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!

 

 

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Torrijas Malagueñas – the traditional sweet nibble of Holy Week in Málaga

From Tutus and Toronto to Tapas

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All Malagueños love Torrijas during Semana Santa and they are widely available in most cafes and bars as something to have with your coffee to re-charge your batteries for the long evenings and nights whilst watching the processions. The sugar content certainly gives one a “hit” and boosts your energy!

I was given this recipe about 20 years ago by a lovely old lady who was a neighbour. She is sadly no longer with us, but I always think of her at this time of year as I get the pan out to make this very traditional dish.

Ingredients:

A three or four day old Loaf of Bread (I find a Spanish “barra” is best)

1 litre of Milk (full fat 😉 )

5 Tablespoons of White Sugar

1 Cinnamon stick

Powdered Cinnamon

1 Glass of sweet Málaga Wine

6 Eggs

The peel of one Lemon

Olive Oil (good quality)

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Curry ‘n’ Chips – but not as you know it

We decided to have a veggie day once or twice a week to break up the meat-heavy diet that everyone – except me – seems so fond of.  I didn’t eat meat at all for 15 years until we came to live in Spain – blame the Jamón.

Anyway, we also try and cook and eat in-season ingredients – because: 1. They’re better for you and haven’t travelled miles to your plate and more importantly 2. They’re cheap.

When something is in-season here in the village – the neighbours usually give us bucketloads of the same thing, although the aubergines this year have been may colours and shapes – variety is the spice of life!

By Grey Geezer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Grey Geezer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Talking of spice – we really cannot cook without it – I have no idea how I survived as a child in Ireland on ham and potatoes and stew.

We just discovered a wonderful site, called my ginger garlic kitchen, with the best recipes – every one a winner so far. So Stan attempted the 3 bean thick Dal Makhani and for a side used James Martin’s aubergine chips. Little cubes of peeled aubergine, rinsed and drained and deep fried with plenty of salt thrown on afterwards.  Quick homemade flatbreads on the side.  A quick, economical meal – and delicious too!

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Albondigas de Arroz – leftover rice balls!

Elle over at Spain Buddy was extolling the tasty delights of these little fried balls of leftover rice, so when I was about to throw the leftover brown rice from the curry last week, I stopped an inch short of the dog’s nose – poor chap –  and remembered her post.

Stan was El Cocinero del Día, as he tends to be during the week – and most weekends too  – so he went about making them up.   Actually, we thought of the recipe at the same time, he having read it in one of our cookery books.  We have many…the latest is just gorgeous – literally.

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Anyway he set about rolling the rice, using grated cheese and bit of cheddar stuffed in the middle, spices and herbs and seasoning.  Then he dipped them in beaten egg…

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Then flour and breadcrumbs…

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A little left-over rice sure goes a long way!

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He fried them in hot olive oil in a shallow pan, and we ate them with chilli dipping sauce and some tsatziki.  Next time maybe a bit of chilli inside too – but that’s personal taste.  And yes, there were some left over for the canines!

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Shy eaters we have…

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Leftover magic under the Spanish sun

I was working hard this past week, travel articles and organic beauty were in fierce competition with the upcoming Mijas Rocks Málaga Music Festival, which I’m promoting like a dervish, as well as looking forward to!  My Twitter feed has swelled to incorporate tweets from movers and shakers, and a few head-bangers – all good!  I’m just waiting for Jon Bon Jovi to ask my advice on his leather trousers. Ahem.

So, meanwhile, Stan cleaned and washed and he’s a pretty good ‘housewife’ – well, basically I’m pretty crap at it, probably the most disorganised one you should ever meet…

And he cooked. He’s pretty inventive too. Some leftover Keema mix from his delicious Samosas were transformed into this, hmmm, let’s give it a Spanish angle and call it Picante Picada con Huevo.  That’s what it is, and it would be just as easy to use up some Bolognaise or Shepherd’s Pie filling – but we do like a bit of spice at our house… 🙂

A couple of flatbread strips on the side for dipping.  (Flour and water, griddle, hey presto)

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He added some home-made Triturate (cooked and sieved tomatoes) to the Keema mixture. Then added a couple of sheets of Filo, or Brick, as layers, and in a centre hollow dropped in an egg to each cazuela.  Baked until the egg whites were set but yolks still runny  – and we ate lunch in the little tat-filled courtyard we grandly call our garden.  The simple pleasures of leftovers and sunshine!  And a glass of vino too of course!  Ah, the rock star life…lol.

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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.

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