Tarta de Santiago

November 25, 2016

I did it! I walked 800 kilometres (500 miles) across Spain. It was brilliant. A long, slow, meditative walk across the country, over mountain ranges and across plains, through farms, villages, cities….

If you’re interested, you can find the full story here in my column, The Dish, in the Kingston Whig Standard.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“Walking slows you down. You have time to absorb the world around you – the sky, the horizon, the trail itself.  Your feet, heart, and brain get into sync – a beautiful symmetry of motion, feelings, and thought. You have hours alone. And hours shared with people, often those whose first language is not English. Sometimes you only have a few words in common.

I’ve only been home a week, but what I miss most (aside from the people and the walking) is starting my day in a Spanish bar, with a beautiful café con leche – the Spanish equivalent of a cappuccino. Bars are where life happens in Spain. Coffee and breakfast, beer, wine and food, lunch, dinner, late-night snacks, Wi-Fi, and a television stuck on the sports channel. Older men drink espresso and play dominoes. Younger people meet for wine and tapas. Hungry pilgrims descend along with their packs and walking sticks.”


flowers still in bloom in November

cows-along-the-waylivestock along the route

more livestock

more livestock


livestock everywhere!


walking sticks and scallop shells for passing pilgrims


the cathedral in Burgos and the big blue Spanish sky


sunrise over Spain


“the way”

municipal albergue (this one in Puenta la Reina)

a typical municipal albergue (or pilgrim hostel) -this one in Puenta la Reina


a pilgrim dinner taken by the waitress (that’s me at the back!)

Spanish food along the Camino is simple, tasty, inexpensive, plentiful, and varies by region. Tortilla, the Spanish omelette made with potatoes, is served almost everywhere. There are hearty soups like caldo Callego – made with white beans and sausage; and a classic chickpea and chorizo stew; and of course, that most famous of Spanish dishes, paella. Grilled pulpo (octopus) is a speciality of Galicia. Bocadillos abound (substantial sandwiches usually served on a half-baguette or large bread roll) stuffed with jamón y queso (ham and cheese) or calamari or chorizo. And pilgrim dinners served at night offer three simple courses including soup or salad, a main course with meat and vegetables (though more often, fries), dessert, and local wines, usually red. One night I had a heavenly glass of Godello, a sublime Spanish white.

This classic dessert, the Tarta de Santiago, is a Galician speciality. A thin, gluten-free almond cake that has been made since the Middle Ages, it is typically served dusted with icing sugar and marked with the Cross of Saint James (find templates online – I used this one). This beautiful, simple, intensely flavourful cake improves with age so make it a day or two ahead.

Tarta de Santiago

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 150 grams (1 ½ cups) of finely ground almonds or almond flour
  • 2 tbsp rice flour (or regular flour if not baking a gluten-free cake)
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp icing sugar to decorate

Liberally grease a 9” spring-form pan (in addition, you can line the pan with parchment paper although this step is not absolutely necessary).

Beat the eggs with an electric mixer for a minute or so, then add the sugar and beat until fluffy – another minute or so.

Using a spoon, stir in the finely ground almonds and rice flour, along with the lemon zest. Fold gently to combine the ingredients.

Using a spatula, scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until browned. Check for doneness. It may need a further five minutes but don’t overcook the cake and dry it out. Place the cake on a cooling rack and leave to completely cool.

If using the Cross of Saint James template, place it in the centre of the cooled cake. Using a small sieve, sprinkle with icing sugar and carefully remove the template. Slice the cake in thin wedges and serve with whipped cream.

I’m bringing this one over to Fiesta Friday with huge thanks to Angie and co-hosts Julianna @ Foodie On Board and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine.

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  • Reply apuginthekitchen November 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Lindy, wow, you walked across Spain. I am so impressed. How long did it take? Sounds like a fantastic experience and the cake sounds delicious. Will you write a book about your travels and experiences. I think it would be fascinating.

    • Reply love in the kitchen November 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Oh gosh Suzanne, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I just loved it. I was gone five weeks and spent a few days at the end in the elegant & historic city of Santiago de Compostela before my homeward journey. Would love to write a book but there are already so many about it!

  • Reply David More November 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Welcome back!

    • Reply love in the kitchen November 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you David. Such a fabulous walk! And wss just thinking of you today. I have one of your books!

  • Reply Johanne Lamarche November 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Congratulations Lindy! What an accomplishment. Beautiful photos and torta. Welcome home!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske November 25, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks Johanne – it’s great to be home but what a trip!!

  • Reply Hilda November 25, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    What an amazing experience that must have been! You have had an eventful year to say the least. This cake is beautiful, and I like that you made it gluten free. And thanks for sharing those beautiful photos.

  • Reply Lindy Mechefske November 25, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks Hilda – and great to hear from you. The Camino was fantastic. I can’t wait to do another long walk. Just incredible to be outdoors every day from sun up to sun down and have everything you need in a small pack on your back. Eyeing up the Portuguese Camino now…

  • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso November 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    How impressive! Sounds like a great adventure. The cake is right up my alley with all these almonds. 🙂

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske November 26, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks Ronit – it really was a fantastic adventure. And the walking (like good eating) is just SO good for the soul!

  • Reply Amanda | What's Cooking November 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    What an amazing experience and so well put. There is something about Spain and nature and culture that feels magical. In so glad you enjoyed. This torta is amazing. I have one on my blog too! I love how it has a history. Welcome back! Beautiful photos.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske November 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Amanda, on all fronts! Loved loved loved my time in Spain but also happy to be home and just hoping I can hang onto the magic that is Spain. I’m coming over to check your blog out shortly and will check out your torta recipe. The history of a cake made since the Middle Ages is so powerful, isn’t it? Looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to. xox

  • Reply Anonymous November 26, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Sounds amazing Lindy- start to finish. Welcome back!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske November 26, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you and happy to be back. Travel is the lens that makes you truly appreciate home!

  • Reply Ned Miller November 26, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Oh, Lindy! What an absolutely wonderful journey! You are so amazing!

    • Reply love in the kitchen November 28, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Ned, it’s always so wonderful to see your name pop up. Thank you. Heartwarming…

  • Reply Julie is Hostess At Heart November 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Wow Lindy what a feat! I love visiting other countries and experiencing their cultures, foods and drink and really enjoyed your pictures. This cake looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

  • Reply petra08 November 27, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    What an adventure! It looks so beautiful and sounds like a great experience. The tart looks and sounds fantastic! 🙂

  • Reply FrugalHausfrau November 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Oh my gosh! I think I’m doing great if I walk a mile around the neighborhood!! Well, I usually clock a mile or two IN the house, but wow, wow, wow! You’ve achieved something really amazing. You’ll look back at that when you’re my age and smile, your kids and grandkids will talk about it!

    Oh,and that cake! Gorgeous!!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske November 28, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Goodness, pretty sure I’m well past your age!! But thanks. So flattered that I promptly followed your blog! 😉

      • Reply FrugalHausfrau November 29, 2016 at 11:21 am

        Thanks! Well, I have stopped by from time to time, but I guess never fully explored! You’re going to be remembered for a lot, lol! My Scottish family came into Canada, but my branch then ended up in the Midwest of US – through the canals, we’re thinking, then down the rivers, so I’m going to have to get your book! 🙂

  • Reply chef mimi November 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I can’t believe you’re back and cooking/baking already! Beautiful photos. Lovely cake. And congratulations again. It must be so satisfying.

  • Reply Angie | Fiesta Friday December 1, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Wwwhhhattt?!?! You walked across Spain?! 500 miles?! You can NOT be serious! Of course you’re serious. You are too awesome for words! I would like to maybe walk across town for like 5 miles some day. Maybe. Really, Lindy, you’re my hero. Also coz you’re an amazing cook, too. The torta is beautiful!

  • Reply Johnny Hepburn December 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    As I don’t drive, I do tend to have to walk everywhere – but, 500 miles! Even that’s pushing it for me. Although, with the beauty encapsulated in your fourth photo (with sheep), that would get me out there and back. Thrilled you made it. And what about Portugal – go visit Lisbon if you can. It’s one of my favourites.
    And I think this cake could be as well. 🙂

  • Reply paintdigi December 21, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Good posts, beautiful blog.
    Welcome to see my creations:

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