HAVING visited the island before moving here, I already knew how good the food was.
Fresh ingredients brought to life by the warm Mediterranean sun and cooked in a traditional way was always going to be a winner.
But visiting is one thing, living here is another.
As a holidaymaker you tend to dine out a lot, eating lots of lovely dishes cooked to your liking and served to your table.
But now living here, I wanted to embrace the cuisine in my own kitchen, so I took myself off to the local markets so I could produce my own culinary gems.
The first thing that hit me at the markets is how big everything is here. It’s like the vegetables are on steroids, or perhaps it’s genetic modification or just plain solar power?
The second thing was I really had no idea what a lot of it was.
I held strange conversations with market traders who only really spoke Mallorquina, with Spanish Castilian as a second language. What the hell is a ‘kaku’ for example? And that huge long pinky thing that looked a bit like a fence post turned out to be a horseradish.
Radishes were the size of snooker balls and peppers could make a reasonably sized waste paper bin.
It didn’t help that if my partner was with me he’d insist on buying one of those bags of 16 deep fried doughnuts that always seem to be on offer (meaning I’d have to help him out as 16 is too many for anyone, even him).
Finding myself out of my depth, yet again, I turned to the local supermarkets.
I live close to two major players situated side by side, a very respectable Lidl and a big Eroski, both keen for custom and very well stocked.
I soon filled my cupboards with a great selection of what I considered to be staple Mallorcan fayre, paella style rice, locals dried herbs, red onions etc.
I set to work producing what I hoped would be my very own culinary masterpieces.
You’re probably way ahead of me here but I truly did give it my best shot so at this point I feel I should explain that in a former life I cooked every day.
Admittedly I was never very good at it and I can’t say I enjoyed it much and neither, it would seem, did the recipients.
Well here, stuck in my impractical rental flat kitchen with its dated gas cooker (which of course only ever runs out when you’re actually in the middle of cooking something) it soon became obvious that I seemed to be making the same meal again and again. Some sort of meat with slowly roasted tomatoes and local vegetables.
At first it was actually quite good but variety is the spice of life and even I had to admit it was getting boring. Both my partner and I were increasingly craving a taste of home, I’m almost ashamed to say that following such a promising start my local produce and ingredients are now pushed to the back of the cupboard where their sell by dates are slowly passing by, leaving space for the prized Kelloggs Cornflakes, sliced bread, Cheddar cheese and Branston pickle.
We now relish our burgers and sausages on the barbeque and eat out a lot.
A friend who is a very efficient house husband was listening to me praise yet another restaurant we’d recently tried and asked ‘Do you actually own a cooker?’ I did laugh along with everyone else but the answer should have been ‘Yes, and it’s very clean’.