Tag Archives: food

A silky, dense chocolate cake

An admission. The photos of this cake are actually of two cakes made on different days. Why? Because the first time we used a too-small cake tin and the contents oozed [that’s the only word] over the baking tray. So two lessons learned: use the right size cake tin, and don’t forget the baking tray. Incidentally, the cake looked messy but tasted brilliant for pudding with strawberries and Greek yogurt!

225g soft unsalted butter
375g dark muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g best chocolate, gently melted and allowed to cool slightly
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml boiling water

Pre-heat the oven to 190°/Gas 5 and put in a baking sheet.

Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin, 23x13x7cm. Line the tin fully, or you will never be able to remove this sticky cake in one piece.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Beat well.

Now add the slightly cooled, melted chocolate. Take care to blend it well, but do not overbeat. The ingredients should be combined, you don’t want a mass of bubbles.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Now, alternating, add two spoonfuls of flour to the chocolate mix followed by two spoonfuls of water. Be sure to mix in each spoonful before adding the next, otherwise the mixture will be lumpy. At the end, you will have a smooth, fairly liquid batter.

Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and place the tin in the oven on top of the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170°/Gas 3 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be squidgy inside, so a skewer will not come out completely clean.

Remove from the oven and place the tin on a rack. Leave until completely cold before turning out of the tin. It is a dense, dark cake and so may sink slightly in the middle.

Our cake is a gluten-free version of this recipe so instead of the self-raising flour and plain flour, we substituted 200g gluten-free plain flour. There is no need for baking powder in this recipe as the bicarbonate of soda acts as the raising agent.

If you like this, try:-
Chocolate flapjack
Peanut butter biscuits
An Italian cake of Spanish apples 5 to remember
sedoso/a – silky
denso/a – dense [texture]
squidgy – squidgy
en el medio – in the middle
hundirse – to sink

 

This recipe is from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson [UK: Chatto & Windus]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Chocolate cake: dense, silky, chocolatey #Spain #recipe by @Nigella_Lawson via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Y6

Best when the broad beans are babies

This is best made when the broad beans are ripe and there is a glut to deal with. Any small space on our freezer shelves are crammed with small bags of habas, they are a delight to eat in winter added to a dish of gambas al ajillo. But this pasta dish demands tiny broad beans as big as my little fingernail, just popped from the pod. If we eat it with bigger broad beans, we par-cook them first and slip them out of their skins before adding them to the onion mixture. This makes enough sauce for 2 hungry people, served with the pasta of your choice.

400g podded broad beans
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
250ml hot water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g parmesan, freshly grated
pasta of your choice

In a large heavy saucepan, cook the onion, garlic and parsley slowly in the oil for 5 minutes or until very soft. Add the broad beans and stir for several minutes. Add the water and cook until the beans are tender. Add salt and pepper. Put half of the beans in a food processor and pulse-chop to a coarse puree. Return to the saucepan and mix with the whole beans.

Cook your preferred pasta. Drain, then add to the sauce and stir. Check seasoning, and serve with the parmesan. 5 to remember
la haba – the broad bean
el perejil – the parsley
el robot de cocina – the food processor
preferido/a – preferred
el condimento – the seasoning

This is our adaption of a River Café recipe, reliable as always.
‘River Café Cook Book Two’ by Rose Gray and Ruth Rodgers [UK: Ebury Press]

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Carrot, Olive and Orange Salad
Cheesy Nutty Herby Mushrooms
Courgette Flower Frittata

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Best when the broad beans are babies #Spain #Recipe by @RiverCafeLondon via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-20x

Roasted asparagus

This is a recipe by American cook, Ina Garten. It is so unbelievably easy a child could do it. Eat it hot as a side, or cold as a tapas. It’s also great as part of a buffet supper.

Serves 8
2 lb asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. If the stalks are thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Using your fingers, toss the asparagus so each piece is evenly coated with oil.

Spread the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 25 minutes, until tender but crisp.

That’s it. Couldn’t be easier.

Try these other asparagus recipes:-
A heavenly soup for asparagus season
Asparagus and lemon risotto
Wild asparagus and scrambled eggs for lunch

5 to remember
increíblemente – unbelievably
un niño – a child
parte de – part of
duro/a – tough
eso es – that’s it

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Roasted asparagus, the easy way #food #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1UC

Roasted cauliflower salad

This winter salad is so much more than its individual elements. Once you get over the idea of putting warm cauliflower into a salad, this will quickly become a favourite. With everything assembled and ready to go as soon as the cauliflower is cooked, the combination of melted blue cheese, walnuts and cranberries is moreish. The original recipe calls for dried sour cherries which we didn’t have, but cranberries provided a good sweet/sharp kick. There are many variations of this salad possible, if you alternate the type of nut, salad leaf and dried fruit.

Serves 2
1 cauliflower, broken into florets about the same size
2 tbsp olive oil, & extra for drizzling at the end
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small bag of baby spinach
100g blue cheese, crumbled [we used Roquefort]
A handful of dried sour cherries [we used dried cranberries]
A handful of walnuts
Cherry vinegar [we used Jerez sherry vinegar]

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

Put the cauliflower into a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender when tested with a sharp knife and has crispy bits. Rinse the spinach and arrange in a large serving bowl. Top with the roasted cauliflower, cheese, cranberries and walnuts.

Drizzle the vinegar and extra oil, as much as you prefer, and serve warm.

If you like this, try these salads:-
A mustardy leeks vinaigrette
Waldorf salad with Brussels sprouts
Salty and hot hot salad

This recipe is by Norwegian chef Signe Johansen, click here for her website.

5 to remember
las cerezas agrias – the sour cherries
los floretes – the florets
aproximadamente del mismo tamaño – about the same size
los trozos crujientes – the crispy bits
noruego/a – Norwegian

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A salad with roasted cauliflower #food Recipe by @SigneSJohansen #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Xz

Salty and hot hot

I didn’t realize until eating this warm salad, but it is really a jazzed up version of a Greek Salad. Cucumber. Feta. Olives. Tomatoes. Oregano. Except the feta is baked in the oven with garlic and chilli so it is crispy and hot. Delicious, and different. salad-bowlpepinos1Serves 2

200g feta cheese, crumbled
1 small red chilli, finely chopped, or ½ tsp lazy chilli
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano or dried basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out, and sliced
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
½ Spanish salad onion, or red onion, thinly sliced
200g green and black olives, pitted
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 180°C/200°C non-fan. feta-ready-to-go-into-the-ovenPlace the feta on a baking tray and sprinkle with the chopped chilli, garlic and oregano. Drizzle with the olive oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare all salad ingredients and place into a serving bowl and toss them together until well combined. Season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. olives-addedcheese-just-out-of-the-ovenAs soon as the feta is crispy, remove it from the oven and place on top of the salad. Serve immediately. This is more filling than it looks, if you are very hungry eat it with crusty bread and unsalted butter. plateful5 to remember
al horno – baked
salado/a – salty
flojo/a – lazy
el orégano – the oregano [the herb]
longitudinalmente – lengthways

Fancy a fruity pudding? Make this:-
Plum and ginger compote
Apricot and peach compost crumble
Plum and pecan crumble

eat-live-go-by-donal-skehan

 

Adapted from a recipe by Donal Skehan from ‘Eat. Live. Go.’ [UK: Hodder & Stoughton]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Very salty and very hot: try this Greek salad #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1S7

An easy iced cake

Glace cherries are one of those childhood things which, for me, takes me straight back to the kitchen and ‘helping’ my mother make cakes. They are sickly things really, but I loved them. The redness? The stickiness? The fact that they were a treat and not considered appropriate for an everyday cake?

This cake by Mary Berry satisfies my need for glace cherries on a wet Sunday when I fancy cake. It is pretty foolproof in that all the ingredients go into a large bowl at the same time for mixing.

Makes 1 x 2lb loaf [900g]
75g glace cherries
3 extra large eggs [I used 4 large eggs]
175g self-raising flour [I used gluten free plain flour plus 2 tsps gluten free baking powder]
100g soft margarine
100g light muscovado sugar
100g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
150g sultanas
For the icing:-
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp water
2 ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped loaf-tin-linedPre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Lightly grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with greased greaseproof paper.
First, prepare the cherries. Quarter, wash and thoroughly dry on kitchen paper.

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and then measure in the remaining cake ingredients including the cherries. Beat well until the mixture is smooth.

Turn into the prepared tin, level the top, and bang the tin on the worktop to eliminate bubbles. ready-to-go-into-ovenBake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, firm to the touch, and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. It is cooked if a fine skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn it out and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the cake is cold, it is ready to be iced. Measure the sifted icing sugar into a bowl. In a small pan, heat the apricot jam and water until mixed [do not overheat]. Pour the jam onto the icing sugar and mix to a smooth texture. Spoon over the top of the cake. Decorate with a sprinkle of chopped apricots down the centre of the cake.

Fancy another cake? Try making these:-
An apple and cinnamon cake
Peanut butter biscuits
An Italian cake of Spanish apples

5 to remember
tamizado/a – sifted
la mermelada – the jam
no sobrecalentar – do not overheat
una textura suave – a smooth texture
los albaricoques picados – the chopped apricots

mary berry's ultimate cake book 20-1-14

 

This recipe is from ‘Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ by Mary Berry [UK: BBC Books]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
An easy iced #cake with apricots & cherries #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Wf

Sweet Carrot Salad

This is a lovely sweet salad. A large bowlful is a main course, but it also works as a side salad and travels well in a plastic box for picnics. Carrots are naturally sweet and are a traditional combination with oranges, but what makes this a little different is the addition of ground cumin and plump raisins.


Serves 4
4 carrots
200g raisins
5 oranges
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp date syrup or maple syrup
200 raw cashews
180g pitted olives, green, black or a mixture
salt and pepper

Top and tail the carrots, then peel off the outer skin and discard. Peel the rest of the carrots into thin slivers and place in a large bowl big enough for mixing. Turn the carrot as you peel, to ensure your strips are thin and less uniform. carrots, peeled, in dishNext, put the raisins in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you prepare everything else.


Peel four of the oranges and chop into segments, removing as much of the pith as possible. Place into a small saucepan with the ground cumin and the date syrup.


Sauté on a medium heat for about five minutes or until they are soft. Pour the fruit and all the juice over the carrots.

Now add the cashews to the same pan. Cook over a medium heat for about three minutes, so they soak up the orange flavour and brown a little. Add to the carrots.

Squeeze the juice of the final orange onto the salad, then add the olives. green olivesDrain the raisins, add to the salad with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss well, and serve. plateful5 to remember
una caja de plastico – a plastic box
un picnic – a picnic
un dátil – a date [fruit]
el jarabe – the syrup
deshuesado/a – pitted

Looking for other salads?
A pimped-up version of a Delia salad… griddled courgette & feta salad
Aubergine & herb salad
Mustardy salmon salad

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward 1-5-15

 

This recipe is from Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward [UK: Hodder & Stoughton]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sweet carrot salad: what’s not to like? #recipe by @DeliciouslyElla via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Nm