Very Sticky Brownies #baking #vegan

This recipe has been marked in the cookbook for ages as one to try, but I didn’t and I don’t know why! Perhaps it’s the name, it’s a recipe by Ella Mills which she calls ‘Raw Brownies’ which does not do them justice. Simple to make, no baking involved, and impossible to stop nibbling. They are very rich, so perhaps mark out portions slightly smaller than your usual brownies!

In the list of ingredients, the syrup is included as optional. However I found my mixture was crumbly so added 1½ tbsp of agave syrup until it became sticky. This probably depends on your dates, be sure to use dates from the fresh fruit section rather than the longlife dried version found in the baking aisle which are not sticky enough.

Makes 10-15 normal sized brownies
140g pecans
400g Medjool dates, pitted
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave syrup [optional]

Place the nuts in your food processor and pulse until they become gritty.

Add the pitted dates, cacao and blend. Now decide if you want to add syrup, or need to add syrup if the mixture is a little crumbly. Pulse until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon and gathers into a large ball.

Spread the mixture on a clean baking tray, no need to grease it first. Spread it out evenly, I found this quantity used less than half the space of the baking tray. Place the tray [above right] in the freezer for one hour. Remove the tray from the freezer [above], cut into bars, and place in an airtight plastic box. Store this in the fridge.

What I will do differently next time:
Add a few drops of vanilla essence
Substitute almonds for the pecans
Use maple syrup instead of agave syrup
Mark out the portions before the tray goes into the freezer

If you like this,try:-
Gluten-free cherry cake 
A sweet and sour cranberry cake
Peanut butter biscuits 

5 to remember
el polvo de cacao crudo – the raw cacao powder
los dátiles Medjool – the Medjool dates
deshuesado – pitted
imposible dejar de mordisquear – impossible to stop nibbling
hermético – airtight

 

This recipe is from ‘Deliciously Ella’ by Ella Mills
Amazon

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Very sticky brownies #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla #baking #vegan https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2A8 via @Spanish_Valley 

Rib-sticking lentil and sausage casserole

Practically made in total with store cupboard/fridge/freezer ingredients, this casserole is brilliant for chilly days when you are cold and starving hungry. Eat it from a deep bowl with a spoon. It is very satisfying and, made in one saucepan, is quick and easy.

Serves 4
3 tbsp olive oil
8 vegetarian sausages [we used Quorn]
2 onions, chopped
25g fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp paprika [we used half and half pimentón dulce and pimentón dulce]
2 tsp tomato puree [we used more]
tin of chopped tomatoes
100g cooked chestnuts [we used vacuum-packed], roughly chopped
250g Puy or brown lentils
650ml vegetable stock
salt
pepper
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the sausages and cook until browned all over. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the same pan, add the onion and cook until lightly coloured and tender. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook until the aroma rises. Add the spices [above] and tomato puree and cook for another two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.

Return the sausages to the pan and add the chestnuts, lentils and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and the sausages are cooked through. If the mixture gets too dry, add a splash more water. Season to taste and serve. 
Next time I will:-
Throw in a handful of frozen peas.
Add chopped fresh parsley at the end.
Add a little more fresh ginger.

If you like this,try:-
Salmon and New Potato Traybake
Asparagus and horseradish pasta
Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger

5 to remember
muriendo de hambre – starving
envasado al vacío – vacuum-packed
las castañas – the chestnuts
si la mezcla se seca demasiado – if the mixture gets too dry
añadir un poco más de agua – add a splash more water

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
One for a cold winter night: rib-sticking lentils and sausage casserole #recipe #veggiefood https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2zU via @Spanish_Valley

A quick salad for a sunny day in winter

On one of those winter days that feels like July, when the thought of hot food is overwhelming but the fridge is lacking salad ingredients, I rustled together this Jamie Oliver lunch dish. From the freezer, the cupboard, and the parsley pot on the terrace. I cut out one step from the original recipe to make it quicker: I didn’t roast the red peppers from the jar. It seemed a redundant step to me, as they are already roasted. I also didn’t add brine from the jar to the salad dressing, I made up the quantity with a splash more olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Serves 2
200g fresh podded broad beans, or frozen broad beans
30g whole almonds
1x 480g jar of roasted red peppers in brine
½ bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
30g manchego cheese [or any other hard cheese]
Dressing:-
1½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp brine from the pepper jar

Boil the broad beans for three minutes, drain and set aside to cool. If any are large, pinch off the pale green outer skin.

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until pale golden. Remove and finely slice.

Drain the jar of peppers, open out flat and slice into strips. [At this stage, Jamie roasts the peppers in a griddle pan, without oil. I didn’t].

Sort the parsley and discard the thick stalks. As the parsley is effectively the salad leaf in this dish, I left the leaves whole.

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a jar and give a good shake. In a serving bowl, toss together the peppers, parsley and broad beans with the dressing. Season to taste.

To serve, using a potato peeler, shave the cheese over the top of the salad. Add the almonds and an extra drizzle of 1 tsp olive oil. Served with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. 5 to remember
si alguna– if any
realmente– effectively/really/truly
los tallos gruesos– the thick stalks
un pelador de patatas– a potato peeler
sobre la parte superior de – over the top of

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
A gooey creamy salad
Light and fresh tabbouleh
Crunchy tahini green salad 

 

‘5 Ingredients’ by Jamie Oliver [UK: Michael Joseph]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A quick #salad for a sunny day in winter #Spain #recipe by @jamieoliver https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2st via @Spanish_Valley

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Bird song: Great Tit

Can you tell the difference between a Great Tit and a Blue Tit? No? Before we came to live here, I was hazy about them too. Sometimes it is still a bit hit and miss, but basically the Great Tit is larger and looks as if he is wearing a yellow waistcoat over a black shirt. Or alternatively, a black tie with a yellow shirt. The Blue has a plain yellow breast. Not very technical ‘birding’ language, but I hope you know what I mean. Although both types of Tit are resident here, we see mostly Greats. Its colouring is slightly stronger than the Blue, though in flight to be honest they whizz by in a flash of yellow and blue.

Found across Europe, there are thirty different races of Great Tit and there are just as many variations of Great Tit song as there are of the bird. In the spring, if you hear a bird song you can’t identify there’s a good chance there’s a Great Tit nearby. Particularly familiar is the two-tone ‘teach-er teach-er’.

Listen to the song of the Great Tit at Xeno-Canto.

5 to remember
un poco impredecible – a bit hit and miss
parece como si – looks as if
un chaleco amarillo – a yellow waistcoat
una corbata negra – a black tie
espero que sepas lo que quiero decir – I hope you know what I mean

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Grey Wagtail
Sparrowhawk
Jay

 

Our most used bird book? ‘Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe’
Amazon UK

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you recognize the song of the Great Tit? #Birds in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xH via @Spanish_Valley