Tag Archives: travel

Tomato and coconut cassoulet

This is an easy-to-make cassoulet which can be prepared the night before and then thrown in the oven for a quick lunch. The creamy combination of coconut milk and tomato works, with a gentle background flavour of ginger and mild chilli. If you like your chillies hotter, then choose a smaller red variety. Mine was rather large! The one thing I wasn’t sure about was the addition of bread, I added one slice and wished I hadn’t as it soaked up sauce and was soggy. Next time, I will omit the bread.

Serves 4-6
Olive oil
1 leek, washed, trimmed and roughly sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
a 1cm thick piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
one 400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp coconut milk
one 400g tin haricot beans [I used butter beans]
500g vine or cherry tomatoes
a bunch of fresh basil
4 slices of sourdough bread

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.

Heat an ovenproof casserole on a medium heat on the hob, add a slosh of olive oil. Add the leeks, garlic, chilli and ginger, and a pinch of pepper. Turn down the heat and cook for 10 minutes on low until the leeks are soft and sweet.

 

Next add the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and beans. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat. Check the seasoning.

Scatter over the fresh tomatoes and basil, then tear the bread into chunks and tuck it into the mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the tomatoes have shrunk and sweetened.

 

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

 

 

5 to remember
un suave sabor de fondo – a gentle background flavour
una cazuela por horno – an ovenproof casserole
rasgar – to tear
los pedazos – the chunks
reducido/a – shrunken

If you feel hungry, try these recipes:-
Very cheesy pie
Cheesy coleslaw: what’s not to like?
A creamy coconut stew

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Tomato and coconut cassoulet #Spain #Recipe by Anna Jones @we_are_food https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2g3 via @Spanish_Valley

A sliver of silver

Until I lived here I don’t think I appreciated the beauty of monochrome colours. Previously I had applied the term ‘monochrome’ to the white/black/grey palette but in fact it refers to all tints, tones and shades of a single colour. Darken it by adding black, grey or a darker colour; lighten by adding white. So isn’t nature clever, producing this silver/white/grey display at dusk?

As the clouds moved and the sun set, the display was ever-changing. At times, the glint of silver was almost like liquid mercury, reminding me of a sculpture at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona: ‘Fuente de Mercurio’ by Alexander Calder [below]. The drip of liquid mercury seemed to defy reality: liquid? metal? The colour was so pure. 5 to remember
los colores monocromos – the monochrome colours
siempre cambiante – ever-changing
casi como – almost like
una escultura – a sculpture
el mercurio – the mercury/quicksilver

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A sliver of silver: like liquid metal? The sky at dusk in #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-2dA via @Spanish_Valley

The Levant is blowing

Hot dry air parches the ground. But the olive farmers don’t mind as it kills the surface weeds and leaves moisture deep down for the roots of their trees, now heavy with flowers. It is the Levante or Levanter wind which blows from the east across the Mediterranean from May to October.

The origin of the Levante name is the same as the origin of the Levant, the region of the eastern Mediterranean. It is the Middle French word ‘levant’, the participle of lever ‘to raise’ — in Spanish levantar meaning to raise up, lift up, build, get up and levantarse meaning to get up in the morning. Both French and Spanish come from the Latin ‘levare’ and refers to the eastern direction of the rising sun. The opposite of the Levante wind is the Poniente which comes from the west, the term originates from the Spanish verb ponerse meaning to lay down, put down. In other words, the setting of the sun in the west.

5 to remember
el origen de – the origin of
la región – the region
la dirección este – the eastern direction
se origina de – originates from
significa que – meaning to

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
The Levante wind is blowing in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-26r

Pasta that bites back

This pasta is a taste of Spring in a bowl, a glorious tangy mix of horseradish and lemon. It seems that the Spanish don’t grow horseradish root, or rather they don’t sell it in the supermarkets. So occasionally we bring a jar of horseradish cream from the UK just for this. This is a very Italian dish in style, very simple to make, and like all the best Italian food it is best when made with the very best available raw ingredients.

I added two extra ingredients; long-stemmed broccoli, and toasted almonds. Actually this recipe will work well with a variety of spring green vegetables; peas, green beans, broad beans would be delicious too.

Serves 4
450g asparagus
a handful of long-stemmed broccoli
salt
450g pasta
50g butter
1 tbsp creamed horseradish
lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped chives
a handful of whole, blanched almonds, toasted

Trim the asparagus, keep the tips separate. Save the trimmings for another recipe. Pour 4cm of water into a large saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the pieces of asparagus stem and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus tips to the pan, simmer for another 2-3 minutes until almost al dente but still firm. Drain. Now use the same pan to lightly cook the broccoli. You can prepare to this stage in advance, cool and cover.Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a pinch of a salt and a glug of sunflower oil. Add the pasta, bring back to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, until al dente. A few minutes before the pasta is done, melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the asparagus, stir to re-heat gently without frying. Add the horseradish cream, and a splash of lemon juice to taste.

Drain the pasta, tip into the asparagus pan and mix thoroughly. Test the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with our own chives, freshly-cut from the pot, and the toasted almonds. 

5 to remember
la raíz – root
las raices – roots
el rábano – horseradish
la crema – cream
el estilo – style

 

Recipe from ‘Eat Your Greens’ by Sophie Grigson [UK: BBC Books]

Don’t know what to eat for dinner tonight? Try one of these recipes:-
Very cheesy pie
Little squash cakes with a kick
Harissa salmon salad

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A hot hot hot pasta for asparagus season #food #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2hb via @Spanish_Valley

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Cauliflower salad with spinach yogurt

I have discovered a new favourite vegetable: roasted cauliflower. And not just in winter, but in summer salads. This is a warm salad with gentle Indian spices and a cooling spinach yogurt.

Serves 4-6
2 heads of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 tbsp ground cumin
3-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g puy lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
15g fresh coriander leaves, chopped [I used parsley]
15g mint leaves
3 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
Sea salt
Black pepper
For the spinach yogurt:-
1 tsp capers, rinsed and finely chopped
375g natural Greek yogurt
15g mint leaves, finely sliced
100ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt
Black pepper
100g baby spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

Place the cauliflower florets on a large baking tray and sprinkle over the cumin. Drizzle over 1-2 tbsp oil and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until golden.  Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lentils and bay leaf. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Drain.

Make the spinach yogurt: whizz together the spinach, capers, yogurt, mint and olive oil in a food processor. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season well with salt and pepper.

Fry the lentils: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic, chopped coriander, paprika and cooked lentils. Season well with salt and sauté over a medium-high heat, shaking the pan to move the lentils around. Fry until the lentils are slightly crispy. To serve: spread the spinach yogurt onto a serving platter. Combine the roasted cauliflower with the fried lentils and herbs, drizzle with olive oil, season again to taste. Spoon the cauliflower mixture over the yogurt, and top with the toasted flaked almonds. If you like this, try:-
Mustardy Salmon Salad
Linguine with Broad Beans
Roasted Cauliflower Salad

5 to remember
suave – gentle
indio – Indian
las especias – the spices
una llovizna de – a drizzle of
servir – to serve

 

This recipe is from Neighbourhood: Salads, Sweets and Stories from Home and Abroad by Hetty McKinnon [UK: Shambhala]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Cauliflower & spinach: a warm spicy salad #Spain #Recipe by @hettymckinnon via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-25j

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Green shadows

In the height of summer, even the shadows here are green as the light seems to reflect the green of the hills and trees which surround us. The word sombra doesn’t just mean shadow, as in the dark area produced when an object comes between the rays of the sun and a surface. It also means the desired seat at a festival or concert, seats shaded from the full heat of the sun are always the most expensive. In the old bullrings, you will see signs for ‘Sol’ or ‘Sombra’. Here our gardening tasks are punctuated by frequent sojourns seated in the sombra of our big walnut tree, time to catch our breath and eat a slice of watermelon.

5 to remember
la sombra – the shadow/the shade
los rayos del sol – the rays of the sun
el más caro – the most expensive
una tarea – a task
una rebanada de – a slice of

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Green shadows: summer in the #hiddenvalley #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-22x

Thin lemon and pistachio biscuits

These biscuits are easy to make on impulse from store cupboard and fridge ingredients. And because the recipe is by Mary Berry, it is easy to do. They are very more-ish and it is easy to four at one sitting as they are quite small. And, despite Mary Berry’s description as shortbread, they did not seem that way to me. Makes 20 biscuits
175g butter, softened
75g caster sugar
175g plain flour plus extra for dusting
75g semolina
finely grated zest of a lemon
25g pistachio nuts, shelled and finely chopped.

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. However if your oven, like ours, tends to be on the hot side, set the temperature a little lower. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Measure the softened butter, sugar, flour and semolina into a food processor. Add the lemon zest and whizz until combined. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth. Split the dough into half and roll each piece into a long sausage shape, about 15cm long. Scatter the chopped pistachios on a plate and roll each dough sausage in the nuts to coat. Cover the plate with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Slice each roll into 10 even-side discs. Arrange on the baking sheets, spaced well apart as they will spread slightly during cooking.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until tinged golden and almost firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. If you like this, try these:-
Oh so sticky chocolate flapjack
White chocolate and cranberry flapjack
A silky dense chocolate cake

5 to remember
un bizcocho – a biscuit
enharinado/a – floured
matizado/a – tinged
la masa – the dough
una salchicha – a sausage

This recipe is from Mary Berry’s Everyday’ cookbook [UK: BBC]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Thin lemon & pistachio #biscuits Recipe by #MaryBerry #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Yo

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