Category Archives: Recipes

Slow cooking !

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When you have to be out all day, there is nothing nicer than walking through your front door at the end of it, to the welcoming aromas of supper cooking and ready to eat.  Just a few minutes prep in the morning is all you need, your trusty hot pot and you’re done.

Healthy too, so it’ a win-win situation all round 🙂

Here is my recipe I coddled together yesterday, when scanning the fridge early morn for some inspiration, together with a few store cupboard essentials, Pumpkin Thai curry it was.

Feel free to substitute or add veggies that you have, the basics are just the same.  Once home or 1/2 an hour or so before seeing you could add a handful of prawns or even your rice to make a very hearty dish.

april-9-%e2%80%a2-6pmdianaras-place

 

 

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#cookfromthebooks Week 15, Family, springtime & kittens

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We have been as busy as the springtime bees at La Rosilla.  Preparations are under way for the summer season ahead, and with the fortunate warm temperatures we’ve been having, we’ve been making hay whilst the sun shines .

The annual paint-a-thon has started, whitewashing and freshening up the outside of the house, bringing back it’s summer brightness.  The garden has been tackled, and weeds pulled.  The vegetable patch has had some new summer seedlings, courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins to name a few.

Guests came from Belgium to experience a La Rosilla Paella Day, and the weather was glorious showing off the mountain in all it’s splendour .

Paella Day at La Rosilla

Paella Day at La Rosilla

Paella cooking adventure at La Rosilla

Our eldest daughter has returned from the U.K for the Easter holidays, so we have enjoyed our first family alfresco meals of the year.  When she returns I like to rustle up some of her favourite Spanish dishes, to welcome her home.  This weeks recipe for my #cookfromthebooks challenge is from the wonderfully complete book by Pepita Aris ‘SPANISH’ .

Pepita Aris SpanishRecipes clearly photographed and presented, covering all aspects of Spanish cusine from all regions.  The book has been republished many times and a while back, I professionally reviewed it, on behalf of Books 4 Spain.  It is a cook book I return too frequently, and all dishes I have prepared from it have become a main part of my Spanish repertoire, tweaking as I feel fit.

Stuffed Mussel recipe

MUSSELS WITH A PARSLEY CRUST or STUFFED MUSSELS

450g Cooked Mussels ( Steam and then cool).

Tbsp olive oil

Tbsp melted butter

3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

seasoning

fresh breadcrumbs.

 

  • Open the mussels, snap off the top shell and leave the mussel attached to the bottom of shell.
  • Lay the shells in an ovenproof dish, packing them closley.
  • Mix the melted butter, olive oil, Parmesan, parsley , garlic and breadcrumbs together .
  • Gently put a tsp of the stuffing mixture onto each mussels.
  • Grill the mussels on high until they are sizzling & golden.

Together with gambas pil-pil, spicy pinchitos and ribs, we truly had a feast 🙂

 

Gambas pil-pil

Gambas pil-pil

Never a dull moment at La Rosilla…

With springtime comes babies ! Baby animals, and while playing on the land, our youngest daughter stumbled across two tiny weeny kittens just hours old, that had been abandoned probably by a mother that had been frightened away by local dogs. Unable just to leave them to perish, we have taken on the task of hand rearing them, a rewarding but very tiring task and with an uncertain ending.  We are doing our best and are taking each day as it comes, 2 hourly feeds through the night too !  So I’m feeling in quite a zombie state today, I do not miss the sleeplessness nights of years ago …So watch this space, and send me luck, patience and stamina.

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

 

 

 

#cookfromthebooks Week 14 Big wheels & seaside rock.

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I seem to have muddled up my weeks, that’s not difficult for me ;). So my #cookfromthebooks challenge, is a medley of what I’ve been up-to, and a favourite recipe from La Rosilla.  I would love of course to travel with my cook books in tow, well they’re my babies, but don’t think I could get away with that on my low cost airline travel bag allowance !

I am now back on my m0untain at La Rosilla, and have been rewarded by wall to wall sunshine and and balmy temperatures. I have been most lucky, as I too enjoyed lovely warm spring temperatures for my last few days in Sussex. I was fortunate to be given a guided visit of Brighton and amble along the pier, through the lanes and parks and have a birds eye view of the city on the giant ferris wheel.  Suitably proud of my bravery ( I don’t do heights) once over the initial revolution, and only looking forward I actually quite enjoyed it !

Obligatory rock for my children was purchased, and seaside photos taken.  Students, picnicked, and braved the cold sea, folks relaxed on traditional deckchairs, beautiful Brighton was alive.

During my two weeks away caring for my charge, I loved pottering in my cosy cottage kitchen and rustling up dishes and flavours with seasonal produce.  Guests were invited to join us for supper, and I thoroughly enjoyed helping my charge entertain once more since the passing some years ago of his wife.

A trusty La Rosilla favourite recipe of Smoked Mackerel and Horseradish pate, with a Beetroot compote started our meal, and was washed down with a chilled bottle of fizz.

Smoked Mackeral & Horseradish Pate

Smoked mackeral and horseradish pate recipe.

125 g Cream Cheese

2 x smoked mackerel or 1 x tin Caballos de sur (Spain)

1 x lemon juice & zest

1 tbsp of creamed horseradish

handful of finely chopped chives

Salt & freshly black pepper.

  • In a bowl stir the cream cheese until soft.
  • add chopped mackerel and stir through.
  • add lemon juice & zest – Stir
  • stir in horseradish
  • season and just before serving stir through chopped chives.

This is lovely served as a dip with crudites, or put into tiny croustades for canapes.

I served it with home-made bread, and zesty beetroot compote & peppery rocket salad.

During my time away, I perused many a menu, and sampled some delicious hearty fayre. It was a pleasure to see so many cooking styles a multi cultural tastes being offered.  Two simple yet very tasty plates, that I will endeavour to reproduce at La Rosilla, were a Bubble and squeak cake, topped with thick ham off the bone, and oozing poached egg, the other the most succulent pork belly and most crunchy crackling I had ever eaten, I pushed the wheelchair extra hard and fast after that dish to burn those calories, but it was worth it 😉

Case over-loaded with choccie goodies, a delicious leg of lamb for Sunday lunch, and food magazines, I headed home, until next time.

Now to get back on track with my #cookfromthebooks challenge, and create some new tasty morsels for ‘Mi familia’

 

 

#Cookfromthebooks Week 11 Spring flowers and Aga’s

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I am experiencing many firsts over the next two weeks, definitely testing my personal strength and mind and something I am sure once I’ve completed I will look back on and say, it was a doddle, well hopefully that’s my plan 😉 !

I have flown from Spain to care for an elderly gentleman for 2 weeks in beautiful Sussex, an area unknown to me, I’m a Warwickshire lass, it feels very south.  Obviously not as south as the Montes of Malaga, but still South.

I’m staying in a country cottage, down a quiet country lane, in a village like a grew up in where everyone still says ‘Good Morning’, many with a plum in their mouths 😉 Very Dibleyesque.

All though bitterly cold, (my blood must’ve thinned) it is so lovely to see all the spring flowers lining the villages, fields and hedgerows, whether the sky blue or grey these flowers lift the spirits and give hope. I’ve filled a jug with cheery daffodils for my bedside table, a pretty sight first thing in the morning, when the dawn chorus has woken me so early !!!

Leaving ninos behind and OH in charge of our life of chaotic but wonderful, mountain mayhem is the hardest part of my experience, also knowing that I’m in the same country as my folks and No 1 daughter, but further in hours away then a flight to Spain, so won’t be able to see them is a challenge too 😦 The social demons for some !!  of Facetime, Facebook & whatsapp will be my daily salvation and my connection with my ‘Real’ life 😉

It is though a pleasure to be spending time with someone who at the ripe age of 89, loves to wine, dine and socialise, I think some one I will aspire to be like.

So I may have left my kitchen behind, but my La Rosilla apron came with me and when the going get’s tough I’m going to cook myself through it.

Here we come to the Aga, always on my ‘One day & wish list’ having spent many a day warming myself around friends Agas, when living in the U.K, a real feel of ‘The heart of the home’ but never having cooked on one I’m finding it’s a learning curve, a happy learning curve.

After waiting for my eggs to boil for what seemed likes yonks, I realised my pan was on the simmering plate, not boiling plate.  My chicken roasted to perfection, almost like in a dutch oven, and my bread, now that made my day, home-made bread and Aga’s they just seem like a married made in heaven.

So my #cookfromthebooks , book this week, I think will be getting a well deserved airing.  Aga Cooking ‘The contemporary recipe bible for all Aga owners’ by Amy Willcock, not so much for the recipes, I haven’t browsed them enough yet, but as a guide to remind myself what goes where, and how to cook what.  Do you know one of the best things about the cooker is it’s ability to do the ironing ? and of course warm your bottom and hands after a walk in the cold 😉

My recipe is one I use a great deal at home, when I bake bread at the week-end, so this was my first attempt at bread in an Aga, I had to improvise on mixing bowl and scales, there wasn’t any and no bread tins, so a Le Creuset pot, was the chosen recipient.  I bought the fresh yeast with me from Spain I don’t think you can beat the fresh stuff 😉

Sun-dried tomato and seed bread.

500g country grain or wholemeal bread flour

1 tsp salt

300ml warm water with 1/2 tsp of sugar and a cube of fresh yeast, allow to dissolve and yeast to bubble about 10 mins

glug of olive oil

handful of chopped sun dried tomatos

handful of mixed seeds, sunflower, pumpkin etc.

  • In a large bowl put flour, and salt, make a well and gradually add water/yeast mixture, stirring as you go.
  • Add olive oil, and then with your hands bring the dough together and kneed for a 10 mins until smooth and elastic.
  • kneed in the sun dried tomatoes
  • put dough into an oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth or plastic bag, and leave in a warm place (next to the Aga 😉 to prove until doubled in size
  • knock the air out of the dough, kneed a little and then shape to required shape, slash a cross in the top with a sharp knife and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  • leave to rise again for about 20 mins
  • Bake in the roasting oven of the Aga, or in a hot oven for 25-30 mins.
  • You can tell when it is cooked through when you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow.

 

Enjoy hot out of the oven, with lashing of butter and bowlfuls of home made soup, perfect for a chilly day.

Until my next AGA SAGA, wish me luck on my duty.

and for my hard work I have been presented with these, that made me smile 🙂

chocs

Buen Provecho.

 

 

 

#cookfromthebooks week 10 – Reunions & french fayre.

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A fabulously hectic week, of friends and frolics has left me literally unable to speak…my jaw has gone into painful spasm, maybe the price I’m paying for eating,drinking, laughing and singing too much 😉 So I’m now on soft food and alcohol free tipples, best recover soon.

A few months back I volunteered on a language immersion course by Diverbo, to assit Spanish teachers in their quest to improve their English language skills, us volunteers were known as the ‘Anglos’. This week the Anglos of Southern Spain ( Malaga, Almeria, Murcia and Marbella) had a reunion, we re-grouped for a fabulous evening of wining and dining, laughter and merriment.  One of the gentleman known as ‘The Baron’ lives not too far from me at La Rosilla, so were pooled culinary skills and created a menu of french delicacies for our new friends.

Steak Tartare

Smoked salmon, avocado & goats cheese terrine

Coq au vin

Gratin dauphinois

Garlic braised spring greens

Tarte au citron & pot au chocolat

melting camemberts

Cafe and cognac

Some of our diners we knew may be a little unsure about steak tartare, so we held back from describing it’s origins or naming the dish, until after they’d tasted it, naughty I know, but we were able to convince most of them and they agreed, they wouldn’t have tried if they’d known, just proving many people pre-decide before trying 😉

For my #cookfromthebooks challenge this week, my sweet treats of Tarte au Citron & pot au chocolat, were taken by the simple and clearly written book ‘FRENCH’ by Raymond Blanc, published by M & S. The book  was originally published in 2003 as ‘Foolproof french cookery’

Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir

I have very fond memories of my visits to Le Manoir aux quat’saisons in Oxfordshire when I lived in England, reserved for very special treats, a place from the moment you arrived you feel clam, looked after and you know you are going to have an unforgettable experience.  Dining, gardens, accommodation, all faultlessly designed.  Unpretentious and impeccable  service, makes every one feel special and welcome.

My little pots of chocolate I adapted slightly and here is my recipe, rich, decadent and perfect for the chocoholics out there.

POT AU CHOCOLAT

Makes 8 little pots or glasses.

300 g of dark choc, broken up

250 ml double cream

75 g of butter

good glug of cognac

  • Put all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water stir gently, until melted.
  • Pour into shot glasses or espresso cups.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

 

Our reunion was a great success, all different characters from all walks of life, coming together to re-confirm our new friendships.

Now for me, I’m off to make soup that I can sip through a straw, and hope my jaws gets back to full waggle soon 😉

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#cookfromthebooks week 9 – Carnival capers, supperclub visit & almond tart.

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The end of Semana Blanca holiday (half term here) in Malaga province, went out with a bang. A family day out on the coast enjoying blue skies and warm sunshine, a chance to finally sample a fellow supper-clubbers Rooftop Table’s gourmet ‘Thai’ delights, dancing on a bar, well it was ‘Carnaval‘ and afternoon tea with tart, Almond & raspberry slice, from Bill Granger’s book, aptly named ‘Holiday‘ .

I can’t believe it’s week 9 of my personal #cookfromthebooks challenge already, this has got to be one of my best New Year resolutions ever, a win, win resolution. 🙂 That I’m loving sticking to, and everyone else is enjoying the fayre.

Bill Granger’s style is chilled and comforting, this book, focuses on occasions and events all related to relaxing and food.  Outdoors, fireside, celebrations and barefoot.

Bill Grangers Holiday, book review by La Rosilla.

I knew we were expecting a hectic week-end of revelry, so I decided on a decadent and rich Almond and raspberry slice recipe, to enjoy as and when we wanted, whilst taking a five minutes to sip tea and chillax.  All the ingredients I had in the fridge and store cupboard, and I easily managed to put it all together in between chores before going out.

ALMOND & RASPBERRY SLICE

It has a crunch shortbread bottom, fruity layer of jam (use your favourite flavour) and a sweet nutty topping, definitely not an everyday treat 😉 .  Don’t make the mistake I did, and add all the sugar at the almond stage, it then is really sweet !!!!

210g butter softened

165g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

200g flaked & whole almonds mixed

2 tbsp milk

225g plain flour

40 g cornflower

160g raspberry jam

  • Preheat oven 180c
  • Line a bking tray with paper approx 24 x 20cm
  • To make the almond topping : put 60g of the butter, 55g of the sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla, the lamonds and milk in a pan.  Cook over a low heat until the butter and sugar has dissolved, then leave to cool
  • Make the shortbread base : beat the remaning butter, sugar and vanilla, until pale & creamy.  Sift the flour and cornflower together and beat into butter mix until crumbly.
  • Press the dough into the baking tin and bake for 12 mins or until light & golden.  Leave to cool for 10 mins.
  • Spread the jam over the base, then the almond mixture.
  • Return to the oven and bake for 25 mins more.
  • allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Enjoy with tea & breathe !

Family rating adults 10/10 chi8ldren 7/10 dare I say too rich for them !!

Back to reality now, children back at school,l cooler climes and wind blowing a hoolie, Oh well it’s nearly the week-end 😉

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#cookfromthebooks Week 8 – In a pantry pickle.

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I was mentally pushed to the max last week.  I don’t do mess, chaos yes, but not mess ! I working hard towards having a new kitchen, it’s been in the planning stages for years.  I do love my Spanish traditional, quirky, shabby chic kitchen, but now I have outgrown it’s capabilities.  So over the last year as I have cooked, I have squirreled away some centimos towards my dream kitchen.

Stage 1 in the process, started last week, turning an old outside store cupboard, you know one of those cupboards that stores EVERYTHING, into a new bright pantry.  How I’ve always wanted a pantry, since the days I would sit tucked away in my grannies, spending hours, sorting tins, and weighing things on her brass scales. But before bright comes dust, and before order comes mess.

Sweeping, mopping, and tidying relentlessly, and relentlessly being told there is no point in doing that, drove me crazy.  To add to my chaos, I thought it was a while since I’d cooked for friends, so invited a gaggle for supper, as you do ! Fortunately when I’m creating in the kitchen, albeit while pandemonium is all around me I can focus on the food- So when the going gets tough I get cooking.

I decided on a 50’s Italian theme for my dinner, and went about the preparation for a whole host of wonderful dishes, all made with locally sourced and fresh ingredients. Peas and Broad beans freshly picked, Mangos juicy and ripe & figs dried from summer, Brocolli and the truly beautiful Romanesco cauliflower . I called on the help of my food hero ‘Jamie’ for this weeks #cookfromthebooks and heading back to one of his oldies ‘Jamie’s Italy’ , a book full of flavour and drama, and photography that transports your mind, to the aromas and tastes of all the dishes.  Our main course was from ‘Jamie at Home’ a book that celebrates home-grown and seasonal produce, tips for growing and unusual dishes you may not think of, especially good for when you have a ‘glut’ at anytime.

We started the evening, with roasted violet potatoes with caraway and roasted garlic and herb mayo for dipping, whilst sipping drinks around the fir-pit.

Jamie’s Pea & Broad Bean Bruchetta was a delight, fresh and light with a hint of mint and grating of Parmesan all pulled together with rich Olive oil, served on a warm rustic bread.

Followed by Fennel & chili risotto this is comfort food to sigh for ;), also a great way to introduce people to fennel if they have never tried, by sauteing  the fennel slowly first, allows the sweetness to come through and adds a richness and depth to the risotto.

Fennel risotto

Next I made a refreshing dish of Mango & Basil sorbet, and served it on glass canape spoons.

Here is my simple recipe :

2 ripe mangos, peeled and chopped, then blended.

1 cup of caster sugar and 1 cup of water, heated gently to dissolve.

add a handful of fresh basil leaves to the sugar water ,a nd take off heat and let diffuse for 15 mins.

Discard the basil, and add cooled sugar water to pureed mango.

Add 1 tbsp of dark rum and mix.

Put in a freezer container and leave to freeze for a few hours, then stir, then freeze again until ready to serve.

Serve with some fresh basil and a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts.Mango & Basil Sorbet recipe form La Rosilla

Our main course was a hand rolled Cannelloni stuffed with cauliflower and broccoli, the vegetables flavours are intensified as they are cooked with chilli and anchovies, before being pureed for the cannelloni stuffing, then topped with mozzarella and Parmesan for that comforting topping, simple served with some dressed rockets leaves.

50's Italian night at La Rosilla

Pud was to die for, Bustrengo a Bolognese polenta and apple cake, with sultanas and dried figs.  An Italian take on an old bread pudding recipe, heavy and moist with such depth of flavour, eaten warm with a scoop of creme fraiche and enjoyed with a sweet PX sherry, sorry not Vin Santo, but I had ot go back to my sherry roots 😉 – The cake stays moist and develops  character too, so was delicious the next day with a hot strong cup of espresso ( medicinal purposes, the morning after and all that 😉 )

Sipping my coffee and nursing my head, the dusty pantry was there in all it’s glory, now to turn it into my little den of shelves, drawers and twinkling lights…

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

 

#cookfromthebooks Week 7 – Marvelous market produce.

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Having spent a wonderful night in Malaga, it was a perfect opportunity for me the next day, to spend some time browsing and sampling produce at the amazing Atarazanas food market .  Normally when I visit the market it is a first port of call, and I can’t carry much, I always think next time take my wheelie, shopping carrier, but do I remember NO ! This time I had my OH in tow and spare hands to carry the shopping bags.

The array of produce, was alive with spring colour and aromas, freshly caught fish, just picked vegetables from local allotments, and bread baked that morning, meats and cheeses from the mountains, a true spectacle of deliciousness.

Choosing which stall to purchase from is my hardest decision, all the stall holders are so friendly, welcoming and offer advice and their superb product knowledge, but one this time especially caught my eye.  The stall was full of unusual vegetables, violet potatoes, mushrooms of all types, micro salad leaves and edible flowers, cherries dark like rubies, mangoes sweet to smell, asparagus gathered that morn, tomatoes purple like plums.  As we grazed &  learned our basket was filling up nicely.

With all these delightful goodies, my #cookfromthebooks challenge this week, was sort of preempted -Mushroom risotto it had to be.  Many years ago I was given Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express, and a few of the recipes became family favourites, like his chicken liver and tarragon parfait, and crispy noodle wrapped prawns.  His mouth-watering mushroom and onion risotto became a comfort staple, economical, but indulgently satisfying.  The basis of the recipe I use all the time, adding various ingredients to suit my diners and also what’s in the larder or fridge.

So armed with my beautiful Boletus mushrooms, pancetta, red onions, I set out on the calming process of creating risotto.

La Rosilla Risotto, wild mushroom & pancetta risotto recipe.

LA ROSILLA RISOTTO

Serves 6

olive oil & knob of butter

1 red onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

200g chopped bacon or pancetta

250g of wild mushrooms ( I used Boletus)

6 handfuls of risotto rice

1 glass of dry white wine

1 litre of hot chicken or veg stock

50 g grated parmesan

chopped fresh parsley

S & P

  • Heat butter and oil in large saucepan and saute onions and garlic, until softened.
  • Add bacon and fry for 2 mins.
  • Add chopped mushrooms and saute for a few mins.
  • Add rice and stir to coat in oil and flavours.
  • Add white wine and let bubble for a min.
  • Gradually add stock and let each addition be absorbed by the rice, should take about 20 mins gently stirring regularly .
  • You want your risotto to be tender & still creamy.
  • Add the Parmesan and parsley ,season & serve.

I served our risotto, with Parmesan shavings, rocket leaves and chopped purple, tomato salsa.

Other risotto flavours that are popular at La Rosilla, are courgette and lemon, blue cheese and walnut, fresh herb and broad beans, options are endless.

FAMILY RATING 10/10

EASY – With patience.

Market and cooking tours are my specialty, come try for yourself 🙂

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#cookfromthebooks week 6 (Weather week & TV gone)

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What a week, crazy weather all mixed up, days of warm sunshine, lashing rain and then winds to make Kansas look positively calm.  Battening down the hatches and waiting for weather to arrive, can seem quite exciting.  Mountain living is a guarantee that we receive extremes of all weathers and seasons, and within the ‘Expat online’ community always a great talking point, well we are British after all 😉

Number 1 daughter returned home from a very wet Herefordshire for her half term break, hoping for her cockles to be warmed and her pale skin to be rosied but we can’t always provide !! So it’s home fires burning, hot bots in  bed and 2 pairs of socks to keep her tootsies warm.  Candles are always at the ready at La Rosilla , baskets filled with tee-lights to be lit  in every room, normally to create a cosy ambiance but at this time of year for necessity too. With wind and rain comes the power-cuts, all part of the adventure of our lifestyle.

Food for family and friends we can provide, nothing beats gathering around the dining table when there has been a week of conversation topic making. So I set the table, invited friends for supper, scoured my cook books for my week 6 #cookfromthebooks  challenge, for family friendly recipes, ( our guests not quite so adventurous as us in food tastes 😉 A homely Chicken, Bacon and pea pie would see fit, chosen from Rachel Allens ‘favourite food at  home’ Rachel Allen Favourite food at home

I find this cook book, uplifting, clear and easy to follow.  Good hearty recipes, beautifully captured in photos.  Family favourites, dishes for occasions and basic must know tips for all cooks.

The Chicken pie with bacon and peas wasn’t a fast throw it all together affair, but worth the time and effort.  Like normal I adapted it to suit our tastes and and what I had in the fridge.  The pie in the recipe can be topped with mash or puff pastry, I used a filo topping, to add a slightly more sophisticated pie, to serve for supper guests.  I also used pancetta, instead of ham, which added an extra richness.   I served this with roasted butternut squash cubes, in caraway , not all guests were willing to try ‘Can’t do orange veg’ they said !!! and for  green, french beans sauteed in butter & garlic.

No photos this week of my ‘Pie’, with power on & off, candles lit and my wine glass full, this rare I know, slipped my mind 😉

Pud was a comforting cherry crumble or La Rosilla chocolate Brownies, La Rosilla Browniesthe children all bagsied the Brownies so I sneakily hid a butternut squash cube in them, but the devils caught me out 😉 – The crumble topping was unusually made I thought.  I always rub my flour and butter together to make bread crumbs then add sugar , oats and cinnamon – but in Rachel Allen’s recipe for Rhubarb, plum & cardamon crumble, she prepares her dry ingredients then pours on melted butter and quickly mixes – It did provide a dense crumble topping but I found quite clumpy – I think in future I’ll stick to my usual, on saying that with the bowl placed dangerously near to my place, I did manage to secretly have a few portions 😉

 

To finish the week an event we knew was looming on the horizon, but hoping it wouldn’t and not knowing when it would, came to fruition.  For many Ex-pats living in Spain, we have a guilty pleasure, or for some of us a necessity to watch UK TV to keep us up to date of our home-land, receive world wide news in our own language, or for me the obligatory watching of the many ‘Foodie’ programmes .  Never have I watched a ‘Soap’ in 9 years but Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef & my ‘Jamie’ these are my moments of weakness and now they are GONE !! The UK have changed their satellite position, and now we can no longer tune in to our favourite channels 😦 .  There are ways and means, and options being advised, sold, hawked as days go by, but as in sit, switch on and watch NO ! I know we’ll get used to it, and maybe find that life we actually came to live on a mountain for.  I have a pile of books to get through, jigsaws to make, and DVD’s to watch, so once I’ve finished sulking and got my head around it, all will be fine….Hurry up summer, when late night terrace sitting, and the only thing we watch is the night sky for shooting stars.

Until then a plateful of home-made ‘Melting Moments’ from my treasured, well thumbed, Nan’s ‘Bero’ recipe book, will do the trick.

MELTING MOMENTS RECIPE

140 g S.R Flour

80g caster sugar

120g Margarine / butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Oats, dessicated coconut & cranberries to decorate.

  • Cream togwther butter & sugar, add vanilla.
  • Stir in flour and mix well.
  • With your hands bring dough together.
  • With wet hands divide mixture into 36 balls and roll and coat with coconut or oats.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet slightly apart and flatten a little add a dried cranberry to some.
  • Bake at 160c for 12-15 mins until golden.

FAMILY RATING 10/10

EASY.

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

#cookfromthebooks Week 5

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One of my all time favourite chef and cook book writers this week, all hail the Great ‘Yotam Ottolenghi‘ and recipes chosen from his beautiful book written with Sami Tamimi, ‘JERUSALEM’ sharing recipes from their children memories, family occasions and homelands.  Yotam’s books that he has created are stories and works of art, shared through food and delicious food photography – Definitley books to have on show, even with well worn, spiced stained page corners.Jerusalem

I was introduced to Middle Eastern cooking and flavours many years ago, through a Palestinian friend, who was eager to share his love of warm, aromatic spices and regional cuisine with us.  For a long time, I left the cooking to him, sitting back and relaxing and soaking up the flavours and heady scents with the dishes he created.  On moving to Spain some 9 years ago, I started looking back into the history of Moorish spices and their influence in many Andalucian dishes, and then took inspiration from many new recipe books and ancient flavours that were being highlighted from these Eastern climes.

Most recipes focusing on locally produced, home grown ingredients, abundantly using fresh vegetables, healthy pulses and heady fresh herbs and spices.  Dishes to share with friends and family.

My recipe this week for my #cookfromthebooks challenge was MEJADRA, descibed as an ancient dish, popular throughout the Arab world, many families taking a huge pot of Mejadra with them to share on a picnic, with a spoonful of fresh yoghurt.   It is a sweetly spiced, comforting and warming dish of rice and lentils, laddened with sticky caramelised onions.

I added, as I do 😉 a handful of dried cranberries, and fresh mint and coriander chopped and stirred through the dish at the end, to add a lightness to this rich dish.  This dish although simple in ingredients and economical too, was easy to prepare but not quick, I found it  stir, relax and sip cooking, perfect for a weekend evening when there is no rush.

Mejadra Recipe

MEJADRA

250g green lentils ( I used Pardina in Spain)

4 Medium Onions sliced

3 tbsp plain flour

250 ml sunflower oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

200g basmati rice

1/2 ground turmeric

1 1/2 tsp grounds allspice

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

350 ml water

S & P

  • In a small saucepan place the lentils with plenty of water to cover, bring to the boil and then simmer for 12-15 mins until slightly soften but still with bite ( I added a bay leaf with my water), then drain.
  • Place the onions in large plate or bowl and sprinkle on the flour & salt, mix thoroughly.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot. Divide the onion into small batches and fry until golden and brown and some crispy.  Don’t crowd your pan at this stage as it will create steam and the onions will just soften.
  • As the onions are cooked transfer to a colander lined with kitchen paper to drain. Sprinkle with a little more salt.
  • Wipe the saucepan clean, then toss in the coriander and cumin seeds to toast for a minute or two, until their aromas are reale4ased.
  • Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar and salt & pepper.
  • Stir to coat the rice in the oil and spices, then add the lentils and water ( here I added a handful of dried cranberries) .
  • Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and then simmer on a a very low heat for 15 mins.
  • Take off the heat, remove the lid quickly and place a clean tea towel over it the pan and replace the lid, to allow it to rest and steam for 10 mins.
  • To serve, layer the dish with rice, lentils and half the onions, ( I stirred fresh herbs in here) more rice and lentils and top the final dish with the crispy caramelized onions.

COOKING : Easy but not quick.

FAMILY RATING : Adults 9/10 Children 7/10 (Think it will grow on them, it’s a lentils thing 😉

Mejadra recipe review

On friday night we also had ‘Ottolenghi’s’ Turkey & Courgette burgers with spring onion and cumin, these were a winner all round.

BUEN PROVECHO

If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014