Tag Archives: Spanish food

Sweet Carrot Salad

This is a lovely sweet salad. A large bowlful is a main course, but it also works as a side salad and travels well in a plastic box for picnics. Carrots are naturally sweet and are a traditional combination with oranges, but what makes this a little different is the addition of ground cumin and plump raisins.

Serves 4
4 carrots
200g raisins
5 oranges
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp date syrup or maple syrup
200 raw cashews
180g pitted olives, green, black or a mixture
salt and pepper

Top and tail the carrots, then peel off the outer skin and discard. Peel the rest of the carrots into thin slivers and place in a large bowl big enough for mixing. Turn the carrot as you peel, to ensure your strips are thin and less uniform. carrots, peeled, in dishNext, put the raisins in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside while you prepare everything else.

Peel four of the oranges and chop into segments, removing as much of the pith as possible. Place into a small saucepan with the ground cumin and the date syrup.

Sauté on a medium heat for about five minutes or until they are soft. Pour the fruit and all the juice over the carrots.

Now add the cashews to the same pan. Cook over a medium heat for about three minutes, so they soak up the orange flavour and brown a little. Add to the carrots.

Squeeze the juice of the final orange onto the salad, then add the olives. green olivesDrain the raisins, add to the salad with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss well, and serve. plateful5 to remember
una caja de plastico – a plastic box
un picnic – a picnic
un dátil – a date [fruit]
el jarabe – the syrup
deshuesado/a – pitted

Looking for other salads?
A pimped-up version of a Delia salad… griddled courgette & feta salad
Aubergine & herb salad
Mustardy salmon salad

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward 1-5-15


This recipe is from Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward [UK: Hodder & Stoughton]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Sweet carrot salad: what’s not to like? #recipe by @DeliciouslyElla via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Nm

Freshly-picked salad

The three fresh elements of this salad were picked and prepared immediately, we ate them for lunch 10 minutes after picking. And we could tell the difference. I swear that this simple mixture of home-grown tomato, cucumber and basil, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, tasted of the sun. The tomato in particular retained the warmth of the sun, it was unbelievably sweet. The pepino, the Spanish variety of cucumber which is shorter and fatter than English cucumbers with a thick skin that we discard, was the crunchiest I have eaten. freshly-picked salad - bowl 6-8-13The only thing to accompany it was a glass of shandy. An exceptional lunch on a day when heat on the terrace reached 40° and the water in the swimming pool was 28°.
freshly-picked salad - shandy 6-8-135 to remember
el elemento – element
la diferencia – difference
de la huerta propia – home-grown [vegetables]
la variedad – variety
más crujiente – crunchiest

First flowers

The first flowers have appeared in the veg patch. courgette flower 29-6-13Five in total, three on the courgettes and two tomato flowers. We will keep a close eye on the courgettes as we prefer to eat them as small as possible. Courgettes flowers are another favourite, washed thoroughly and dried, then filled with cream cheese and chopped fresh herbs, and lightly fried. tomato flower 29-6-135 to remember
la flor – flower
la huerta – vegetable patch
preferimos – we prefer
as small as possible – tan pequeño como posible
wash thoroughly – lavar bien

Silky squash and blue cheese pasta

We eat squash throughout the year in Spain. In winter we make this pasta, in summer we roast the squash and have it as a salad with rocket, feta and toasted pine nuts. We eat a lot of toasted nuts: our own walnuts in cakes, salads and pesto, pine nuts in salads even though they are so horribly expensive in Spain, and almonds especially as they are our own and so creamy when freshly picked. butternut squash pasta - chopped squash 20-5-13This was originally a Nigella Lawson recipe torn from a magazine, but the page is ragged now and some of the type has rubbed away over the years so this is the way we make it. If we buy the squash it is butternut, otherwise it’ll be a slice of a huge unidentifiable globular squash given to us by our neighbour P. butternut squash pasta - in the pan 20-5-131 onion, chopped
olive oil
1 tsp pimentón picante
½ tsp pimentón dulce
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp Marsala or sweet sherry
120 ml water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
500g pasta
100g pine nuts
125g any soft blue cheese, crumbled

Fry the onion gently in the olive oil in a large lidded pan, over a medium heat. Don’t let it brown. Add the paprika, stir, then add the squash and butter. Stir well, add the Marsala and water and bring to the simmer. Put the lid on and turn down the heat, simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is tender but still holds its shape. Add the sage.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Toast the pine nuts in a separate hot dry pan, tip them into a bowl and set aside.

Before draining the pasta, reserve a mugful of the cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the squash and slowly stir to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water to help the sauce emulsify, then add the blue cheese and half the pine nuts. Gently combine and serve. butternut squash pasta - plateful 20-5-135 to remember
la calabaza – squash
el jerez – sherry
el queso azul – blue cheese
el piñon – pine nut
el pimentón – paprika

Más asparagus

This time the tastes are sharper, saltier.  This is a v light lunch, best with bread and unsalted butter. Or simply double-up the quantities if you are feeling greedy. more asparagus - in the griddle pan 23-5-13Serves 2
Bunch of asparagus
Sea salt
Juice of a half lemon
Parmesan, shaved with a potato peeler
Olive oil

Wash and trim the asparagus, dry thoroughly. Put into a bowl and toss with a good slug of olive oil. Assemble all other ingredients.

Heat a ridged griddle pan until it is smoking, the griddle pan should always be heated dry. The food is oiled, not the pan.

Add the asparagus to the pan, do not leave it as it burns easily. Turn asparagus with a pair of tongs so it is nicely striped. Test with the point of a sharp knife to check if it is cooked, which will take only a couple of minutes.

Serve on a plate, sprinkle with sea salt and lemon juice. Pile the shaves of parmesan on top.

This is excellent with a glass of cold fino sherry. more asparagus - plateful 23-5-135 to remember
la sal – salt
el zumo de limón – lemon juice
la plancha – griddle pan
más – more
el tazón – bowl

Spicy tomatoes on toast

We have loads of ways of eating tomatoes, perhaps over a hundred. I think this is meant as a breakfast dish, but we eat it more at lunchtime at midday. The bigger the tomatoes, the better. It is best with the huge green ensalada Spanish ones which have fantastic flavour, but the spices will jazz up any weakly English supermarket tomatoes too. spiced tomatoes on toast 21-5-13This is not our invention, it comes from an Antony Worrall Thompson book The Essential Diabetes Cookbook which means it is low-fat and low-GI. None of that matters, it tastes amazing. This is our ‘even spicier version.’ spiced tomatoes on toast - recipe 21-5-13Serves 2
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 spring onions sliced, or one small onion diced
1 tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
4 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
Thick slices of bread for toasting

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spices [except the chilli powder], seeds, onion and garlic and stir-fry until the spices release their aroma. Add the chilli powder and the tomatoes, and cook for three minutes or until the tomatoes start to soften. Thicker slices take longer. Meanwhile, toast the bread and butter it. Serve the tomatoes on the toast.

5 to remember
el desayuno – breakfast
el almuerzo – lunch
a mediodía – at midday
el sabor – flavour
con muchas especías – spicy

Eggy asparagus or asparagusy eggs

My absolute favourite food in the world is an egg. Fried is my favourite but not the healthiest, poached is second, then boiled, then scrambled.  My favourite springtime food is asparagus. So we tend to eat a combination of the two a lot in May. This is a new version of the divine duo, seen on TV cooked by Scottish chef Tom Kitchin. It is divine with crusty bread for dipping in the juices. If greedy, double the quantities. At the moment we are eating asparagus almost every day, so watch out for more recipes! asparagus with poached egg & balsamic - plateful 20-5-13Serves 2
bunch of asparagus
2 eggs
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp vegetable stock asparagus with poached egg & balsamic - pan 20-5-13Wash and trim the asparagus. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the asparagus and fry gently. After a couple of minutes, add the vinegars and cook gently until the asparagus is cooked. Remove the asparagus from the pan but leave the pan on the heat. Add a little hot stock to the vinegar and reduce to make a thickened sauce [below]. At the same time, poach eggs in a separate saucepan. Place the eggs on top of the cooked asparagus, drizzle with the vinegar reduction, and sprinkle with a good pinch of black pepper. asparagus with poached egg & balsamic - vinegar 20-5-13
5 to remember
favorito/a – favourite
el mundo – world
el huevo frito – fried egg
el huevo escalfadopoached egg
los revueltos
– scrambled eggs