‘La Mona’

Today being Easter Monday we give our godson a ‘Mona’.  Traditionally this was a brioche tortell (crown), garnished with boiled eggs.  The Catalan custom like most has changed and adapted with the times and now elaborate chocolate constructions can be bought from pastisserias for elaborate prices.  Themed creations of Sponge Bob Square Pants, Superman, Hello Kitty or the stellar Barça football team are displayed filling kids with hysterical excitement.

Since we arrived here a few years ago we have taken the DIY approach.  Making a genoise sponge, filling and topping it with chocolate ganache and finally decorating it with all things chocolate.  This year there are a couple of rabbits on top, one with a passing resemblance of Ronaldinho.  Added to this it is finished with a ribbon of ‘blau grana’, the blue and maroon of Barça.  I ja està….a Barça cake.  That would be it for most Catalan families, but I still need my pudding.  So today, courtesy of the Cromleybank Delia S. I’ve made pear sponge pudding with toffee sauce.  The main course is ‘braised pork cheeks with star anise and ginger’ accompanied by garlic mash and Chinese cabbage.

And La Rectoria?  Well, I managed my first official site visit last Thursday.  Tere the architect was there waiting for us and I received a warm welcome from both her and Pere.  Vicens, al paleta and Pere sported very healthy tanned complexions.  Well, what else do you expect, working outside all day.  We were joined by Albert the apalledor (surveyor) and the themes of the day were covered.  The Foundations. The Well.  The wood beamed floor in the upper hall and whether to keep it.  The answer a resounding yes. 

Goretti and I have been instructed to look at the diagrams relating to the lighting and plug points etc. throughout the house as decisions will soon have to be made as to what holes are made where and for what.  Again, the dust has not fallen around our feet.  We have a good pile of ‘Casa y Campo’ magazines which we have collected with the purpose of gleaning ideas and inspiration for the finishes of the house.  Up lights, down lights, spotlights, lights embedded in the floor, Chinese lampshades, heat lamps and more.  Where are the beds going?  What about sofas, chairs, the dining table and more.  How many plugs points in the kitchen?  TV plug points.  More and more. 

Oh, kind of late this year but one of our neighbours here in Cardedeu presented us with some 12kg or thereabouts of Seville oranges.  This means but one thing….Marmalade time!  Friday last we made the first 3kg batch, the remainder being put in the freezer until time permits to make more.

Goretti has just presented me with a ‘drop scone’, fresh from the griddle pan with a smear of butter.  I can see you all drooling now.  The pork cheeks are ready and it will soon be time for lunch.

Finally, what happens to a ‘hort’ (vegetable patch) when it is not worked anymore?  On Carrer Cervantes behind us and 100 metres down the street is a large hort, about 1 acre in size.  It provides the main backcloth to the weekly market along which are arranged a half dozen or so fruit and vegetable stands each Monday.  Since we came here it has been worked by an elderly man, tending his curly endive, bledes (swiss chard) and cabbages in winter, beans and spinach in spring before planting potatoes and tomatoes for the summer.  Finally as the year comes to a close pumpkins covered part of the hort, providing Silvestre with his Halloween lantern.  I passed the hort last night as I came home.  Weeds littered the tilled soil, the cauliflowers were bolting, spinach leaves yellowing and cabbages limp.  I hope he returns to tend the hort soon.