Tag Archives: food

Spring orzo pasta

Really this is a Pasta Primavera recipe by another name, but it is fresh, quick and very tasty. Orzo is a type of small pasta made in the shape of a grain of rice, but your everyday choice of pasta will work just as well. It works with either fresh or frozen peas and broad beans, but do not stint on the Parmesan or pine nuts. Serves 4
200g dried orzo
200g frozen baby broad beans, defrosted and outer skin removed
200g frozen petits pois, defrosted
a knob of butter
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, sliced very thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g full-fat crème fraîche
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
juice and finely grated zest of a lemon
50g Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
25g pine nuts, toasted

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, until just cooked. Do not over cook, as it can become stodgy. Drain, and set aside.

Boil the broad beans and petits pois in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes, drain and rinse.

Meanwhile heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan, fry the onion over a high heat for 2-3 minutes. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat and cook gently for about 15 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, turn up the heat and fry for 1 minute.

Stir in the crème fraîche. Next, add the cooked orzo, beans and peas, and gently heat. Add the thyme, lemon juice and zest, and half the Parmesan, stir together and season to taste.
If you like this, try these:-
Punchy leeks on toast
Stuffed butternut squash
Pasta with gorgonzola & pecans

 

This recipe is from Mary Berry’s Everyday cookbook [UK: BBC]

5 to remember
realmente – really
por otro nombre – by another name
en la forma de – in the shape of
un grano de arroz – a grain of rice
indigesto/a – stodgy/indigestible

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
More Parmesan! Spring orzo pasta #Recipe by #MaryBerry #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1YC

Not only for Easter

Torrijas. This eggy bread is another Spanish recipe which makes great use of leftovers. Although it is traditionally eaten at Easter, we eat it often for lunch or brunch. milk & cinnamon sticks in the pan 18-4-14plateful 18-4-14Serves 6

2 litres milk
300g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 load of day-old white bread
Vegetable oil for frying [something flavourless like sunflower oil or peanut oil]
2 eggs, beaten
For the cinnamon coating:-
100g sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Place the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick in a pan and bring almost to boiling point, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and leave for about 15 minutes so the milk is infused with the cinnamon aroma. milk - boiled & standing 18-4-14Cut the bread into slices about 2-3cm thick. Place the bread slices in a large shallow dish and pour the milk over. bread - slice 18-4-14bread - soaking 18-4-14Chill for at least 2 hours, turning the slices over halfway through.

bread - two slices in frying pan 18-4-14Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, you need to be able to fry at least two slices of bread at a time. You could use butter instead of vegetable oil but beware, it burns more quickly. bread - dipped in egg 18-4-14When the oil is hot, quickly dip each slice of bread in the beaten egg [above] so that it is fully-coated and the place in the hot oil. Be careful not to burn your fingers!

After a couple of minutes, flip them over and fry for another minute or two until golden. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. cinnamon sugar - spoonful 18-4-14Mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle on both sides of the torrijas. Do this while they are still hot, as the sugary coating will stick more easily.

5 to remember
la Pascua – Easter
las sobras – the leftovers
a menudo – more often
desabrido/a – flavourless
el cacahuete – peanut

Looking for other breakfast options? Try these:-
A seedy berry thing for breakfast
A peach and brioche breakfast
Aubergines for breakfast
Tapas Revolution - book cover 2-9-13

 

Recipe from Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy [UK: Ebury Press]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Torrijas: not only for Easter #recipe by @tapasrevolution via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Ls

Irresistible minestrone

This is our go-to winter meal. Real comfort food. A big batch makes three large meals for the two of us. It is crammed with vegetables and, as long as you stick to the basic framework, it can be varied according to what you have. It is a Jamie Oliver recipe, based on the classic Italian recipe for minestrone, but is so much more. First, it is a stew not a soup. Second, the addition of vacuum-packed chestnuts adds a glorious silkiness. Third, I defy you to be hungry after eating it.

We make a couple of amendments. Jamie includes bacon, we don’t. We add a small tin of tomato concentrate and a dash of Worcester sauce. It is pretty foolproof.

Serves 8
2 onions
2 carrots
800g butternut squash
15g fresh rosemary
15g fresh sage
100g vacuum-packed chestnuts
olive oil
2 400g tins plum tomatoes, chopped or whole
2 400g tins borlotti beans
1.2 litres vegetable stock
500g seasonal greens [we used kale]
100g dried pasta [we used slim macaroni]
small tin tomato concentrate
Worcester sauce, a dash

Peel and roughly chop the onions and carrots. Peel the butternut, discard the seeds, and chop into pieces about the same size as the carrots. Finely chop the rosemary, sage leaves and chestnuts.

Take the largest saucepan you have, heat a drizzle of oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, butternut, herbs and chestnuts and cook slowly, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables have softened.

Add the tomatoes and tomato concentrate to the pan, followed by the beans, stock and the dash of Worcester sauce. Stir, cover with a lid, and bring slowly to the boil. Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes until the butternut is cooked through.

Meanwhile prepare the greens. Remove any tough stalks then chop. If your pasta is in large pieces, wrap it in a tea towel and bash it into smaller pieces using a rolling pin. Add the greens and pasta to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. If the sauce has thickened, you can add a splash of water at this stage.

Season to taste and divide between bowls. This keeps well in the fridge so make a batch, divide into smaller bowls, cover and store to eat later in the week. It’s good with crusty bread if you are absolutely starving hungry!

5 to remember
un gran lote – a big batch
infalible – foolproof
envasado al vacío – vacuum-packed
las castañas – the chestnuts
una sedosidad gloriosa – a glorious silkiness

Don’t know what to eat for dinner tonight? Try one of these recipes:-
Something sweet to make with squash
A silky, dense chocolate cake
Red onion & cheese scones

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Irresistible minestrone: our go-to winter meal #food in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2i3 via @Spanish_Valley

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Pasta that bites back

This pasta is a taste of Spring in a bowl, a glorious tangy mix of horseradish and lemon. It seems that the Spanish don’t grow horseradish root, or rather they don’t sell it in the supermarkets. So occasionally we bring a jar of horseradish cream from the UK just for this. This is a very Italian dish in style, very simple to make, and like all the best Italian food it is best when made with the very best available raw ingredients.

I added two extra ingredients; long-stemmed broccoli, and toasted almonds. Actually this recipe will work well with a variety of spring green vegetables; peas, green beans, broad beans would be delicious too.

Serves 4
450g asparagus
a handful of long-stemmed broccoli
salt
450g pasta
50g butter
1 tbsp creamed horseradish
lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped chives
a handful of whole, blanched almonds, toasted

Trim the asparagus, keep the tips separate. Save the trimmings for another recipe. Pour 4cm of water into a large saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the pieces of asparagus stem and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus tips to the pan, simmer for another 2-3 minutes until almost al dente but still firm. Drain. Now use the same pan to lightly cook the broccoli. You can prepare to this stage in advance, cool and cover.Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a pinch of a salt and a glug of sunflower oil. Add the pasta, bring back to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, until al dente. A few minutes before the pasta is done, melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the asparagus, stir to re-heat gently without frying. Add the horseradish cream, and a splash of lemon juice to taste.

Drain the pasta, tip into the asparagus pan and mix thoroughly. Test the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with our own chives, freshly-cut from the pot, and the toasted almonds. 

5 to remember
la raíz – root
las raices – roots
el rábano – horseradish
la crema – cream
el estilo – style

 

Recipe from ‘Eat Your Greens’ by Sophie Grigson [UK: BBC Books]

Don’t know what to eat for dinner tonight? Try one of these recipes:-
Very cheesy pie
Little squash cakes with a kick
Harissa salmon salad

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A hot hot hot pasta for asparagus season #food #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2hb via @Spanish_Valley

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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