Instant lunch

You know what it’s like, you come home, hungry, scroll down through Facebook, see a dish and have to have it? Yes, me, today. Back from a walk in the sunshine with the dogs and starving. I saw a plate of grilled courgette, and thought, I have to have those. In the salad drawer of the fridge I have a couple of those little round ones, no idea what the difference is, besides shape,  but if you know, do enlighten me.

Wherever I go I pick up some spice, a taste of an enjoyed adventure.

A recent trip to Ireland saw an addition to the ever growing spice shelf – Lebanese Baharat, a subtle mix of Middle-Eastern flavours. Not so Irish, eh?! Dublin is such a cosmopolitan place, there’s every kind of food to be sampled and enjoyed. I picked up that spice from Fresh ‘n’ Fruity, the amazing little greengrocer shop that is just steps from my mother’s house in Lucan.

So, today I coated the sliced courgette with olive oil, salt and the spice mix.

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Grilled on the Weber for a couple of minutes each side for nice charred stripes, and enjoyed with a simple salad, fresh tomato, celery and lettuce – more oil, a splash of rice wine vinegar. The spice mix made all the difference, a subtle, aromatic taste.

Yes, the sunshine helps 🙂

Social media snacks

Log on to any of your social media pages and you’ll be tripping over links to fast food recipes, many of them are healthy and nutritious, we’ve had a fair bit of success replicating some of those BuzzFeed quick recipes. I’m unsure whether we are generally losing our attention span for reading recipes, but those fast how-to videos are fun to watch and full of great ideas for lunchtime.

Facebook friend Matthew Hirtes (The Hon Mr Gran Canaria) highlighted one yesterday, a veggie burger using red beans, so I gave it a go today with moderate success, and a little frustration!

Basically, my error lay in changing a few of the ingredients, that old problem of available pantry stock and living in the middle of fecking nowhere. Here’s what we did: (in brackets are my added extras)

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Blend a jar of cooked red beans, soaked Quinoa (I used Bulgur Wheat) seasoning, herbs, chopped onion, (garlic, chili flakes and a drop or 4 of hot sauce) sesame seeds, lemon juice. Shape into patty rounds and fry in a little olive oil.

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BUT…My mix was too wet, so I also rolled them in dried breadcrumbs.

Fry in a shallow griddle pan in olive oil with a little more patience than I had 🙂

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Basically, then eat as you would with a burger and the usual relish, toppings and whatnot. Thanks Matthew. I think. 🙂

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Rick Stein in my Spanish kitchen

Not really 🙂 Watching Rick Stein travel from Venice to Istanbul is making us dribble a bit though. It should be marked as unsuitable viewing for greedy folk prior to lunchtime.

So, after he conjured up this bean dish under the Greek sun the other day, via the Beeb, we practically ran to the kitchen to replicate it. The next day, we did it again for a lunch party of 6 friends, adding those little bits of Jamon tacos into the recipe – so this is a Spanish version – but it’s just as nice and flavoursome without.

Called Gigante something or other, because of the big beans I guess. Basically, it’s quick, easy, filling and cheap. It’s also really, really tasty.

Fry some garlic and onion in lots of olive oil. Season. (if you are choosing to add bacon or jamon then do it now).

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Wilt half a bag of fresh spinach. He added fresh, skinned, chopped tomatoes. You might add a tin, but remember it should be quite dry. We used some previously roasted cherry tomatoes which we had be given 🙂

(I roast them slowly, with balsamic, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary)

So when the spinach has wilted (30 seconds or so) mix in a jar of those big butter beans, or whatever beans are in the store cupboard. I added them earlier to the pan in error, it didn’t make any difference.

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Transfer the lot to the oven, and bake until it’s all combined and hot. Take out and crumble feta cheese over the top and serve. (Lidl have just had the Greek promo on, but if you needed to then any similar cheese would be great). Serve in tapas dishes.

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There’ll be nothing left over!

 

 

Deep fried Artichokes

Alcachofa – Artichoke. Much loved and greedily devoured in Spain, we had them this week in an Italian restaurant in Granada city.  A spring vegetable not to be missed, cheap and plentiful and in-season now – the best reason to try this recipe and enjoy them, dry and crispy, with a sauce of Parmesan, Artichoke, and fragrant Basil.  Spring on a plate!

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Guardian recipe for deep fried artichoke – enjoy!

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.