob and a six pack so I swiped right, and boy was I glad I did.

So, before I begin this blog post I’ll just remind you that your travels just show you had time to go somewhere and enough money to get there. the end. it didn’t fucking change you, you didn’t change the place other than taking up some space there for a time. You didn’t do anything heroic or even interesting, you went on fucking holiday, big fucking deal

So..what I did on my holiday….I got the train to Girona. Nice place. the best restaurants seemed to all be Basque pintxo placesP1000302.jpeg

Fairly decent local wine 20180715_191352.jpg


I was there for 4 days which was possibly one day too long. No nothing happened on that day, I didn’t kill a man just to watch him die…but I had seen everything and was getting a bit bored. I think that might be my dislike of travelling…I have to go places with me..I don’t really notice what a twat I actually am when I am home…I can be distracted by films and the internet or sitting on the bog. So I took myself to Aix-en-Provencepalace.jpeg


I went to Aix (I learned it was pronounced Eks) simply because it was in France and I’d seen the Keith Floyd shopping at the market on an episode of Floyd on France.

It really is a beautiful town but I don’t really understand why there is such a lack of French food there…almost everywhere is a pizzeria and one night I succumbed and had a pizza and it weren’t all that.

Having said that, I was thinking the most amazing thing about France was the incredible beauty of the women there, their effortless natural grace and ability to be French and speak French. But actually, I had the cheese and really its the cheese that is the most amazing thing. Maybe cheese just tastes better when your pair it with a really fucking expensive glass of local wine. Prices in France be cray cray yo. a beer will cost you 6euro, a glass of wine anywhere from 3,50 to 8…they are just making it up as they go along.


the Charcuterie weren’t all that though.

My travel tips are:

  • go with someone that isn’t yourself. someone you can put up with for the entire time you will be away.
  • dont go for too long
  • dont go too far. how far away it is tends to mean it takes longer to get there and to get back from there. Although I didn’t do geography O’level, so I could be wrong
  • if you have to travel further away than walking distance, travel there in comfort and style. Pay the extra and go first class. On the train this tends to mean you get to use the first class lounge while you wait for your train. Free drink (including beer and wine!!) and snacks, excellent comfortable and clean toilets, lack of proletarians
  • avoid having to travel by plane. because planes are shite and travelling by plane is the opposite of travelling in comfort and style and almost always requires the need for an airport. Airports are miles away and exist just to piss people off.


more cheese porn! 20180721_130515.jpg

oh..the other thing about France is…or just Provence or just Aix is….the fecking mosquitoes fucking loved the taste of me. They must have been walking around like fat dogs, full of my delicious cheesy blood. I’m probably half the size I was when I left.P1000357.JPG

Oh…I had a conversation in here…with an actual person. American girl from Washington, America. was a bit odd as we started speaking in Spanish while we were both native English speakers…ok, I’m a native…she was German-Dutch genetically and didn’t Scooby a word of Soux. I was really grateful to be speaking to someone in any language I could understand…cos I don’t voulez vou a word of the Park Bench and had barely said two words in a week. The waiter had started speaking to her when she came in and ordered a glass of wine, in Spanish. He was obviously put out a bit when I started speaking to her, cos he turned up the music so loud it was hard for us to have a conversation. Men are such childish dicks. He needn’t have worried, dont think the mosquitos had left me enough blood to waste on an erection without me fainting.

La Portuguesa


If you know me, you know I don’t really hold with maths (or mathematic as the Americans like to call it)…it’s some voodoo shit and I avoid it. I can barely count. I get anywhere near eleventy and I will flip the table and make an ungraceful exit. I mean, they didn’t even have zero until 3BC in Mesopotamia, and the mayans were happy without it until around 4AD. Before that it was like…how many cows do you have…less than ten…how many less? ten….ok, I’ll take 2…no you bleeding won’t. I say this because in the first paragraph I will be using some percentages that may not reflect anything that anyone that can make percentages will understand. Think of those percentages not so much as number bound but colour bound…and those colours are hues and shades rather than anything strictly clear. You get me? Here goes…

I’ve spent about 30% of my life living in Spain, and only 10% of it in Portugal. And I’ve spent almost every summer of the last 15 years living and working in Madrid most of the summer. Yet it comes to summer and I go all Portuguese. I’ll take myself all the way up to El Corte in Sol to buy vino verde and White Port (Portonic is THE summer drink…lot of ice, slices of lemon and lime, a 3rd of white port and a tin of tonic water. you’ll thank me. I’m not a fan of gin tonic…but the dryness of the tonic really works with the port…white port not as sweet as its red sister/brother/cousin but still slightly sweet)


I’m not sure why summer and Portugal seem so synonymus for me. maybe its because I never had my heart broken by a Portuguese woman, while the Spanish girls I’ve been involved with seem to take it as a point of honour to hurt me. And usually at the beginning of summer. Dunno.

While Lisbon is not the same city I used to live in, it seduces anybody who has spent time there. While I prefer my life and love my barrio in Madrid, I cant help but feel a stab to the heart if a see a picture of Lisbon or hear somebody talking about it. I describe Lisbon as my beautiful ex wife, an ex wife who has seen better days but has had some work done recently which I’m not sure if I like or not…Madrid is my plainer, current wife, who treats me well20180710_162935.jpg

(thats not a male leche picture…it’s a matter of privacy. all the photos I took in Lisbon last summer were of the person I went there with. Oddly enough, in reality her face is exactly the same as mine…fat, bald and with a salt and pepper beard)

anyway, I started my holidays officially yesterday. And what is a holiday but the absence of working, and going out for lunch…and drinking booze. and spending a good 18% of the day in the shower. If you get to become a zen master like me, you can combine the shower AND booze…but don’t try this at home yourself. Or anywhere else. Years of practice yo..

So I decided to combine my holiday and summer lovin’ with my saudades for Portugal and went here…20180710_133605.jpg

La Portuguesa c/Juan Alvarez Mendizabel no.39…not far from Templo de Debod.

Oddly enough, there are very very few Portuguese restaurants in Madrid even though the whole country is just around the corner. There have been some decent ones and some terrible ones, but they haven’t lasted very long. It might be because the Spanish think, and say, that Portuguese food is “just bacalao”…although if I said that Spanish food was “just badly cooked rice” I’d be shown the door pronto. Unfortunately the Portuguese restaurants haven’t dispelled this myth by always advertising their bacalao dishes. I haven’t helped, when people have asked me why I love Portuguese food more than Spanish food, I have listed at least 8 fantastic bacalao dishes and they basically won’t hear me if I  mention pork with clams or claim Portuguese chicken a la brasa is just so fucking good.20180710_134123.jpg

so there it is. no I didn’t reserve it. or have my assistant reserve it. You know you’re not in Lisbon when you see the prices…vinho verde of the house was  16euro and main dishes were around 25. but fuck it, I’m on holiday and my knees too dodgy to get me to Portugal.20180710_134622.jpg

cold bottle of vino verde, obvs. bread and sardine paste to start, obvs.20180710_140124.jpg

bacalao with onions was what waiter suggested. I’d say what we portofiles would call bacalhao a braga…though I could be wrong. really was phenomenal. drop of wine in with the onions?20180710_140128.jpg

I’d have gone for the Carne de porco alentejana but it was only for 2 people and I’m not 2 people. Which is lucky I did cos I could barely finish my bacalao for one person and I am one person.20180710_141730.jpg

the very pleasant waiter/owner must have guessed there was something Portuguese about me…maybe my fucked up Spanish…because he just assumed I’d want a coffee. no bad thing…Portuguese coffee is the best in the world…just means I am not having a siesta now…I’m having a portonic and writing this. cheers20180710_142937.jpg

oh..the price…doesnt do a menu del dia…and you’re paying for the exoticism of not eating Spanish food for the nth time 20180710_144704.jpg

come on! I’m worth it, papi #pouting #flickingbackhair

Easter eatin’in

Why do we have Easter? Nobody knows. It has been suggested that someone once had such a Good Friday they decided to keep the party going on. I’ve had a week off work, so I don’t really care why we have Easter.

I’m 12% Viking and 12% Iberian genetically, so I had a hankering for Bacalhau yesterday. Decided to try my hand at Novo’s classic Black Miso Cod


Marinade very easy and bloody delicious…2 tablespoons of mirin, 2 tablespoons of sake, 2 tablespoons of miso paste, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and just mix it


Cod loin. I had to go frozen as there was no fresh cod at all in fishmongers…maybe there are more of us luso-vikings in south-central Madrid than I thought. So I put the loin of cod in a freezer bag and poured in the marinade then vacuum sealed the bag with its contents. Then went to the pub. Didn’t have most pleasant experience in the pub, I was quite happily reading my book when this woman attached herself to me, almost literally, and started conversation asking what I knew about pharmaceuticals as she’d taken something I’ve never heard of…my go-to don’t’ disturb me or ask me for money is to just deny I speak Spanish and then deny English if they happen to speak that too, they get the message and don’t tend to disturb me more…this lass was having none of it and proceeded to read aloud my book word for word without knowing a single word of English. This went on for an uncomfortable amount of time, made more uncomfortable as she was pressing herself against me more and more, possibly in an attempt to stay vertical and so I was almost falling off my seat trying to get further away. All of this is being played out in front of the bloke she came in with who, I just assumed was her fella. Also she’d obviously smoked a fag earlier and so stank, I was hoping she’d fuck off outside to smoke again but no sign of it. Finally someone distracted her and I said I had to leave as I had my dinner in the oven, leaving half a pint undrunk there in a bid to escape. She didn’t really want me to leave because our bond was obviously so great, but can’t really argue with having to get tea out of the oven, so she let me go as soon as I gave her a kiss goodbye. The end.

I’m like catnip to drunken lasses who stink of fags and who may or may not be overdosing on pharmaceuticals. Maybe I should have given her more of a chance, maybe she was The One, after all last Friday night I was unceremoniously dumped by the lass I’d been seeing for the last 8 months . Actually, i’d probably been dumped some time before last Friday but she let me know in a very clear way that our time together had come to an end even at some time previously. Unnecessarily cruel way of doing it too, if you ask me. But she believes honesty beats crualty . 99 problems, man.

Anyway, so I got home and set the water-bath for 50c and began to think what to have with the cod…for no reason I thought it would go well with gnocchi and beans in a tomato sauce…so I made a simple tomato sauce, chopping an onion finely and softening that, bit of garlic, drop of wine, passata, can of white beans, bay leaf


that’s a really small dish by the way, which is why it looks so messy


bit of oil in the skillet with some chilli oil mixed in. opened up the bag of cod and marinade and reserved the marinade which I put in a pan on a high heat to thicken, then fried the cod


e voila.

I overcooked the cod, like a twat…but the gnocchi and beans were a revalation. I also managed to forget about the thickened marinade sauce.

merry easter

Augmented Humanity

Great title, innit! Unfortunately, after having come up with this great title, I googled it and somebody had already coined the phrase, in fact the ex CEO of Google. I should have firefoxed it instead. bollocks. Actually though, this CEO had a completely different use for this/my phrase.

What this is about….apologies that this has zero to do with eating, drinking, in Madrid or anywhere else…is about the way our relationships and friendships have changed in these interesting times we live in. And how these relationships and friendships come to be.

My mate Dan told me that his brother had gone missing and had been at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and that he was worried as nobody seemed to know where he might be, they’d checked all the hospitals in the area, phoned all his friends, and the most worrying thing was that Dan’s brother had such a hefty social media presence and nobody in cyberspace seemed to know where he was either. Dan feared the worst and a couple of days later his brother Matt’s remains were identified. I didn’t know Matt, the brother at all, but my shock and sadness were no less real for that. I realised that I had known Dan for almost twenty years but we’d only met a couple of times when he visited Madrid to do a vomiting in metro stations tour of the city with his girlfriend-now-wife-motherofhischildren. We’d actually become friends on a Brit forum a bit like a third rate Reddit, mainly populated by porters in an Oxford hospital. We’d probably had more contact over the last ten to fifteen years than I’ve had with my more analogue friends that I made at school or university or various jobs.

I also remembered another similar friendship. A few years ago I was putting it about a bit, as you do, and I e-met a lovely woman on tinder. we never actually met never mind the ONS* that tinder exists for (which could become a TwNS*, a ThNS* or even a TWYNS* depending on what the pair of lovebirds decide) as we matched while she was waiting at Barajas airport for a flight back to the US of America after a holiday in Spain. But we kept in touch cos she’s nice and she’s funny and she’s interesting and she’s haaaatttt, and you never know, she might visit Spain again. I’m certainly not going to visit the shithole™that is the US of A. Too many guns, too many racists, not enough hospitals, not enough schools, not enough public transport, too many coppers who would probably want to put a cap in my arse. Well, this lovely woman, has quite a big presence, on social media and off it (I’m not saying she has a big arse, no…she’s quite well known as a businesswoman and activist) and she received a worrying message from a friend who seemed to be having a breakdown or was in some sort of trouble. She missed the call and the fella wasn’t replying when she rang back. To make matters worse she had no idea what part of the big country he might be living in these days. So she activated her social media resources and the guy was tracked down by a copper who was a cousin of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, on the other side of their shithole™ country. He wasnt in the best of states but he was unhurt, he was safe and was able to be looked after. Hurrah for augmented humanity

*ONS=OneNightStand…nobody wants them apparently. I think it’s considered a sin or some shite.

*TwNS=Two night stand, see above

*ThNS=Three Night Stand, see above

*TWYNS= Twenty Years Night Stand, see above

+ my own…NKaNA=No Knights and No Anal. Just so you know, if we match on Tinder, Grinder, Scruff, Snapdirt©, DirtyChat©, H8R© or FaceTwat©

While I’m on the subject. internet dating is the modern version of the old 80s meme, voting tory being like wanking…nobody admits it but everybody does it. Actually, I take that back…voting tory now is quite open and those that do don’t just wank, they also put their dicks into dead pigs mouths and try to foment racial hatred and try to sell off the NHS all at the same time. Our ancestors met their SO (Special Other) at school, or at university or if they were paricularly gross, at work. But luckily they were able to die of TB at the age of 32. We have to live well into our 70s, which is lucky cos we can then have about two weeks of retirement before our body gives up and we become less of a burden to the tax dodgers. Meeting an SO, or a ONS for that matter, is just chance anyway, so why be proud of it or ashamed of it…you happened to be in place A and uttered the words Y and Z and you happened not to be with your X. If you meet on tinder you don’t have to be in place A, you can decide how far away you want to look…1km, 10km 100km or whatever. And what if AYZ and X all align perfectly but he or she turns out not to love laughing or life or travelling, doesn’t ski or do yoga, isn’t a friend to his/her friends? you’ve just wasted your damn time, Holmes, I hope you didnae pay for his/her drink. shit happens, bruv


here’s a picture. of madrid. you could eat or drink or do both nearby

Sous Vide ribs

Why do I keep going on about sous vide? Well, I’m like an apostle or an evangelical or some sort of fanatical shit. I think, at the heart of my mission is my hope that people live their lives better in terms of eating and drinking in Madrid, and outside Madrid. Sous Vide might look like unneccesary faff or fashion… but it delivers outstanding results and turns the cheapest cuts into five star shnizzle. and the faff is outweighed by the lack of faff…it means you can set it all up and pop off to the pub for a few pints before finishing it off before you eat.

My mum still goes on about these ribs I made for her years ago…I think I slow cooked them in a stock and then roast. So if they were good slow cooked, I reckoned they’d be even better sous vide. and they must have been good ribs in the first place…because I made them and my mum has something positive to say about them.

I’d tell you pork ribs are cheap as chips, but that would be a lie. They are cheap but slightly more than chips. you could get enough meat out of them for 6euro for 6 people, especially if you cook them right. There’s 1 of me so I spent 6euro on ribs and divided the rack into 4 so that they would fit easily into a vacuum pack. I poured honey over the ribs and then some mustard, then stuck them carefully in the bag trying to make sure not to get the marinate onto the front part of the bag…wasnt careful enough and had to clean with kitchen towel a few times. then vacuum sealed the bag….set the water bath to 70c and when it was ready I put the 4 bags of sealed pork into it. let it cook overnight and most of the morning (this was about 9pm at night). After watching Match of the Day on Sunday morning/afternoon…I peeled two spuds and sliced them hasselback style..salt and pepper and pinch of paprika and a spoon of butter then vacuum sealed a bag. took the pork bags out and left them to cool to make easier to deal with. put spud bags in the water bath and went to my local to read while drinking beer.


Flashforward 3 beers later. I went home, took the spud bag out of the water bath and turned off the Anova and put it away. Opened up the pork bags and poured the liquid from it into a pan. Put the pan onto a high heat until the liquid had reduced. carefully put the meat onto a raised oven shelf thing (bearing in mind, this meat is so soft it could just fall apart)…poured over the reduced liquid and put the pork into the oven until they browned


the meat was so tender and tasty. and still had some of the reduced liquid to pout over a wee bit onto the butter braised hasselback spuds

Still a load of meat left the next day, so I pulled out the ribs by hand (just a matter of pulling them out, the meat is so tender) and put the meat into a nice bread roll with melted cheese and topped with fresh spinach

endangered, threatened, at risk

Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are.

What am I talking about?

Yes, menu del dias. The greatest thing Spain has to offer. Our light. Our rock. One of the reasons we love this country, this city, this barrio. The menu del dia is threatened with extinction and when it is completely lost,our lives will be poorer for its loss.

You might suggest that I am exaggerating, that menu del dias do exist, but my reply to you would be to look hopefully at you but then snort because I have realised that you understand nothing, Jon Snow. A menu del dia needs 3 courses (or a coffee instead of pudding), bread and enough wine and casera to last 3 courses and the space that lies between those courses, so a bottle at least. A glass or a mini carafe just don’t get the job done does it….what you going to do, sip it slowly like you’re lost in the dessert? We are trying to enjoy the good things in life, not just barely managing to survive. A real menu del dia used to be ten a penny, but that’s what the Khoikhoi said about the Quagga, until they turned around and couldn’t find a quagga for love nor money. We need to discover or rediscover the few remaining menu del dias and we need to show them the love that they deserve, we need to keep them safe. for ourselves, for our children and for our childrens children


Last week I went upstairs in Anton Martin market in Lavapies Alta to have a menu del dia in the wee place run by the South American family there. a good, honest, authentic menu del dia. full bottle of wine, nice chips and a chupito to digest with. single figure price too. Was it open? Was it fuck! it doesn’t even exist now. Instead it’s a new Italian restaurant. I didn’t even see any mention of a menu del giorno. I wandered out of the market, in a daze, my sense of loss fighting with my hunger for dominance. I found myself on Calle Fucar


I remembered A’Cañada, somewhere I hadn’t been for years. I stopped going there simply because the menu del dia was always huge and would bury me for the whole day.


yes. It’s still there and exactly the same. Not been replaced by hipster beard tattooist or flooglehorn dealer. The menu is still hand written, includes bread, full bottle of wine, and closed with the traditional chupito. We still have our culture. We are not become Malasana or worse

Calle de Fúcar, 20
28014 Madrid

I had cuban rice followed by plancha grilled sea bream with salad followed by pudding and a chupito of orujo. short walk home to collapse on the sofa and fall asleep to BBC Radio Nottingham Matchtalk and Forest losing to Hull

Casa Benteveo

Cafe Benteveo is one of my favourite cafes in Lavapies Alta (Anton Martin) run by Argentinians and an English bloke and part owned by the bloke who played the prison officer in Celda 211. They have taken over the restaurant that used to be called La Otra Casa and now it’s called Case Benteveo. Serves Argentinian specialities as well as other things. Yes, I can feel you looking at me all annoyed that I don’t update this blog very often….you walked all the way to La Otra Casa and the fucker had closed down

casa benteveo1.jpeg

they do a menu del dia during the week, but being able to go for a menu del dia on a weekday is now just the stuff of dreams. so I went on a Sunday. I think it was my birthday. celebrations came much later…although not much to celebrate at my age.


I dont remember what this was called and cant find on their menu on facebook. but it was basically slow cooked cochinillo which was then pushed down and fried…came with spuds, salad and a delicious sauce. was really really excellent.


my partner (partner in crime or cowboy partner, not sexy partner) had the Milanese of beef with mozzarella. No first course other than a vermut each, nice bottle of Rueda and a coffee for my pard’ner.

Around 20 each

nae bad at all. very nice folk running it, if that sort of a thing bothers you. oh and great bar almost next to it for a pre lunch aperitif or post lunch digestif. or both

here are the deets