Tag Archives: Spanish

Churros

Because it’s Sunday and you have the luxury of trying something new, and because not enough places serve them in my native Birmingham (though shout out to Bodega and Digbeth Dining Club, both places have given me fine ones).

This is a recipe which is much easier with two, as you have to pipe them and cut them off carefully to avoid splashing hot oil everywhere. So a shout out to my lovely girlfriend Rosie too.

Delicious on their own, even better with a strong cup of coffee and some chocolate sauce.

Ingredients

  • 250ml water
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1l vegetable/rapeseed oil
  • Another 100g caster sugar on a plate for dusting
  • A pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Essential equipment – a piping bag with the toothy nozzle (that’s a technical term, honest) and a deep sided pan capable of comfortably holding the oil.

Method

Firstly, make the dough. Add the water, sugar, salt and two tablespoons of oil to a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring till it all mixes.

Remove from the heat, and add the flour a little at a time till you have a stodgy dough and the flour is used up. Leave to cool a little, then put it in the piping bag.

Heat the remaining oil in your large deep sided pan – if you have the luxury of a deep fat fryer, it should be set to 190c. If not, ot should be bubbling. Squeeze out long strands of the dough for a bag, and cut off at around 5cm. MAKE SURE YOU ARE AS CLOSE TO THE OIL AS POSSIBLE. I mean, it’s fine, but splashed oil at double boiling point is liable to make you swear.

When they turn golden, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the plate of sugar for dusting. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

If you wish, sprinkle over a little cinnamon, and eat. Heaven.

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Fiduea – Spanish Noodle Paella

Back, again, to my undying thirst for Catalonian cuisine. This dish originated from Catalan fishermen, who found a creative use for the pasta they would bring home from neighbouring Italy, a paella dish with the vermicelli cut down to little noodles.

While paella was originally a meat dish, this originated with the fishermen, and would normally contain seafood. I’ve gone for a mix, purely because of my fridge contents.

I prefer the texture of the noodles to the stodge of rice, and this cooks in next to no time too. And my apologies for my photography- after a run of decently photographed food, this proved too much for my meagre skills, and looks like a plate of stodge. Which it is. But you try finding a more delicious stodge.

Finally- I offer this in celebration of the Catalonian people hoping for independence after the fantastic election result last weekend.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 4 dried vermicelli nests (c. 300g)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric (or some strands of saffron if you’re wealthier than me)
  • 200g (1/2 a can) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 100 -200g cooked mussels (plus a couple in their shells for presentation)
  • 100-200g cooked chicken
  • A handful of suitable veg. Peas, diced red peppers, etc.
  • Aioli (garlic mayonnaise, basically)

Method

Break up the vermicelli into a bowl by squeezing the nests in your fist. It’s very satisfying after a stressful day! Alternatively, you can buy the c. 1 inch strands from bigger upmarket supermarkets or a good Mediterranean deli, but squishing vermicelli is deeply satisfying.

Finely chop the garlic, and gently fry this until pale gold over a low heat, in a large saucepan or paella dish.then add the turmeric and the noodles, stir well until the turmeric has coloured it well, for about a minute.

Add the tomatoes and thyme, and a good teaspoon of salt, and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the stock and bringing this to a light, rolling boil.

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Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this, add the chicken, mussels and veg, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. If there is too little liquid, add a little water, too much, and just boil harder and stir constantly.

Remove from the heat and cover for about ten minutes, to let the last of the juices to soak in.

Put a hearty portion on a plate, add a generous dollop of aioli and eat.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Catalan Chicken and Escalivada

Another week, another reason to treat myself to a new cook book!

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If I had to pick a favourite place in the world, I’m not sure if I could, but I know that Catalonia would be up there. It’s the North East region of Spain, taking in Barcelona, Lloret, Girona, and my favourite town in Spain, Tossa de Mar (mentioned in a prior post).

Much like the divisions between England and Scotland, to an outsider, we may seem fairly similar, but when it comes to food, there are little quirks that make us different, and I think these little differences make Catalan cuisine superior to it’s Southern cousin.

It is slightly more frugal, and less showy than Spanish cuisine, and has an unfair reputation for being ‘brown food’. But what it lacks in presentational flair, it more than makes up for in depth of flavour, and being distinctly different from anything else Spanish food presents.

The chicken is warm and spicy, and shows some of the Moorish influence prevalent in Spanish food, and escalivada is a delicious side, served hot or cold- I make way more than I need and dip into it all week. But I could totally eat as much as this recipe makes in one sitting!

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 1tbsp cinnamon
  • A handful of roughly chopped parsley
  • Olive oil
  • c. 150ml good Spanish Brandy (I wholeheartedly┬árecommend Soberano for two reasons. Firstly, it has a warm fire and earthy taste to it, and secondly, those cads in Spain have put the word sober in there, something I have never been once open a bottle of the stuff)
  • 4 Aubergines
  • 2 Roquito Peppers
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • Onion (optional)
  • Garlic oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 plastic supermarket bags (but for God’s sake don’t eat the things)

Method

Start by preparing the escalivada. Halve and deseed all the peppers, and quarter the aubergines, removing the seedy middle.. Feel free to add some wedges of onion at this point too. Place them all in a large roasting dish, and give them a good rub down with a mix of equal parts olive and garlic oil. Put this in the oven for about 40 minutes at 190c.

While the veggies roast, put a nice dusting of cinnamon, salt and pepper on each of the chicken breasts, and throw these into a frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes each side to seal them- this will keep the meat lovely and moist. Set aside.

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When the vegetables are ready, remove them from the oven (leave it on, you’ll need it in a few minutes), and place the peppers into one plastic bag, and the aubergines in the other. Tie them off immediately, and leave them to steam themselves further for 15 minutes.

Put the chicken breasts into the smallest ovenproof dish you have that will hold them, and pour over the brandy. It should mostly cover the chicken. Put this in the oven for 20 minutes, or as usual, till the juices run clear.

When the time is up on steaming the vegetables, remove them from the bag. The skins should just fall off, with little effort on your own part, so remove these, then cut the peppers and aubergines into long ribbons, about 5mm wide, and stir them all together, so that they tangle in and out of each other.

Remove the chicken from the oven, and plate up. Pour over a little of the reduced brandy because wasting good booze is a sin.

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Enjoy!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com