Sion and Lluis have lived in the village of La Pera (pop 40) some 20kms from Girona all their lives and in this house for 60 of them. They have an old gas stove but cook over an open fire in the kitchen where in winter they spend most of their days keeping warm. Their other modern appliance is a fridge/freezer where they freeze many of the vegetables they grow in their large vegetable garden for use during the winter months.
First Sion showed me how to pickle cauliflower, an ancient tradition to be able to preserve vegetables for use in the winter. This simple process involves washing and cutting the cauliflower into manageable chunks and stuffing them into a large glass jar to which 1 cup of wine vinegar (white or red) and 2 cups of water is added proportionately along with plenty of sea salt until the jar is full. It's that simple, screw the lid on and put in a dark place for two weeks and voila!
While we were pickling Sion took four onions and buried them in the coals of the fire whole and without doing anything to them. Now it was back to the rest of the food which was a selection of sausages from a local butcher. Until maybe 10 years ago every village had a festival in january/february where a large pig would be killed and parts of the pig were butchered and divided amongst the villagers each of whom had their own special recipe for making sausages.These would frequently include mushrooms, garlic, and other local spices. Health and safety regulations gradually did away with this tradition but older people still have vivid memories of this winter festival and the feast that was had by all.
To be continued...
See and download the full gallery on posterous