Empanada Gallega

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The empanada Gallega is a stuffed savoury pastry that is about as common in Spain as a pork pie in England. Although from the region of Galicia, they can be found everywhere and come in a variety of shapes, flavours and of course qualities. I have always liked them, the good ones that is, and this week I have a recipe that makes one of the very best!

Over the summer my wife and I went on a trip to Galicia. I had never been to that part of Spain and I guess, one way or another, you could say that we had been thinking of visiting the area for more than 25 years…………..

Galicia is one of the greenest parts of Spain, for obvious reasons…. i.e. it rains quite a bit there and the temperatures are generally lower than in much of the rest of Spain. We were lucky in that we had excellent weather and could enjoy all that lush greenery under clear blue skies. We were also treated exceptionally well by Ana and her husband as they took us to some beautiful places and some excellent restaurants, both in the city of La Coruña and also in the countryside around the city. Thanks again to both of you.

2016 07 25 Allariz - River Arnoia - Roman Bridge

So back to the empanada, the recipe for which comes from my wife’s Aunt who lives in La Coruña. We spent an excellent afternoon with them, seeing the sites of the city and partaking of good local food in the local bars. They also gave us empanada in their home, so I cheekily asked for the recipe which I now propose to share with you all! ………

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

Salmorejo

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A couple of weeks back I talked about gazpacho, a typical Andalusian cold tomato soup. This week I have a second one for you.

For those of you unfamiliar with Andalusia, it is the southern most region of Spain and also one of the largest. It is replete with must-visit places, be they historical and man-made or forged by nature.

I have visited the region a few times as a tourist and was also fortunate enough for a while to manage a team of people in the region. I still recall installing an IT system in a hospital in Marbella. From time to time I would take a few minutes’ break in the canteen on the topmost floor, with the spectacular views of the coast on one side and the mountains on the other………..

I have spent time in places like Marbella, Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada. The latter is a really special place and I would seriously suggest that it should be on everyone’s bucket list, and somewhere near the top! The Alhambra and the Generalife in Granada are something really special. They are both beautiful places to visit and each give a good view of the other.

Having said all the above, I thought I would mention a less known town not far from Marbella. It is one of my favourite places and is called Ronda.

2014 04 108 Ronda (Near Puente Viejo)

The town itself is on top of a plateau with spectacular views both out across the plains but also down into the ravine that splits the plateau in two……..

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

Pan Tomaca

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This week’s recipe is so easy I am almost embarrassed to publish it! Nevertheless I decided to go ahead and talk about Pan Tomaca as it tastes delicious. There is also no cooking involved so it is really easy to prepare and therefore just about perfect for these hot summer months.

Of course Spain is all about warmth, the warmth of the people and the warmth of a summer’s evening. One can see people out, just sitting and relaxing busy schedules permitting or not! Spaniards tend to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the later evening, but that of course can mean late meals and late nights. It is true that many Spaniards often go to bed late, but they go to bed relaxed with their internal springs unwound. This unfortunately is more than can be said for many other poor souls across the industrialised world.

It would now seem that “specialists” have determined that Spaniards eat too late and go to bed too late………….

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

Tomato (Pasta) Sauce

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This week is all about using up summer vegetables. Whether you grow your own, or have to buy, now is the time to take advantage of the fresh and cheaper summer vegetables. I love this recipe as the sauce is delicious, and it can be bottled for use all year round. The recipe is something I have pulled together from a local tomato sauce recipe made here in the village. I will explain how to make the sauce and how to bottle and sterilise it for long term storage. The method is simple and works, none of my jars have ever gone off, even though I store them for many, many months.

Initially I made the local tomato sauce according to the local recipe. The first year a couple of our neighbours came round and showed us how to make it and indeed helped us with the recipe itself. The recipe is relatively simple, but as they make humongous quantities it does take quite a bit of effort…… in one day they make enough tomato sauce for the whole year!

Nevertheless I made it their way for a couple of years, buying an enormous pan and a special gas burner for the job. I would set up in the garden to cook enough for around 100 jars of tomato sauce. Eventually though I decided I wanted something that was less effort and used up more of the other vegetables I have readily available at this time of year. Their “Tomato Sauce” morphed into my “Tomato Pasta Sauce”.

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

Käsekuchen mit Preiselbeerkonfitüre

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This recipe is for a cake, a German cheesecake to be presise. Germany is big on cakes. I have never been to a country with so many delicious cakes on offer in some many bakers and cake shops. They are also a large part of their birthday celebrations. If you have never been to a German birthday party, let me suggest you find yourselves a German friend and get invited to one! If you like cakes you will not be disappointed.

A birthday party is also a great way to relax, meet friends and family, catch up on people’s lives and share experiences. It is an occasion to meet people face to face and spend quality time with them. This is equally true in the home or work environments. In fact with the increased stress and pressures in the work environment, I believe it is very beneficial to take a few minutes out and celebrate someone’s birthday.

It was with disappointment, but I guess with little surprise, that I read that the killjoys in the UK are at it again….. A recent article on the BBC News website stated that “Office cake culture is a ‘danger to health’ ” and then they go on to say “Having cake at work to celebrate colleagues’ birthdays, engagements……… is a danger to health” according to a  senior dentist.

To read the rest of the article and this weeks recipe please clich here.

Horchata (Tiger Nut Milk)

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Horchata

Some of you may think that I am against vegetable “milks”, particularly after my article of a few weeks ago I Need a Pick-Me-Up after Cycling for Hours. The truth is that I enjoy the odd one, particularly on a hot summer day. I guess I am more against the detractors of real milk than the promotors of vegetable ones. I have in fact been drinking vegetable milks for over 25 years….. you see I drink Horchata, a vegetable milk common in Spain.

There was an horchata bar just near where my wife used to live. It had to be one of, if not the best horchata bar in the city. They sold carpets all year round, and turned over part of the shop into the horchata bar in summer. And, before you ask, I have no idea what synergies exist between horchata and carpets!

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For those of you that think that vegetable milks are a fairly recent thing it is thought that they were consumed at least as long ago as ancient Egypt, whilst the first documented recipe for horchata is from 1786 (in the book Alcaldes de Casa y Corte)!

Horchata typically comes from the Valencia region of Spain……………

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

Gazpacho

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Gazpacho and Salmorejo, two great Spanish cold tomato soups..….. I have been wanting to share these recipes with you for quite some time, but was waiting until I had my own tomatoes. Of course one can buy tomatoes all year round, but they don’t necessarily taste of tomato and who knows how far they have travelled or indeed how they were grown! As always I like to keep my food as seasonal as possible, preferring  to wait until the time, or in this case the tomato, is ripe.

This time I am going to talk about gazpacho and leave salmorejo for another day…….

The origins of gazpacho, and indeed salmorejo, are not really known, although most people would agree that they originally came from Andalusia in southern Spain. It is thought that both soups are in fact based on a dish of breadcrumbs, olive oil and vinegar from the time when Spain was under Muslim control. The Muslims controlled much of Spain from the 8th to the 15th centuries. They called their territory Al-Ándalus from which the region of Andalusia gets its name…….

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