Category Archives: Reviews

#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

 

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#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

My heart in Malaga.

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A valentines treat was booked for me and my OH, to celebrate 20 years from the question popping day.  A night on the town, with our own little city pad to sleepover. PERFECTO  Malaga never fails to amaze and surprise.

We decided to catch the train from the Airport as we have parking there (OH job perks), and 8 minutes later and just 1.50eu lighter we were smack, bang on the flower filled Alameda.  A beautiful sunny afternoon greeted us, as we strolled to our accommodation.  We had booked to stay in the old town just off the main Calle Larios, in some fabulous apartments ‘Unisierra’.  Superb location, modern, exceptionally clean, and with every amenity. I enjoyed playing ‘City living’ for the night and made another addition to my dream list * Malaga apartment in the old town*

We had an afternoon amble, tipple and bite to eat, window shopping and menu browsing, stumbling over new places and areas that I’m glad I found.

Back to the apartment for a quick pre-evening spruce, and a sip of chilled Cartojal, before we headed out to paint the town red.

We met up with Victor from We love Malaga, for an evening of tapas, and insider secrets.  Victor who is so passionate of his wonderful city, it’s culture and  gourmet vibe, was a delight to spend time with and we shared our ‘Foodie’ love together. No matter how well you know, or think you know a city, it’s always fascinating to see it through someone else’s eyes.

La Rosilla & We Love Malaga Tweetup ;)

La Rosilla & We Love Malaga Tweetup 😉

Malaga was alive, the Carnaval lights were on, and the atmosphere in the streets was electric.  Bar after bar, filled to bursting, people of all ages, families, romantic soirees, groups of friends.  Chatting, sipping and sharing food.

Uve Doble was one of our stops of the night, a modern and vibrant tapas bar, here we savoured delights such as, black fried noodles with little squid, pumpkin vichyssoise with scallop and seaweed , mini beef and foie burger, home-made bread and chilled white were the perfect compliment.  Seeing people queuing for tables, and feeling comfortably fed and refreshed, we headed back into the night.

Los Patios de Beatas – Vinoteca.  This spectacular winery, is located in the heart of Malaga old town, the architecturally  protected buildings have been lovingly restored and offer a magnificent background to display the many wines from Spain and worldwide.  An innovative menu has been created to be enjoyed whilst sampling the wines on offer, using local market, seasonal ingredients to produce plates of outstanding taste and quality, from tapas to elaborate dishes to share.

Los Patios de Beatas Vinoteca

On a popular Valentines eve, the Vinoteca was heaving and bustling, but we were professionally greeted by the Manager, and invited to have a glass of wine on the house, whilst browsing the wine selection and absorbing the feel of this unique and historical venuEl Recio Matsu Winee.  Sommeliers are on hand to advise and find a wine to suit any palate.  The tapas sampling area has a backdrop of 100’s of wines and a dramatic wooden paneled ceiling, the dining area has a stunning stained glass ceiling – A very beautiful location.  We relished in tasty delights such as Foie and hazlenut crocanti with a peach coule and Cod and violet potatoes in a coconut and coriander cream sauce.  With our tapas we treated ourselves to a fine wine by the Matsu vineyard.  The faces of grandfather, son and grandson are used on the labels of the wines , with the wine that  reflects each of the men’s personalities in Matsu’s El Pícaro (the rogue), El Recio (the tough) and El Viejo (the old) trilogy of wines.  We chose El Recio, a heady wine with tastes of chocolate, dark fruits and vanilla – Divine 🙂

Wandering back through the maze of streets, full of life late into the night, we headed to our love nest 😉 for a nightcap, and thoughts back over the new tastes and places we had experienced.

Thanks to Victor Garrido from WE LOVE MALAGA, for showing us the sights, and yes WE LOVE MALAGA too 😉

 

#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

 

#cookfromthebooks Week 4

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Time is flying by, and after a hectic week of shuttling and collecting my OH to the airport and children to their relevant hobbies, it was lovely to be invited out to friends for a ‘Burns night‘ celebration.  Our wonderful hosts ‘Scottish Juan & Maria‘ always celebrate Burns in style.  Black ties and killer heels were worn, roaring log fire and whisky cocktails greeted us.Burns night celebrations. Thistles decorated the table, along with obligatory tartan.  Cock-a-leekie, haggis, neeps & tatties and creamy cranachan and shortbread, was a fitting feast for the occasion.  Wine and whisky flowed and flowed some more .  Poetry was recited, and our accents became more colloquial as our tongues loosened. A fabulous evening, and an even more fabulous sore head the next morn ! :/

Taking into account that most of my next day, was in a blurr…note to self *say no to whisky* , I needed to create something, comforting, easy, full of flavour and take-away stylee for this weeks #Cookfromthebooks challenge.The faithful Hairy Bikers, came up trumps with their ‘Mums know best’ cookbook, a collection of over a 100 mouthwatering, classic recipes gathered from Mums all across the UK. Family favourites, Sunday dinners, sweet treats and our chosen supper form Picnic Fayre.  The book is well photographed and recipes are easy to follow, with tips and short memoirs from the chosen mums.

Hairy Biker's Mums know best.

Our dishes this week, were Sticky ginger and soy chicken wings, spinach, carrot & potato pakoras and Chana chat.

The wings were wonderful, I used drumsticks too, a little more meat on the bone, and easier to pick-up and eat.

The Pakoras were described as some of the best they’d ever tasted, they were not wrong, delicious ! I made 12 huge pakoras and adjusted the ingredients to suit what I had, added a little more spice and could be bothered (fragile head remember) to prepare.

SPINACH, CARROT & POTATO PAKORAS

Big handful of fresh spinach chopped.

2 carrots grated.

2 large potatoes julienned, or very thinly sliced.

2 onions finely sliced.

Chick pea flour.

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried chillies

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp cumin seeds

Oil for frying

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, adding enough chick pea flour to coat.  Add a little lukewarm water at a time until you create a thick paste.  You need to be able to mould the mixture together so it will hold when frying.
  • Using a deep fat fryer or carefully heat oil in a large saucepan, take a large dessert spoonful of the mixture and shape with your hands, carefully lower into the oil.  You will need to do this in batches.
  • The pakoras will take about 4-5minutes to cook, turning crispy and golden brown.
  • They can be kept warm on a plate until serving, or once cooled can be frozen and reheated when needed.

FAMILY RATING 10/10 FAIRLY EASY .

Chana Chat, Pakoras and sticky wings.

Together with the wings, we served the pakoras with a refreshing and vibrant, Chana Chat, an Indian yoghurt and chickpea salad.  To the recipe I added fresh mint and coriander and pomegranate, which gave a very fresh and zingy salad, cutting through the richness of the pakoras.

CHANA CHAT

250 g Natural or greek yoghurt

100ml milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried red chillies

1 tsp garam masala

2 tomatoes diced

1/2 cucumber diced

1 red onion chopped finely

1 jar 400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed

handful of mint & coriander chopped

Pomegranate

  • Whisk yoghurt and milk together, add salt, chillies and masala.
  • Add tomatoes, cucumber , onions and chickpeas and mix well.
  • Gently stir in fresh herbs and the pomegranate .

Family Rating 8/10 for me 10/10, but average vote bought down by the kids, they don’t rate chickpeas 😉

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

La Bodega

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For a few weeks now, I’ve been champing at the bit to visit La Bodega in Riogordo, a new little bar in our nearby town.  Friends had visited several times already, and told me ‘Lynz, you’ll love it‘, They weren’t wrong.

Tucked away down a cobbled street just off the plaza in the centre of the town, La Bodega’s sign is lit.  Behind a curtain, and down the stairs, is a lovely reformed wine cellar , with traditional stone bench seats, wooden bar and cosy nooks heated with under table coal braziers . A hidden gem.

House wines from Ribero del duero & Rioja were copiously enjoyed and served with tapas of mini molletes, local cured cheese and jamon.  Locals were so welcoming and invited us to sample the home-made Moscatel, which was deliciously and unusually dry for the area.

La bodega Riogordo

It was a welcomed change to visit, and a place we will return to again and again .

Hasta Luego La Bodega.

 

 

#cookfromthebooks Week 3

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I’m really enjoying my #Cookfromthebooks challenge and the family are enjoying the results too – everybody’s happy.  I do find it hard to just pick one recipe, from one book, maybe that will change as the year progresses.  I relish time spent browsing through my cookery books, especially on days when I’m fasting (I’m on the 5:2 well 6:1 most weeks as I’m maintaining 🙂 ) I find browsing recipes on my low cal days , a sort of control testing and I can dream about plates to come !!

So onto this weeks choices, a chilled Saturday night supper & lazy Sunday luncheon by the roaring fire, temperatures have dropped in the mountains and we needed comfort & warming up.

On to Saturday night – Spiced mushroom and chickpea burgers – taken from Sam Stern’s Get Cooking.  Sam wrote his books as a teenager with a passion for cooking.  I recommend his books for any cook starting out,  perfect for students going off to Uni, to learn some dishes, that are not quite the norm, which pack a punch of flavour.  Sam describes the ingredients and recipes in a youthful and fun way . I like to include a couple of meat free days into the week, for cost and health reasons, so a tasty veggie burger would win all-round.

Sam Sterns Get Cooking book reveiw

SPICY MUSHROOM ‘N’ CHICKPEA BURGERS

These burgers are similar to falafel, but a little more robust, even a hardcore meat eater would be satisfied .  I chose to serve ours with wraps and salad, and a greek yoghurt and mango chutney dressing.

MAKES 6 – We decided in the wraps they would be better made smaller so easier to fold .

Olive oil for frying

2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves,garlic crushed

dried chilli

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp lemon grass paste

250g of chestnut mushrooms

juice of a lime

1 x 400g jar of chickpeas, rinsed

handful of fresh breadcrumbs

dash of tabasco

handful of fresh chopped coriander

plain flour for shaping

Mushroom and chickpea burgers

  • Gently fry onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  • Add, chilli,cumin.coriander, turmeric & lemon grass cook for 3 mins.
  • Add mushroom and lime cook for 5 mins, & season.
  • Tip into a large bowl.
  • Blitz chickpeas in a food processor or crush with fork until broken, add to the bowl.
  • Add breadcrumbs, tabasco, fresh coriander and salt & pepper.
  • Flour your hands and shape the mixture into burger shape.
  • Chill burgers in the fridge for 1/2.
  • Fry in batches for 3-4 mins on each side in olive oil until golden.
  • Serve in warmed buns or wraps 🙂

TIP : I chopped onion, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor to get a uniformed chop, this helped the mixture bind too.

FAMILY RATING 10/10 a WINNER 🙂

Instead of the normal winter roast for our Sunday lunch, I decided on finger lickin’ ribs, and Oh boy they were just that, perfect comfort, sharing food.  The recipe was taken from one of my favourite books Marie Claire’s Seasonal Kitchen, a perfect coffee table book, with breathtaking and mouthwatering photography, and recipes displayed in seasons.  Clear and precise recipes and some unusual twists.

marie claire seasonal kitchen

PORK SPARE RIBS

These ribs had the most delicious marinade that they sat in overnight, thus tenderizing the meat and allowing the ribs to bathe in flavour.

250 ml soy sauce

175 g golden syrup

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp tomato puree

zest & juice of 1 orange

1 tbsp mustard powder

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 bay leaf

2 racks of trimmed ribs

Delicious ribs recipe from La Rosilla

Probably the bestests ribs 😉

  • Put all the ingredients except ribs, into a saucepan mix well & bring to the boil, stirring so it doesn’t stick.
  • Sit the ribs in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade, leave preferably over night.
  • Line a ceramic baking dish with parchment, it saves a sticky mess when cleaning up 😉
  • Arrange ribs in the dish and pour over any remaining marinade.
  • bake for 15 mins, then turn the ribs and bake for 15 more mins.
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

We served our ribs, with creamy mash, green beans dressed in garlic and the most wonderful purple carrots roasted with caraway and pink peppercorns.

purple carrotsFAMILY 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 2

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This weeks #cookfromthebooks recipe was taken and adapted from the book ‘Perfect host’ by Felicity Cloake, recipes for feeding people and having fun.  Some great easy to follow recipes, ideas and hosting suggestions for whatever type of gathering you may choose, from friends round for tea, student food or gala dinners.  Clear instructions, but the book personally I feel could benefit from more photos of completed dishes – A picture sells a thousand recipes 😉

Perfect Host by Felicity Cloake

The dish I chose was Savoy cabbage and bacon gratin.  A delicious accompaniment to our favourite griddled lamb cutlets with mint.  A speedy and comforting Saturday supper, in front of the fire.

My adaptation, included reducing the cream content and not blanching the cabbage, slightly cutting time & calories 😉

SAVOY CABBAGE AND BACON GRATIN

Savoy cabbage and bacon gratin

Not my best food photo, but we were eating by candle and firelight (romantic) and we were ravenous to get stuck in 😉

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

Salt & pepper

1/2 large savoy cabbage, shredded

a little olive oil

1 onion, finely sliced

200g chopped bacon or pancetta

200ml double cream

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

50 g fresh breadcrumbs

15 g parmesan

HERES HOW ….

  • In a large pan, saute the onion until soft and golden
  • add the bacon bits and fry until quite crispy
  • mix cream with mustard and add to pan
  • stir in cabbage & season with s & P
  • tip into a large baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 mins
  • remove foil, sprinkle breadcrumbs and parmesan over, season and bake until golden.

FAMILY RATING 9/10

EASY

I think this will become a regular at La Rosilla on casual weekends, think it would be tasty to add on the side some roasted or griddled tomatoes with herbs to cut through the richness.

* a tip for breadcrumbs – I keep a bag of breadcrumbs that I whizz up from all the odds and ends of bread I make, and use straight from the freezer, a handful at a time – Great for gratins, and home made stuffings.

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 1

Standard

Saturday night arrived and the familiar, family questions of ‘What’s for supper Mum’ were being heard…’Something new’ I replied.

So I begin my personal challenge for the year #cookfromthebooks.

This weeks recipe book picked, was the delightful, artistic and beautifully written Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.

Apples for jam by Tessa Kiros

I actually picked 2 recipes this week, to make a complete family supper.  All the ingredients I had in the cupboards or fridge and both dishes could be prepared simply, which was a bonus after a hard but satisfying day, building new fencing on the mountain for our ponies new paddock.

I adapted the recipes, as I do 😉 just to add other dimensions and what I had in stock.

The first Pumpkin Pizza.

pizza

Not an ordinary pizza, by using pumpkin as the base instead of dough, you get a sweet and unctuous taste.

INGREDIENTS

1 small pumpkin – I used a butternut squash very thinly sliced lengthways. (some care needed here, use a very sharp knife)

1 onion, finely sliced.

1 jar of passata – I used ‘frito’

1 ball of buffalo mozzarella

handful of grated strong cheddar

oregano

olive oil.

Here’s how …

  • drizzle OO in base of oven proof baking dish, layer the pumpkin, seasoning as you go.
  • spread the passata over pumpkin, and bake in oven for 40 mins.
  • tear up mozzarella and sprinkle on-top of dish with cheddar
  • sprinkle over oregano and bake for 10 more mins until bubbling.

FAMILY RATING 8/10

EASY

Recipe 2, Chicken escalopes with tomatoes and capers.

Chicken escalopes with toms and capers recipe.

Fresh and vibrant tasting, with piquancy from the capers.

Ingredients

4 chicken fillets

plain flour for dusting

handful of cherry toms

glug of white wine

3 cloves of garlic peeled and bashed but left whole

tbs of capers drained & rinsed.

tbs of chopped fresh parsley

olive oil

Here’s how….

  • dust the chicken fillets with flour
  • heat a little OO in large frying pan
  • add garlic and tomatoes, saute until tomatoes start to pucker
  • remove toms to a warm plate
  • add chicken to pan and fry until golden on both sides, watch the garlic so it doesn’t burn
  • add the wine to the pan let bubble, put toms back in
  • sprinkle with parsley season and add capers
  • put a lid on and take pan off heat and let stand for a few mins, before serving.

FAMILY RATING 8/10

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