A non-classic tortilla

There are lots of tortillas out there, family recipes, unusual adaptations. This is first I have eaten made with courgette. It is light, lemony, and very summery. Personally, I would add more mint and lemon. There is the possibility, I think, of using this as a basic recipe and alternating the single vegetable and the herb. slice 31-7-14courgette – close-up 31-7-14Serves 6-8
4 small to medium courgettes
Salt and pepper
8 tbsp olive oil
A dash of milk
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 tsp shredded mint, plus extra to serve
6 eggs
Grated zest of half a lemon mint leaf 31-7-14First prepare the courgettes. Rinse, then cut in half lengthways, de-seed and slice thinly into rounds. Toss the courgette slices with ½ tsp fine salt, and leave in a colander for 20 minutes to drain. Dry on kitchen paper.

Heat 4 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the courgettes and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the mint, cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat. courgettes in the pan 31-7-14Transfer the courgette mixture to a bowl. Discard any excess oil, leave to cool.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and whisk lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a dash of milk [this is our addition, it makes the egg creamy]. Once the courgette mixture is cool, stir it into the eggs. egg mix 31-7-14Take the frying pan, wipe it out with kitchen towel, and put onto a medium to high heat. When hot, add 2 tbsp oil and swirl it around the pan and up the sides to coat the surface. add the mix to the pan 31-7-14As the oil begins to smoke, pour in the egg mixture. Gently shake the pan to ensure the mixture is evenly spread. Lower the heat and let the tortilla cook for 3-5 minutes. Use a spatula to check carefully if the underside is golden brown and the runny exposed side has formed a ring of cooked egg around the edge.

Remove from the heat, rest for a minute. Take a plate about the same size as the pan and rest it on top. Carefully invert the tortilla onto the plate. cooking in the pan, browning 31-7-14Return the pan to the heat. When hot, add the remaining oil and slide the tortilla off the plate back into the pan. Cook the other side. Lower the heat and cook until golden brown underneath and firm to the touch. If it is still runny in the middle, turn the tortilla again with the plate, and cook until firm.

Remove from the heat and leave for a minute to settle. Turn the tortilla onto a clean plate.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with the extra mint leaves and the lemon zest. tortilla - close-up 31-7-14This is a recipe from Morito by Samuel and Samantha Clark. For more about Morito, the restaurant and the book, click here.

5 to remember
personalmente – personally
cortado/a – shredded
la sal – the salt
el colador – colander
exceso/a – excess

Morito by Samuel and Samantha Clark - cover 31-7-14


‘Morito’ by Samuel and Samantha Clark [Ebury]

The veggie patch in June

At this time of year, the huerta always looks neat and ordered. The veggies are easily distinguished in their lines, growth is young, fresh and green, the soil looks full of goodness. in regular lines 28-6-14Watermelons…

Onions… a good crop of onions 28-6-14Tomatoes… expecting a good tomato crop 28-6-14Pimentones


Melons… is this a melon 28-6-14We grow them all. But I’ll let you into a secret, when the time comes to pick the melons, tomatoes etc, the huerta will not look like this! It will be a tangled maze of green leaves, the veggies will be hiding beneath the vegetation, some leaves will be showing signs of drought, curling at the edges or dusted with mildew. Not to mention the biting ants.

The veggies… they will taste amazing. But a tidy English allotment it is not! tomatoes soak up the harsh june sun 28-6-145 to remember
arreglado/a – neat
el crecimiento – the growth
el valor – the goodness [of food]
una secreta – a secret
el mildeu – mildew

Pear and herb salad

On a baking hot day, this is the perfect lunch: light, full of flavour, cooling. plateful 11-8-14pears 11-8-14This is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe I found online which used walnut halves, we didn’t have any, and a mixture of salad leaves [including endive, watercress and radicchio] which we didn’t have. So we substituted a mixture of home-grown rocket, basil and parsley. She also recommends replacing the pears with apples for a sharper salad. herbs in the sink 11-8-14Serves 6
Handful whole almonds, dry toasted
Mixture of salad leaves, rinsed
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Blue cheese [Gorgonzola, Dolcelatte, Stilton or Roquefort] crumbled
2 pears per person
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the ingredients. Prepare the pears last, as they brown easily once cut. Peel them if preferred, then halve, core and cut into thick slices. gorgonzola 11-8-14toasted almonds 11-8-14In a large salad bowl, combine the salad leaves and parsley. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss so everything is lightly coated. Add the cheese, toasted almonds and pear slices. Season with salt and pepper. Toss again and serve. salad in bowl 11-8-14For more recipes from Martha Stewart, click here.

5 to remember
adaptado/a – adapted
en línea – online
una mezcla – a mixture
la escarola – the endive
de la huerta propia – home-grown

Flying ant day

Last night was the one night each year when the ants hatch and fly away. For the birds, lizards and geckos it’s a feast. There is no warning: a black swirling patch of insects, like ants but with wings. I spotted the first batch by the outside tap.

They seem to bubble up from nowhere – mostly small but with the odd larger specimen – exactly where the eggs were laid last year, surviving the heat of summer and overwintering until mid-June. ‘Flying ant day’ is the day when the queen ant emerges from the nest to begin the nuptial flight. They are accompanied by smaller males. Each mature ant colony produces winged males and virgin queens, unfertilized eggs having developed into males. The flight occurs on a dry day, mating happens on the wing after which the males die. The queen lands, removes her wings, and founds a new colony.

At twilight, the sky was full of swirling ants, moving around the valley in eddies. The swallows, swifts and martins had a feast.

This morning, it is as if it never happened.

5 to remember
borbotear – to bubble up
sin aviso – no warning
un banquete – a feast
remolino/a – swirling
el crepúsculo – the twilight

Spanish tuna and tomato salad

This has to be the easiest and tastiest of all the salads we eat here. And it is VERY Spanish. High quality ingredients, and not many of them. Each flavour is distinct. spanish tomato & tuna salad - bowl 29-8-13Make a large plateful [it is generally served on a large platter, not in a deep salad bowl] and eat it as a main course. Best made with the large ugly Spanish tomatoes that taste the best.

Quantities are approximate.
Large Spanish tomatoes, at last one per person
Jar of Albacore tuna in olive oil, one jar for two people
1-2 sweet Spanish onions
2-3 garlic cloves, according to taste
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Slice the onions thinly and separate into half-moon shapes. spanish tomato & tuna salad - close-up of sliced tomato 19-8-13Slice the tomatoes thickly, cutting out the hard core and damaged skin. Retain all the juice where possible. spanish tomato & tuna salad - our own garlic 19-8-13Peel the garlic and slice as thinly as possible.

Drain the tuna.

Assemble your salad on your plate, layering tuna, tomatoes and onions, and sprinkling each layer with garlic, salt and pepper. spanish tomato & tuna salad - sea salt 19-8-13Finish with a hefty drizzle of olive oil. spanish tomato & tuna salad - close-up 19-8-135 to remember
lo más facil – the easiest
distinto/a – distinct
en general – generally
feo/a – ugly
aproximado/a – approximate