Tag Archives: living abroad

Baked eggs in magical mushrooms

I love these one dish baked suppers. This one can be prepared in advance and cooked later and is made of mostly store cupboard ingredients. It also performs a magic trick on cheap supermarket mushrooms by serving them in a dense rich tomato sauce. I added some additional spices to add flavour, rather than heat, and a jar of chickpeas for protein. Eat with a spoon and bread to mop up the sauce and yolk. This is great to make ahead and keep in the fridge, then put in the oven when you are ready to eat. If you make this early to cook later, remember to allow a little more time in the oven. Always taste and test before serving, and check in the centre to ensure it is full heated through.

Serves 4, or two very hungry people
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed [I didn’t have seeds so I used 1 tsp ground coriander]
2 tsp tomato paste
½ tsp thyme leaves [I used dried]
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp olive oil
25g sultanas
20g pine nuts [I used chopped almonds]
Juice of ½ lemon
250g button mushrooms, quartered
4 eggs [I used two]
1 tbsp 0% fat Greek yogurt
I added:-
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp pimenton dulce
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
In a saucepan place the tomatoes, coriander, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, oil and additional spices [if using]. Season with black pepper. Add 150ml water and simmer gently for 8 minutes. Increase the heat then add the sultanas, pine nuts, lemon juice, mushrooms and chickpeas [if using]. Cook for a further 5 minutes. If you are cooking later, halt the process here.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 5. Spoon the mushroom mixture into individual ramekins [if using, or into a wide baking dish]. Make a well in the mixture for each egg.

Break an egg into each hole, then top each egg with a spoonful of yogurt. Bake for 9 minutes if the mixture is hot, or 12 minutes if cold. I baked mine straight away and it was happy in the oven for almost 30 minutes, though the sauce did bubble over so I was glad I had put the baking dish on a baking tray. Next time I will:-
Leave out the fresh tomatoes and just use tinned chopped tomatoes
Use finely chopped fresh thyme
Serve with toasted sourdough bread rubbed with fresh garlic

If you like this, try:-
Moorish rice with saffron braised carrots
Herby baked halloumi with tapenade
Baked pesto and tomato pasta

5 to remember
un truco de magia  – a magic trick
una cucharada de yogurt – a spoonful of yogurt
un ramekin – a ramekin
si vas a cocinar mas tarde – if you are cooking later
a la próxima, lo hare – next time I will

 

This recipe is by TV chef Anthony Worrall-Thompson Amazon

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Baked eggs in magic mushrooms #Recipe by @AntonyWT #veggiefood https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2wK via @Spanish_Valley

Salmon and new potato traybake

This is a versatile supper dish that, with a few seasonal amendments, works well throughout the year. And it is very tasty! In spring add asparagus, in the winter use leeks and frozen peas, add baby broad beans in the summer and in the autumn try Brussels sprouts. If you can get lightly smoked salmon fillets, they work well too.

Serves 4
2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
750g baby new potatoes
3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves [I used a combination of tarragon and dill]
juice and zest of a lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve
175g leeks, trimmed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 tbsp crème fraiche or natural yogurt
1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
4 fillets salmon
200g frozen peas, gently defrosted

Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan/ gas mark 7. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin and out in the oven to preheat.

Cut the potatoes into evenly sized quarters and out into the heated tin. Add 1 tbsp tarragon and half the lemon zest. Season well and toss well to coat in oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the leeks in a bowl and cover with freshly boiled water. Set aside for 10 minutes, then drain. 

For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, crème fraiche, capers, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1tbsp tarragon and 1 tbsp water (to loosen the mixture). Season to taste. After 15 minutes, remove the potatoes from the oven and test. They should be almost tender; if they’re not put back into the oven for another five minutes. If they are almost tender, add the drained leeks, toss briefly with the oil then place the salmon fillets on top. Over the top sprinkle the remaining tarragon and lemon zest, check the seasoning.

Scatter frozen peas on top then return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

To serve, drizzle with the dressing and squeeze the lemon wedges. From a recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine.

If you like this, try:-
Mint, lime & lentil salad
Punchy leeks on toast
Roasted cauliflower salad

5 to remember
el estragón – the tarragon
un filete de pescado – a fillet (of fish)
agotado – drained
a lloviznar – to drizzle
un trozo – a wedge

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Salmon & potato traybake: a versatile supper dish that works well throughout the year #Spain #Recipe by @GHmagazine https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2mk  via @Spanish_Valley

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Green shakshuka

This is one of those one-pan supper dishes that looks impossibly healthy and also tastes great. The colour combination of green and egg yolk yellow is vibrant and never fails to make me feel hungry. You can vary the type of mixed greens or herbs used, but the eggs and potatoes are essential elements. If you’re really hungry serve with a side of roasted sweet potato wedges, or toasted sourdough. This time we had some spare mushrooms in the fridge so we browned them first in a separate frying pan then added them to the greens. As we used spring greens, which take longer to cook than spinach, we boiled them briefly in a separate saucepan before adding.

Serves 4
1 tbsp olive oil
300g new potatoes, cooked and sliced
300g mixed spring greens, chard and spinach
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds
a small handful each of fresh mint, fresh parsley and fresh dill
200g frozen peas, gently defrosted
4 eggs
natural yogurt, to serve

In a large frying pan (a wide one with a lid), heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the potatoes for five minutes until turning golden.

Add the mixed greens and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until wilted. Stir in the garlic, cumin seeds, fresh herbs and peas. Taste for seasoning. Then cover and cook for a few more minutes until the greens are tender.

Take 4 eggs. Make 4 wells in the vegetables and crack an egg into each.Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes until the whites are just set. Sprinkle with a few more herbs, check the seasoning. Serve with a dollop of natural yogurt on the side. This recipe is from Good Housekeeping magazine.

If you like this, try:-
Brazil nut pesto pasta
A courgette and halloumi feast
Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger

5 to remember
vibrante – vibrant
suavemente descongelado – gently defrosted
una amplia – a wide one
un poco mas – a few more
una cucharada de – a dollop of

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Green shakshuka: a beautiful combination of green & yellow which makes me hungry #Spain #Recipe by @GHmagazine https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2mF via @Spanish_Valley

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Oleanders, joyous and life-affirming

Vincent van Gogh famously painted sunflowers during his time at Arles in France. But he also painted oleanders. He reportedly found them ‘joyous’ and ‘life-affirming’ because of their inexhaustible blooms and vigour. I know what he means

Oleanders by Vincent Van Gogh [photo: Wikipedia]

Our oleanders continue to flower from spring through autumn, in a mixture of red, pink and white. Now taller than me, oleanders can grow up to 6m tall. On our terraces, they mix with climbing roses, ivy and tall grasses. No sooner have the petals started to shrivel on one plant, than buds form on another. Even the dead flower bracts have appeal.

Oleander is a famously toxic garden plant, though huge quantities have to be consumed. Birds are thought to be immune; a fact that our sparrows and blackbirds can confirm as they regularly seek the shade of the oleanders on summer days.

5 to remember
jubiloso – joyous
marchitarse – to shrivel
una bráctea de flores– a flower bract
tóxico – toxic
un hecho que– a fact that

 

If you’d like to read more about Vincent van Gogh in Arles, the sunflowers and the oleanders, read ‘The Yellow House’ by Martin Gayford [UK: Penguin]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Oleanders, always flowering, always a new season in #Spain #gardening https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2pu via @Spanish_Valley 

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Petals on the steps

Our house stands on a hillside. Beneath us is a terrace of three levels, filled with multi-coloured oleanders, roses, ivy, honeysuckle, tall grasses, iris, pyracantha, rosemary and lavender. Mid-way down the hill, a path of stepping stones leads along a ridge to the top of a flight of steps. These rustic steps lead down to the river, with wild hillside on the left and the fruit orchard on the right. Shade is provided by tall oleander bushes and wild pomegranate trees. At the bottom is a picnic bench where we sit to chill out with an early morning mug of tea or an evening glass of wine, listen to the waterfall, admire the valley, and check on the progress of the wild figs. Are they ready to pick? Will we eat them fresh with some soft local goats cheese, or poached in syrup with a vanilla pod?

5 to remember
una ladera– a hillside
de tres niveles– of three levels
multicolor – multi-coloured
los escalones– the stepping stones
salvaje – wild

 

I use ‘Mediterranean Garden Plants’ by Lorraine Cavanagh [UK: Santana]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Petals on the steps #Spain #gardening https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2pK via @Spanish_Valley 

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A courgette and halloumi feast

This is a vegetarian meal worthy of guests, a feast, a celebration. It explodes with flavours and textures. Nothing is shy. Mint. Garlic. Basil. Beetroot. Lemon. If I was served this in a vegetarian restaurant, I would be delighted. There are four separate elements to the meal, which alone means it is probably best served as a celebration dinner rather than a mid-week meal. My favourite element? I’m hard-pressed to choose between the courgette and halloumi mixture, and the hazelnut pesto. Sadly I can’t tell you the cook responsible for the recipe, other than that it was featured in The Times Magazine. I plucked it from a pile of torn-out recipes because I fancied making something with halloumi.

Serves 8
For the courgettes and halloumi:-
5 tbsp olive oil
juice and zest of 4 lemons
3 garlic cloves, peeled
8 courgettes, cut into 5mm slices
1.2kg halloumi, cut into 5mm slices
a bunch of mint, leaves roughly chopped at the last minute
freshly ground black pepper
For the beetroot:-
16 small raw beetroots, unpeeled, washed and leaves trimmed to 3cm [1.6kg total weight]
olive oil, for brushing
freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
For the hazelnut pesto:-
200 whole hazelnuts
100g basil leaves
100g parmesan, roughly grated
zest and juice of 2 lemons
400ml extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
For the chickpeas:-
4 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp olive oil, for roasting
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp garlic powder [optional, I did not use]
2 tbsp soft brown sugar [optional, I did not use]

Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas 6. First, put the whole beetroots into a large roasting tin. Brush or roll them in olive oil so they are well covered. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until they are soft and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once they are cooled, remove the skins using a sharp knife and fork. It is better not to touch them as beetroot juice can stain anything it touches. Cut away the root and stalks, then chop the beets into 5cm chunks. Set aside until ready to serve. This can be prepared the day before.

Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C / gas 5.

If you prefer to eat your nuts with skins, omit this next stage. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 7-10 minutes until the skins have darkened and the nuts are golden underneath. Rub the nuts between clean tea towels to loosen the skins.

To assemble the pesto, put the nuts and other pesto ingredients into a food processor. Blitz to your preferred texture, I like some crunchiness. Put into a storage box and set aside until serving. This can be prepared the day before.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then dry between two layers of kitchen towel. Put them into a bowl and toss with olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients and stir so everything is coated. Tip the chickpeas onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until just starting to turn golden and crispy. Sprinkle with extra chopped rosemary, and set aside. This can be prepared the day before.

Prepare the flavoured oil for griddling the courgettes and halloumi. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the lemon zest and garlic. Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat and set aside so the flavours infuse into the oil.

When you are ready to griddle, remove the garlic and zest from the oil, add the lemon juice.

Preheat a griddle pan until really hot. Now griddle the slices of courgette and halloumi, brushing each first with the lemony oil. Do not put the oil into the griddle pan. Resist the temptation to move things around in the pan, otherwise the pieces will not gain the distinctive brown stripes. Each piece will need cooking for only about 2-3 minutes, until charred and tender. Sprinkle with fresh mint.

Serve the courgette and halloumi salad with the chickpeas, roasted beetroot and hazelnut pesto. What would I do differently next time:-
Griddle the courgettes and halloumi using plain olive oil, to save time
Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the griddled courgettes
Serve with a large amount of fresh mint leaves
Don’t worry about the size of the beetroots you use, large ones work just as well

Note: I have omitted sea salt from the ingredient lists as I find halloumi contributes enough salt to the overall combination of flavours.

5 to remember
una celebración– a celebration
explota – it explodes
carbonizado y tierno – charred and tender
para ganar tiempo – to save time
la combinación general de sabores – the overall combination of flavours

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
A fresh cherry cake
Harissa salmon salad
Sweet potatoes + coconut + ginger

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A courgette & halloumi feast #Spain #recipe https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2lw via @Spanish_Valley

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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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