Tag Archives: garlic

Ensalada de Tomate y Ajo

10 Aug

Antonia, the lady that does the washing up at the restaurant, gave us a tub full of her homegrown cherry tomatoes yesterday.

I thought about roasting them but I really did not want to put the oven on today. It’s far too hot for all that so I made my favourite summer salad instead, Ensalada de Tomate y Ajo (Tomato and garlic salad).

I first had this salad in Bar Sardina, a restaurant/tapas bar in Alhaurin that has been around for 92 years, apparently. They are well-known for their fresh seafood especially the Conchas Finas which are like a cross between a scallop (they have a coral) and a clam. They are indigenous to Malaga and are traditionally served raw, with a glass of Fino (dry sherry).

Being a vegetarian, it is normally quite difficult to find something to eat if you go out to typically Spanish restaurants . Fortunately Bar Sardina has three dishes that I can order, all of them being fantastic. This salad is so simple but so delicious, which is what for me, sums up Spanish cuisine. It’s all about the ingredients and letting them do what they do best.

The best, in season, sweet tomatoes are mixed with lots of fresh garlic, drizzled with Andalucian extra virgin olive oil, good Jerez (sherry) vinegar and seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and some fresh parsley. That’s it.

Ensalada de Tomate y Ajo Recipe

serves 2, vegan, gluten-free

  • about 400 gr ripe tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 tbsp extra virgen olive oil
  • 2 or 3 tsp good Jerez (sherry) vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into halves or quarters for cherry tomatoes or into wedges for normal tomatoes. Mix them with the garlic and parsley in a bowl and drizzle them generously with olive oil, then add the sherry vinegar.

Leave to marinate for a while if you can and then season well with the sea salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust vinegar/seasoning.

Tip into a serving dish, garnish with a little more parsley and serve as part of a meal like the Spanish do.

Or you can do like I did and eat it with some of my sundried tomato & basil focaccia (or any nice bread) to soak up the gorgeous garlicky, tomatoey juices.

This is the perfect simple summer salad, enjoy this right now when tomatoes are at their best.

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

The pomegranate flowers turning into the fruit…

Another sure sign that Autumn is just around the corner.

I’m so looking forward to the cooler weather….!

Chargrilled Broccoli and Beans with Chilli, Garlic and Sweet Soy Rice Noodles

10 Jul

I know broccoli isn’t usually the most exciting of vegetables. I know it can be a bit bland and boring. Time to rethink that. With this treatment it transforms into a shining star.

Seriously, we can’t get enough of it. The Washer Up, my toughest critic, has claimed it his favourite thing. To quote “This is the best thing you’ve ever made”. You can’t argue with that can you?

My best friend Tara bought me the Ottolenghi cookbook for my birthday. I am steadily working my way through it and every recipe that I have tried has been a definite winner. It’s all about the flavour and colour which is the kind of food I love. It has a definite Middle Eastern theme, but not solely. There are recipes from all over the world.

What I noticed, while flicking through, was that a lot of the food is cooked on a griddle pan. It adds to the flavour and appearance of a dish, giving a certain smokiness and the attractive black stripes that make such a difference to the overall impression.

I didn’t own griddle pan. I do now. Get ready for chargrilled everything.

It is chargrilling the broccoli and then drenching it in a garlic & chilli infused olive oil that makes this dish so special. You can serve it on its own, as a side dish with anything, or make it the star on top of some sweet soy rice noodles. Either way it’s delicious. You need to try this. 

Chargrilled Broccoli & Beans with Garlic, Chilli & Sweet Soy Rice Noodles

serves 2 -3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook

  • 1 large head broccoli
  • a handful of french beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced (or 1 hot red chilli)
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 250 gr fat (XL) rice noodles (or any noodles)
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or use soy sauce plus 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (vegetarian)
  • 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • a handful of cashew nuts or flaked almonds, toasted

Separate the broccoli into florets with small stems still attached. Trim off  the stalk ends of the beans. Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for exactly 2 minutes (no more). Then quickly transfer it, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl of iced water, to stop the cooking. Now do the same with the beans.

Drain the broccoli & beans in a colander and then spread them out on a clean tea towel and leave to dry completely.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain and rinse under the cold tap to stop them sticking together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the dried veg with 3 tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt & black pepper. Place a ridged griddle pan over a high heat and leave it for 5 minutes to heat up. Grill the veg in batches so it’s not too crowded. Leave them for a minute on one side then turn them over so they get nice char marks on all sides. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and continue to griddle the rest.

Meanwhile put the 75 ml olive oil in a small saucepan with the sliced garlic & chillies. Cook them over a medium heat until the garlic just starts to turn golden brown. Don’t let it burn. Remove from the heat and pour the hot oil over the bowl of hot broccoli & beans and toss together well. Check seasoning.

Heat up a wok, or large frying pan, over a medium high heat, add in the cooked noodles, kecap manis (or soy sauce & honey), sesame oil and oyster sauce. Heat through the noodles and then throw in the veg. Toss everything together well and serve in deep bowls.

Squeeze over some lemon/lime juice and sprinkle with the toasted nuts and chopped coriander.

You are going to love this. Broccoli has never tasted so good, honestly. If you don’t own a grill pan go out and buy one now.

It’s just a bit of a bitch to clean….. Apparently.

Things that made me smile today…..

Dragonflies…

Butterflies….

And bugs…

Hasta Luego!!

Mee Goreng – Malaysian Fried Noodles

22 Jun

Mee goreng which translates as fried noodles is a very popular dish in Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore. Thought to be derived from Chow Mein, it is believed to have been brought over by Chinese immigrants.

There are hundreds of different variations of  Mee Goreng. It is sold from stalls as street food as well as in high-end restaurants. Some versions contain prawns, chicken or beef.  This recipe came from Ami’s Vegetarian Delicacies who lives in Malaysia. I changed the egg noodles to soba noodles to keep it vegan & gluten-free and used cashews instead of peanuts but apart from that it is fairly similar to her original recipe.

Malaysian Mee Goreng Recipe

serves 2-3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Amis Vegetarian Delicacies

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 150 gr mushrooms , cleaned & thinly sliced
  • a handful of cashew nuts (I used salted)
  • 150 gr chinese cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shaved into ribbons with a peeler
  • 1 stick celery, diagonally sliced
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean paste
  • 200 gr soba noodles (or egg noodles)
  • 2 or 3 spring onions, sliced diagonally (save some of the green parts for garnish)
  • 1 spring garlic, finely sliced

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce or kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce (vegetarian)
  • 1 tbsp curry paste (I used Massaman curry paste)
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek (Indonesian chilli sauce)

To Garnish

  • a handful of fresh coriander/chives (optional)
  • a few slices of spring onion (green parts)
  • a handful of cashew nuts (I used salted)
  • a handful of crispy fried onions (bought in a bag/tub)

Heat the olive and sesame oils in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cashew nuts and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are browned. Tip this into a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan add a bit more of the oils, when hot , stir in the cabbage, carrot, celery and chilli bean paste and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Tip this into the bowl with the mushrooms and mix well.

Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet, drain them in  a colander, rinse under the cold tap to stop them cooking and set aside.

For the sauce heat the sesame oil in the same frying pan over a medium heat and stir fry the spring onion, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes but don’t let it burn. Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir everything together for a minute.

Reduce the heat slightly, stir in the noodles and cooked vegetables and mix everything to coat in the sauce and heat through. Serve immediately garnished with more cashews, spring onions, crispy onions and fresh coriander/chives.

This is also equally delicious served cold/room temperature the next day as a salad.  This gives the flavours time to develop and mingle together.

Enjoy!

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

A field of lilac flowers….

Apricot Oleander….

Bright orange/coral rose, amazing…..

Asparagus and Spring Garlic Custard Tart

5 Apr

These pretty little hairy bulbs are spring garlic. Also known as young garlic, green garlic or garlic shoots. They look a lot like spring onions but have a sweet, mild, fresh garlicky flavour. They can be used in place of garlic in any dish and because they have a more delicate flavour can also be used raw in salads as you would a spring onion. In Spain they are called ajos tiernos or ajetes and are used frequently in cooking. One of the most popular dishes is revuelto de ajos tiernos which is eggs scrambled with spring garlic.

This is actually a combination of two recipes put together. The first for an Asparagus Tart from The Art of the Tart and the second for Wild Garlic Custards with Cheddar & Mustard Straws from Terre a Terre. I changed the puff pastry cheese straws for a puff pastry tart and mixed the asparagus into the garlic custard. I wanted a savoury version of a Portuguese Custard Tart type thing.

If I was to do it again I would probably use a blind baked short crust pastry case instead of puff as the base of my tart was undercooked even though I part baked the tart shell before filling it with the custard. Either that or part bake it for longer, say 15- 20 minutes instead of the 10 minutes I gave it. If you are buying a part baked tart case you can miss out the mustard seeds & grated cheese as I don’t think they will stick to the cooked pastry.

Asparagus & Spring Garlic Custard Tart Recipe

serves 4-6, vegetarian

  • a 9 or 10 inch shortcrust pastry case (bought or homemade)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
  • a sprinkling of grated manchego, cheddar or parmesan (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten with a little milk
  • 50 gr spring garlic, finely chopped
  • a handful of chives, finely chopped
  • 50 ml whole milk. I used goat’s milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150-200 gr cream cheese (depending on the depth of your tart)
  • salt & black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • a bundle of asparagus, snapped and woody ends removed
  • a handful of grated manchego, cheddar or parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200 C. If you have made your own pastry case, bake the pastry blind (by putting some greaseproof paper in the case and filling it with a layer of dried beans) for 15 minutes. Then remove the beans & paper and brush the base with the egg wash and sprinkle over the mustard seeds, grated cheese. Prick all over the base with a fork and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pastry case from the oven to cool and turn the oven down to 180 C.

Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, drain, run under cold water and set aside to cool. Put the finely chopped spring garlic, chives and milk in a bowl or food processor and blend on high until smooth.  Mix the eggs & egg yolks with a fork and stir them into the cream cheese, then add the garlicky milk mix and beat together until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

Spoon or tong the cooked asparagus into the tart case evenly then pour over the garlic custard. Sprinkle over a little grated cheese and cook for 25 – 30 minutes until just set and slightly browned. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a green salad for lunch or with some buttery baby new potatoes for a more substantial dinner. Garnish with some more chopped chives and enjoy this celebration of spring flavours!!

Turk(ish) Pizza with roasted squash, shallots, chilli, garlic and feta

16 Mar

 It has taken me a long time to find the perfect pizza dough especially because I want a wholemeal version. Most of my attempts up untill now have turned out like pastry rather than pizza.

By perfect I mean, thin, crispy and bubbling at the edges. To find my perfect pizza I did a lot of research and this is a hybrid of three different recipes I found. The lovely dough is from here and it is made with beer. It caught my eye because of the beer and thinking about it, it makes sense. If you want a bubbly crust add bubbles, it works with tempura and beer batter so why not with pizza.

The thing I have learned about getting a crispy base is don’t overload your pizza with toppings (especially tomatoes) as they make the base soggy. My favourite Italian restaurant, La Pergola in Fuengirola, have a dish called base de pizza which is not really a pizza at all. It is a pizza base with  roasted garlic and parmesan which they serve with the homemade chilli oil to drizzle over, it is so good. It is actually a starter, like garlic bread but we order it every time we go as a main dish because we can’t bear to not have it. We share that and a bowl of their homemade pasta, normally the parpardella al funghi. I’ve never tried their pizzas, which I’m sure are amazing too, because every time I go I have to have the base de pizza.

So for my perfect pizza topping I found a recipe for Roasted Onion & Garlic Parmesan Pizza which looked ideal. But then I found a recipe for Turkish Pizza called Pide which was topped with spice roasted squash, feta and chilli that I couldn’t resist. So I put them both together added some fresh herbs for a bit of greenery and came up with this gorgeous pizza which I just had to share with you. The flavours are unusual for a pizza but, I think, all the better for it. You should try it, it’s delicious….

Turk(ish) Pizza with Roasted Squash, Onion, Garlic, Chilli & Feta

makes 4 individual pizzas, vegetarian

For the dough: Adapted from The Red Spoon

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast 7 gr
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 55 ml warm (not hot) water
  • 150 gr white bread flour
  • 300 gr wholemeal bread flour
  • 165 ml or more of warm beer
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together the yeast, honey and warm water in a large bowl and leave for at least 10 minutes until foamy. When foamy add in the flours, beer, olive oil and salt and stir to combine. You may need to add a splash more beer to make it come together.

Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth.  Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 & 1/2 – 2 hours.

Cut the dough into quarters and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.

For the topping: Adapted from Delicieux & The Best I Ever had

  • 5oo gr butternut squash, peeled and cut into about 1cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp baharat seasoning & 1/4 tsp cinnamon (or 1 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • salt & black pepper
  • 3 0r 4 large shallots, cut in half & peeled
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, chop the top off
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • about 75 gr finely grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese
  • 200 gr Greek Feta
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven 2oo C.  On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, put the squash on one half, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, the Baharat seasoning & cinnamon. Toss everything together with your hands and spread out in one layer. On the other half of the baking sheet, put the shallots & garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, toss to coat and put the shallots cut side down and the garlic bulb cut side up. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until everything is browned and the squash is tender. Leave to cool slightly then slice up the shallots and squeeze the garlic cloves out of their paper cases.

Now back to the dough. Preheat/turn up the oven to 220C and heat up 1 or 2 large baking sheets. (You can probably only cook one or two pizzas at a time). Roll out one piece of dough, on a floured surface as thinly as possible, brush all over with olive oil and place on a piece of floured baking parchment. Scatter over a quarter of the onions, smush on a quarter of the garlic, sprinkle with a quarter of the parmesan, a quarter of the oregano, a quarter of the chopped chilli and tumble over a quarter of the squash.  Season with a little salt & pepper and crumble over a little of the feta. Repeat with the next piece of dough etc..

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until browned & bubbling.  Crumble over some more feta and sprinkle with the chopped coriander & parsley.

Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!!

    

Halloumi Cheese and Garlic Stuffed Dough Ball Ring

6 Feb

This is the gorgeous stuffed/pull apart bread I served with my Persian Lentil & Herb Soup. I was very pleased (understatement) with how it turned out because I do not have the best of luck with yeast. Every time I have used it in the past I have a disaster. It never does the double in size thing (in a warm place) and won’t rise in the oven either. My attempts at Panettone were tasty but looked more like a tea cake than a light and airy Panettone. This may have been because the electric went off half way through cooking it both times!

I had sworn off making anything with yeast until I came across this recipe for Halloumi Pull Apart Bread. The idea of pulling apart soft bread rolls to reveal an oozing cheesy garlic centre was too much for me. I was powerless to resist. Think Pizza Express dough balls, Pizza Hut stuffed crust and the best cheesey garlic bread then mix them all together and this is what you get. A Halloumi & Garlic Stuffed Dough Ball Ring…………. !

Halloumi & Garlic Stuffed Dough Ball Ring

Makes 11/12 rolls. Vegetarian. Adapted from a Choosy Beggars recipe

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast (1 sachet)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 165 ml warm water (not hot)
  • 265 gr strong bread flour (or plain flour)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp fine salt  
  • olive oil to dip the tops in
  • 15o gr Halloumi, grated (you can use another cheese if you can’t find Halloumi)
  • 150 gr mozzarella, grated (good for stringy melting)!
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 6 -8 ice cubes

In a small bowl combine the yeast, sugar and olive oil. Pour the warm water over, stir to combine then leave it for 10 minutes. Sieve the flour and salt together into a large bowl. When the yeast mixture has gone foamy pour it into the flour and stir together using a wooden spoon until it comes together into a dough. Sprinkle over some more flour if it is very sticky. Flour your hands and ease  the dough out onto a work surface. Pat it into a ball and knead for 10 minutes, flouring if necessary,  until it becomes smooth & elastic (You can test if it’s ready by sticking your finger in flour then sticking it in the ball of dough. The hole should spring back up and disappear).

Lightly oil a large bowl and turn your dough around in the bowl to cover it in a sheen of oil. Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place (like next to a radiator) for about an hour. By this time it should have doubled in size (fingers crossed).  Mix the cheeses, parsley and minced garlic in a small bowl with a fork to make sure the garlic is evenly distributed. Roll the dough out of the bowl onto your work surface and gently knead a few times to get rid of any air pockets. 

Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Press it out with your hands to an uneven circle of about 3.5 inches in diameter. Place a generous heaped tablespoon of the filling into the centre of the circle then gather up the sides of your circle and pinch them together at the top like a little drawstring purse.

Put the gathered purse seamside down in the palm of your hand and, with your other hand, gently turn, press and smooth the ball until it becomes smooth and the seam has closed/disappeared.

Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl and dip the top of the dough ball in the olive oil, then put it (seam side down) in a lightly oiled 24 cm (9 inch) cake tin. Repeat with the rest of the dough until the ring is finished. Keep some of the filling back to sprinkle over the bread later.

 The dough balls should be close together or lightly touching, not squashed together. You should get 11 or 12 out of the dough. Cover with clean tea towel and leave to rise again (in a warm place) for an hour.

While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 210 C (425 F). Put one rack/baking sheet in the bottom third of your oven and put the other rack /sheet right at the top. Put a rimmed baking sheet on the top rack. When the dough has risen (see above, hooray!!) slide the bread ring onto the lower rack and throw the ice cubes onto the top baking sheet and close the door. This creates steam, helps the bread to rise and makes a nice crust apparently. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until it is lightly golden but not fully cooked and sprinkle over some of the cheesey garlic & herb mix.

 Put it back in the oven for another 5 – 10 minutes until it is puffy and golden brown.

 Leave to cool slightly (if you can wait) and pull apart chunks of the cheesey bread to serve with your favourite soup. Or just eat it on its own as an indulgent weekend treat with friends in front of the TV…… Is it the Superbowl this weekend?!!!

Butter Bean Puree with Stuffed Roasted Peppers

7 Jan

It’s all about the Butter Bean Puree. You can serve it with whatever you like. Think about a mix between hummus & mashed potato and you’re almost there. It is comfort food heaven for me. The beans are pureed with roasted garlic, lemon juice, olive oil & rosemary and served hot, like a beany, garlicky mash. They are the perfect accompaniment to any Italian, Spanish, Greek or Middle Eastern dish. Or just eat it on its own from the bowl with a big spoon….

Butter Bean Puree with Stuffed Roasted Peppers

serves 2 vegetarian

  • 1 jar/can butter beans, rinsed well (about 400 gr)
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • a small sprig fresh rosemary, chopped, (about 1/2 tsp)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon, maybe more
  • about 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 large red peppers
  • some leftover risotto/couscous/quinoa whatever you have
  • about 50 gr crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • some breadcrumbs
  • olive oil & rosemary to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Slice the tops off of the peppers, cut out the seeds and pull out any white membrane. Stuff the peppers with the risotto (or whatever you are using), top with the crumbled feta and sprinkle with oregano. Put the peppers in a foil lined baking tin with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the feta and drizzle the tops & garlic with olive oil. Bake the peppers in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes but take the garlic cloves out after 15 minutes. 

Put the rinsed beans, lemon juice and rosemary in a bowl then squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins into the bowl as well. Drizzle with 1 or 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and blend with a stick blender or in a food processor. Drizzle in the rest of the oil while blending until you have reached a kind of sticky mashed potato consistency. Season well with salt & black pepper, taste and add more lemon juice if you want. Add more olive oil if you want it more liquidy. Heat the bean puree in a pan and serve drizzled with olive oil & a sprig of rosemary garnish.

Or serve alongside the stuffed roasted peppers…

This Butter Bean Puree is quicker, easier and, dare I say it, more delicious than mashed potato. A really great side dish to do when entertaining, or just for yourself, you may not want to share it…!

Christmas Carbicide and Boxing Day Bubble…

29 Dec

On Christmas Eve we walked up to these rocks….

Then the Washer Up made his amazing vegeatble sushi rolls stuffed with omelette, carrot, spring onion & spinach which we served with sushi ginger, wasabi paste & soy sauce… yum!

Followed by a spicy miso noodle broth with pak choi & shitake mushrooms..

And then we played cards..with the cat!

On Christmas morning we walked up to our favourite hilltop retreat and ate mince pies..

From there we could see this waterfall on the mountain over the other side of the valley and decided to walk there on Boxing day… more of that “adventure” later…!

Our Christmas Dinner was “Potatoes Four Ways” also known as “Christmas Carbicide!”..

This consisted of (clockwise from bottom right) Dauphinoise Potatoes, Potato Fondant, Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Mash & Polenta Encrusted Roast Potatoes. As you can imagine I have only just emerged from my carb induced coma.. The stuffing on top is Sage & Onion. I think my favourite was the Potato Fondant which is a disc of potato cooked slowly in butter & stock.  We served this with roasted shallots, peas & green beans with garlic & ground almonds..

This was all covered with “purple” gravy (don’t ask- it was red onion gravy but I blitzed it so it was purple!) nice…
We had red wine with dinner which was probably not a good idea, the Washer Up is not good on red wine…

So it was with a hangover on Boxing Day morning that we embarked on our trip to the faraway waterfall…. We parked at Barranco Blanco and took some pictures of the lovely waterfall there….

We couldn’t get down to the bottom because of all the water but you can see some more pictures I took there earlier in the year here.

We set off on the path around the valley and looked back at our favourite hilltop, where we walked to on Christmas day..

We passed another small waterfall on the mountain path before we went “off road”….

So, The Washer Up said it would only take us about 20 minutes off the path to reach the waterfall. Needless to say we ended up on a steep incline head height in thorn bushes with no idea how to get out! It was impossible to reach the waterfall through all the spikey bush but we got near enough to take this photo. There were three levels of waterfall..

It was pretty scary trying to find our way back to the path, but we haven’t given up. Next time we are going to go along the river bed at the bottom and see if we can reach it from that direction….

By the time we arrived back at home we had been out for about 3 1/2 hours so we were starving. What was in the fridge? Leftover potatoes and veg from our Christmas dinner. So it had to be Bubble & Squeak with a Fried Egg…

Put all of your leftover potatoes (mash & roasts) in to a bowl with the leftover veg and stuffing and mash with a potato masher. Shape into a ball and place a slice/chunk of goat’s cheese in the middle roll it up again to seal it and shape into patties.
Sprinkle some flour/breadcrumbs/polenta on a plate and lightly coat the patties to give it a nice crust. Fry in hot butter & olive oil over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side (turn them over when browned). When they are nearly cooked crack two egs into the same pan and cook until just set.
Serve the Bubble & Squeak straight away topped with the fried egg (and some HP sauce!). The addition of the goat’s cheese is a Nigel Slater idea. I’ve never tried it before. It’s lovely when you cut into the Bubble & Squeak and the cheese oozes out. With that and the soft egg yolk …..heaven!!
Hope you enjoyed your Christmas too xx

Thanksgiving Mezze Part 1: Butternut Hummus

22 Nov

This is one of the dishes I will be serving as part of my Thanksgiving mezze. I am English and live in Spain but this year I have decided to “adopt” the Thanksgiving concept and cook a fabulous dinner for some people I would really like to thank for their support over the last year.  The positivity I feel and gratitude I need to express is something I would never have imagined possible at this time last year. I feel more healthy, happy and alive than ever and for that I am truly grateful…  Thank you!

Anyway back to the mezze, as Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, I thought that a mezze would be the perfect thing. A delicious vegetarian feast in the middle of the table for everyone to pick at and enjoy. I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Hummus on this amazing blog www.tasteofbeirut.com  There are so many delicious recipes that I want to try on this blog but the Pumpkin Hummus was just perfect for Thanksgiving. I have adapted it slightly by using butternut squash instead of pumpkin which I roasted.

Roasted Butternut Hummus Recipe

Adapted from a Taste of Beirut recipe

Serves 4 Vegan

  • 1/2 butternut squash 750 gr plus
  • olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • a pinch dried chilli flakes
  • the juice of 1 & 1/2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic minced with a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp tahini

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Scrape out the seeds from the squash and spread them out on a sheet of foil, picking off any stringy bits of squash then set aside. Cut the squash into small pieces (about 1 inch triangles) and put them on a lined baking sheet/tin. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & black pepper and sprinkle with good pinch of chilli flakes then toss everything together with your hands so evenly coated. Roast the squash on the middle shelf of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until  tender. Put the squash seeds on the bottom shelf of the oven (on the foil) and toast for about 10 – 15 minutes until slightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and leave to cool.

When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before pulling off the skin. Blitz the squash with a stick blender or pulse in a food processor until smooth-ish.

Mix the minced garlic with the lemon juice then add the tahini and stir to combine well. Add the tahini mixture to the squash and blitz again to combine. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary.

Place in a serving dish sprinkled with the toasted squash seeds and serve with leek & cumin seed flatbreads (see my recipe) or with some lavash or pita triangles.

This is the ultimate dip for me – all the flavour of hummus with the added sweetness and colour of butternut squash. I’d make double if I was you, it disappears really quickly….

Lebanese Lentil Salad with Pomegranate and Feta

21 Nov

I love the colour of pomegranates, I want a pomegranate wall in our office. Either pomegranate or tomato I can’t decide. These pomegranates were given to me by my friend Margarita, the one with the olive trees, she has pomegranates too…

This lentil salad is part of a mezze I made on Friday. The inspiration came from a blog I follow called Kalyn’s Kitchen which I found through a site called Vegolicious. As the name suggests, Vegolicious is a site where people share their vegetarian photos & recipes. I use it a lot for inspiration and I have also posted some of my recipes there.

The recipe was for Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint & Parsley which was exactly the base I was looking for. All I had to do was add the sweet pomegranate jewels, some red onion and the sharp & creamy white feta to create the dish that was in my head.  The perfect backdrop from which the beautiful pomegranates could sparkle..

Lebanese Lentil & Herb Salad with Pomegranate & Feta

Serves 4 – 6 as part of a mezze. Vegetarian

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils (about 175 gr)
  • 3 cups water (about 6oo ml)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 or 8 cloves garlic very finely minced
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • a big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • a big handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  •  1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  •  about 100 gr Greek feta

Rinse the lentils under the tap then put them in a small pan with the water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently until lentils are cooked (about 25 – 30 mins). They should be tender inside but still holding their shape.

Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves & chop the onion very finely. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion & garlic and cook over a very low heat until well softened but not coloured, about 10 – 12 minutes. Then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, finely chop the mint & parsley. Whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, cumin, cinnamon & nutmeg. Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally (not through the crown), hold it in your palm, seeds facing down, into a large bowl and tap it quite forcefully, on the back, with a wooden spoon. The seeds should fall out into the bowl. Keep tapping until you have all the seeds and pick any white bits out of the bowl.

When lentils are tender, drain well, rinse under cold water then return to the pan.(Not on the heat). Turn the heat back on the garlic & onion pan, add the lemon dressing mixture and heat for about a minute. Pour this over the lentils and gently stir to make sure the lentils are well coated in the dressing.

Stir in the fresh herbs and season well with salt & black pepper. You can serve this salad warm or at room temperature. When you are ready to serve the salad sprinkle it with the pomegranate seeds, crumble over the feta and finish it off with a few more chopped herbs.

This salad can be kept in the fridge, just bring it up to room temperature and add the feta & pomegranate as you serve it.  The combination of the salty, sharp feta & the sweet, crunchy pomegranate with the garlicky lentils and fresh herbs is just spectacular. You have to try it..

Tomorrow I’ll be posting another delicious mezze dish Butternut Hummus! All the addictiveness of Hummus with the extra colour & sweetness of  butternut squash, yum…..

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