Tag Archives: Spain

Moorish rice with saffron braised carrots

I hesitate to call this dish a pilaf as that is an Indian term, but whatever the correct name is this is delicious. And it has limitless variations which makes it a great store cupboard meal. Served with carrots braised in a delicious saffron sauce, both dishes are quick and easy to make for a supper dos juntos or for a cozy supper with friends. The pilaf can be prepared in advance and reheated in a large frying pan.

Serves 4
For the pilaf:-
250g basmati rice [I used brown]
200g frozen broad beans
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 large shallots, finely sliced [I used 2 red onions]
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp raisins
30g flaked almonds, dry toasted until pale golden
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the carrots:-
500g carrots, baby carrots if possible, washed and cut into batons
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tso cumin seeds
150ml water
generous pinch of saffron
½ tsp Marigold bouillon powder, or ½ crushed vegetable stock cube
4 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
a dash of Tabasco
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
To serve:-
A couple of generous tbsp of natural unsweetened yogurt
Juice of a lemon

Prepare the pilaf ingredients:-
Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with its volume in water. Leave the lid on at all times, the only exception being if you need to add a splash of extra water [as I did]. Bring the water to the boil and immediately reduce the heat to a very low simmer for 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand with the lid on for another 8 minutes. This method produces dry rice suitable for the frying to follow.

Meanwhile, cook the frozen broad beans, drain and set aside. Dry toast the almonds in a frying pan without oil, set aside. If, like me, you plan to eat this as a vegetarian main meal rather than a side dish, cook your puy lentils, drain and set aside until you are ready to eat. For the carrots:-
Place the carrots in a large saucepan [I used a deep, wide frying pan with lid] with the olive oil, ground cumin, cumin seeds, water, saffron, bouillon, garlic and Tabasco. Add seasoning as preferred. Toss well so the carrots are well covered with oil, and lay them flat in one layer. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and then. Try not to lift the lid unless it looks as if it is sticking, if it is just give it a quick stir and replace the lid. If it looks a little dry, add a splash of water. Test with a knife to see if the carrots are ready, they should be covered in the sticky saffron sauce.

Assemble the pilaf:-
In a large wide frying pan, add the olive oil and heat gently. Fry the shallots for about 3 minutes and add the garlic, stirring until they are pale golden. When the shallots are almost cooked, add the cumin seeds [if you forget, as I did, they are fine if added with the rice]. Now, add the cooked rice, broad beans, raisins and lentils [if using]. Return to a gentle heat and stir to combine until thoroughly heated through. This process will take as long as it takes for the carrots to cook.

Serve the rice with the flaked almonds sprinkled on top, with a side of carrots and lemon-flavoured yogurt. What would I do differently next time?
Substitute frozen peas for the frozen broad beans
Stir fresh spinach into the hot rice and allow it to wilt
Substitute chopped dried apricots or dates for the raisins
Substitute a tin of chickpeas for the cooked puy lentils
Serve with braised green beans, cooked in the same way as the carrots
Serve with roasted aubergine, sliced and tossed with olive oil and roasted on a tray in the oven

If you like this, try:-
A courgette and halloumi feast
A cassoulet of aubergines
Asparagus and lemon risotto

5 to remember
dos juntos– two together
un batido– a shake
si parece un poco seco– if it looks a little dry
las semillas de comino – the cumin seeds
sabor a limón– lemon-flavoured

 

This recipe is from ‘The Cranks Bible’ by Nadine Abensur [Weidenfeld & Nicolson]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Moorish rice with saffron braised carrots #Spain #vegetarianfood https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2vi via @Spanish_Valley

#Christmas is coming… give someone a signed paperback

Are you planning your Christmas present list yet? If you know an avid reader who loves the touch and smell of real books, why not give them a signed paperback copy of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ or ‘Connectedness’? ChristmasSimply click the link below to order at my website. Payment is quick and secure by PayPal and you can specify your personalised dedication.

It couldn’t be easier! Available in the UK only.

Order ‘Ignoring Gravity’
Order ‘Connectedness’

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Give a signed copy of IGNORING GRAVITY or CONNECTEDNESS as a #Christmasgift https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2wF via @Spanish_Valley

Fifty Shades of Gold #41

Giant seedhead of the century plant. July 1, 2014

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Giant seedhead of the century plant #Countryside in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2bX

The javelina, or is it?

The name of this orphan has caused some confusion. Our neighbour Pablo, whose son stumbled on the baby during a hunting trip in the hills, calls it a javelina. In fact javelina is another name for a peccary, a medium-sized hooved animal, part of the pig family. But the new occupant of the vacant hen house looks more to me as if it is a wild boar piglet, the clue being its distinctive stripes which have faded over the last two to three weeks as it has grown.

I suspect the confusion has arisen because the peccary/javelina is often kept as a pet or raised on farms as a source of food. Needless to say, Pablo had his family have no plans to eat their javelina which at the first opportunity is out of his pen and into the house. Cheeky and curious, when missing he is apparently found most often underneath the bed. No word on their plans for him when he is older!

5 to remember
un huérfano – an orphan
la confusion – the confusion
talla media – medium-sized
enganchado – hooved
distintivo – distinctive


Collins Photoguide: Complete Mediterranean Wildlife [UK: Collins]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The javelina: an orphan, now a cheeky addition to ‘la granja’ #nature in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2nx via @Spanish_Valley  

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

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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Bird song: Goshawk

The Goshawk is a large hawk which can reach the size of a Buzzard. Up close – I’m taking the word of the RSPB here – it is intimidating with a fierce expression, bright red eyes and white eyebrow. It catches its prey in flight and hunts at speed, its broad wings allowing it to manoeuvre between trees. It can catch anything from Thrush-sized birds to Crows, gamebirds and other birds of prey, though it also eats rabbits. Usually it eats its prey where it catches it, or takes it to a regular perch.

Its song can be confused with that of a Woodpecker, though the Goshawk only sings during courtship and the nesting season. It makes a nasal ‘gek-gek-gek’ and ‘pi-aah’.

Listen to the Goshawk sing at the RSPB website.

5 to remember
el azor – the goshawk
una canción – a song
se puede confundir con – can be confused with
una ardilla – a squirrel
nasal – gangoso

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

 

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 know how the Goshawk sings? #Birds in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2aC