Tag Archives: Spain

A quick salad for a sunny day in winter

On one of those winter days that feels like July, when the thought of hot food is overwhelming but the fridge is lacking salad ingredients, I rustled together this Jamie Oliver lunch dish. From the freezer, the cupboard, and the parsley pot on the terrace. I cut out one step from the original recipe to make it quicker: I didn’t roast the red peppers from the jar. It seemed a redundant step to me, as they are already roasted. I also didn’t add brine from the jar to the salad dressing, I made up the quantity with a splash more olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Serves 2
200g fresh podded broad beans, or frozen broad beans
30g whole almonds
1x 480g jar of roasted red peppers in brine
½ bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
30g manchego cheese [or any other hard cheese]
Dressing:-
1½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp brine from the pepper jar

Boil the broad beans for three minutes, drain and set aside to cool. If any are large, pinch off the pale green outer skin.

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until pale golden. Remove and finely slice.

Drain the jar of peppers, open out flat and slice into strips. [At this stage, Jamie roasts the peppers in a griddle pan, without oil. I didn’t].

Sort the parsley and discard the thick stalks. As the parsley is effectively the salad leaf in this dish, I left the leaves whole.

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a jar and give a good shake. In a serving bowl, toss together the peppers, parsley and broad beans with the dressing. Season to taste.

To serve, using a potato peeler, shave the cheese over the top of the salad. Add the almonds and an extra drizzle of 1 tsp olive oil. Served with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. 5 to remember
si alguna– if any
realmente– effectively/really/truly
los tallos gruesos– the thick stalks
un pelador de patatas– a potato peeler
sobre la parte superior de – over the top of

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
A gooey creamy salad
Light and fresh tabbouleh
Crunchy tahini green salad 

 

‘5 Ingredients’ by Jamie Oliver [UK: Michael Joseph]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A quick #salad for a sunny day in winter #Spain #recipe by @jamieoliver https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2st via @Spanish_Valley

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Bird song: Great Tit

Can you tell the difference between a Great Tit and a Blue Tit? No? Before we came to live here, I was hazy about them too. Sometimes it is still a bit hit and miss, but basically the Great Tit is larger and looks as if he is wearing a yellow waistcoat over a black shirt. Or alternatively, a black tie with a yellow shirt. The Blue has a plain yellow breast. Not very technical ‘birding’ language, but I hope you know what I mean. Although both types of Tit are resident here, we see mostly Greats. Its colouring is slightly stronger than the Blue, though in flight to be honest they whizz by in a flash of yellow and blue.

Found across Europe, there are thirty different races of Great Tit and there are just as many variations of Great Tit song as there are of the bird. In the spring, if you hear a bird song you can’t identify there’s a good chance there’s a Great Tit nearby. Particularly familiar is the two-tone ‘teach-er teach-er’.

Listen to the song of the Great Tit at Xeno-Canto.

5 to remember
un poco impredecible – a bit hit and miss
parece como si – looks as if
un chaleco amarillo – a yellow waistcoat
una corbata negra – a black tie
espero que sepas lo que quiero decir – I hope you know what I mean

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Grey Wagtail
Sparrowhawk
Jay

 

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

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

Salsa roasted beets

These are the best lentils I have ever eaten, teamed with sweet beetroot and a tangy herb salsa. A fine supper for a winter evening. There are three elements to combine, all simple. Serves 4
For the beetroots:-
8 medium firm beetroots, peeled and quartered
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the lentils:-
400g Puy or brown lentils, rinsed
4 whole cloves of garlic
1 small tomato, whole
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 litre vegetable stock
For the salsa verde:-
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp cornichons or gherkins
bunch of fresh mint
bunch of fresh parsley
bunch of fresh basil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 6. 
Put the quartered beetroots onto a baking tray. If your beetroots are large, cut them into smaller wedges as they can take a long time to roast. Add the vinegar, a good glug of olive oil and a splash of water. Season with salt and pepper, toss everything to coat. Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour, until the beetroots are cooked through and the juices are neon pink.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Put the lentils into a saucepan with the unpeeled garlic, whole tomato and herbs. Just cover with the vegetable stock. Put on a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes until they are cooked and the water evaporated [if they are cooked and spare water remains, simply drain it away]. If they are a little dry and not quite cooked, add a splash of boiling water.
To make the salsa, finely chop the capers and cornichons. Add the herbs and chop again. Put into a bowl and add the olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste, add more oil or lemon until you are happy. Set aside. Once the lentils are cooked and all the water has evaporated, scoop out the tomato, bay leaf and garlic. Set the flavourings aside in a bowl to cool. When you can handle them, remove the garlic skin and tomato skin, mash the flesh and add back into the lentils. Mix, season to taste, and add a final glug of olive oil and red wine vinegar [be sparing with the latter, add a little and taste until you are happy].
When the beetroots are cooked, you are ready to serve. Pile the lentils onto plates, top with the roasted beets and drizzle over the roasting juices. Drizzle over the salsa to finish.
If you have some salsa left over, it will keep in the fridge in a sealed jar for 2-3 days.

What would I do differently next time:-
To make the leftovers go further, we added a pile of roasted broccoli, roasted carrots and onions.
Drizzle thick natural yogurt over the top
Substitute balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar

5 to remember
los tres elementos – the three elements
evaporado – evaporated
si estan un poco secos – if they are a little dry
se mantendrá – it will keep
un frasco sellado – a sealed jar

This recipe is from ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ by Anna Jones
Buy

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Green Shakshuka
Light and Fresh Tabbouleh
Golden Drops of Salt Cod

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Salsa roasted beets #vegetarianfood #Recipe by Anna Jones @we_are_food https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2zJ via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Gold #42

Touch it at your peril. Dried Common Thistle. July 26, 2013 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Dried thistle, golden in the summer #Plants in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2yS via @Spanish_Valley 

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

Bird song: Black Wheatear

If we want to find a Black Wheatear here, we look around rough, stony ground and quite often spot one at the base of sheer cliffs. This mostly black bird is often hidden in the shade of boulders and scree slopes, but is resident here and we regularly see one in the valley. Its song is a beautiful whistling ‘pewp’ and harder ‘tet-tet’, but in flight it becomes a pleasant twittering sound.

The Black Wheatear seems to prefer the ground where it leaps and hops, foraging for insects. It even nests on the ground in a grassy cup in a hole in the ground, in a vacant rabbit burrow, in a stone wall or beneath rocks on a slope. It appears mostly black, but when in flight it is possible to glimpse its large white rump and tail.

Although the Wheatear has struggled in Northern Europe, here in Spain the Black Wheatear is listed as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018.
Listen to the song of the Black Wheatear at Xeno-Canto.

5 to remember
a la sombra de las rocas – in the shade of boulders
una madriguera de conejo vacante – a vacant rabbit burrow
es posible vislumbrar – it is possible to glimpse
menor preocupación – least concern
especies amenazadas – threatened species

Listen to the song of these other birds we see in our Spanish valley:-
Blackcap
Cetti’s Warbler
Robin

 

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

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 Wheater? #Birds in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2xA via @Spanish_Valley