Meatless sausages from Spain

That title sounds like a contradiction, in a country where the pig is devoured right down to the squeak.  Vegetarian I am not – but I was once, for 15 years, 2 of those in Spain.  To eat out in Spain as a vegetarian is a test in patience, as discussed last week with Kiersten, where Jamón and Tuna and even Chicken are all considered to be ‘not really’ meat, or suitable for someone who would rather not eat something with eyes.  But of course eating out in the cities as a vegetarian is easier.

Speaking of Kiersten, take a look at her Alpujarras Walking page.

So, this recipe adapted from one by the delicious Mr Slater is one we tried this week and all loved, carnivores too, and it was also a chance to test the mettle of the new pressure cooker – which, incidentally, I am terrified of.

Any Spanish housewife worth her saffron loves her beans.  Any pulse in fact, you know that appetite-whetting, mouth-watering feeling when you walk through a little quiet village around 1pm and you can smell Chorizo and onion stewed with beans?  Stews from all over Spain almost always include the humble pulse.

So we bought some dried white beans and Googled pressure cooking times, adjusted Nigel’s recipe, and came up with this:

2 cups (I use those American cup measurements for almost every recipe) dried white beans

3 bay leaves

3 large garlic cloves

seasoning

Put all of these into the pressure cooker and top with 2″ water.

Cook on high for 25 minutes, until they’re squashy enough to pop the skins with your finger and thumb.

Cheese

Leek

Egg

Chilli pepper

Mash the beans with 2 cups of a strong cheese, we used Irish Cheddar. Fry or boil a leek and add it to the mix.  Chop a red chilli pepper and throw it in.  Add a beaten egg and combine.

Egg

Breadcrumbs

Form into sausage shapes (no sniggering in the cheap seats) then egg, breadcrumb, repeat.

Fry until golden brown….eat 🙂

*Save a few of the cooked beans, add another clove of garlic, juice of a lime, a chilli, fresh mint, olive oil and blitz to spread on griddled breads.

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Oui Oui to Cassoulet

When you’ve put 3 meals a day on the table for 2 kids for almost 2 decades, a lunch out at someone else’s table is always welcome! Doffing the apron, we set out on Sunday for the long road to Lynne and Lester’s cortijo. Actually, it’s a mere twist of the Alpujarran mountain to get there, but their vertigo-inducing track would turn the thinnest milk to double cream… if you remember, it’s the one where Stan attempted to increase my fitness last New Year and almost managed to do me in instead. Hey, was that a plan? 

So we took our time as the jalopy doesn’t need anything else to fall off the bottom of it – and really, the place is totally reachable in 5 minutes, and so entrenched in birdsong and total peace when you get there it’s worth it. It’s the site of an ancient watermill in huge swathes of it’s own land. You can buy it if you like, read all about it here.

Even nicer was the dish of the day – Cassoulet –  of course, a recipe from France.

Stew. It’s one of those dishes where every country has their own lovely version, and I guess the closest Spain would come to this one is Fabada from Asturias. Here’s a recipe for Fabada.

Lynne’s version of Cassoulet is pretty authentic – and I had a warming glass of Pastis too to complete the true taste – a perfect combination for a cold day, guaranteed to impart a red glow Rudolph would be proud of.

Here it is, do try it, and let us know what you thought 🙂 The layering of ingredients is pretty, the end result was trés tasty!

cassoulet

Ingredients
1 tin of duck confit, 600 grammes of dried white haricot beans, 100 grammes jamon, 4 slices of streaky bacon, 400 grammes of good quality sausage, 500 grammes of carrots, 2 sticks celery, 1 large tin of tomatoes, an onion, cloves of garlic to taste, breadcrumbs and chopped parsley to garnish
Method
The night before put the beans to soak in plenty of cold water. Next day drain off and discard the water. Put the beans to cook in fresh water for about an hour. Meanwhile chop the carrots in rings and chop the celery. Par-boil them. Chop the jamon into small pieces. Remove the duck from its grease and remove its skin. ( traditionally the skin and some grease is left on, but it is less healthy!) Chop the onion and peel and crush the garlic. Cut the sausages into pieces.
Line the bottom of a large casserole with the streaky bacon. Drain the beans. Put half of the beans into the casserole. On top of them add the duck, the jamon, the sausages, the carrots, the celery, the onion, the garlic and the chopped up tomatoes. Cover with the remaining beans. Pour on the tomato juice and about 250-300 ml of water. Cover the top with as many breadcrumbs as needed. Cover with a lid.
Cook at gas mark 4-5 for approximately 2 hours. If it browns too quickly turn down the heat.

Á votre santé!

cassoulet

Cortijo – Farmhouse or country house.

Fabada – Asturian stew with beans.

Jamon – air dried ham from Spain.

 

 

Waiter, there’s a snot in my milkshake…

Love the pig!

Love the pig!

Well, you just never know, do you?

This Horse-y hoo ha that has smothered the news lately makes you think. Think about what you eat, because after all, we are what we eat. Simple.

Cheap meat equals cheap content, and ambiguity – where did it come from? How many air miles are on it? How fresh is it?  And now….WHAT is it?

We’ve been to France, we’ve probably eaten horse, that’s not the argument really.  It’s knowing we’re eating it, and being happy about it.

Here in the Alpujarras, we wince at the pig being killed at Matanza – but enjoy the chorizo, morcilla, longaniza, and other tasty porcine entrails – we know where it’s from.

The wine we drink is the one from the grapes we harvested, to help our neighbour. No fish guts, no nasty preservatives.

Our olive oil is first press, green, from Carolina, I can point you out her trees close to Torviscon.

Our bread is freshly baked over wood, daily. Sometimes it would be nice to have something different, but that’s what the Panadero bakes.

We could buy all these things in Dia, or Aldi – cheaper, but inferior.

Next time you’re on your dwindling UK high street – doesn’t matter where, they all look the same –  then pass by the growing number of charity shops and betting shops – seek out your local butcher or baker – and do yourself – and your digestion – a favour.

Fake Sausage rolls!

Never thought I would say it – but sometimes I miss a Greggs Sausage Roll!

No sausage meat here without a loooong drive, but where there´s a will….

or at least where there´s a pack of puff pastry – masa holadre – some cooked turkey – pavo –  and some stuffing from dried breadcrumbs, onion, sage…

Roll out the pastry, line up the cooked meat and the stuffing…roll into long shapes….egg wash…slash….bake for 10 minutes…divide into bite sized bits and….EAT!

Oddly, but thankfully,they taste like Greggs!