Tag Archives: Sandra Danby

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

Fill your #Kindle with ebooks – why not try the Identity Detective series

No exciting books under the Christmas tree? Are you bored already? Fill your #Kindle with new ebooks by authors new to you. Or start that book you’ve been meaning to read and haven’t got around to buying? Or try the Identity Detective series.Identity DetectiveSo what’s my ‘Identity Detective’ series all about?
Rose Haldane, journalist and identity detective, reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. And each new challenge makes Rose re-live her own adoption story, each birth mother and father, adopted child, and adoptive parent she talks to, reminds her of her own birth mother Kate. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother, her hopes and anxieties, her guilt and fear, and her longing to see her baby again.

Here’s what some readers said about ‘Ignoring Gravity’ 5* “Ignoring Gravity is a very enjoyable read from beginning to end. The warm story will tear at your heart strings one moment, and make you smile the next.”
5* “I gave Ignoring Gravity 5 stars out of 5 for being a thought-provoking read on a sensitive and sometimes difficult subject. Knowing who you are and where you came from is important whether you are adopted or not.”
5* “This book genuinely surprised me. Reading the first couple of pages I almost put it down but I am really glad I didn’t make that mistake because as it drew me in I found it increasingly difficult to stop reading. I love books about secrets and this was no exception.”
Amazon UK 
Amazon USA

 … and about ‘Connectedness’ Sandra Danby5* “This is a novel that I found hard to put down as it swept me along on a roller-coaster of an emotional ride. I had to pull myself together not to burst into tears. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a very well-written story about a family saga.”
4* “This novel is deftly plotted with vivid characters and a mesmerizing story. I truly loved the way Justine’s past was woven into her present, reminding us that we are all, like her art, collages made from the memories and experiences we pick up on our travels and via the people we meet.”
5* “A beautiful book on so many levels. The title and the stunning cover drew me in and the prologue took my breath away. I had to read on to know why, what, who. I felt for Justine – her ache, angst, grief, her quest for answers – all so realistic, so sensitively portrayed.”
Amazon UK
Amazon USA 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Fill your #Kindle with ebooks – why not try the Identity Detective #saga series https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xq via @Spanish_Valley

Bird song: Nightjar

I know someone who once saw a Nightjar in Spain at dusk in the summer.

[photo: Mull Birds & Jim Bevan]

I have never seen one, but I have heard them sing. Such a strange, haunting song ‘churr-churr’ which can vary from a soft purr to a harder wooden rattle. It flies at dusk and dawn, on the hunt for moths and insects, with its mouth wide open.

Actually, I may have seen a Nightjar but thought it was a Cuckoo or Kestrel. It is similar-sized and shaped, with pointed wings and a long tail. All sorts of ancient myths exist about Nightjars, principally that they steal milk from goats. The latter belief led to the Nightjar’s nickname ‘goatsucker’.

Listen to the Nightjar’s song at the RSPB website.

5 to remember
tal vez lo he visto – I may have seen
de tamaño semejante – similar-sized
de forma semejante – similar-shaped
último – latter
la creencia – the belief

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Red-Legged Partridge
Wren
Woodpigeon

 

Our most used bird book?
Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Do you recognize the song of the Nightjar? #Birds in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2aI

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Sweet potato pie

This pie is a real winter treat when you are starving hungry and it is cold outside. Easy, quick and with wonderful overtones of lemon and thyme. Serves 6
For the lentil mixture:-
Olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, bashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked [reserve some for the topping]
400g tin of tomatoes
400g Puy lentils
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the mash:-
5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced [I used ¼ red onion, finely chopped]
grated zest of half an unwaxed lemon

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7.

Start with the mash. Cook the sweet potatoes for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-bottomed casserole [which can go from hob to oven] and add a glug of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions and garlic and let them sizzle on a medium heat for 10 minutes until everything has softened a little.

Next add the spices and thyme, stir and cook for two minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, adding 2 empty tomato tins full of cold water, next add the lentils. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are cooked and the sauce has thickened. You may need to top it up with water from time to time. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the sweet potatoes, mash with olive oil, spring onions, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spoon the mash on top of the lentil mixture, and sprinkle with the reserved thyme leaves. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

We like to eat this with a side of wilted spinach.

 

This recipe is from ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ by Anna Jones [UK: Fourth Estate]

 

 

5 to remember
maravilloso – wonderful
los armónicos – the overtones
no encerado – unwaxed
ha engrosado – has thickened
es posible que necesite – you may need to

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Smoky spring onions and asparagus with lime
Cauliflower salad with spinach yogurt
A cassoulet of aubergines

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sweet potato & lentil pie #Spain #Recipe by Anna Jones @we_are_food https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2fN via @Spanish_Valley

Bird song: Barn Owl

If you see an owl, it is most likely a Barn Owl. It is sometimes about by day in winter, and in summer can often be seen hunting before dark – lots of hungry mouths to feed means the parents cannot be exclusively nocturnal. It is a medium-sized with a wingspan just under 1m and has a large head, but the easiest way to identify it is by its white underside and underwings.

There is no fluting song from this owl. It does not hoot [that’s the Tawny]. You may hear hissing and snoring from its nest, or a shrill or high squeak of alarm or when courting. Adults and juveniles will hiss like a snake to scare intruders. It nests in big holes, for example in a tree, a stack of bales or a building.

Listen to the Barn Owl’s shriek at the RSPB website.

5 to remember
si tú ves  – if you see
una lechuza comun – a Barn Owl
nocturno – nocturnal
una envergadura – a wingspan
identificar – to identify

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Stonechat
Hoopoe
Serin

 

Our most used bird book?
Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
How does the Barn Owl shriek? #Birds in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2af

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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A fantastic disguise

I think this master of disguise is a Lilac Beauty moth. I saw it resting on a parsley plant and thought it was a dead leaf. Consider the size of the parsley leaf in the background, and you will see how small this moth is.The apeira syringaria feeds on honeysuckle and privet. We don’t have any privet here but we are surrounded by honeysuckle hedges which we planted for its scent. So, plenty of food here. Most fascinating though is its wing shape, its resemblance to a dead leaf

[photo: Wikipedia]

5 to remember
el disfraz – the disguise
descansando – resting
una hoja muerta – a dead leaf
el fondo – the background
el ligustro – the privet

 

‘Butterflies and Moths: a Pocket Guide’ [UK: Dorling Kindersley]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A fantastic disguise #Moths in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-26S 

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