Tag Archives: Comfort Food.

Hot Cross buns !

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‘Hot -Cross Buns, Hot- Cross Buns ;

One a penny poker,

Two a penny tongs,

Three a penny fire shovel

Hot-Cross Buns’

Good Friday of Easter is the traditional day to make these delicious little buns, that will fill your home with a heady, spicy scent. Apart from the obvious cross symbol , I also like the thought of the cross depicting the four seasons.

When ever I’m baking, I never seem to be able to make the quantity on the recipe, maybe I think I always make my portion sizes to big…..hey there could lie my problem note to self ‘Take note”

But this is not the time of year to think of our waistbands, tis time to indulge – bikini diets can follow soon.

So here is my family recipe for Hot-Cross Buns- makes 20 healthy sized spicy buns. Best eaten warm from the oven, or lightly toasted with lashing of butter…as I said, a little of what you fancy does you good.

You can mix this dough in a bread machine on dough mix – or as I did in my large food mixer, by hand of course too, but make sure you knead well. The dough is ready to prove, when after kneading you can push your thumb into the dough, and it springs back.

 

INGREDIENTS.

2 EGGS

240 ML WARM MILK

120 G BUTTER

120 G SUGAR

GRATED ZEST OF A LEMON

1 TSP OF MIXED SPICE

1 TSP OF SALT

600 G OF STRONG BREAD FLOUR

2 X SACHETS OF FAST ACTING YEAST

120 G OF MIXED FRUIT

FOR GLAZE

2 DSP OF APRICOT JAM MELTED

4 TBSP OF ICING SUGAR

JUICE OF A LEMON

Put all the ingredients into the mixer, except the mixed fruit, and mix thoroughly to make a dough, add mixed fruit, add a little more flour if necessary until your dough comes together, it will be sticky. Turn out onto a flour board, and knead until dough is springy.

Divide into 20 balls, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, put in warm place, lightly covered with a cloth to prove till doubled in size.

Once doubled in size using a very sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each.

Place in the oven 190c, for 12 – 15 mins, until risen and golden.

Leave to cool slightly then brush with the apricot jam.

Mix the icing sugar with lemon juice, till thick consistency, then drizzle into crosses.

 

Enjoy and Happy Easter from La Rosilla.

When life gets in the way …

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Must get round to doing that, must make a to do list, focus, focus, focus… but life has got in the way.

A hectic life I’m sure many of us have to deal with, a juggling act of family, work, food and friends.

Well the past few weeks at La Rosilla, have been just like this, opportunities, set-backs, entertaining, taxiing, hosting and of course cooking & eating…now that is my favourite part.

The weather also has been a bonus, but sometimes can lead you astray, with little 5 minute sit downs, lasting longer than ought , when you sit and stare at the wonders of clear turquoise skies, swallows, dipping and diving, bees busy with their business, with wonderful sunshine, and temperatures to rival summer days.

Outside cooking & entertaining becomes front of mind, and weather forecasts are studied regularly, to check for unwanted showers.

Fresh ingredients from the garden are enjoyed, and flowers in abundance are picked to adorn the home, and create a cheery feel of Spring and summer to come.

Since moving to Spain, I’ve been fortunate to learn how to cook, Paellas and Arrozs of many different flavours, and I find these dishes are a great way to feed an army of people, economically, healthily and heartily, with a real taste of Spain.

During the last few weeks, I have cooked Paella for 50 french and Spanish students, whilst they were enjoying a day in the Campo (Countryside) playing traditional family games. In this paella I used pork and green beans, delish ! A few hours to prepare, and devoured in minutes…well I suppose that’s the sign of tasty grub.

My second Arroz, was made in a more leisurely way, whilst entertaining friends from Familyinspain , its a great social way to cook, as long as your ingredients are all prepared before hand, they are just added one by one, you can enjoy the odd vino or fino, whilst chatting and cooking, with guests looking on. If you’d like to learn to cook Paella or arroz, that’s “No problema.  This time I chose, a wild mushroom and chicken arroz, garnished with steamed asparagus.

The first broad beans of the season, are ready to be podded. My children enjoy sitting in the sun with a bowl and pod away. I love to serve them as an appetizer in a broad bean and fresh pea dip, delicious spread on warm bruchetta.

BROAD BEAN AND PEA DIP.

 

A big handful of podded fresh broad beans.

A small handful of podded fresh peas or defrosted frozen peas,

Juice and zest of 1 lemon.

1 clove of garlic, chopped.

Good glug of olive oil.

A handful of freshly grated Parmesan.

A 5 mint leaves chopped finely

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

 

  • With a blender, whizz, peas, beans, lemons juice, olive oil and garlic.
  • Stir in Parmesan, mint and seasoning.
  • Serve, with crudites, warm pittas or piled on bruchetta.

 

A real taste of Spring flavours.

 

 

 

 

 

Early to rise !

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I was on the early shift this morning, taking No1 daughter to catch the bus, normally the job of my OH, but he is having a rare day off – well not really off,  painting the outside of La Rosilla is his task for today, I thought I’d better soften the blow with a warm scrummy breakfast.

Also feeling like I’ve been up for hours, my metabolism is already thinking its time for my refueling, something I don’t normally do till mid morning, when I can sit, calm, fresh made coffee in hand and enjoy it.

 

Today I whipped up some cheese and ham potato cakes, with a fried egg on the side and a swirl of  tomato ketchup, well I thought a swirl made my TK look a little more arty ! It’s a quick dish to prepare , and I always make extra mash potato to use in dishes like this, or croquetas and fab Bubble and Squeak.

 

TO MAKE

 

Mix together mashed potato (mine hand some leftover broccoli in too) ,

a handful of  strong grated cheese,

ham chopped into pieces

A little salt and black pepper.

 

Dip into breadcrumbs, and little fry in some Olive Oil until golden.

Serve with a poached egg, or fried egg.

Add a side sauce of your choice , TK, Daddies or Chilli.

 

Enjoy

Well off to paint we go…but first a Cafe Solo, to charge my energy levels.

Happy Friday x

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Pot Mediterranean Marvel

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I’m starting to feel rusty !

I never really get quite prepared for the weather in Spain.  It always seems to take me by surprise, even though I religiously check the forecast each morning.  I suppose it’s because we live IN the weather at La Rosilla.  Up in the mountains, be it in the clouds, nearer the sun, closer to the lightening, secluded for the frost, the route for the rainfall we are IN it.

Each year the weather changes, in the 7 years that I’ve lived here, no two winters have been the same.  We experienced the first snow, in 80 years !,  The hardest Frost, that killed our plants, the wettest one, that turned us and everything mouldy ! This year has been mild, Thank goodness ! So we havent had too many moments of seeing our own breath in the house, and we have had chances to eat Alfresco, and we’ve even had a day on the beach and applied SPF, so we’re not complaining.  But as I said never prepared.

So when the rains fell this week, my washing was on the line, and it’s stayed there since ssshhh don’t tell my Mother !  My logs weren’t covered, and my arroyo’s that help the water flow around my house not through it, had not been cleared!!

So as a family we were feeling soggy, along with our two damp, muddy dogs, who love to snuffle, and dig in the fresh wet mud…oh how I wish there were truffles on this mount !  Their air in our little ‘Finca’ was not the sweetest.

That needing changing.  We needed the aromas of summer…

Only one thing for it . Freshly baked bread and my one pot Mediterranean marvel.

Nothing beats putting a large rustic earthenware dish full of Mediterranean goodness on the table, for one and all to enjoy, taking big spoonfuls, tasting Summer, washed down with a ‘Big fat Rioja’, And some Mosto for the kids .

 

ONE POT MEDITERRANEN MARVEL

Chop each ingredient to a similar size.

Serves 6.

2 x Onions

2 x Green Peppers

3 x large tomatoes

2 x Handfuls of Mushrooms

2 x handfuls of Small potatoes

1 x Chorizo

1 x Courgette
Place everything in a large dish suitable for the oven.

  • Add 4 cloves of garlic peeled.
  • 1 x handful of chopped rosemary
  • Add Olive oil, to coat ingredients and mix with hands.
  • Season generously with good sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cook for 40 Mins, until everything is golden and softened.
  • Then Sprinkle the dish with tasty grated cheese.
  • Make 6 ‘wells’ in the cheese and crack in 6 eggs.
  • Put back in oven for 5 / 10 mins until eggs are set to your liking.

Enjoy with Chopped salad  with fresh herbs, and Home baked bread.

I baked Olive tapenande foccacia, to enjoy with our flavours of the med…you cant beat it.

 

 

 

Easy-Peasy Choccie Croissants !

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On days when we don’t have to rush out the house at the crack of dawn, and we’ve lazed in bed for a little longer maybe reading the papers, catching up on a chapter or two, or more likely than not,  thumbs going ten to the dozen on our phones, keeping  abreast of what’s gone down in the night on the world of social media.  I like to treat the family to something yummy for breakfast, well a late breakfast, nothing that’s going to take ages to prepare, but something that will fill the house with delicious fresh baking perfume.

Scouring the fridge and cupboards…what have I got ?…A bar of chocolate and some puff pastry…Well there it is then.

Easy peasy choccie croissants .

There is not really a recipe of such, just a method, rolling out, cutting, and folding.

  • Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, and cut into 6 squares.
  • Cut each square into a triangle.
  • Place a chunk of your favourite chocolate in the centre of each triangle.
  • Roll up and twist to create a moon shape.
  • Bake in the oven at 200c for about 20 mins, until risen and golden.
  • Remove and pop on plate, and dust with a little icing sugar.

Enjoy while warm from the oven.

Stuffing !

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Nothing beats the smell, of a roast cooking, it sort of clarifies it is Sunday to me, lets me breathe a sigh of relief, a day of rest and recuperation. A day I don’t need to feel guilty, if I read, sit, stare and look.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still jobs I must attend to..but for some reason on a Sunday they don’t feel like chores.

Preparing the veggies, and accompaniments is a family affair.  my OH peeling potatoes.  I DON’T DO potatoes, well I dislike peeling them.  Little Nell, slices the Runner Beans, with our handy slicer.  No 1 son, whisks up the Yorkshire Pudding batter, nobody makes Yorkshires like him…of course I’ve taught him all he knows.  No 1 daughter isn’t to keen to come into the kitchen, well when I’m in there anyway…not that I’m controlling or anything…but it is MY domain.  So she uses her creative talents, to lay the table, picking flowers from the our mountain and garden at La Rosilla, and setting place names…even though we always sit in the same space, but these little touches, always gives us our Sunday sense of occasion.  Family togetherness, memories and traditions.

 

One thing we do like to make for our lunch, is home-made stuffing, just some much tastier, healthier and delicious, than the packet type, of dried unrecognisable contents.  It’s so easy too, and all with ingredients we often have at home.  There is no hard and fast recipe to stick too, but this one I’ve made up is fab.

LEMON & HERB STUFFING.

  • 2 Good handfulls of fresh breadcrumbs,
  • mixed with the zest of 1 lemon ,
  • a handfull of fresh chopped herbs from the garden –  I used Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Sage & rosemary.
  • Add 1 finely chopped onion and garlic that has been sauteed in a little butter until softened.
  • Add a few chopped walnuts.
  • Mix in one egg to bind slightly.  then season generously.
  • Pop in  a oven proof dish , and bake for 20 mins.

Enjoy with any roast meat, and also great eaten cold, for lunch the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pot full of goodness !

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I needed to go food shopping, restock, fill the cupboards, so when I opened them they would be full of inspiration, bursting with goodies, little gems, just waiting to be created into something yummy. But today was not the day to go shopping, well I’m mean I couldn’t, logistics, chores, lack of enthusiasm were all upon me.


So I knew this meant, concoct, dream up and devise from the ingredients I had, normally more than I imagine, always one to like a full larder and all that. A ‘bit of this and a bit of that ‘ supper…or as I like to call it, to the moans and groans of my family…

 

A pot full of goodness !

This generally consists of vegetables, herbs, stock, maybe a little left over meat from a roast, if I’m lucky and rich earthy lentils …That’s the part that brings on the moans and the groans.

 

So today was no different, and I’d like to share my pot full of goodness with you, feel free to amend, add, substitute anything , I’m sure you have your own pot full of goodness anyway..Go on share it !

 

 

Ingredients & Method

 

Any veg lurking in the fridge, chopped small.

I used – Carrots, celery, onion and garlic & sweet potato.

Pan fry in a large saucepan or casserole to make a sofrito, in a little olive oil.

Add your chosen cooked meat, for me the last remnants of my Christmas jamon, rich and tasty.

Then stir in Green Lentils (puy) or Lentejas Pardina in Spain, usually I put in, a cup per person and one for luck. Stir till they’re all coated with oil.

Add garden herbs, rosemary, thyme, sage all good.

Then add enough veg stock to cover.

I like to tuck in the old rind of a Parmesan, add the bottom which adds a creamy richness.

Let bubble away, enjoy the aromas..

Then serve, in warm bowls, with hunks of bread, a drizzle of Olive Oil, and a sprinkle of herbs.

Enjoy the quietness that prevails, as everyone, even the little protesters absorb the goodness.