Last night we were 12 ladies from 10 different nationalities who went for a ‘girls night out’ (meaning husbands and boyfriends stuck at home with the kids, tellie, beer and crisps). We had a great evening with wonderful tapas (my favourites being the grilled sardines and deep-fried artichoke), sangria, margaritas and live Spanish/Flamenco music. We ended the meal with the amazing Crema Catalana, a custard like dessert from North East Spain. In the restaurant we got it served with ice cream and a huge amount of whipped cream, however I prefer it plain as you also get in Spain. I love to serve it when having guests as you can prepare it well in advance. And it looks rather professional with that caramelised crust too!

After such a lavish meal some of my girls still had the energy to go clubbing until the wee hours, a small group of us were satisfied to end the evening with a drink and chat in this cosy almost 100-year-old Grand Café.

4-6 portions

Crema Catalana

4 egg yolks
200g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
grated rind from ½ lemon
500 ml milk
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a pot, beat together the egg yolks and 150g of the sugar until thoroughly blended and the mixture turns frothy. Add the cinnamon stick and grated lemon rind. Pour in the milk and cornstarch. Slowly heat the mixture, stirring constantly just until thickened. When you start to feel a resistance while stirring, remove pot from heat immediately. If not, the mixture may curdle or separate. The texture of the finished custard will be grainy instead of smooth and creamy as it should be.
Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the custard into 4-6 ramekins (depending on size). Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
Before serving you want to create that lovely, caramelised sugar crust. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the ramekins. The easiest is to use a blowtorch and blast the sugar until golden brown and bubbly. Or you can place the ramekins under a really hot grill. Just make sure you don’t burn them!