Autumn Red Salad

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I made this to have with the Potato and Chickpea Cakes in the previous post using ingredients that are currently in season here. Fragrant green peppers from the huerta, this years almonds which I love dry toasted in their skins, big winter radishes and plum tomatoes from the local market.

You will need –

Several leaves of red oak leaved lettuce

2 medium tomatoes – chopped into chunks

2 samall or 1 large green pepper

about 20 whole almonds – either with skins or if you prefer without

1 large cooked beetroot – cut into smallish cubes

Winter radish – about 20 thin slices

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablesoons water

1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup

2 tablespoons extra virgen olive oil

Start by steeping the radishes. The large winter radishes can be quite peppery, so a sweet marinade will make them less so. Mix the vinegar water and honey or syrup in small bowl, then add the radishes. Leave to marinate for at least ten minutes.

Meanwhile dry toast the almonds in a thick based pan over a low heat. Stir regularly to ensure that they are evenly toasted and a little browned. Remove from the heat and put to one side.

Rip up the lettuce leaves and arrange them on a large plate, then add the chopped tomatoes.

slice the green peppers and arrange on the salad.

Remove the radish slices from their marinade and arrange them over the salad.

Put the beetroot in the marinade and stir to cover all the cubes.

Spoon the cubes and vinegar over the salad, then sprinkle on the almonds.

Finally drizzle over the olive oil.

Enjoy!

Chickpea & Potato Cakes with Whole Spices

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These spicy cakes are so quick and easy to make and use only two main ingredients.

Per serving you need –

100 grams cooked chickpeas

medium potato

pinch fennel seeds

pinch cumin seeds

pinch coriander seeds

salt and freshly ground black pepper

olive oil for frying

Put the chickpeas in a bowl and mash them to a coarse paste.

Grate the potato into the chickpea mash and mix thoroughly.

Add all the seasonings and mix well.

Form into three cakes and fry for a few minutes each side, I turned mine twice, until they are golden brown and cooked through.

Serve with greek yoghurt and a spicy sauce.

Market Day Salad Nicoise

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Sometimes when food shopping most of the elements of a great recipe just happen to appear before you. In this case, picked this morning french beans, bright green little gem lettuce and fresh from underneath the hen free range eggs. A salad Nicoise is asking to be made. There is no fresh tuna, which I would normally use, but lovely big prawns will do nicely for the fish element. Southern Spain is the land of the tomato, so super tasty tomatoes are always plentiful.

I prefer poached eggs to boiled, I like warm yolks to dribble over the salad, and a vinaigrette dressing to mayonnaise, so here is my version of Salade Nicoise.

Per person

lettuce leaves

1 or 2 tomatoes – chopped

French beans – top and tail them and cut them into about 3cm lengths, then blanch them in boiling water for two or three minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

1 tablespoon corn kernels

1 clove of garlic – chopped

olive oil

7 large prawns – peeled

2 large free range eggs

For the dressing

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine/cider vinegar

pinch of sugar

Firstly mix all the dressing ingredients together thoroughly. You can put them all in a little jar and give it a good shake. Put to one side while you assemble the salad.

Lay the lettuce leaves on a dinner plate to make a bed for the rest of the ingredients. Strew over the tomatoes, beans and corn.

Heat water in a small pan for poaching the eggs.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan and add the chopped garlic, fry for a minute then add the prawns. Fry gently until just cooked through. Add to the salad with the cooking juices and garlic.

Poach the eggs, drain and lay on the salad.

Spoon over the dressing, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with fresh crunchy bread.

Red Rice, Cauliflower & Green Bean Biryani

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In the lockdown I got into ordering some of the food stuffs less easy to get hold of locally online, and that is where I found the red rice. I overcooked it the first time I used it, but now I’ve got it right. It’s all down to the soaking. This rice wants to be steeped in cold water for a couple of hours or so before it’s cooking.

For 4 portions

120 grams red rice

500 ml vegetable stock

50 grams raw cashew nuts

2-3 tablespoons olive or peanut oil

1/2 red onion – diced

3-4 cloves garlic – finely chopped

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 red chilli – finely chopped

Seeds from 10 green cardamoms

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 medium courgette – cut into small cubes

1/2 cauliflower – just the florets cut small

150 grams french green beans – cut into 1/2 cm lengths

salt and freshly ground black pepper

At least two hours before you are going to cook, put the rice to soak in enough cold water to cover it generously.

Toast the cashews in a thick based pan over a low heat until golden brown. Put to one side.

Drain the rice from its soaking liquid. Heat the stock in a saucepan and once it is boiling add the rice and a pinch of salt. Leave to cook on a slow simmer for about ten minutes.

Heat the oil or butter in a wok or deep frying pan over a low heat and add the onion. Fry until translucent then add the garlic and ginger. Continue frying until the contents are lightly browned.

Add the spices and fry for a few minutes.

Add the courgettes and cauliflower florets. Cover the pan and continue cooking.

After the rice has had its ten minutes of cooking, throw in the green beans and cook for a further 3-4 minutes by which time most of the cooking liquid will have been absorbed.

Add the rice and beans to the rest of the vegetables and stir well to mix. Cook for a further five minutes for the flavours to mix and to dry the Biryani if it is a bit too liquid.

Check the seasonings adding salt and pepper as needed.

Lastly stir in the cashew nuts and serve.

Fish Cooked in Coconut Milk with Spices

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I made the sauce for this fish dish first, and then slowly poached the fish in it. I’ve used fillets of Mackerel as they are in season here right now, so superbly fresh and a good price, but any firm fleshed fish fillets can be used. I haven’t tried it, but it could be a good sauce to cook prawns in as well.

For 2 portions

500 grams fish fillets

1/2 red onion – sliced

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped or green garlic sliced

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1/2 fresh red chilli – finely chopped

oil or butter for frying

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

200 ml coconut milk

1 teaspoon ground rice

juice of a small lime

salt and pepper

Heat the oil or butter in a deep frying pan or wok. Add the onions and cook on a low heat until starting to brown a little.

Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir in and fry for a few minutes.

Add the mustard seeds and fry until they begin to pop, then add the turmeric and coconut milk.

Gently cook the sauce for five minutes.

If the sauce is thin, then thicken with the rice flour.

Add the fish and poach gently until the fillets are just cooked.

Season with salt, pepper and the lime juice.

Serve with rice. I made a Red Rice, Cauliflower and Green Bean Biryani, which went very well. I’ll post the recipe for that next.

Hazelnut Toffee Tart

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I often end a meal with just fresh fruit, but sometimes there’s an urge for something quite sweet, not a big portion, but a mouthful or two of delicious sweetness, and this set of super easy desserts fits the bill. They all have a biscuit base, topped with a caramel toffee made by boiling tins of condensed milk to which chopped nuts are added.

If you have not come across this way of making a toffee before it’s, as I have already said, very easy, if a little disconcerting. You take the labels off your tins of condensed milk, and without opening or piercing them, put them in a pan with enough boiling water to cover and simmer them for three hours. If the water level gets below the top of the tins during cooking just add some boiling water. It’s three hours simmering wether the tins are the small or the larger size. I usually boil three of the small, 400 gram tins together. Let them cool for several hours in the water in which they have cooked. The caramel, being in tins will keep indefinitely of course, so it’s a good standby to have in the cupboard. Even an open tin will keep for several weeks. Shall we slide quickly past the reason being the high sugar content of the toffee…..

When you get to opening your tin you will find a thick caramel that holds its shape and can be spread onto a biscuit base. My favourite tart is to mix chopped nuts into the toffee before spreading it onto the biscuit layer, then decorate the top with whole or half nuts. I’ve made this with Pecan nuts and with Hazelnuts, both are very good. You can also put the a neat toffee layer onto the biscuits, then top that with banana slices and whipped cream for a Banoffee Tart.

The little tart pictured is made in a 10 cm wide loose based tin, which makes 6 my size mini portions or 4 larger ones.
For a 15 cm wide tart tin double all the amounts in the recipe.


60 grams biscuits – finely chopped in a food processor

20 grams butter

200 grams toffeed condensed milk

100 grams hazelnuts

Just in case you have never made a biscuit base, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat, add the biscuits and mix well.
Tip into the tart tin and spread into an even layer, tamp down firmly with either your fingers or something flat. Put to cool in the refrigerator.

Cut enough hazelnuts in half to decorate the top of the tart, then roughly chop the rest.

Mix with the toffee, then once the biscuit base is cooled, spread over this in an even layer, and then decorate with the hazelnut halves.

That’s it! Serve with fresh cream.

Globe Artichoke & Burrata Pasta

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A super simple dish today. Most of the tastiest pasta dishes have few ingredients, and this one is no exception. Good olive oil, garlic, fresh cooked artichokes and Burrata cheese are all that’s needed for the sauce. For the pasta I used my favourite dried pasta, Maccheroni al Ferreto, which I know is not always easy to get hold of. Any of the more substantial pastas will work, tagliatelle, penne, orecchiette or pappardelle.

Per person

tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

3 globe artichokes

1/2 a Burrata cheese – roughly cut up

salt and freshly ground black pepper

50 grams dried pasta

Bring plenty of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Let cook at a fast simmer.

Prepare the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves, then the top tough part of the flower and the stem. Cut into fine wedges.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and throw in the artichokes. Fry them over a moderate heat turning them as they cook.

After five minutes of cooking add the garlic. Continue frying until the artichokes are cooked.

If your pasta isn’t yet cooked turn off the heat under the artichokes and cover them.

Once the pasta is cooked drain it saving a little of the cooking liquid. Add to the artichokes and stir well to mix. Reheat the artichokes if necessary and add a little of the pasta cooking liquor.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the cheese. Stir once to mix and serve.

Enjoy!

Spicy Cauliflower Salad with Toasted Almonds and Coconut

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One of my fellow gardening friends has given me a cauliflower he has grown, and it’s the tastiest most tender cauliflower I have eaten in a long time. I blanched some of the florets in boiling water for a minute, before draining them and adding the florets to a mixed salad the other day, which is when I discovered how exceptionally tasty they were. So today I thought to make them the stars of a salad to accompany some Onion Bhaji.

Half a cauliflower – cut into even sized florets

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons almond flakes

2 tablespoons peanut or olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 sweet onion – sliced

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 small green chilli – finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon lime juice

fresh chopped coriander or green coriander seeds

Put the cauliflower florets in a bowl and cover generously with boiling water. Leave to steep for 2-3 minutes then drain. Leave to cool a little.

Put the coconut in a thick based frying pan on a low heat to toast, stirring from time to time. It will suddenly start to brown so don’t be tempted to wander off as I did once. When it has started to brown stir constantly until the coconut is an even golden brown colour, then tip the coconut onto a plate to cool.

Add the almond flakes to the same pan and toast these. Again to a golden brown colour an the tip onto the plate with the coconut.

Again using the same pan, put the 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, and then the mustard and cumin seeds. Fry for a minute or two until the seeds start to pop.

Add the onions, chilli and garlic and fry gently until soft. Add the turmeric and stir to mix.

If there is enough room in the pan, add the cauliflower florets, or add the contents of the pan to the florets in a bowl. Stir to mix well.

Add the coconut and almonds and mix again. Season with salt, pepper, chopped coriander or seeds and lime juice.

Enjoy!

Mixed Lentils in Tomato Sauce & Ottolengis Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad.

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The first time I made these lentils, I happened to have some leftover carrot salad from the day before which I stirred into my portion of lentils. The mix is so successful that now I plan to have the salad one day, and make enough to have leftovers ready to mix in to the lentils the following day.

The Lentils – this makes four good servings

100 grams yellow lentils

40 grams small white lentils

40 grams red lentils

oil or butter for frying

2 medium sized onions – sliced

4 cloves garlic – finely chopped

fresh ginger roughly 3x2x2 cm – cut into small cubes

fresh green chilli – finely chopped

1 level teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

200 gram tin puréed tomatoes

200 grams tomato passata

salt and pepper

Put the lentils in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave to soak for an hour.

Heat the oil or butter in a deep frying pan and add the sliced onions, garlic and ginger. Fry gently for about five minutes to soften.

Add the chopped chilli and stir to mix.

Once the lentils have had their hour of soaking drain them and add to the pan of onions. Stir to mix in.

Add the turmeric, coriander, asafoetida and the tomatoes. Season with salt. Stir to mix all together.

Bring to a simmer, turn the heat very low, cover and leave to cook for about half an hour. Stir from time to time and add water if the mix is getting to dry.

Once the lentils are cooked add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as they are or with the Ottolengi’s carrot salad which follows, either on the side or mixed in.
Oh and if you were wondering what the little green seeds are decorating the lentils, they are fresh green coriander seeds as my coriander in the veg patch is now going to seed with the warmer temperatures. I can leave the seeds to go brown and dry, but I love the flavour of them, pungent and sweet, so a collect them green, and either use them fresh or freeze them. Enjoy!

Spicy Omelette Breakfast Wrap

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This recipe’s origins lay with one of the supermarkets local to here being taken over by South American’s, who know a good flour tortilla and stock the best ones you can buy around here. I have made my own, but these are better than I can do, so why bother. Burritos are the first recipe I made with the tortillas, and I’ve used them as Chapatis with Indian dishes, but one morning fancying a change from my poached egg on toast I made a thin omelette with spices in it, drizzled it with a spicy chilli sauce and rolled it in a hot tortilla. Fab!

Since then I’ve made different variations depending on what vegetables or sauces I’ve had. I’ve added mange toute peas, sweet garden peas, blanched broccoli, sweetcorn or peppers and I’ve put a spread of hummus or aubergine pate on the tortilla before the omelette. The recipe below is for the plain spiced omelette, which is lovely and tasty as it is, or you might want to add vegetables for a more robust omelette.

For a dinner plate sized tortilla you want –

1 free range egg

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon water / vegetable stock / milk

pinch salt

freshly ground black pepper

fresh coriander roughly chopped

olive oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the egg mix and cover. Cook slowly until just set.

Turn the omelette onto a warmed tortilla, drizzle with a hot chilli sauce of your choice, roll and enjoy!