Tag Archives: food

Easy gluten-free bread

This is my favourite gluten-free bread, much nicer than any shop-bought bread and with endless variations. I change the combination of seeds used, but always add pumpkin seeds as I enjoy the crunch. You can also add flavour by adding chopped fresh rosemary, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, or Marmite. I can’t speak for the success of the latter as I detest the stuff. The flour used is gram or chickpea, harina de garbanzo, which the Spanish use for deep frying and is easily available.

A word on organisation. The bread freezes well. As I am the only person in our household eating it, I cut it into slices before freezing so it is easy to take out one slice and pop it in the toaster. It needs toasting longer than conventional bread in order to go brown. If you add flavourings, be sure to label your freezer bag: orange marmalade on rosemary bread might be a bit of a shock.

For a different, more intense flavour, make the mix the night before, cover and place in the fridge then bake the next day. This is exceptionally easy to make, no kneading, and takes strong flavours well.

Makes 1 loaf
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
250g gram flour
100g ground almonds
50g linseeds, or milled linseeds
100g mixed seeds eg. Chia, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame
4 large eggs
Optional:-
3 tsp Marmite
4-5 sun-dried tomatoes
spring of fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 190degC/375degF/Gas 5. Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Fill a jug with 375ml lukewarm water, add the dried yeast and oil. Mix with a fork until combined and leave aside for five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, almonds, all the seeds and a pinch of sea salt, and make a well in the middle. If adding additional flavours, chop your rosemary or sun-dried tomatoes now. Add to the flour mixture.

Crack the eggs in a small bowl and whisk. If you are using your own eggs, it’s best to break them separately into a bowl one at a time to check for freshness. If using Marmite, add it to the eggs and mix. Now pour the eggs into the yeast mixture and whisk.

Stir the liquid into the flour, gradually stirring in the flour from the outside of the bowl until it is all combined. You will have a batter-like mixture, not a dough. If you want to bake the bread later, set it aside now. Otherwise, pour into the prepared tin, give the tin a sharp tap on the worktop to eliminate bubbles. Place in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes or until risen, golden and cooked through.  Test with a skewer which should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

If you like this, try:-
Sweet and sticky tomato and onion bake
Blue cheese coleslaw
Portobello Mushrooms with double cheese topping 

5 to remember
la levadura– the yeast
la harina de garbanzo– the gram/chickpea flour
mucho mejor que – much nicer than
para eliminar – to eliminate
la masa– the dough

 

This recipe is from ‘Everyday Superfood’ by Jamie Oliver [Michael Joseph]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Easy gluten-free bread #Spain #Recipe by @JamieOliver https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2lT via @Spanish_Valley

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Herby baked halloumi with tapenade

Halloumi, that oddly squeaky Greek cheese, works well when stuffed with intense flavours. So this recipe is a bit of a hit in our house. It takes a little preparation time, but makes a really tasty lunch. Excessive amounts of herbs, lemon and olives are used, but it’s worth it. Oh, and there’s a bit of parcelling up too. Serves 4
For the halloumi:-
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Handful of flat leaf parsley
2 sprigs fresh oregano
Grated rind and juice of a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x 250g block halloumi
Freshly ground black pepper
For the tapenade:-
200g pitted black olives [we used Kalamata]
1 clove of garlic [we used two]
2 salted anchovy fillets in oil [we used half a tin]
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 fresh rosemary sprig, roughly chopped
50ml olive oil
For the tomato salad:-
3 vine-ripened tomatoes
2 tsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
A handful of fresh basil leaves

Mix the main halloumi ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a paste [I used a large lemon which made the mixture quite runny, but this didn’t make any difference to the baked cheese]. Smear the paste all over the halloumi and season with pepper [there is no need to add salt to this dish, as both the halloumi and anchovies are salty enough]. Cover the bowl with cling film and put into the fridge for a minimum of two hours, overnight is better.

Put all the tapenade ingredients together in a small food processor, and blend together to your preferred texture. There is no need to discard thin parsley leaves as they chop well and add a lot of flavour. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 200°C. On a metal baking sheet, lay two sheets of baking paper. Place the halloumi and its marinade in the centre of the paper, then fold up the paper so it closes around the top like an envelope. Secure with staples to create an airtight package, so the cheese will steam inside.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. When it’s done, remove from the oven and set aside for a few moments to cool. Meanwhile make the salad: slice the tomatoes and lay them on a plate. Season as preferred, drizzle with oil and vinegar, decorate with a scattering of basil leaves.

Serve the three dishes on one plate with a lemon wedge. We ate this with crusty sourdough bread, if we were really hungry we would eat it with a dish of roasted sweet potatoes. 5 to remember
el halloumi – the halloumi
chirriador – squeaky
de masa fermentada – sourdough
crujiente – crusty
una cuña de limón – a lemon wedge

 

This recipe is from ‘Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite’ by Gizzi Erskine [UK: Mitchell Beazley]

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Little squash cakes with a kick
Yogurt & roasted butternut salad
A gift of leeks

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Herby baked halloumi with tapenade #Spain #Recipe by @GizziErskine https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2om via @Spanish_Valley

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Picking wild fennel seeds

We use a lot of fennel seeds in our house, they add a subtle layer of fragrance without being a dominant flavour. So this summer I decided to become a forager and gather our own from the hillside. This turned out to be such a simple process, I’m kicking myself for not doing it earlier. In Spain, the seeds dry on the wild plant so it’s a matter of judging the right time to collect them before any rain. Or before the birds get them.

Wild fennel is the same plant as the domesticated variety, except it doesn’t set a bulb, can grow very tall, has smaller seeds, and in places grows like a weed. The beautiful yellow globes are a familiar sight around here. How to forage:-
When your chosen day arrives, go for a walk with a pair of scissors and a paper bag. Find your plant and check each seed head – some will have already been eaten by birds, some just don’t set seed. Look for the seed heads with the largest seeds, cut them off and put them in your bag. If I don’t have time to deal with them straight away, I will lay them out in the sun to dry. Alternatively, I tie the bag with string and hang it in the pantry. The seed should separate itself from the seed head within a couple of weeks.

Shake the contents of the bag onto some clean paper. Take one seed head at a time and remove the seeds with your thumb and forefinger, dropping them into a dish. Pick through the seeds and remove any twigs, dust and debris. Put your seeds into a jar, seal it and freeze for a week. After that, it’s ready to use. 

How to dry inside:-
Strip the seeds from the stalks and scatter on a baking tray.
Place in the oven at a low temperature for 30 mins or until they feel dry.
Now they can be stored whole in a sealed jar, or ground to powder in a coffee grinder [I recommend keeping a grinder specifically for spices].

5 to remember
un proceso simple – a simple process
inmediatamente – straight away
un globo – a globe
un molinillo de café – a coffee grinder
yo recomiendo – I recommend

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Picking wild fennel seeds #foraging #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2p3 via @Spanish_Valley

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Banana & berry ice-cream

This is the smoothest, creamiest ice-cream I have tasted and it doesn’t have a drop of cream in it. Bananas and berries. It really is that simple. The possible variations are endless. Ella Mills, whose recipe it is, suggest three versions: this one, plain banana, and caramel featuring banana and dates. Don’t just save it for a hot Spanish summer day. It’s a great way of using up over-ripe bananas and the ice-cream keeps well in the freezer if you can’t eat it all at once.

Serves 4
8 very ripe, large bananas [1.3kg]
100g frozen blueberries or mixed berries

Peel the bananas, chop into thin slices. Place the slices into a bowl and freeze for at least six hours. When you are ready to make your ice-cream, remove the banana slices from the freezer and allow them to warm-up for about five minutes. Then put them into a food processor and blend for a minute or two until the mixture is smooth. Add the berries and blend again.

That’s it. For the caramel version, make the ice-cream in exactly the same way but instead of berries, substitute 12 pitted and chopped Medjool dates and 5 tbsp almond butter then blend.

If you like this, try:-
Chocolate Flapjack
Peanut Butter Biscuits
Baked Rice Pudding

5 to remember
más suave – smoothest
cremoso – creamiest
las posibles variaciones – the possible variations
interminable – endless
por un minuto o dos – for a minute or two

 

This recipe is Ella Mills, find more of her recipes here.
‘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:
Banana ice-cream, with berries #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2at

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Broccoli and avocado salad

Yes, this is a healthy salad, but it also tastes great. If you have never eaten broccoli in a salad before, I urge you to try it. It is excellent, but only if you pre-cook your broccoli so it is slightly crunchy – over-cooked limp broccoli does not work in a salad! I added toasted walnuts for protein, you can simply omit these or substitute with your favourite nuts.

Serves 4
For the salad:-
1 ½ heads of broccoli
3 ripe avocadoes
a handful of fresh coriander [I used parsley]
a handful of walnuts
For the dressing:-
Juice of 3 limes [about 30ml of juice]
2 tbsp tahini
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey or maple syrup [I used maple syrup]
a sprinkling of salt

First prepare the veggies. Cut the broccoli into small florets, bite-sized pieces. Steam them in a steamer for about 7 minutes until cooked but a little crunchy. Alternatively you can boil them, but watch over them so they do not over-cook. Drain, cool in cold water, drain again and set aside.

Slice the avocados in half, remove the stone and peel. Cut the flesh into small cubes

Chop the coriander into tiny pieces.

Mix all three ingredients together in a large salad bowl.

If using nuts, heat a small frying pan over a high heat then add your nuts and dry-toast them [doing this without oil helps to release the nuts’ natural oils and enhances the flavour]. Add the nuts to the salad bowl.

To prepare the dressing:-
Squeeze the limes into a bowl, then add the other dressing ingredients. Stir well, then drizzle over the salad.

If you are hungry, serve with a side dish of roasted sweet potatoes. Simple peel and cut the sweet potatoes into wedges, put onto a baking tray, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, toss the veggies to mix, then roast in a hot oven [about 180°C] for around half an hour until the sweet potatoes are going brown around the edges. I check them halfway through and stir. Be sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the baking tray.

If you like this, try:-
A Mustardy Leeks Vinaigrette
A Sweet Creamy Frittata
Asparagus and Lemon Risotto

5 to remember
saludable – healthy
sobrecocido/a – over-cooked
si tienes hambre – if you are hungry
las patatas dulces – the sweet potatoes
a medio camino – halfway through

 

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 healthy broccoli & avocado salad #Spain #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-25x

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A side-effect of asparagus

The season is with us when everyone wandering around the countryside here seems to be carrying a bag. They are foraging for wild asparagus. But there is one side-effect which is never spoken of. Some people, between 22%-50% of us – are prone to smelly urine after eating asparagus.

Why? It is believed that during digestion the vegetable’s sulphurous compound called mercaptan (which is also found in rotten eggs, onions and garlic) breaks down into smelly chemical components. Because those components are volatile, ie. airborne, the odour wafts upward as the urine leaves the body. This unusual scent is evident quickly, as soon as 15 minutes after eating. Not everyone’s body experiences this process, and not everyone is able to smell it.

Try these recipes featuring asparagus:-
Asparagus and lemon risotto
Roasted asparagus
Wild asparagus and scrambled eggs for lunch

5 to remember
un efecto secundario – a side-effect
nunca se habla de – never spoken of
la orina – the urine
el olor – the odour
tan pronto como – as soon as

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A side-effect of asparagus #Food in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2ju via @Spanish_Valley 

Lentil and thyme casserole

We’ve become fans of these big pot stews, casseroles, call them what you will. They are hearty, tasty, filling, and they last more than one meal so are great when you have a busy day later in the week. Just store in the fridge in a bowl with a lid, and either reheat gently in a saucepan or gently in the microwave with the lid loosely on top. When reheating it may help to add a splash of water, to loosen up the sauce.

This casserole features fresh thyme, which we always have loads of, and my favourite earthy lentils. Eat with a spoon.

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp smoked pimenton
½ tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 medium carrots, sliced [about 200g]
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable stock
2 courgettes, thickly sliced [about 300g]
2 sprigs fresh thyme
250g cooked lentils, green or brown, not split [if you are using dried and are cooking your own, we work on the basis that dried lentils are approximately half the weight of cooked]

First cook your lentils, if you are cooking your own rather than using a tin.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onions and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until softened.

Add the garlic, spices, dried thyme, carrots, peppers and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, courgettes and fresh thyme and cook for 20-25 minutes. Take out the thyme sprigs, stir in the cooked lentils. Bring back to a simmer for a few minutes so the lentils are heated through. Serve in a bowl.

If you like this, try these:-
Asparagus and horseradish pasta 
Very cheesy pie
Golden drops of salt cod

5 to remember
la mitad del peso de – half the weight of
sin semillas – deseeded
hasta que se suavice – until softened
el tomillo seco – the dried thyme
calentado a través – heated through

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Eat this with a spoon: lentil & thyme casserole #food #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2iE via @Spanish_Valley

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