Numerous ingredients were then found to be forgotten, so Javi headed off to the shops. Carlos started on the octopus, while I chatted to Maria.
Soon an octopussy sort of aroma started to fill the barely-more-than-studio apartment, despite the open windows. I approached the stove to investigate.
Yes, I discovered I was ever so thankful to be getting chicken. Carlos explained to me the cooking process - apparently octopus is incredibly tough and requires a lot of attention to make it edible - this fact also underlining how much better is chicken.
First, it is important that octopus is frozen, unless the fisherman smashes it viciously on the rocks many times after he catches it.
Then, it must be boiled for about an hour, until it becomes soft. It should be boiled with onion, which adds flavour. (Sarah, are you listening?) Carlos forgot the onion so Javi had to buy it and the potatoes and infuse it later.
Whole potatoes are added to the pot about half way through the boiling process.
After it's soft, it's removed from the pot and cut up, placed around a big plate with the potatoes in the middle. Then Spanish virgin olive oil and paprika are poured all over the top and voila, it's ready. Except Carlos explained he liked to just mix it all up together, which he did.
I did not try the octopus.
PS: it was well after nine by the time dinner was ready.
PPS: also including fresh bruschetta and slices of manchego. (I liked these)
PPPS: all of the Spanish people painstakingly spoke English all evening to include me which was greatly appreciated