Tag Archives: Sandra Danby

A super green salad

This is my attempt to recreate a salad I ate for lunch in London recently. I had to substitute a few things but I was pleased with the result. I ate the ‘Avocado, Courgettes, Superfoods Salad’ at The Wolseley restaurant. Do give it a try. Its name does sound incredibly worthy, but it is very tasty on a hot summer day.

All the amounts are approximate, this salad served two. Feel free to add and subtract according to what ingredients you have. If the salad doesn’t look big enough for how hungry you are feeling, simply add another vegetable or handful of nuts. I resisted the temptation to add potatoes or tomatoes as the notion of a pure green salad was appealing, but don’t let that stop you.

Serves 2
A head of broccoli
Frozen peas
Rocket
Two handfuls of fresh basil
A bunch of asparagus
One avocado
A generous handful of assorted nuts [we used whole almonds]
2 tbsp of assorted seeds [we used pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and chia]
A generous helping of your favourite salad dressing [ours is traditional French, made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and a tsp Dijon mustard]

Heat a dry frying pan on a high heat and toss in the nuts [chopped if they are large] and seeds. Stir quickly until they start to brown then remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool.

Prepare the broccoli, separate into bite-sized pieces and cook quickly in boiling water. Be careful to remove from the heat while still crunchy, this salad does not work with over-cooked limp vegetables [eat them raw if you prefer]. Drain and rinse in cold running water. Set aside to drain completely.

While peas are cooking, prepare and cook the asparagus. As with the broccoli, be careful to undercook slightly. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the avocado, cut in half and remove the stone. Slice the flesh into bite-sized pieces.

Now assemble the salad. This is how I did it. First in the bottom of the serving bowl I put a layer of alfalfa seeds and fresh basil, followed by the cooked green vegetables. On top of that I placed the avocado then sprinkled the nuts and seeds.

Pour the dressing over the top, toss carefully to everything is coated, then serve. Alternative ingredients which would work well in this salad include:-
Courgette
Runner beans
Green beans
Salad onion
Cucumber
Raw spinach
Any salad leaves
Shredded raw Brussels sprouts
Sprouted lentils [from the chilled salad cabinet]
Edamame beans
Melon
Green apple
Any fresh herbs you have

If you like this, try:-
A mustardy leeks vinaigrette
Courgette flower frittata
Roasted chickpea Greek salad

Read more about The Wolseley and see its menus here.

5 to remember
mi intento – my attempt
recrear – to recreate
resistí a la tentación – I resisted the temptation
los ingredientes – the ingredients
alternativa – alternative

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A super green salad #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-26a

Swim… & watch the stars at night

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For sale: €595,000. To buy, click here

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you dream of swimming beneath the stars? #villaforsale via @Spanish_Valley @HiddenAndalucia http://wp.me/p3dYp6-24M

The feather of …?

Found on our terrace. One feather.

The feather is 22cm long, barred, cream and brown. My current guess is that it belongs to a male buzzard, although the white at the base of the feather could suggest a sparrowhawk. I used Raptors: a field guide for surveys and monitoring at Eurapmon, the body which researches and monitors raptors in Europe. I was surprised by the wealth of feather identification guides online, it is not something I have researched before.

Do you know which bird this feather belongs to?

Read about the song of the Sparrowhawks, here in our valley.

5 to remember
una pluma – a feather
listado/a – barred/striped
mi conjetura actual – my current guess
me sorprendió – I was surprised by
conectado/on-line – online

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
What type of bird does this feather belong to? #Birds in #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-24U via @Spanish_Valley

A big fellow, or not

I think this is the biggest grasshopper I have seen. He quickly assumed the name ‘a big fellow’ but after some gentle research I think he is a) definitely a grasshopper, not a cricket, because his legs are held lower, and b) he is a she, given the presence of an ovipositor [the organ at the end of the abdomen which is used for laying eggs]. I would be hopeless as a biologist, at first glance I thought the ovipositor was a broken leg.Read about some of the other grasshoppers and crickets in the hidden valley:-
Black grasshopper
The three grasshoppers
Grasshoppers and butterflies
A September visitor
Now that’s what I call green

5 to remember
creo que ésto es – I think this is
el abdomen – the abdomen
un biólogo – a biologist
a primera vista – at first glance
una pierna rota – a broken leg

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A big, gentle fellow #Insects in the #secretvalley in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-24C

Lighter brownies… Lighter? Brownies?

The concept of luxury brownies and lighter brownies seems a contradiction in terms to me. But one afternoon, craving something chocolately but having a small amount of chocolate chips in the baking drawer, I hit upon this recipe for which I had all the ingredients. Truth is, if you didn’t know they were called ‘lighter’ you wouldn’t have guessed.

This is our gluten-free version of a Mary Berry recipe made with eggs from our neighbour Pablo, and walnuts from our trees. 75g plain chocolate broken into pieces, or chocolate chips
100g margarine
3 eggs
350g caster sugar
120g plain flour [we used gluten-free plain flour]
1 tsp baking powder [we used 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder]
175g walnut pieces, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas4. Grease and base line a 30x23cm [12x9in] roasting tin or brownie tin with greased greaseproof paper. This bit is important as brownies, by their very nature, are very sticky.

Heat a pan of water, then rest a bowl over the top and melt the chocolate slowly with the margarine. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light. As we used Pablo’s eggs, we checked each first for freshness by breaking into a separate small bowl. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix well. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and carefully fold in, so that you fold in air. Stir in the chopped nuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bang the tin on the table, to eliminate large bubbles.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the brownie is well risen and a dull crust has formed. If your oven, like ours, is unpredictable, check after 20 minutes and if necessary rest a piece of foil over the top to prevent burning. The brownies should be a little gooey in the centre.

Allow to cool in the tin before turning out, leave to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. 5 to remember
una corteza – a crust
apagado/a – dull [coloured]
impredicible – unpredictable
si es necessario – if necessary
en el centro – in the centre

 

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

If you like baking, try these other recipes:-
Gluten-Free Cherry Cake
Apple and Cinnamon Cake
Cheesy Scone Bake

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A contradiction: ‘lighter’ brownies #Spain #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-24p

Bird song: Black Redstart

The black and red of this bird’s name refer to its tail colouring. Similar in size and weight to the Common Redstart, to which it is not closely related. It likes stony ground which is probably why we see so many here, the rough rocky outcrops around the valley and the surrounding countryside are a perfect habitat. Some of its behaviour is similar to the Robin – it ducks its head and body – and flicks its tail, though it catches passing insects in flight which the Robin does not. The male has a rattling song and a tick call.

Listen to the Black Redstart’s song here at the RSPB website.

5 to remember
el colorante – the colouring
similar en tamaño y peso – similar in size and weight
estrechamente relacionada – closely related
el comportamiento – the behaviour
el sitio web – the website

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Blackbird
Golden Oriole
Chaffinch

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you recognize the song of the Black Redstart? #Birds in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-24H

A fresh cherry cake

I have never tried putting fresh cherries into a cake before, but when Pablo arrived with a bucket full of cherries from the tree in his front garden, I had to be adaptable. This is the result. It won’t keep long, and is best in the fridge. But somehow I don’t think that will be a problem.

150g butter
150g sugar
a punnet of cherries, rinsed, stones removed & halved
3 large eggs [or 4 of Pablo’s]
75g plain flour [we used gluten-free]
1½ tsp baking powder [we used 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder]
100g ground almonds
50g shelled walnuts or almonds, chopped roughly

Set the oven at 180°C. Grease and line a square 20cm cake tin, about 6cm deep, with parchment paper.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, I always mix my cakes by hand as it seems easier. Break the eggs into a small bowl [I do this one at a time with Pablo’s eggs in case there is one that is not so fresh]. Beat the eggs gently, then add bit by bit to the butter mixture.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, stirring to mix, fold them gently into the butter mixture.

Fold in the ground almonds, then the nuts.

Scrape the mixture into the cake tin, give the tin a firm tap on the counter to help the mixture settle and get rid of air bubbles. Place the cherry halves evenly into the cake mixture, they will sink during cooking so this is not an artistic process. Bake for 40-45 minutes, test with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done. Remove the cake from the oven and set the tin on a cooling rack. Once the cake is cold, remove from the tin and peel off the paper.

5 to remember
las cerezas – the cherries
un balde – a bucket
adaptable – adaptable
pero de alguna manera – but somehow
las burbujas de aire – the air bubbles

 

This is an adaptation of a Nigel Slater cake recipe.
‘The Kitchen Diaries’ by Nigel Slater [UK: Fourth Estate]

If you like this, try these:-
Iced Apricot Fruit Loaf
A Simple, Classic Madeira Cake
Fragrant Pineapple Cake

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Don’t eat all those cherries, make a cake #Recipe by @NigelSlater #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-23k