White Chocolate and Wild Strawberry Muffins

08 Finished buns

Quite a few years ago now I was sat on a plane, travelling back from a business trip in the UK. I started talking to the lady next to me, who happened to be an editor. Conversation turned to my interest in food and my interest in sharing recipes with the general public. She said I ought to start a blog.

Once home I decided to have a look at the possibility of starting a blog. The process of publishing a blog seemed easy enough, I am after all an IT engineer, but when I looked at the quality of the blogs out there I was dissuaded from giving it a go. I was particularly overawed by the overall visual content of the blogs and in particular the photographs on display. I realised I would have to up my game and invest a considerable amount of time, time which I did not have.

Fast forward several years, to just a couple of years ago. I suddenly had more time as I left full time employment. One problem solved, but what about those fantastic professional photographs, that if anything had improved over time? It started me thinking about what exactly did I want to publish, what was my goal? …………………

……………. These muffins can be made with fresh strawberries or indeed just about any soft fruit. If you choose large pieces of fruit, just roughly chop them first. Now is a good time for fresh strawberries be they wild or otherwise and these muffins also work well with raspberries.

To read the full article and to view the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Natillas

05 Finished with sponge and cinnamon

Natillas are a traditional Spanish pudding that is similar in many ways to a posh cold custard! It is therefore very simple, but if made properly is quite delicious and it is one of my favourite Spanish desserts. This recipe was kindly given to us by an instructor at the Catering School in Ateca, near Calatayud in Spain. This gives me a segue, perhaps tenuous at best, to the diatribe for this week. Given that here in Spain June is the month of final school exams, and for the teacher this means long days of marking and soul searching, I thought I would talk about a teacher’s lot here in Spain.

But what is to teach?…… perhaps I should start there. According to my trusty Collins Contemporary Dictionary from 1959 it is “to instruct, to educate, to discipline, to impart knowledge”. You will notice that there is nothing in the description about the measurement of a student’s ability to assimilate what he has been taught i.e. the setting and marking of exams. This to me is logical, wherever one looks in industry the work produced is always checked by an independent team or group. The worthiness of a new car is not checked by the team that built it, the correctness of a new computer programme is not checked by those that wrote it. So why do many teachers fight for the right to set and mark their own exams?……………..

99 Ateca

Ateca

………………… to read the full article and view the recipe, please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Salmon and Chard Quiche

11 Cooked quiche

I wanted to get this one out before the last of the chard and other winter vegetables disappeared, to be replaced by summer ones. Although I make the quiche with chard, it can also be made using spinach. Over here we have two very distinct growing periods, as it is warm enough to have quite abundant winter and summer crops. It is a little different to many parts of Britain and certainly to where I was brung up.

Last week I mentioned, albeit briefly, that my local Spanish friends think I and indeed the British are a bit eccentric and often comment that we do everything the opposite to them. This is almost certainly inspired by the fact the the British drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Over the years I have come to realise that it is much more than that, in fact the British do many things the opposite way to what Spanish people do (a case of versa vice perhaps?).

Firstly Britain is not alone in driving on the left, there are more than 70 other countries that do likewise. Secondly and strangely considering that Spain is a Catholic Country, driving on the left was a Popish edict of 1300. They have obviously chosen to ignore the Pope on that one!

Not to take up too many pages on driving…………

99 Cyclists

……….And so back to the quiche, and something both Spanish and Brits seem to be able to agree on. The word is written the same in both English and Spanish and, according to the dictionary at least, the pronunciation should be the same too! This one tastes great and I hope you like it……..

To read the rest of the article and view the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Bizcocho de Almendras / Almond Cake

07 Finished cake, cut

A couple of weeks ago I published an article titled Pollo en Pepitoria / Tarazona Chicken. As I mentioned at the time, we were on the way back from a weekend in Olite. This recipe is also inspired by that weekend away.

We actually stayed in the Parador in Olite. For those of you unfamiliar with the Spanish Paradors, they are state owned hotels in renovated castles and palaces. They are in some of the most amazing buildings, often perched on high with commanding views. I also believe that they are reasonably priced and as such I would recommend them to anyone. We opted to eat one of our meals in the Parador and we were served what they called an Ujué almond cake…………..

………………… My first visit to the town was many, many years ago. I liked it then, but it has in fact improved since that first visit. Whilst we were there we could see that they were re-cobbling many of the streets. From the areas that were finished we could see that it was well conceived and constructed and should improve and harmonise the structure of this medieval village. They have also done work in restoring the church and the availability of tourist information at key points within and without the building itself. The church itself really is a magnificent edifice to behold………….

2017 03 21 Ujue

………The cake is really simple to make and with some flaked almonds and icing sugar can be made into quite a centre-piece for when next you have some friends over…….

To read the rest of the article and to see the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Israeli Meatballs with Broad Beans

12 Broad beans on a plate

When is the right time to cook a particular dish or indeed buy “fresh” ingredients?

I have waited nigh on five months to make today’s recipe, ever since my son gave me a fantastic book on Israeli cooking for Christmas. I waited because I wanted the freshest ingredients possible, with as many as possible coming from my allotment. The end result, deliciously spicy meatballs made using garlic, onions, fresh mint, parsley and coriander from the allotment served with fresh broad beans that are also homegrown…………

……………..I don’t know if it is an age thing….. but I am finding that I enjoy using spices more and more. I find I am making more dishes from the Middle East, North Africa and India. It is also easy to get the spices here, locally. Many temporary workers, in particular from Morocco, who came to pick fruit or grapes, have found a permanent home in the villages in the valleys around here.

These meatballs are full of spices, which gives them lots of Middle Eastern flavour, but they are not spicy-hot. They should therefore be suitable for almost anyone.

To read the full article and view the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Bajan Patties

08 Finished pastry cut open

Brexit is on the minds of many people, and not just those living and working in Great Britain who are affected directly. How it will affect me, as a British person living in Spain, was very much on my mind on my recent trip to England over Easter. But the effects will no doubt go much further still, not only will people across Europe be affected, but I doubt the European Union itself will come out unchanged…… or perhaps I should say that I hope it doesn’t come out unchanged.

Whatever happens it is shame that Britain will be leaving the EU, but it is even more of a shame that the UK government and the European politicians didn’t see it coming. The European politicians in particular seem to have their head stuck in the sand, they didn’t and perhaps still don’t see the writing on the wall, the writing of discontentment. Yes, extremist parties are feeding local discontent in a number of European countries, but that discontent does exist, rightly or wrongly………….

……….. Leaving Brexit for a moment, and moving on to the dish of the day……According to the dictionary Bajan is an informal word for Barbadian, the inhabitants of Barbados. The island was discovered by Columbus, then later occupied by the Portuguese before finally forming part of the British Empire in the 17th century. An explosive mix of invading peoples has given rise to some very interesting flavour combinations and local dishes. Later they too found their own “Brexit”, Barbados claimed independence from Britain in 1966…………………….

………….. So back to the Bajan Patties, a diverse set of ingredients and flavours that create mildly spicy meat filled pastries. I hope you like them.

To read the rest of the article and to view the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Pollo en Pepitoria / Tarazona Chicken

14 Finished dishPollo en Pepitoria, according to the Internet, is a typical Spanish way of cooking meat, generally chicken, where the cooking liquids are enriched and thickened by egg yolks and almonds. Although it is a traditional and therefore long-standing dish, it is not actually that common in Spanish bars or restaurants. It is however quite delicious so I decided to give it a try. It is also typical of a town not that far from here called Tarazona. We ended up stopping in the town on the way back from a very recent trip to Olite. I therefore thought it was a good excuse to publish this recipe……

The first time I went to Tarazona was around twenty years ago. We had an English friend staying with us and we were looking for somewhere different to take him. We had heard a lot about the famous fiestas in Tarazona so we set off, together with my then young son, to partake first hand of their most unusual tradition. Basically, on the first day of the fiestas, nigh on 20,000 tomatoes are thrown by thousands of people at one guy in an elaborately coloured suit! This colourful human bullseye is called the “Cipotegato”.

Archive Photograph

…………. The Cipotegato has to make a kamikaze run of just over 1Km through the streets of Tarazona, protected by his friends, whilst subject to a veritable storm of tomatoes that rain down from all sides. The run concludes in the Plaza España where, from on high, he removes the mask, that had until then hidden his identity………..

To read the rest of the article, and to view the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge