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.


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 🙂

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


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.




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.



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.

Put that down, you don’t know where it’s been!

With one of my bread and butter ‘paid jobs’ I’ve been writing about local food in Spain. A tasty trip around the country if you like, showcasing the real, local food and where to get it fresh. The links for the Spain Holiday posts are at the bottom of this post if you’d like to read them.Image

Happy at home

Hmmmm…..Got me thinking. I’ve always been amazed at the way they just seem to be happy here, in our little village, with the ‘in season’ produce available.  If it’s habas or habituelas, tomatoes or even vino tinto, whatever there is a glut of, the villagers – as we do –  just make the most of it.

Rather than be overwhelmed by a glut of something, the ‘upcycled’ jars are put to good use, and a stock of the same is laid down for leaner months.

You might think nothing of buying a punnet of tomatoes at Christmas, but a Spanish household will have jars of them instead, preserved while at their freshest…and probably tasting a lot better than your variety – still Spanish I dare say but probably grown under plastic on the Almeria coastline, not good.

Perfectly shaped too, nipped and tucked, rather than the carbuncle-like scarred and lumpy shapes that we are used to here.

And local produce here is so revered, they’re really proud of what they have, where it comes from, not least how to prepare it. Don’t dare to be the one to change it!

Eating as a family, revered meal times, long lunches, alcohol that always includes a bite to eat. Holidays that revolve around food. Customs too. Here in the Alpujarras, the Matanza that is outlawed by health and safety carries on regardless…bloody, gory, but hey, when it comes to eating the produce we know there’s not a sniff of horse in it. 😉Image

So, is it wrong to stick to the devil you know?

Should there be more choice here or would it dilute the culture and water it down too much?

Like the English language, watered down in the UK to an unintelligible lack of syllables and increased text drivel, in the same way, would the customary foods and cooking methods be lost in a sea of takeaway over traditional?

Would you like to see a Balti house or a Wok Buffet on every corner or are things just as good as they are?


More reading as mentioned earlier in this post:

Blog 1 –  Andalucía

Blog 2 – Galicia

Blog 3 – Valencia

Blog 4 – Basque country

Horchata de Chufa – yeuch!

Yeuch because it’s not for me. But perhaps you love it.

What is it?

Horchata de Chufa. A Spanish staple. A creamy drink, white, and apparently very refreshing at this time of year. More