Patatas Bravas & Huevos Rotos


This recipe is super easy, a variation on the oven chips, the only special ingredient needed is Picante Smoked Pimenton or Paprika. The potatoes come out of the oven with a crispy, garlicky, spicy coating, and the eggs make a thick tasty sauce.

Put a large baking tray in the oven and warm it to 190 C or equivalent. The potatoes need to be in a single layer with a bit of space between each one so they can crisp up, so if you are making a largish amount use two trays.

Peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized chunks and put into a bowl.

Crush a clove of garlic per person with a pinch of salt, then mix into 2 tablespoons of oil per person. Add to the potatoes and mix well.

Spread the potatoes on the hot baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes by which time they should be almost cooked a a bit brown round the edges.

After the 30 minutes take the tray out of the oven and toss the potatoes with a fish slice. Sprinkle over the pimenton, about a teaspoon per person, and toss again.

Put back in the oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking.

Meanwhile poach 2 eggs per person.

Serve the potatoes with the eggs on top, cutting the eggs to let the lovely hot yolk dribble over the potatoes.

Spicy Aubergine Salad

Do you ever read a recipe and think how interesting it sounds, and then when you go back to make it the recipe some days later, what you have in your head and how you desire it to taste only bears a faint resemblance to the original recipe? This is what happened with this recipe, but I went ahead and made the recipe that I had imagined which turned out super tasty and delicious.

1 large aubergine

1 clove garlic

4 tablespoons / 60 ml of olive oil

1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml sea salt

2 cm cube tamarind paste

1 tablespoon / 15ml sugar/ honey / agave syrup

1 tablespoon / 15 ml cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon / 1.25 ml picante smoked pimenton or paprika

fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Break the tamarind paste into as small pieces as you can and put in a small container with about a tablespoon of boiling water. Leave to macerate.

In a pestle and mortar or a small bowl crush the garlic with the salt until you have a paste.

Add the olive oil and mix well.

Cut the aubergine into thickish slices and then brush with the garlicky oil. You can either grill them or bake them in the oven. As you can see I baked mine this time with a sweet potato at 190 C

While the aubergines are cooking and cooling, prepare the dressing.

To the leftover garlicky oil add the rest of the ingredients. The tamarind will need to be mashed into its water and any seeds removed.

Put your aubergine slices into a shallow salad dish, pour over the dressing and gently toss. Leave the salad for half an hour for the aubergine to absorb the dressing, sprinkle over the fresh coriander and enjoy.


Potato Rosti are so simple to make that this hardly counts as a recipe.

Peel your potatoes and grate them. Put in a bowl with a pinch of salt and mix well.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large thick based frying pan.

Take a handful of the grated potato and form it into a small round rissole shape, squeezing out some of the moisture as you go. Put into the hot oil.

Continue making cakes with all the grated potato.

Cook on a medium heat, adding more oil if needed, until a good golden brown on the first side.

Carefully turn the cakes over and cook on the other side.

Oven Chips with Mushrooms & Garlic


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After the somewhat complicated Sarma recipe, here are a couple of super simple potato dishes.
Oven chips are so easy to make if you have a good powerful oven, a fan oven is best to get chips that are crispy round the edges.

Put a large baking sheet in the oven and set it to warm up at 200 C

Peel your potatoes and cut them into whatever chip shape is your preference.

Put them in a bowl with a pinch of salt and just enough olive oil the coat the chips.

Spread your chips out on the preheated tray, they do better if they are not too crowded and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and slice a clove of garlic, and slice up some mushrooms. It’s more tasty if you have more than one type of mushroom, I used shiitake and oyster.

After the chips have had their 20 minutes of cooking, take the tray out of the oven and with a spatula turn them over. Strew over them the mushrooms and garlic, then put the tray back in the oven for another 20 minutes by which time everything should be brown and crispy and gorgeous.

Serving this with a poached egg on top is lovely.

Sarma – The Original Meat Recipe & A Vegetarian Version


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This recipe comes from my Bosnian father. It would be made in the winter when tightly packed white cabbages were in season. The cabbage leaves are used to wrap a filling of meat and rice, which is then cooked in tomatoes and stock and finally thickened with a brown roux. We always made Sarma a couple of days before wanting to eat it as the flavour is so much richer after time.
Now that I no longer eat meat I have been experimenting with vegetarian fillings for the cabbage rolls, after a couple of tries which tasted good enough but didn’t hold together like the consistency of the original versión, I turned to textured soya, which is a bit on the sweet side, but with the addition of seasonings and an egg to bind it, it worked well.

For 2 servings

1 large white cabbage

400 gram tin peeled or chopped plum tomatoes

1/2 red pepper – chopped into small cubes

1 – 2 litres vegetable stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

MEAT FILLING per person

150 grams minced beef or lamb

1/4 onion – finely chopped

1 clove gárlic – finely chopped

50 grams long grain rice

salt and freshly ground black pepper


50 grams texturised soya – soaked in water for 20 minutes and then drained, or as instructed on the packet if different from the brand I used.

50 grams long grain rice

3 sun dried tomatoes – chopped into medium chunks

1 teaspoon/ 5 ml marmite

1 teaspoon / 5 ml Maggi Wurze

1 small egg

salt and freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons / 30 ml plain flour

2 tablespoons / 30 ml olive oil

You need to start with the cabbage. Put a pan of water on to boil in which the cabbage can fit whole, bear in mind that you are going to submerge the cabbage, so not so much water that it will spill over once the cabbage is in it.
Remove any dirty or damaged outer leaves from the cabbage. Make a cut in the base of the stem of the next outer leaf to release it from the main stem, then the following one. You may find that the first few leaves will come off the cabbage easily without being damaged, if not put the cabbage in the boiling water to blanch them and separate the leaves. One by one cut the leaves at the base to loosen them and then put the cabbage in the boiling water to remove them without any damage. You are wanting 2-3 leaves per person.

Once you have enough leaves, and maybe a spare or two, put them two or three at a time in the boiling water for about three minutes each until they become slightly translucent and a more pliable texture, then drain them and let them cool.

Next, to help the leaves roll nicely, get a potato peeler and shave off the outer ridge of the leaf base until it’s thin and flexible.

Now prepare your fillings. Whichever version you are making put all the ingredients for it in a bowl and mix well. Form your mix into two or three fat sausage shapes per person, squeezing the mix together so that it holds its shape.

Put each sausage into a cabbage leaf and roll the leaf around the filling.

To secure the rolls, tuck the ends inwards starting in the centre and tucking in round and round until you have a neat roll.

Put all your rolls into a pan where they will fit in one layer. They don’t want to be too tightly packed as they will expand.

Add the chopped tomatoes, red pepper and enough vegetable stock to cover the rolls.

Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down very low and cook slowly for an hour and a quarter. Check the liquid level from time to time and add more stock if needed.

Let the dish cool for half an hour, then carefully take out the parcels and transfer them to another dish leaving the sauce in the pan. I put mine into an ovenproof dish in which I was going to reheat them the next day.

To thicken the sauce you are going to make a brown roux. Put the oil and flour in a small frying pan, mix together to blend, then on a medium heat cook the roux stirring all the time until it caramelises and turns a medium nut brown.

Turn off the heat and add the tomato sauce from the Sarma a bit at a time and mix well to blend. With the first spoonful the roux will go thick and dry looking, don’t worry, keep adding the sauce and all will be well.

Once you have added enough of the tomato sauce to have a liquid, tip this into the pan of tomatoes in which you cooked the Sarma and heat the sauce to thicken it stirring all the time.

You can now replace the cabbage parcels, reheat the dish for 15 minutes and serve it, or pour the sauce over the parcels in an ovenproof dish and leave to cool, to be then reheated in the oven the next day or the day after that.

Moroccan Spiced Vegetables & Cous Cous with Almonds & Sultanas


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All amounts are for one portion
Firstly get your spices roasting – in a thick based frying pan on a low heat roast the following –

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 cinnamon stick – broken into pieces

1/2 teaspoon allspice seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

3 cloves

Roast the spices, shaking the pan from time to move the spices around, until they start to release their aroma. Grind with 1/2 teaspoon of salt with either a pestle and mortar or in a small coffee grinder.

For the Cous Cous –

40 grams Cous Cous

small amount of flaked almonds

10 sultanas

pinch of salt

Put all the ingredients in a small container that has a lid, stir to mix and then pour over boiling water to come about nearly a centimetre above the level of the Cous Cous. Cover and leave for 20 minutes.

For the vegetables –

1/2 an onion – finely chopped

1 clove garlic – finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped red pepper

1 tablespoon chopped green pepper

1 medium sized carrot – chopped into small cubes

piece courgette – chopped into small cubes

piece butternut squash – chopped into small cubes

4 tablespoons cooked chickpeas

200 grams chopped peeled tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon harissa

2 strips lemon peel / lemon chutney

2 bay leaves

fresh mint leaves

Fry the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent.

Add the green and red peppers and fry briskly for five minutes.

Now add the carrots, butternut squash and courgettes, and again fry briskly for five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the roasted spices, harissa, lemon peel, bay leaves and chickpeas to the pan and stir to mix.

Heat to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, cover and leave to cook until the vegetables are done, 10 – 15 minutes.

The Cous Cous should be done, it just needs a stir to break up the grains a bit. If it is not hot enough, put it into the microwave for a couple of minutes to reheat it.

Serve strewn with fresh mint leaves.

Rice & Peas


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This again is adapted from Caribbean Food by Levi Roots to go with the sweet potato cakes from yesterday’s post. I haven’t had to change the recipe much to fit with ingredients that I can get here, I had to swap his fresh coconut water for a tin of coconut milk. Also I thought 450 grams of rice an outrageous amount for 6 portions, so I cooked 100 grams which did two of us for two meals.

For 2

100 grams long grain rice

100 grams cooked black beans

400 ml tin coconut milk

7 allspice berries

2 sprigs of thyme

1 clove garlic

1 spring onion / 1/2 small sweet onion

1 red chilli

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the black beans you can use ready cooked beans from a tin or jar, but the texture is better if you start with dry beans. You will need 50 grams dried beans to get 100 grams cooked.
Soak the beans overnight in cold water, drain them and put them into a pan of boiling vegetable stock, turn down the heat and simmer until the beans are tender.

Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan. Add all the ingredients except the rice and beans. On a very low heat simmer for 10 minutes for the flavours of the seasonings to infuse the milk.

Add the rice and beans, and stir to mix in.

Bring back to a simmer, cover and let cook in a low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam for another five minutes. Do not open the lid while the rice is cooking and resting.

Sweet Potato Cakes & Avocado Salsa


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Levi Roots’s Caribbean Cooking is one of the books that I am revisiting since spring cleaning. The original recipe for these potato cakes has cooked prawns added to the mix but the cakes taste equally good with or without them. I made half the cakes with prawns for my sister, while I had my half without.


makes 6 cakes

400 grams sweet potato

200 grams waxy potatoes

1/2 onion -finely chopped

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons plain flour – plus extra for coating the cakes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

oil for frying

50 grams cooked prawns per portion – Optional – cut into pieces if they are large

Scrub the sweet potato and bake it whole in its skin at 190 C for 30 – 40 minutes until it is soft and tender. Leave to cool.

Peel the white potatoes and cut into smallish chunks. Boil in salted water until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Cook gently until translucent.

In a bowl mash the sweet and white potatoes. Add the onion mix and mash to mix in.

Add the seasonings and flour, then mix in with a spoon.

If one half of your mix is, like mine, having prawns, divide the mix into two and make one half into three cakes, forming them on a flour covered plate and turning them so that they are evenly covered in flour.
Add the prawns to the other half of the potatoes and mix well. Make three cakes as before.

Heat oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes on a medium heat until nicely browned on one side. Turn over and cook on the other side.

Serve with this spicy avocado salsa.


1 small avocado – finely chopped

1 large tomato – finely chopped

1 clove garlic – crushed with a pinch of salt

1 spring onion – finely chopped

1 red chilli – finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

juice of a 1 small or 1/2 large lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

hot chilli sauce – if needed

Mix all the ingredients together well, mashing them slightly as you mix.

Taste for seasonings adding chilli sauce if needed.

To go with the cakes, I made Rice and Peas, cooked in coconut milk, from the same book. I’ll give you that recipe tomorrow. Hasta mañana!

Shiitake Mushroom & Tofu Fritters With Sweet and Spicy Sauce


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The tofu and bean sprout fritters recipe that I posted previously was very good and the resulting cakes very subtle and delicately flavoured. Today I wanted to make some with more punch and depth of flavour, so I fried some finely chopped shiitake mushrooms and fried them with the onion and garlic. Then, as I already had it sitting in the fridge, for the spices I used a tablespoon of the green curry paste that I made for the vegetable curry. And finally to allow for the extra moisture of the mushrooms I added extra egg and rice flour. The cakes did hold together in the pan a lot better than the previous ones with bean sprouts.
I will write the whole recipe for the fritters below, followed by the recipe for the sweet spicy sauce which was a bit of a last minute throw together, but worked really well as often is the case.


Makes 2 portions

200 grams plain tofu

1 spring onion – finely chopped

1 clove garlic- finely chopped

100 grams shiitake mushrooms – finely chopped

peanut or other light vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vegan green curry paste – see previous post for recipe

4 tablespoons – 60 ml rice flour

1 egg – lightly beaten

Fry the onions and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of oil until translucent.

Add the mushrooms and continue frying slowly for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile break the tofu into a bowl and then mash it with a fork. Add the curry paste and mash more to mix thoroughly.

Add the mushroom and onion and again mix thoroughly.

Add the rice flour and mix, then finally the egg and mix again.

Form into six cakes squeezing the mix together with your hands so it holdS it’s shape.

Fry gently in oil until nicely light brown, about five minutes, then turn over carefully and cook the other side.


200 ml coconut milk

50 ml chilli jam – you can find the recipe on this site

juice of 1 small lime

1 tablespoon cashew cream

Heat all the ingredients in a small pan stirring them together. If the sauce seems a bit thin, coconut milk varies so much in density, add more cashew cream to thicken.

I have been experimenting with cashew cream, and in general I’m not so excited by it. It was great for thickening this sauce, but as a cream I find it works better for sweet things than savoury. I think in the next blog I will do a comparison of various vegan creamy sauces with recipes of course so you can try making whichever ones appeal.

Flat Green Bean Salad & Lemon Pickle Dressing


This Lemon Pickle recipe was in the Guardian two or three weeks ago, and as we are not short of a lemon or two down here in southern Spain and the recipe sounded good I made some. It is fabulous. The fresh lemon flavour is complemented by the spices, which, with the juice from the lemon develop into a thick delicious sauce. It’s a marinated rather than cooked pickle, so pretty easy to make. The only difficulty is managing to leave it for two weeks before staring to eat it.

I bought some lovely tender flat green beans, and as they were in a pack I had enough for at least three meals. While searching for inspiration in my cook books I came across a recipe for the beans with a spicy lemon dressing, the ingredients for which were very similar to those of the Lemon Chutney. So today I steamed some of the beans, just enough to leave them with some bite, and added a spoonful of the pickle, then left it to marinate for half an hour, it was delicious.


These amounts make one large jam jar of pickle.

1 large lemon

4 birds eye chillis/ 1 large red chilli

40 ml vegetable oil – olive/ peanut/sunflower

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

20 grams salt

50 ml white wine/ rice vinegar

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon asafoetida

Cut the lemon lengthways into quarters and then thinly slice the quarters across. Put them into a bowl with the whole chillis. If you have a large chilli then cut it into two or three pieces so it will fit in your jar. You can of course add or reduce the amount of chilli according to your taste. I found that one largish chilli was spicy enough without dominating the other flavours in the pickle.

Heat the oil in a small pan, and add the mustard and nigella seeds. When the seeds start to pop add them with the oil to the lemons. Stir them in well.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to mix thoroughly.

Put into a clean jar and leave in a cool, not fridge cool, place for two weeks before using.