Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes

These Babies taste completely different to regular tomatoes.It,s like the difference between a green and red pepper.These green tomatoes have an altogether different green touch ...of acidity and crunch.It is a wonderful way of using up immature tomatoes before the frost gets them.
Slice up the tomatoes.
Dip in beaten eggs(with added crushed garlic).
Coat in a mixture of dried breadcrumbs, Cajun spice mix,dried oregano,salt, pepper and a pinch of marigold vegetable stock.
Shallow fry until golden and serve with a homemade mayo and green salad.

Potato and Cochayuyo Patties

Mash three large cooked potatoes.
Add a bowlful of cooked mixed grains(or rice).
Add a handful of grated cheese.
Add a handful of cooked Cochayuyo Seaweed (or Arame or whatever seaweed your heart desires)
Saute a large onion finely chopped with some sunflower seeds...add to the mixture.
Chop parsley and de-leaf thyme ...with some salt and pepper and a sprinkle of marigold stock powder(optional)....mix well.
Form into burger patties ...dip into some beaten eggs and fry slightly on each side.
Finish off in the oven at 180c for 15 minutes until it crunches up a bit.

The basis of this recipe was developed from left overs...Yes,the day before we ate mixed grains with Cochayuyo seaweed and stir fried veggies.
And later on that night good old cooked spuds(potatoes)...
I like to cook extra rice,cereals or potatoes and lovingly create something different with them.
Rice or cereals can be used as a base for stuffing Red peppers ,courgettes,aubergines or cabbage.
Potatoes can used in a tortilla ..Spanish omelet....Or used in a recipe like this one.
Hail once more to the beloved leftovers!!!!!!!!

Cochayuyo seaweed is full of minerals .I like it because the sea like flavour is mild and the texture is great.I used a mixed 5 grain cereal mix...my new love ...lovely and chewy and much more interesting and nutritional than just rice.

Buffalo Mozzarella and Seitan Fritters


An interesting and uncomplicated recipe for seitan...
Cut the seitan in slices.
Spread some pesto on top.
Add a slice of fresh buffalo mozzarella.
Beat 2 eggs with salt ,pepper, and a small clove of crushed garlic.
Dip the seitan sandwich into the egg mixture.
Then cover in dried breadcrumbs.
Repeat egg and breadcrumbs one more time to cover as completely as possible.
Shallow fry mozzarella side first to seal in the cheese then turn over until golden brown .
We ate these tasty morsels with a simple tomato and basil salad.

You can omit the cheese.
You could change the breadcumbs for polenta.
You could make these morsels Vegan by using a batter made with soya flour and or garbanzo flour,regular flour and water then cover in breadcumbs and fry.

Monday, 16 November 2009

OCTOBER



October did exist in mi vida deliciosa...
But for most of the month it was in el bosque...the forest.
October was lost in a wave of bolets...wild mushrooms!!!!!!!!That and starting back to work(kind of)with a group of mamas from the village making wallets,jellewery and playing with textiles and,and,and more about that later...
This is my food blog...if I had time to make a blog about wild mushrooms and wild foods I would...I,d need a separate blog to express the strange sheer wild wonderful thing it is to go mushroom picking.But for now I,ll see if I can write a few lines of fungal frolics...

About 3 or 4 years ago I was living in the centre of Barcelona ...and I wanted to do a course on mushroom picking...At the same time I and boyfriend where looking for a place in the countryside...We had dreams of living in a big Masia( stone farm house)learning about wild foods having a huge garden in the middle of nowhere.
Instead we found the perfect house in a small village...I knew it was for me when the next door neighbour Placida said she,d teach me about mushrooms and show me where to find them.
I had stuck gold...that and having a tofu factory and wholefoods distribution company beside our future home.But this village has more...loads of local produce...two of the largest organic wholesalers in the country,a wild mushroom canning business,and loads of wild fig trees,walnut trees etc etc etc.Up in forest(theres a national park all around us)theres loads of Dolmens and standing stones...I could not believe my luck.
That and my village is one of the best places in Catalunya to find Mushrooms.Yes, theres photos of this village in mushroom books.I had found my home.

The first year we eagerly searched the woods and arrived back with a huge box of mushrooms...We showed the neighbour who threw them all away.All bad,poisonous or unknown. Our hearts sunk.It seemed impossible to learn because there was so many types.
But Placida kept true to her promise and she showed us where to find Fredolics-or tricholama terreum...a beautiful smokey grey mushroom with a velvety smooth cap and a rich mushroom taste.The next time we learnt where to find Rovellons and Pinetells(lactarius deliciosus).Then Carlets and Chantarelles.Thank you lovely Placida for teaching us.
Wild mushrooms grow in the same place every year so make sure you remember where you found them.These places are gold dust...I,ve heard grown up adults lying about where they found the mushrooms-they,re like kids...and they get very jealous if you find too many.
Every week we,d find a new type ,a new mountain or forest to go looking.After the first year we could identify around twenty and were officially boletaires(experts in mushroom picking or at least addicted to mushroom hunting).
I knew it was an addiction when I dreamt about mushroom hunting...I jest-not.
Every year we look in the forest at least two weeks too early ...we just can,t wait.
Its about putting on wellies(wellington boots)with the basket on one arm and the other holding a walking stick hopefully found in the forest and lovingly brought along on every mushroom hunting expedition.
It,s about walking in beautiful forests.
It,s about imagining the mushrooms you want to find before you do...then they turn up miraculously although almost covered with camouflaged oak leaves.
It,s about the smell of the forest and mushrooms and the damp in the air.
It,s about bringing a basketful home and eating incredibly delicious surprising food thats only available for a month or two.
Theres so much to learn and enjoy about wild mushroom picking.Every country has them...In Ireland my memories are of the great big field mushrooms which were wasted on me as a child as I didnt like mushrooms(shame)but I know they must be a lot more there.There was a fear of poisonous fungi which I fully understand but once you get to know a mushroom it seems hard to make a mistake.Stick to one or two that you cant confuse with any other and go from there.
I recommend finding a course,an elderly expert neighbour and loads of books...which help to identify mushrooms unknown and unusual.
It would make an interesting holiday abroad doing a mushroom course...I,d love to travel to Canada or Poland or China and get to know their fungi types.
The big thing about mushroom hunting is that you find a tremendous respect for the forest and a big earth love.You appreciate each mushroom for it,s unique flavours.Please pick only what you will use or share...gluttony can happen...but there are many mushrooms suitable for drying or freezing.
Pick up your rubbish and others.
Do not rake the ground because it damages the root system...and always cut the mushroom with a knife at the stem.
Drying porcini or ceps are a luxury when eaten in February in a risotto.
The range of textures and flavours of mushrooms for a vegetarian (or other) is amazing...so much room for experimenting in the kitchen.
The best recipe for trying a new mushroom is sauteing it in the pan with some garlic and chopped parsley.Keeping it simple the first time gives you an idea of it,s nature.
The best way to clean mushrooms is with a brush.
If a mushroom is very dirty you can soak them in water but they plump up and add a lot of liquid to the cooking.
For moisture filled mushrooms I recommend heating a frying pan with no oil ,add mushrooms and wait until all the juices have evaporated and reduced back into the mushrooms...then add olive oil( or half oil half butter)and fry to your desired texture leaving the garlic and chopped parsley to the last minute.
Each Mushroom has some very unique flavours so I recommend getting specific mushroom cookery books...I love Antonio Carluccios"Complete Mushroom Book"or Roger Phillips"Wild Food".Fat of the land blog is great for mushrooms and wild foods in general. Different countries suffer from food snobbery and cultures which might belittle some mushrooms as average when cooked in a certain way they can be spectacular...So make your own assessments on edible mushrooms ...and enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

SpringRolls with peanut dipping sauce





Springroll pastry is something I always have in my freezer.You can buy them in any oriental foodstore.Apart from springrolls I use them to make some quick samosas and for sweet rolls filled with bananas and chocolate.They are made from rice and have a neutral flavour ideal for whatever filling.
This particular filling was a very simple one from the end of the week vegetables I had on hand...
onions,garlic,fresh ginger,carrots and white cabbage.
As for all wok cooking prepare your vegetables first,finely chopped and place in separate bowls.
Have a bottle of sunflower oil at hand.
The same with the spices and soya sauces...have everything ready beside the wok.I mixed some tamari soya sauce with a pinch of 7 spices(or 5 spice mix)and a spoonful of honey.
Place your wok on your hottest plate with the largest flame.
When its reached smoking level add a tablespoon of oil.
First the onions,then the carrots and cabbage and lastly the garlic and ginger stirring constantly.
When the vegetables have browned slightly or seem a little dry add the soya,spice,honey mixture...but not too much ...the idea is to just add moisture to steam the vegetables but not drown them.
When the filling is cooked you can begin preparing the rolls...
Place one paper thin sheet in front of you .
Place a line of the filling about 3 quarters of the way up the sheet...see the 2nd photo above and hopefully all will be clear(mental note- how complicated it seems sometimes to describe something simple)
Wet the sides and bottom line of the pastry sheet with water.
Fold over the sides,covering the edges of the filling.
Then fold over the top half and roll....
Until it forms a roll(?Dios Mio this does seem harder than I thought!)

Now with all your beautiful rolls lined up you can happily begin to deep fry them until golden brown.Fry one or two at a time always letting the over lapping pastry side down first.Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the dipping sauce...

...which would have to be the easiest sauce ever.
Mix about 3 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter with one teaspoon of Thai yellow curry paste and some water,a little at a time until you get a nice pouring consistency.Be patient..if it looks like its separating its just the oil and water fighting sillily over territory...but they will come together(a metaphor for world peace perhaps?).Add a slash of soya sauce and there you have it.
As always feel free to play- the trick is the peanut and water gorgeous creamy mixture...you can flavour it with sesame oil,lime juice or peel,fresh ginger,garlic,lemongrass,curry powder,fresh chopped coriander..etc..etc...or what ever you wish

For filling choices the lists are all would you guess it ..endless.I only had my poor mans veggies in the fridge but you can fill it with bean sprouts,tofu..smoked or other,mushrooms,bak choy,pak choy,sesame seeds,spiced pumpkins,any yummy crunchy green vegetables or any combination that takes your fancy(with the exception of tomatoes which do not go with soy sauce...good luck and over and out!)

On a completely different note I,d like to add that my daugther is 16 months old today and walking,that the moon is full and shining like silver sunshine and that the swallows have chosen to depart flying back to Africa...On behave of everyone I,d like to thank the swallows for their glorious laughing and flight maneuvers and celebrating summer with us,for the moon for awaking the magic in people and to my daughter for existing and making my world special and love filled and new.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Fig,Plum and Apple Crumble



Crumbles are the ultimate wintry or autumnal comfort foods.
My neighbour has two huge fig trees which Anouk always makes a bee line for...One ladden with white figs..the other with deep purple figs...the fruit is covered individually with bags to stop the blackbirds eating them.I love the thought of fat gluttonous birds drunk on figs.
In Ireland figs are crazily expensive and totally gourmet...here they grow wild and in vast quantities...which being Irish and living abroad I have a mixture of smug satisfaction and of course guilt.
But what better way of dealing with guilt -make a delicious comforting dessert.

First I chopped up some figs,plums and apple and stewed in a pan until softened ...then sweetened with agave syrup to taste.
For the topping I mixed some 5 cereal flakes(or you could use oat flakes) with about a quarter of the amount of flour.A few sprinkles of cinnamon and a tiny pinch of vanilla sugar were called for. I binded the mixture with a few splashes of sunflower oil (you could use margarine or butter) and threw in some sunflower seeds.I sweetened it with agave syrup( you could use brown sugar or rice syrup).
In a greased ovenproof dish pore in the stewed fruit then top with the crumble mixture and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 C until the top is browned(about 15 or 20 minutes).
Try different stewed fruit...like apples with raisins,or banana and mango,or banana and chocolate or a mixture of red berries.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sweetcorn Cajun Fritters


These are little mouthfuls of sheer joy and good cold or hot straight from the pan...
For the batter...
85g flour
15g soya flour
20g garbanzo flour
5g baking powder
pinch of salt and pepper
flat dessertspoon of organic bouillion powder
dessertspoon of cajun powder
1 small garlic clove crushed
1 teaspoon tumeric

Mix well and add 200ml cold water and beat well making sure theres no flour bubbles.

Add...
150g sweetcorn nibs
40g diced red pepper
75g chopped spring onion greens,n all

In a small saucepan...fill with sunflower oil to about a fifth of the way up.
Heat up oil and test to see if its ready by placing a small drop of batter inside...when it floats your ready to roll...
With dessertspoons of the batter mixture cook three at a time...about 1 minute or so on each side or until they are nice and golden brown.
Dry on kitchen paper.

P.S.please be careful with oil never go near it with water ....vague memories of burning a fryingpan when in college come flooding back to me...

If you don,t have bouillion powder don,t fret.... use more garlic,or perhaps chopped red chillies(if you dare),or fresh coriander leaves,or more cajun powder.
Cajun food is a mixture of French and African cuisine.Think deep south...think gumbo stews(I use fried tofu)....The powder can be bought or you can make your own...
Its a mixture of salt,chilli powder,black pepper,ground ginger,ground cumin,cardamon,brown sugar,dried oregano,dried thyme and lemon peel.
I served these with a salad of garden tomatoes,avocado and lettuce with drizzles of tarragon vinegar,coriander oil,habanero chilli sauce with salt and pepper.(maybe the chilli sauce drowned out the vinegar but I was playing ...so maybe a wine vinegar would do)

This recipe is very adaptable.
Try changing the cajun powder for some curry powder with extra cardamon.
Or change the vegetables...
enjoy!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Smoked Aubergine Soup


We had a Bar-b-q- at the weekend...and I had some left over potato and aubergine charred black from the fire.Instead of turning it into some smokey dips I opted for this soup due to the rainy weather outside...Ain,t nothing like a soup on a grey day.

Saute 2 onions finely diced in olive oil with a pinch of salt.
When the onions are soft add 3 small mushrooms..diced finely.
Add 1 small aubergine,2 radishes,half a cougette chopped finely.
Cook until the aubergine softens and add the charred aubergine (with the burnt skin removed and composted)and cover with a light stock.
Simmer for about ten minutes then blend up for a thick rich soup.
I added the cooked charred potato deskined and cubed up with some cooked green peas before serving for a different texture and that lovely green colour

Roast Parsnip and Quinoa Tortilla


Spanish omlettes or Torillas are one of the best inventions.This one was made from some cooked quinoa I had hanging around in the frigde with some roasted parsnips.
For perfect tortillas you need...
A small non stick frying pan(I say small because its easier or faster to cook the filling)
A well seasoned tasty filling.
A filling thats dry or not too moist.

I calculate the filling to almost fill(about three quaters of the way up) the frying pan.
I used a small 6 inch pan.

First beat four eggs and set aside.
Heat the frying pan until very hot.
Add olive oil and coat the sides well.
Beat eggs one more time and add to the pan.
Imediately add the filling.
Lower the flame to minimum.
Top with a lid.
Check after a minute or so ,if your flame can,t go very low..take it off the heat still covered.
Loosen the sides of the omlette and if very liquidy and let some of the egg mixture trickle down the sides.
You can move the filling to the sides gently every now and then.
Repeat processes of putting a lid on,taking it off for about 15 minutes...yes its a slow process...the idea is for the centre to cook well until it,s firm enough to turn over but that it doesn,t dry out.
When it seems quite firm(make sure theres no runny egg mixture left) put a plate on top and using a tea towel flip the frying pan over.
Add a wee bit more oil to the pan and return the Torilla to the pan (un cooked side facing downwards)still on a low flame for about 3 minutes or until cooked thru.

Try the following fillings...
Classic cooked potatoes with fried onions.
Cooked artichokes(not canned)with black olives and onions.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Borlotti Bean Stew


We had a handfull of dried beans from the garden just enough for dinner for two.
I had never tried Borlotti beans before and now I see the attraction...they were lovely and plump with a nice mealy texture.
I made a classic stew of sauted onions,garlic,aubergines,green and red peppers from the neighbours with a wee bit of celery and tomatoes...a slash of wine...reduced to perfection and added the cooked beans.
Fresh parsley and basil,some boullion base were added to mingle with the veggies and a happy stew was born.I,m sure this would taste better if I cooked the beans slowly in the stew but I wanted to try them on there own first.Instead ,we ate this the following day to allow the beans soak up the flavour of the stew...and enjoyed them with some golden roasted potatoes.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Summer Tomato Broth



This year we planted 3 types of tomatoes.."de colgar"(for hanging up)...for making Pan con Tomate and they keep until february hanging up in the kitchen(more true treasure).

To make Pan con Tomate you need to toast some bread.Rub them with garlic.Cut a tomate de colgar(or a well flavoured ripe soft tomato) in half and rub it into the bread... all you,ll have left is the skin.Drizzle some good quality olive oil on top and a sprinkle of salt ...and there you have it... a classic Catalan recipe.The concept is simple..good ingredients and you can,t go wrong.Serve this bread with Grilled Asparagus,Tortilla EspaƱol,Sauted wild mushrooms or whatever takes your fancy.

The second type of tomato was gordos de Argentina..fat argentian tomates which are the fat,firm full variety..great for salads with olive oil and fresh basil and black pepper.

The last type was monserrat which are large with big folds like a pin cushion... emptyish inside but sweet... great for this summer soup... or for stuffing.

Also there were a few unidentified tomates which grew alone thanks to the compost...one or two cherry tomates and plum tomates and a few nameless bless them.

Forgive my nerdish account of varieties but looking back its nice to see what you planted every year and why.Now on to this soup it had the simplist ingredients because the veggies were so good I wanted to celebrate them.
First saute some finely chopped onion (1medium sized)
Next chop a fresh fat garlic clove and cook until just soft and not browned
Add a half or quarter of diced red pepper...also cooked until soft
And lastly 2 bowlfuls of tomatoes diced up ,skins and all...a mixture of the lovely selection above...deliciously sweet..no added sugar needed.
Add a slash or two of water or light stock...enough to give a nice broth like consistency.
The tomatoes should be cooked but still hold their shape.
Add a hand full of tiny cooked pasta of choice.
Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Top with fresh basil and some grated parmesan.
Perfect homage to naturally sweet summer vegetables.

note...This soup only works with good flavoured tomatoes...if they dont have much flavour theres no point in trying this recipe...however if you get your hands on some homegrowns celebrate them with this soup.

Banana Icecream.


This is so creamy...so rich and yummy...that you,ll be surprised of the ingredients...
Bananas.
Just bananas and nothing more.
Chop up a banana in small pieces, place on a tray and pop into the freezer and freeze.
Take out and using a blender or food processor until you get a creamy icecream texture(the smaller the frozen pieces the easier it is to make)
Honest Simple Healthy Icecream...from Camila at http://mybitesoflife.blogspot.com/...
And my baby loves it...when she doesnt eat bananas she,ll wolf this down...thank you Cami!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Pumpkin,Walnut, (among other cosas ricas) Gratin


They say here in the mountains that you can fell a change in the weather after the fiesta major (the big yearly village fiesta)and I can feel it coming and even though theres a pang of clinging to the love of hot summer days ...I like Autumn.I like golden leaves,pumpkins,the promise of vast amounts of wild mushrooms or at least the anticipation,fires,chestnuts and supreme comfort foods like this recipe...theres a earthly gorgousness of walnuts ,chard combined with the sweet spicey pumpkin and crispy potatoes on top...Its my welcome recipe for autumn.

The quantities of ingredients depend on the size of oven dish...try even amounts of chard and pumpkin mixture...

About 6 shallots (or 3 sweet onions).
Chard leaves (a decent amount).
One garlic clove.
Roasted pumpkin.
Boiled potatoes.
Coconut milk.
Powdered ginger.
Powdered nutmeg.
Curry powder.
Olive oil.
Salt and pepper.

Start off with a few shallots cut into quarters and saute until soft.
Next some chard...always treat it like two vegetables the crunchy stalk and soft spinach like leaves....cut the stalks length ways then into small dices and boil in just enough water to cover them until they soften slightly(honor the crunch folks),drain and use the same saucepan for the leaves...roll up them up together as tightly as possible and slice finely .Put a drop of oil with some garlic and fry until almost golden(do not burn,I,m against burnt garlic)then add the chopped leaves,salt and just a slash of water(use the chard cooking water...save the rest for stock) and wilt until wilted.
The pumpkin I removed from the freezer-god or goddess bless you freezer!
It(the pumpkin)was roasted in the oven until soft ....it really intensifies the flavour.
I prefer not puting any salt and let the natural flavour shine until I know if I,m going to use it for a sweet or savouring plate.
In a saucepan heat a teaspoon of curry powder,a pinch of nutmeg and a half teaspoon of dried ginger(I,m sure fresh would be better or different at least but heh there was nowt to be found in my pueblo),then add the soft roasted pumpkin with a dessertspoon of marigold bouillon powder(absolutely not nessesary if you have a beautifully sweet flavourful pumpkin ,mine was not and to be honest the poor crater(Irish for divil or scamp or soul) was a bit dull tasting,so a bit of organic dried stock powder was called for)
Mash well together with a splash of coconut milk,salt and pepper and a nob of butter if it takes your fancy.
Toast a handfull of walnuts and place in an oiled ovenproof glass dish .
Place shallots and chard on top.
Next the spiced pumpkin purree.
Lastly decorate the top with sliced cooked potatoes brushed with olive oil.
Bake in the oven about 180 or 200 degrees until goldenbrown on top and bubbling slightly in the layers below.
A word or two on the photo ..It was taken the next day.Day light is always the best .It doesnt show exact layers of vegetables because it was deplated various times and does not do justice to my gratin.But please try it as I,m very happy with this one people.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Smoked Tofu Loving



Get out your cookie cutters people please.
Play with food.
I used a heart shaped cutter but stars and wee circles could also be used.
Slice the smoked tofu then use cutter,fry until golden then add a splash of soya sauce at the end-
Or use marinated tofu..

I just thought that a plate of red peppers and red pasta in heart shapes would be gorgeous.With black olives and fresh basil.
Or stars yellow peppers,pumpkins,tofu marinated yellow with tumeric and spices in star shapes would be beautiful too.

These days I make my most creative food at night when I,m too tired to blog or take photos (13 month old babies are full on)...
But I always daydream of food...of combinations.It,s what makes me tick.Or one of my ticks.
Time is precious and I realize that alot more now that I choose to make little for myself and almost all for my little girl ...that includes food...It,s been salads ,stir-frys,stuffed courgettes,and super rapido foods which turn out to be delicious.
Why I,m babbling on is for those who also have little time to blog...Let,s relax and know that when the time comes it will be like a gorgeous explosion of ideas.
And knowing that time is precious I will enjoy it all the more when I can fully throw my self into blogging.But for now it,s day dreaming of cooking all day with a glass of wine...planing course after course of mouth watering delicacies,trying out new time consuming recipes,breads,pastas,being suprised and delighted that theres always something new to learn.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sole gin chocolate truffles!



Melt 56g of butter(or vegetable margarine).
Add the following...
200g icing sugar.
3 heaped desertspoons of cocoa powder.
100ml of sunflower oil.
100g pitted sloes well intoxicated in gin from 8 months ago.
150g soft tofu
Blend together with a electric handblender or whatever takes your fancy.
Add 50g raisins (which were soaked in sloe gin over night)

Leave in the fridge until it firms up a bit.

With the help of a teaspoon and hands(messy) or idealy a mini melon scoop ,form the mixture into balls and leave on a tray in the freezer.

Melt about 150g dark 70% chocolate in a bain marie(mary,s bath?).

Dip the balls quickly into the melted chocolate and leave to cool on baking parchment.
Top some with walnut pieces.
Leave some with just the chocolate topping.
Don,t dip in chocolate and roll in dessicated coconut.
UMM or toasted mixed chopped nuts.

Store in the freezer .
Enjoy in winter time, summer time etc
Or with a wee glass of sloe gin.
Or with a coffee.
One at a time ...these babies are powerful!

It was my first time attempt at truffles and I am v v happy.
The butter doesn,t add to the flavor at all so margarine could easily be used to make vegan.
If you dont have any sloes in gin...you could add more raisins soaked in rum or whatever alcohol that you wish but maybe blend half with truffle mixture .
The freezer is my new God since Adrian made an orange and coconut ice-cream yesterday...Will be playing with the icecream machine more these days.
Happy summer and icecream eating people.




Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Summer garden vegetable flan


We had some left over wholemeal pastry in the freezer from last weeks empanadas....
so I was in the mood for a tart(of the savoury variety),or flan or quiche and with the everyflowering spinach and overgrowing chard.. this lunchtime meal was born.
Hail the tart!
Long live the flan.

Added with a simple salad of raddicheta(an argentinian? salad leaf,slightly bitter and perhaps from the same family as dandelion leaves),spring onions ands a simple vinegrette.It was trully delightful.

For a swiss roll sized tray...lets say 7x10 inches..
Pre bake(bake blind)wholemeal pastry.
Ingredients...
4 eggs
2 red peppers sliced and sauted
4 fat mushrooms sliced and sauted
about half pint soya milk
2 large onions
wee handful green olives cut in half
colinder full of spinach and chard freshly picked from the garden
half a cup frozen corn(or fresh if lucky enough to have some)
cupful of fresh peas from garden lovingly podded and passed the quality control by anouk
a good handful of unknown strong french cheese(please use cheese of choice)
Small quality of soft smoked cheese diced and scattered on top
dried thyme

What a misch mas way of writing the ingredients!...
Saute the onions.
Saute (or roast) the peppers.
Saute the mushrooms.
Wilt the chard and spinach in a wee bit of oil,salt and garlic.
Cook the peas and sweetcorn.
Arrange the vegetables evenly and artistly in a pre-cooked flan case.
Place grated cheese on top.
Beat the eggs...then add milk,dried thyme and salt and pepper-and pour over the vegetables and cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven 180.c until golden brown and firm in the center.

options..
you could use tofu instead of eggs...add some dried boullion powder(organic if possible),a wee bit of dried mustard and a splash of soya sauce.
instead of smoked cheese ..add crispy smoked tofu
Add soya milk and you,ve got a vegan summer pie.
enjoy!

Sage Flowers

Coriander oil



Get a handful of coriander(cilantro) leaves, cover with olive oil and liquidize.
Leave in the fridge for two to three days.
Using a fine material like cotton or muslin in a funnel let the mixture drip down into a bottle.
This oil will keep out side the fridge for months .
I plan on storing it for the winter months.
Enjoy this oil over savoury stuffed pancakes,with lime juice for any thai style salad,with rice,added to sauces,to lentils,over pizzas....I could go on and on.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Beetroot


This is the secound lot of beetroot we have growing this year.
I love the colours.
The young leaves can be used in salads.
The larger coarser leaves can be cooked like spinach...rinsed and wilted with a splash of oil with onions,garlic or whatever takes your fancy.

This years first strawberries

No recipes in this post.
These strawberries are for Anouk who was One year old last week.
If you have few strawberries growing the best way of eating them is straight off the plant...especially if your twelve months old...

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Abuela Luisa,s Aubergine pickle



Peel shiny healthy aubergines and cut in finger size shapes.
Place in a large colinder beginning with a layer of aubergines ...sprinkle with sea salt....then another layer of sea salt.
Then put the colinder on top of a bowl to collect the bitter juices .
Leave for an hour or so.

Next place the aubergines in a large saucepan and cover them with a mixture half water ,half white wine vinegar.
Boil and cook for five minutes.
Drain in a colinder.
Layer in jars with some chopped garlic,dried laurel leaves,dried oregano,black pepper corns,aji molido(chilli flakes).
Then cover completely with sunflower oil.

The longer you leave the jars unopened the better the flavour but this is v v hard to do.
This pickle keeps very well so I advice you to make it in large quantities.
I suppose this is an Argentina recipe to eat with bar-b-qs but it also delicious with tostadas,crostinis,cheeses,veggie burgers...and the other day I liquidized them with tahini to make a baba ganush style dip.





Friday, 12 June 2009

rosemary and chilli infused olive oil



This is one of those must have oils.
It is delicious on top of pizzas,pastas....or when you want a quick hit of heat in a dish.
Its so easy to make and very beautiful to look at.

Fill a bottle with olive oil.
Place a few sprigs of clean fresh rosemay and dried birds eye chilli,s(the really small ,really hot ones).
Put a cork in the bottle and leave to infuse for a couple of days....to a few weeks(test for levels of heat that you want)

You can also try this with other herbs like thyme ,dried laurel leaves and peppercorns.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Tarragon vinegar


Could this be any easier?

Add fresh tarragon to white wine vinegar.
Remove the herbs after two months.
Bottle and place a hand painted sticker on front...

Try using this vinegar to pickle cucumbers or gherkins.

Elderflower vinegar




Jams,pickles,scented oils,vinegars are becoming my new obsessions.
Homemade concoctions are far more superior to any store bought variety and something like this recipe is almost impossible to buy...like alot of wild food recipes...so it seems extra special.

Get a jam jar or bottle.
Fill will fresh elderflowers(remove the stalks and check for insects).
Cover with white wine vinegar and leave for one month(not longer as it would be too perfumed).
Remove flowers and bottle with a hand painted label.
It,s treasure.

I,m going to make more and try it with cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
I also want to try make elderflower churros...you dip the flower heads in batter and dip fry them,then springle with sugar...uummm.
I,ve heard that you can make capers with the un opened flower buds....
Thats the glory of wild food recipes they seem so beautifully exotic,bountiful and free ...with endless possibilities.
Hurray for life.
Life rocks.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sugarsnaps with spelt seitan and the last of last year,s dried chanterelles...


The peas we,re calling me today for lunch and dinner.Ah that damned sweetness beckoning me...

For lunch I fried some chanterelle mushrooms that I dried last year in Autumn.(True treasure)
First I rehydrated them in boiling water ,keeping the liquid to use in the recipe....
Then I fried them in olive oil with chopped garlic and parsley and some sea salt(A catalan way with mushrooms or setas as they are known here)
The mushrooms were added to some cooked brown organic rice(regular brown rice has loads and loads of chemicals just under the rusks)

In another pan I browned some spelt seitan torn into strips,to which I added spring onions,a wee bit of chopped ginger...adding splashs of the mushroom juices when drying too much....the last minute I added sugarsnaps and I wee splash of shoyu soya sauce.....was tempted to add some red wine and chilli but no I restrained and all was good and holy in my world

Seitan made with spelt flour seems less heavy and easier to digest.
Forgive the photo...perfectionist Jean can do better...but heh ,it,s thursday(could,nt think of a good excuse)


perfection



Last night we ate to as near perfection as you can get.A combination of flavours so simple and perfect together that I have to write about it to save the memory

crispy falafels
hummus with added toasted cumin seeds
crushed aragon olives with dried laurel and rosemary.................
and the star of the show........

Fresh sugarsnaps from the garden picked just a few minutes before blanching in boiling water for less than a minute.

I had a moment of enlightenment...when I understood the concept of being true to the amazing flavours of fresh vegetables.To overcook those sugar snaps or hide there sweetness with over powering flavours would be a sin againgst mother nature...

Sometimes you can write complicated recipes but for fresh sugarsnaps or mangetout...the best way of cooking them is barely(especially if you have lovingly watered them for the last months)...savior that green green colour and sublime sweetness and enjoy

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

discoveries of the last month


Discoveries of the last month...
  1. Flowers in salads...edible flowers...dandelions,violets,violas,chive flowers,sage,rosemary and thyme flowers are all so beautiful...I want to learn more.
2.Kamut.....is a wonderful nutty grain with a texture like barley ....its a wonderful replacement to rice but it does take a long time to cook.

3.Stress and colds are not good moments for blogging...I went thru a stage of making weird food...trying not to use salt,trying to make healthy food for baby and parents mixing with teething and little sleep ....not a good idea...

4.Jam making is just too easy....have made in the last month...kiwi jam,cherry jam,strawberry jam.Also tried tomato jam which is an usual taste sensation...but good for adding to pasta sauces for a quick sweet pick up.

5.There exists a really good soya cream for whipping.

6.Nettle soup is delicious....and dandelion flower torilla(spanish omlette).

7.That France is so near to where I live and I love the bread,pastries and cheese there.

Have,nt stopped blogging ...honest !


Too much time has passed.
Before I wrote these blogs with little anouk sleeping in my arms ....
But now she wakes up when if I type and I need to give her more attention.
Her grandparents are here from Argentina for a month.
All is full of love and first steps with assistance....recipes are taking a back seat and photos are of smiles instead of pestos.
More blogs will be written and more delicious food will be eaten.
The garden is beautiful ....everywhere there is an explosion of growth,life and colours.
Neighbours are dropping in fresh strawberries and cherries.
Little time for writting but time will come again.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

pink soba noodles


Beetroot adds a magical colour to everything it touches..hands,tabletops,cutting boards...but I love the transformation it adds to the brown noodles and especially the mushrooms(pink mushrooms!).I think colours of food effects us tremendously...when you don,t want brown food...love it up a bit with pink!

Cook soba noodles.
Rinse in cool water ,drain and leave to one side.

Prepare the vegetables.. Slice mushrooms,carrots,fresh beetroot,asparagus and garlic. In a small pan toast sunflower and pumpkin seeds...until they brown slightly..then remove from the pan. Heat up a wok to a very high temperature. Add some oil. Immediatly throw in vegetables... stirring constantly for a couple of minutes. Throw in a spoon of sundried tomato purree and some water when it seems too dry(the steam from the water cooks the vegetables fast but don,t put too much in..just enough to stop from burning). Enjoy the lovely pink colours of the vegetables. Add the noodles and stir well adding more water..again just enough to stop from burning. Plate up and springle liberally with seeds.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Whiskey leek rolls...with a walnut ,apple,potato salad and goats yoghurt dressing



We went to visit friends the other day in their Masia(Catalan gorgeous stone farmhouses)and when leaving we were given a pressie of two fat leeks and loads of asparagus.The asparagus was grilled and eaten with alioli...and this is what happened to the leeks ....

Cut the green part of the leeks and bottom part .
There before you ,you,ll have two white rolls of leeks.
Insert a sharp knife in one end and rotate and twist ...do the same at the other end until you have a hollow in the centre.

Now for the filling...
Saute finely diced green peppers,red peppers,a wee bit of courgettes,a wee bit of onion and garlic and black olives(all choped small) in olive oil until soft.
Add a sprinkle of fresh thyme.
At the end of cooking put up the heat and add a gurgle of whiskey .
The heat evaporates the alcohol but leaves that lovely flavour.

Wrap the leek rolls in tin foil with some stock and olive oil inside.
Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven (180c)until soft.

The salad...
Wash and chop...lettuce greens and apple.
Add diced cooked and cooled potatoes.
And walnuts(freshly shelled).
Mix a good few dollops of organic goats yoghurt with a few splashes of white wine vinegar.
Salt and pepper it.
Scatter with chopped chives.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Pumpkin,coconut and almond soup


Saute two onions finely chopped in olive oil.
In another saucepan heat up some olive oil and pop in some chopped red peppers, cover and let them brown up slightly until soft(alternatively you could use roasted peppers).
Add chopped celery and carrot to cooked onions...then cooked peppers...then roasted pumpkin(I had some frozen....you could use fresh).
With just enough stock to stop from burning...let the vegetables cook until soft.
Add a can of coconut milk and enough almond milk to give it the consistency you want...salt and pepper to taste.

I cook my vegetables separately alot of the time because I like to respect their true nature..sounds pretentious I know...but believe me its true...
Adding fresh peppers will not give you that lovely sweet flavour...same goes for the fresh pumpkin.The almond milk gives it an added bonus prize of calcium for all....

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Lentil Dhal for Cami...

Little lentil loving....



This was the filling for the stuffed potatoes.I don,t ever weigh vegetables or spices for curries...because I think it depends on the personal taste of who you,re cooking for...or your mood on a particular day....if I had my way I,d overload on cumin and chillies(dry or fresh)....

Chop and saute onions...until translucent.
Add two or three chopped garlic cloves and chopped fresh root ginger.
Dice carrots,a wee bit of celery,red peppers,courgettes and continue to saute.
Add cumin seeds,coriander seeds and crushed cardamom....and curry powder(garam marsala or blend of choice)
Add a cupful of red lentils.
Pour some chopped diced tomatoes(or organic tinned tomatoes) and some vegetable stock....enough to cover the lentil and veg mixture.
Cook until lentils have softened completely.(if nessesary add more liquid)
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes on dhal making...
Loads of onions are essential ...Cook them well before you add the other ingredients.
The amount of garlic and ginger depends how much spices you add....look for a balance of flavours.
You can of course use other lentils ...green,brown,split peas (and at the end throw in cooked chickpeas or cooked red kidney beans)...but I prefer red lentils as you don,t need to soak them and they cook quickly.
If you toast the spices whole in a dry frying pan the heat releases their natural oils and flavours much more than adding them directly to the curry...crush in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar...........and note gigantic difference of taste!
At the end of cooking you can blend half the mixture if you like a creamier dhal.
I personally love cumin and cardamom...without them my dhal would not be complete...look for your favourite spices....go to your nearest Indian shop and try adding black onion seeds,curry leaves,cinnamon,fennel,tumeric for colour,cloves...etc...etc..
You can always change the vegetables...but I like a sweet combination.
Try add coconut milk or powdered almonds at the end of cooking.
I cooked in a resaurant once with an Indian chef Kumar -which was brilliant...I never stopped asking questions and I never added enough salt....I think it needs a fair bit of salt to balance the spices and strong flavours.
I like to add mango chutney(available in Indian stores)which adds a hot kick and keeps for forever with a layer of oil on top.
Look for " Pataks"I think thats the brand..for kormas,chutneys and other sauces.

Serve with lots of basmati rice,popadums,a raita of your choice,mint chutney,aloo gobi,sag aloo,pakoras,samosas......must write more Indian recipes.ummmmmmmmmm..especially onion bhajis.........ummmmm
If anyone wants a more exact recipe I can try and be good and note down the quantities....Happy Dhal making!