If you’re anything like us, you eat baked potatoes regularly throughout the year. So next time, put a few more potatoes in the oven and you can make this recipe! It’s great for a light summer lunch outside in the sun with a beer in hand, or just as good cosy inside on a winter night with a mug of tea. The original recipe is torn from an old copy of Grazia magazine, but I have ‘made it our own’ as the original featured bacon. Feel free to adapt your toppings as creatively as you wish. I used smoked salmon and spring onions, but you could choose sun-dried tomatoes, tuna, pine nuts, a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Serves 4
6 large potatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 large slices smoked salmon, sliced
4 spring onions, chopped
100g parmesan [or cheddar, manchego, whatever hard cheese you have] 150ml sour cream
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp fresh chives, snipped with scissors
Preheat the oven to Gas 7/220°C/180°C fan. Rub the potatoes all over with a little oil, place directly onto the oven shelf, and back for 1- 1¼ hours or until tender. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool. Meanwhile prepare your toppings. Cut the cooled potatoes into quarters, and scoop out most of the flesh leaving a ½cm layer [reserve the flesh in a dish to use later for something else]. Place the quarters, cut side down, onto two baking trays. Brush with a little oil and bake for 8-10 minutes. Turn the skins over, and top half with the cheese, smoked salmon and salad onions. Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes [keep an eye on them though, as mine only needed 5 minutes]. Combine the sour cream, garlic and chives in a bowl. Arrange the potato skins on a plate and drizzle with the sour cream. 5 to remember
regularmente – regularly
la próxima vez – the next time
el tocino – the bacon
tan bueno como – just as good
un cuarto – a quarter
Cloud, feather effect. October 8th, 2013.
A car accident. Millions of euros. A Russian gangster drinking champagne in the middle of nowhere. The opening scene of this, the fourth in the quartet of books featuring Seville detective Javier Falcón, does not disappoint. Robert Wilson’s intricate plotting is spot-on. I read this book voraciously as Falcón struggles to get to the whole truth, admiring the way the author weaves together the story strands from the preceding three books so that at the end you understand though you did not guess.
I did not get the ending right, I expected something different. There are moments when you wonder if Javier can continue, will he step over to the dark side, will his emotional strength desert him? This is the most international of the four books, with Javier travelling to London and Morocco but Seville retains its hot sultry presence. I can smell the dusty heat of the evening where the detectives seem to exist on coffee and cruelty lays just out of sight.
I’m sorry this is a short review, I can’t write more without giving away the plot. There were moments when I wanted to shout ‘don’t do it’ and others when I thought with sad acceptance ‘yes, that’s the only thing you can do’. At the end, I wanted to start reading the series all over again. Well done Robert Wilson [below]. To read my reviews of the preceding three Javier Falcón books, click here.
The Blind Man of Seville
The Silent and the Damned
The Hidden Assassins
To hear Robert Wilson talk about The Ignorance of Blood, click here.
‘The Ignorance of Blood’ by Robert Wilson
Sometimes we see a recipe on a TV programme and just have to make it. We saw this on a River Cottage repeat, and made it the next day. The description is plain but it is such a creamy tart, we ate it with a spinach salad with quite a sharp dressing: to cut through the creaminess! Serves 4 as a main meal with salad
2 large or 3 medium leeks
Knob of unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g Dorset Vinny or other good blue cheese [it also works with cheddar] 2 medium eggs
2 medium egg yoks
350ml double cream
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3.
Trim the tough green leaves of the leeks, rinse and slice into 1cm rounds. Put the leeks into a saucepan with 100ml water, knob of butter and salt and pepper. Simmer gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserve the cooking liquid, set the leeks aside. Meanwhile, line a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry, letting the excess pastry hang over the edges. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans, and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the tart out of the oven, take out the paper and beans and lightly prick the base with a fork. Bake for another five minutes until the base is dry but not too brown. Set the flan aside, trim the excess pastry with a small, sharp knife. Turn the oven temperature up to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
Spread the cooked leeks in the tart case and cover with the grated cheese.
Whisk the eggs and egg yolks, cream and leek liquor in a bowl and beat until smooth. Season. Pour the custard over the cheese and leeks. Bake the tart for about 30 minutes – the custard should be just set when you gently shake the tin.
We served ours ‘just warm’ and it was ‘just lovely’. 5 to remember
precioso/a – lovely
una tarta – a tart
un puerro – a leek
el líquido – the liquid
el tenedor – the fork