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

Torrijas

10 Ready to eat

I posted no recipe last week as I spent Easter in the north of England. For those of you waiting patiently for something to arrive, I apologise, but as you can imagine I didn’t want to post on-line the fact that I was not at home for a week. I don’t believe in taking risks if they can be avoided, and sometimes the consequences of publishing information on-line can be far-reaching.

I left for England out of Madrid, travelling to and from the airport by car, one which was over-loaded by a couple of large, heavy suitcases. I am rather deft at over-packing suitcases, more than once they have slapped on a “heavy” sticker to warn the baggage handlers of their impending doom! The trip itself reminded me of the many times I had travelled the route when I worked and had an office in Madrid, and the fully loaded car reminded me of one particular trip back from Madrid airport one Christmas Eve……..

I had travelled down to Madrid to pick up my parents who  were to spend Christmas in Spain with my wife and with our then young children. They arrived with cases full of Christmas presents that I somehow managed to fit into the small car. They had taken a relatively late flight and it was dusk by the time I drove out of the airport, it was also beginning to snow! As we headed up into the mountains on the long drive back, it began to snow heavily. We also started to see the occasional accident where drivers had gone off the road. Even I was getting nervous by this point, but we decided to plough on.

There is a large service area called “Area 103”, which is, not surprisingly, 103 km from Madrid. As we got there we saw that the police had effectively closed the motorway off. They were stopping each car, sending just about everybody off to the parking area of the service station or back down to Madrid. When it was our turn they asked if we had chains to put onto the wheels to provide additional traction over the snow covered road. I replied in the negative, given that we had none with us. As you can imagine I was more than surprised to be allowed through, able to continue my journey north.

I have never understood why we were let through. Did they think that being English I knew how to drive on snow even without chains? Did they think that Spain would be better off without one more family of mad Brits? I have no idea, but however it was we headed off into the cold, snowy night, with “just” 200km between us and home…..…

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Crème Caramel Pots

08 Ready to eat

As always with the recipes I publish, I am describing the food that we eat on a day to day basis. I make nothing specifically for the blog, you get what we get! Luckily we like a varied and seasonal fare. Today you are getting Crème Caramel Pots because we had too many eggs that were approaching the end of their useful life, and of course we didn’t want to have to throw them away. These caramel pots, apart from being delicious, are very quick and easy and require just a few minutes in the microwave. Yes, you’ve read right, no old fashioned wood fired stove this week, I am jumping into the modern age and using a microwave!

As I will explain later, this pudding can be served as a  “Caramel Pot” or as a “Crème Caramel”, so you get two different puddings for the price of one. A crème caramel is one of my favourite puddings and also one of my mother’s………

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Stewed Potatoes

11 Served 03

Of course there are many dishes in Spain that are elaborate or employ more advanced cooking techniques, but it must be said that many others base their success on simple, well-cooked quality ingredients. Simple traditional Spanish meals are quite often my favourites and what I most make at home. Also, as it is Mediterranean style cooking, it is also supposedly a much healthier way of eating. There are quite a few articles on the subject on the BBC News website. Here are just a few of the ones I found:

Mediterranean diet keeps people ‘genetically young’

Mediterranean diet is best way to tackle obesity, say doctors

Mediterranean diet ‘cuts cancer’

Med diet ‘cuts lung disease risk’

Med diet ‘helps prevent diabetes’
Med diet ‘could prevent asthma’

Mediterranean diet ‘reduces pensioner brain shrinkage’

Med diet ‘reduces dementia risk’

And my favourite……..

Med-style diet ‘can battle blues’

I wonder if it is perhaps due to the wine we drink?? ………

……..And so, finally, this weeks recipe, a typical Spanish dish. This one doesn’t promise the moon, it is just a simply, everyday recipe for a warming big-soup. I think it tastes delicious and it is easy and cheap to make. As is often the case with many Spanish dishes, it has little meat, just 10g per head. The meat though, in this case chorizo, does add a lot of flavour to the soup so in spite of the small amount it is worth adding in. The other great thing about the soup is that it is better the following day. The stock thickens when left due to the starch in the potatoes. It is therefore a great dish to make the day before then just reheat when you want to eat it.

For the full article and the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge