Day One of Barcelona, Chocolate and Picasso

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My fiancé is an artist so he said he wanted to go to the Picasso Museum. This was somewhere I had been to previously years ago so I wasn’t that bothered about going again, but as he had never been to Barcelona before, I said of course we will go. Having looked around the area for something else to do in the afternoon, I came across the Museu de la Xocolate (The Chocolate Museum). This was music to my fiancé’s ears as he has a rather healthy obsession for all things chocolate. Once we had a look at their website and saw the chocolate sculptures they had on display, we were both in agreement that this was on the itinerary list.

Museu Picasso de Barcelona (The Picasso Museum) is located on Carrer de Montcada, 15-23 in the El Born / La Ribera district. It’s housed in five 13th-15th century town houses, with original courtyards and staircases and it’s a beautiful sight to see. Photographs wouldn’t do it justice, you really need to see it for yourself. The entrance is, we found, harder to find than first thought. We walked around the whole building before we found the entrance. We thought the street it was on would be like a road, when in fact it was more like a side street. It’s very narrow compared to the streets we were used to.12096431_10208028287931436_7520862877185822196_n

The tickets are all timed entry, so if you can, plan your trip and buy your ticket before you leave as the Picasso Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona, and you may end up disappointed if you leave it until the day you go to pay for your ticket. We had out tickets booked for 9:15am and when we got there is wasn’t busy or crowded so… a Travelstodge tip… get there early! When we left, queues were starting to form so we were glad we could get around everywhere and see everything without falling over people.

The last admission in to the museum is 30 minutes before closing time, so if you do decide to go without a ticket, please bare that in mind. The first Sunday of every month they have free admission between 3pm – 7pm otherwise admission for adults is €11.00 for the general collection and €14 to include the temporary exhibits as well. No photographs are allowed in the exhibitions but you can in the courtyards, and if you have a backpack or large items of luggage, you will need to leave them in the cloakroom. You can find all the ticket prices, opening times and book tickets here: http://www.bcn.cat/museupicasso/en/museum/times.html

And you can find out how to get there here: http://www.bcn.cat/museupicasso/en/museum/getting-here.html

IMAG1269.jpgSo, once we left the Picasso Museum and stopped off for something to eat after having a walk around the streets of El Born, we went over to Museu de la Xocolata (The Chocolate Museum). Located on Carrer Comerç, 36 this little gem only costs €5 to enter and the bonus is… your ticket is also a chocolate bar! It is however, dark chocolate which I really don’t like, but my fiancé loves it so he was a happy chappy!

Dragon of ChocolateIt’s only a small museum and cheap at €5 to enter, but the models they have made out of chocolate were stunning. It’s amazing what can be done, and also how high they can make these chocolate statues. I say statues, as some were nearly as big as one! Chocolate can also be brought without having to enter the museum. They also do chocolate with no added sugar, which tastes just like normal chocolate, but with less calories and perfect for diabetics.

You can find all the details on where it is and opening times etc. here: http://www.museuxocolata.cat/?lang=en

 

We spent the rest of the day and night walking around the city, absorbing the culture and sights this beautiful place had to offer.

Day two will be up shortly but in the meantime, I’m working on a list of sights and attractions that you can get to from various metro stops around Barcelona.

Popcorn, Two Ways!

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I’ve always loved popcorn. The smell always takes me back to family nights out at the cinema, but as time has gone on the price of popcorn has gone through the roof, so I tend not to buy it anymore when watching a film at the cinema. These days, I prefer to snuggle up at home with my fiancé with a cup of tea and homemade popcorn that’s warm and sweet.

So, I have two versions of popcorn that I’m sure you will all love, but play around with the recipes and adapt them to your own taste.

Christmas Popcorn

Mincemeat Popcorn

No, before you say it, it has NO meat in it. It’s a recipe I saw on Kirsty Allsopp’s Crafty Christmas that makes good use of the leftover mincemeat from mince pies.

There is no actual measurements for this recipe I’m afraid. It’s just a case of heating oil in a large pan, throwing in some popcorn kernels and putting the lid on, and wait for the pop pop pop….. I would put in enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan, or a couple of handfuls. Then once all popped, pre-heat the oven to 180°c – 190°c (gas mark 4-5) and put all the popcorn into a bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of mincemeat and stir it round with your hands so it’s mixed in well.

Spread it out on a lined baking tray and put it in the oven for about 6-10 minutes.

When it’s done, let it cool slightly. Remember, this will be a caramelised larva of heat! Only when it is cool enough to touch, break it all up into pieces, and there you have it!

You can also add other things into the mix like almonds, cranberries, more apple or sultanas etc, but I just love it as it comes.

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Sugar Coated Popcorn

This one is for the sweet toothed connoisseur. It’s sweet, buttery and in no way shape or form good for you, but oh my, it’s delicious!

You will need:

110g      Un-popped Kernels
225g      Sugar
2 tbsp   Butter
3 tbsp   Water
½ tsp   Vanilla Extract.

Pop your corn kernels as per packet instructions. Put in a clean large pan with a lid and set aside.

Next, melt the butter in a pan and then put the rest of the ingredients in. Bring to the boil whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. (BE CAREFUL OF HOT SUGAR!)

Leave on a roaring boil for about a minute. Don’t stir at this point.

Now, you must be very careful here, as you have to pour your sugar mix on to your popcorn. Put the lid on and shake the contents until it’s all mixed together. I prefer to use two wooden spoons and toss them like a salad bowl, but however you do it, again, please be careful.

And there you have it! You can make it less or more buttery or sugary by having a play around with the ingredients. Try using icing sugar, or for a not-so-buttery taste, use less butter.