22nd December - All over Spain people never stray far from a TV or radio as the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of many hours. Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this lottery in the hope of winning El Gordo (the fat one)
Red cabbage lombarda is a typical dish of many Christmas Eve dinners in Spain. This recipe comes from Leon, where it is cooked practically to a purée with garlic, chorizo and salt pork, then given a final sharpening with a little vinegar
Serves 4 – 6
900g shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 - 4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 chorizo (55g), skinned and crumbled
115g salted belly pork, diced small
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Cook the cabbage in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, discarding the water.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic, chorizo and pork until the garlic and pork start to brown. Add the cabbage and stir well. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not add salt.
Add the vinegar and simmer for five minutes. The cabbage should be creamy and very tender. Check for seasoning and serve very hot.
Besugo A La Donostiarra
This dish would be the second course in a full-blown Basque Christmas dinner
1 red bream, or similar, of about 1kg, scaled and cleaned, head left on, split lengthways down its back and with the backbone removed.
100ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
8 small, fresh red chillies
1 tablespoon vinegar
Sprinkle the fish with salt, brush it with one tablespoon of oil and leave for one hour.
Line the grill pan with foil and brush it with oil. Lay the fish, skin side down, in the pan and cook under a very hot grill for 10 minutes, basting the fish frequently with oil.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan. Fry the garlic and whole chillies until the garlic is brown.
Add the juices from the grill pan and vinegar, adding more vinegar to taste if necessary.