Category Archives: A love of food

A January salad

England meets the Moors… a typical English vegetable, cold and shredded, and mixed with Moorish flavours. What’s not to love? forkfulThis is an unusual and tasty salad which deserves a spot on your regular winter menu. The dominant flavour changes from mouthful to mouthful, one moment lemony [lemon juice, sumac], the next fruity [pomegranate molasses and seeds].

Don’t worry about leftovers. If there are any, they taste better the next day. Simply keep in a sealed plastic box overnight in the fridge.

This is another recipe by Gizzi Erskine.

Serves 2 hungry people for lunch, or 4 as a side salad
300g Brussels sprouts, shredded [using the slicing attachment of a food processor, or by hand with a knife]
Seeds of one pomegranate
100g pistachios, chopped
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1 tsp sumac
For the dressing:-
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
6 tbsp olive oil [this is our own, hence the dark green colour]
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper brussels-sprouts-slicingPlace the shredded Brussels sprouts into a large bowl and set aside. dressing-ingredients-our-green-olive-oilIn a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Pour the dressing over the sprouts and leave to macerate for 15 minutes [a minimum, longer is fine].

When you are ready to serve, transfer the sprouts to a serving bowl. Over the top sprinkle the pistachios, pomegranate seeds, fresh chopped herbs and the sumac. Mix, and eat. bowlfulFancy a different salad? Try these:-
A fresh salad for winter
A mustardy leeks vinaigrette
Trempó

5 to remember
típico/a – typical
un bocado – a mouthful
despedazar – to shred
la melaza de granada – the pomegranate molasses
la sumac – the sumac

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Pistachios & pomegranates: an exotic salad #recipe by @GizziErskine via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Vu

A creamy coconut stew

This vegetarian stew is so much greater than its individual parts. As long as you keep the basic coconut and tomato base, you can pretty much vary the vegetables and beans you add to it. Next time I make this, I will try adding some wilted spinach… I do like my green vegetables.

Serves 4

2 400ml tins coconut milk
2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2-3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 tsp chilli flakes
1 butternut squash, 1kg, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces [I used sweet potato]
2 medium aubergines, 600g, cut into bite-size pieces
handful of fresh coriander, chopped [I used our parsley]
1 400g tin chickpeas, drained
3 tsp brown miso paste

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C. For this recipe you will need a large casserole, which has a lid. Put the coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, grated ginger and chilli flakes into the casserole and heat gently on the hob, until boiling. Season. The tinned coconut milk may have separated, but add all the thick and thin liquid as it will melt and mix as the casserole heats. Chop the aubergine and sweet potato, and add to the coconut mixture. Once this has come to the boil, cook for 30 minutes in the oven. 

Remove from the oven, add the parsley, miso and chickpeas. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes. It is ready when the sweet potato is soft when tested with a sharp knife. Serve with brown rice. Any leftovers keep well in the fridge and, if anything, taste richer when heated a day or so later.

If you like this, try:-
Very Cheesy Pie
Salt Cod Fritters
Pistou

5 to remember
mucho más grande que – so much greater than
mientras – as long as
la próxima vez que haga esto – next time I make this
se derretirá – it will melt
cualquier sobrante – any leftovers

 

This recipe is from Deliciously Ella by Ella Mills [UK: Yellow Kite]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A creamy coconut stew: sweet & scented with ginger #Spain #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2eN via @Spanish_Valley

Brazil nut pesto pasta

If you are trying to increase your daily intake of vegetables, then try this pasta dish that includes a minimum of four, and could be more depending on what you add. The base is a dairy-free pesto, the creaminess of regular pesto is provided by the combination of avocados and Brazil nuts. We made the quantity below and found it sufficient for three meals for two people – so one pot went into the fridge and the third into the freezer.

Next time we make it, I will stir fresh mint leaves into the pasta at the end, and even more lemon juice.

Serves 4
For the pesto:-
120g Brazil nuts
50g pine nuts
1½ avocados
50g rocket [I used a bag]
large handful of fresh basil leaves [I used a bag]
juice of 1½ lemons
8 tbsp olive oil
For the pasta:-
500g your choice of pasta
2 courgettes, chopped into thin slices
1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
225g peas [I used frozen]
salt and pepper

First, make the pesto. Place the Brazil nuts and pine nuts into a food processor and whiz for a minute until they are completely crushed. Add the avocado flesh, basil leaves, lemon juice, rocket, olive oil, 8 tbsp water, salt and pepper. Blend again until you have a creamy sauce, as smooth or chunky as you prefer.

Next, cook the pasta. Heat a large frying pan with a little olive oil. Add the courgettes and broccoli, salt and pepper, and fry lightly for 5-7 minutes until they are cooked and lightly golden. While these are cooking, prepare your peas: if you are using fresh, cook them lightly in a saucepan; if frozen, zap them in a bowl for a couple of minutes in the microwave. Drain and add to the frying pan.

Once the pasta is ready, drain and add to the frying pan. Toss. Add a spoonful or two of pesto.If you like this, try:-
Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger
A walnut sauce for pasta
Little squash cakes with a kick

5 to remember
una nuez de Brasil – a Brazil nut
un mínimo de – a minimum of
el tercero – the third
la próxima vez – the next time
aún más – even more

 

This recipe is from Deliciously Ella by Ella Mills [UK: Yellow Kite]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Pesto for pasta: Brazil nuts & rocket #Spain #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2fA via @Spanish_Valley

Very cheesy pie

This pie is just what you need in that odd time between Christmas and New Year. It is comfortable food, filling, cheesy, makes the kitchen smells divine, and takes a while to put together. So, it’s ideal to make when time stretches ahead of you and it’s cold outside. 

You can make the cheesiness stronger or subtler by varying the type of cheese you use.

Serves 6
5 large white cabbage leaves, stems removed and leaves halved [I used a Savoy cabbage]
salt
2 potatoes [450g], peeled and thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
small handful of tarragon leaves
300g mozzarella, thinly sliced [I used French mild goats cheese]
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Place the cabbage pieces, in four batches, into a large saucepan of salted boiling water, and cook for two minutes. Drain, refresh in iced water and set aside on kitchen towel to drain well.

Add the potatoes to the pan, cook for two minutes. Drain, refresh in iced water and set aside on kitchen towel to drain well.

Use six of the largest cabbage leaves to line the base and sides of a lightly greased 22cm round cake tin. Leave approx. 8cm of leaves hanging over the side of the tin. Depending on the size of the cabbage leaves, you may need to cook more – I did.

Into the tin, place a layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping the slices. Next add a layer of onion, tarragon and cheese. Repeat this twice to create three more layers, until your ingredients run out. Fold over the overhanging cabbage leaves and press well to enclose.

Place the tin into a large deep-sided roasting tray, and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the tin. Cover the whole thing with kitchen foil. Cook for 60-70 minutes, or until the pie is tender when tested with a skewer.

Remove the foil, brush the top of the pie with the olive oil, and cook for a further 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy.

Remove the tin from the water bath, cut into wedges and serve.

This recipe is by Donna Hay, check her website for more recipes.

5 to remember
una tarta – a pie
el estragón – the tarragon
dependiendo de – depending on
pendiente – overhanging
profundo lado – deep-sided

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Yogurt and Roasted Butternut Salad
Linguine with Broad Beans
Habas a la Granadina

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Very cheesy pie = comfort food #Spain #Recipe by @donnahay http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2eo via @Spanish_Valley

Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger

Once made, this dish will quickly become a favourite. Either as a vegetable side dish or, with added protein, a vegetarian supper dish. It includes three of my favourite ingredients: sweet potatoes, coconut and ginger. It smells divine while cooking and is a pretty golden colour when baked. Try it! Oh, and you haven’t misread the amount of fresh ginger. It is a lot, but essential to the overall flavour.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish, or 2 hungry people as a main course
4-5 small to medium sweet potatoes, about 1.5kg
100g piece of fresh root ginger
1 red chilli, deseeded
3 garlic cloves, crushed
400ml tin coconut milk
grated zest and juice of 2 limes [I used lemons]
2 tbsp of maple syrup or clear honey [optional]
300g tin haricot beans or chick peas

Heat the oven to 180°C/200°C non-fan].

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1cm slices. Put into a large casserole dish, about 21×28 cm with a tight-fitting lid [if you don’t have a lid, use foil]. If using haricot beans or chick peas, add them to the casserole.

Next, prepare the sauce. Peel the ginger, garlic and de-seed the chill. Chop them roughly then put into a bowl and whizz with a hand blender [I used the food processor, then switched to the hand blender halfway through cooking and found it easier]. Add the coconut milk, lime or lemon zest and juice, and maple syrup if using, and whizz again with the hand blender. Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly so the pieces are completely coated. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole with the lid, and bake in the oven for 1 hour until the potatoes are tender. Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the top is browned. Serve with a side of lightly steamed spinach. 5 to remember
la leche de coco – the coconut milk
una batidora de mano – a hand blender
ajustado/a – tightly-fitting
la tapa – the lid
divino/a – divine

This recipe is by Sarah Raven. Read her gardening advice here.

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Smoky spring onions and asparagus with lime
A super green salad
Cauliflower salad with spinach yogurt

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger: what’s not to love? http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2co #Spain #recipe via @Spanish_Valley

Little squash cakes with a kick

These little squash cakes are a great recipe to have on stand-by as they are easy to make and can be adapted into infinitesimal variations. The butternut squash can be swapped for sweet potato. Thinly sliced red onions can be used instead of spring onions. Swap the plain flour for gram flour and they become gluten-free. Serve with tomato salad, as we did, for a light summer lunch. Eat any leftovers for breakfast, topped with a fried egg. Izy Hossack, whose recipe it is, suggests serving it with a tahini dressing [the recipe for which is below] but we had a jar of home-made harissa paste in the fridge so combined a spoonful of that with a spoonful of natural yogurt to add another layer of spice.

Makes 6-8 cakes
For the tahini dressing:-
2 tbsp tahini
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
For the cakes:-
200g butternut squash [about a 1/3 of a small one], peeled
2 medium-sized white potatoes, peeled
3 tbsp plain flour
2 spring onions
½ red chilli, very finely chopped [or ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes]
Olive oil or rapeseed oil for cooking.

To make the dressing, put all ingredients into a screw-top jar with a pinch of salt. Put on the lid and shake. Set aside. This will keep in the fridge, in the sealed jar, for up to a week.

To make the squash cakes, first grate the peeled butternut squash and potato. Place in the centre of a muslin square or a clean tea towel. Gather up the corners to make a bundle, then squeeze over the sink to expel as much liquid as possible.

Place the squeezed squash and potato into a bowl. Add the flour, spring onion, chilli and a pinch of salt. Using your hands, combine it together. Form six little cake by flattening each mound with the back of a spoon.

Coat the base of a non-stick frying pan with a thin layer of oil, and set over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cakes. Cook until they are a dark golden colour and crispy underneath. Using a spatula, flip them over and cook on the other side until golden.

Transfer onto a plate, lined with kitchen paper, while you cook the remaining cakes.

Serve with the tahini dressing and your own choice of salad.

Eat the leftovers with a fried egg. If you like this, try these:-
A Stew with Fresh Thyme
Poor Man’s Potatoes
Cheesy Nutty Herby Mushrooms

5 to remember
infinitesimal – infinitesimal
los restos – the leftovers
hasta – untilpor otro lado – on the other sideuna espátula – a spatula

 

This recipe is from The Savvy Cook by Izy Hossack, click here for more of her recipes.
‘The Savvy Cook’ by Izy Hossack [UK: Mitchell Beazley]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Little squash cakes with a chilli kick #Recipe by @izyhossack #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2ca

A walnut sauce for pasta

We love walnuts, just as well as we have about 20 trees. There are many versions of walnut sauce and we have tried a lot of them, this recipe is from the River Café Cook Book Two. We always eat sauce for four and pasta for two, but if this is too much sauce for you it keeps well for a few days in a sealed pot in the fridge. I also threw in huge quantities of parsley and basil, because I had them, which proves this recipe is elastic in terms of quantities!

2kg walnuts, shelled and bitter skins removed
Breadcrumbs, from any type of stale loaf
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
150ml olive oil
100g parmesan, freshly grated
4 tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped Soak the breadcrumbs in 150ml milk.

Set aside a few walnuts for serving. The recipe says to pound the rest of the walnuts with the garlic in a mortar, I used a food processor. Add a little salt, then the parsley, and pound some more.

Squeeze most of the milk from the breadcrumbs, keep the milk. Add half of the breadcrumbs to the mortar and mix. Add the olive oil gradually, plus a little milk to loosen the paste. Stir continuously so the sauce is well mixed. Finally add half the parmesan and basil, Season. The finished sauce should be thick and green.

Cook your preferred pasta, drain and return to the saucepan. To serve, add the rest of the basil, parmesan and a few pieces of uncrushed walnut. I also stirred wilted spinach into the finished pasta.

5 to remember
el pan rallado – the breadcrumbs
la leche – the milk
la albahaca – the basil
una pasta – a paste
la mitad – the half

 

Recipe from ‘River Café Cook Book Two’ by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray [UK: Ebury Press]

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Courgette & Chick Pea Stew
Cheesy Scone Bake
Ricotta Cheese & Pine Nut Chilli 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Lashings of herbs & nuts: walnut pesto #Spain #Recipe by @RiverCafeLondon http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2ec via @Spanish_Valley