Black Currant Cheesecake Porridge

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When I look at old recipes, recipes of a bygone age, I am struck by how different the cooking methods were. Even a couple of generations back they had little more than a wood fired stove and a pair of hands to make their meals with. Nowadays of course we have many electrical gadgets, indeed I might say that we have a surfeit of them. The modern home has everything from microwave ovens, through multifunction mixers and blenders to the omnipotent Thermomix! One might wonder where it will all end…..

Those of you who like Science Fiction will have seen futuristic scenes where by simply pressing a button, a whole meal materialises in seconds as if by magic. Science Fiction right? Well a couple of recent articles have led me to believe that the this future is possibly nearer than one might imagine…..

………… My reason for talking about food gadgets is that I was given a new one for Christmas. My sister and her husband gave me a spurtle. For those of you unfamiliar with this most useful of kitchen gadgets, it is a hand-powered rotating, low drag coefficient, carved wooden precision implement with a stick-like profile that has been in use in Scotland since the 15th century……….

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Teisen Ann Dafis / Welsh Fruit Cake

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This week is all about a traditional Welsh fruit cake. I’ve had the recipe in printed form for 30 years so why make it now you might ask?

Well I guess there are a number of reasons. My maternal grandfather’s side of the family came from Wales. When I was very young I lived there for a while and throughout my informative years I spent many holidays there. Important reasons no doubt, but again one might ask why now?

Well a big part of the “why now” has to do with the fact that I decided I wanted to learn Welsh!

As an infant I was enthralled by a children’s programme on Welsh television. They had this humongous snakes and ladders board set-up where the children would walk around the board depending on the number they achieved from rolling the die. There were ladders to be climbed and slides, as snakes, to be slid down. Most entertaining to a young mind and with the constant repetition at least I learnt the numbers in Welsh from one to six!………….

………One of the places we would often visit is Conwy, or Conway in English. Its magnificent castle again made a great impression on my young mind. If you like castles then Wales is the place to go, they are really magnificently large military fortifications. In no way are these the palace-castles of other countries, these were built for one purpose only, war. If my recommendation were not enough, the UNESCO considers Conwy castle one of the finest examples of late 13th century military architecture in Europe.

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……Oh….. and before I forget…. for you English teachers out there and I know I have a couple at least. The cake is called Ann Dafis. Welsh has a few double letters, “ff” is one of them. A double “ff” is pronounced as an “f”, whilst a single “f” is pronounced as a “v”. The name of the cake therefore would be pronounced Ann Davis in English. The same pronunciation rule applies to and explains the difference between the words “of” and “off” in English!

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Nine Plait Herb and Cheese Bread (Re-post)

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Here is a simple bread recipe that can be made as a loaf, a simple three strand plait or, well whatever you want to really. As I was having one of those relaxing baking days I decided to push the boat out and go for a nine strand plait. When you get the hang of it, the plaiting is not actually that difficult, yet can produce a complex structure that makes quite a centrepiece for when you are entertaining guests.

This particular dough is one of my favourites, but of course you can use just about any hand or machine-made dough. If this one doesn’t suit, just pick the one you like and are most familiar with. The one I suggest today has a good texture and with the addition of herbs and cheese a good, strong flavour too……………..

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………I make quite a bit of bread as I live in a small village without a bakery. It was not always the case as we had an excellent local one until relatively recently. We would pop in for some freshly made bread, and almost always walk out with some other local (sweet) delicacy they had, still warm from the oven. Not for lack of clientele did the bakery close, but alas, close it did. A young couple opened a small shop selling bread in the centre of town, unfortunately it did not take off. Perhaps the locals, in the majority septuagenarians or greater, didn’t approve. Perhaps it was because the dough was brought in ready made, with only the final bake performed on-site? Anyroad, whatever the reason, all I really know that we now have no bakery! (And yes I can use anyroad, it was officially added into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016).

One of the biggest problems in this region of Spain is the ever increasing population growth of a few major cities and towns, with the corresponding drop in the local villages……….

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Nine Plait Herb and Cheese Bread 

13-completed-whole-bread

Here is a simple bread recipe that can be made as a loaf, a simple three strand plait or, well whatever you want to really. As I was having one of those relaxing baking days I decided to push the boat out and go for a nine strand plait. When you get the hang of it, the plaiting is not actually that difficult, yet can produce a complex structure that makes quite a centrepiece for when you are entertaining guests.

This particular dough is one of my favourites, but of course you can use just about any hand or machine-made dough. If this one doesn’t suit, just pick the one you like and are most familiar with. The one I suggest today has a good texture and with the addition of herbs and cheese a good, strong flavour too……………..

14-bread-cut

………I make quite a bit of bread as I live in a small village without a bakery. It was not always the case as we had an excellent local one until relatively recently. We would pop in for some freshly made bread, and almost always walk out with some other local (sweet) delicacy they had, still warm from the oven. Not for lack of clientele did the bakery close, but alas, close it did. A young couple opened a small shop selling bread in the centre of town, unfortunately it did not take off. Perhaps the locals, in the majority septuagenarians or greater, didn’t approve. Perhaps it was because the dough was brought in ready made, with only the final bake performed on-site? Anyroad, whatever the reason, all I really know that we now have no bakery! (And yes I can use anyroad, it was officially added into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016).

One of the biggest problems in this region of Spain is the ever increasing population growth of a few major cities and towns, with the corresponding drop in the local villages……….

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Milhojas de Patata, Piquillos y Lacón / Brie, Gammon and Pepper Layered Potato Cake

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Not the most elegant of titles perhaps, a shorter version just didn’t seem to do the dish justice. A disaster of a title therefore, but a dish that is absolutely delicious. When Carmen told me what her mother had made, I couldn’t help but smile, as the dish is a combination of some of my favourite ingredients. It is a happy, comforting dish that puts a smile on people’s faces. My son would say that it is impossible to go wrong when you use good ingredients, and with sweet red peppers, good gammon and melting brie cheese who am I to disagree with him.

There are two large towns either side of the village where I live, one is Cariñena and the other is La Almunia, Carmen comes from the latter. The towns, and the boroughs they represent, have jointly published a cookery book whose objective is to document the culinary heritage of the area. The book is in fact a cultural treasure and I am indebted to my wife for all her efforts in finding, and then giving me a copy of the book as a Christmas present. This book is full of great, traditional recipes and I will no doubt be sharing many of these recipes with you all.

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La Almunia

What I also like about the book are the photographs. It is full of rubicund cooks preparing local dishes in huge cauldron like receptacles that will no doubt feed 5,000! Cooking in Spain is often much more participative; family and friends get involved in the whole process, often offering unsolicited and (sometimes) useless advice. Don’t get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as you always have someone else to blame if the dish doesn’t turn out quite as expected!

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

Orange Marmalade

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Although this isn’t the first article I have published this year, it is the first time I have really put finger to keyboard as the previous articles were largely written in 2016. It is therefore the first time I have sat down and really thought about 2017….. not great thoughts I might add, I am not trying to fix all the world’s problems nor indeed my own, just everyday thoughts, thoughts about the season we are in and a few ideas about what I would like to do this year.

Not that I have much time for speculative thinking as the truth is that I am as busy, if not more busy, this year than previous years. I am actually a summer person, a person who likes to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on his back. I guess that is one of the reasons why I moved from the uplands of northern England to the more sunnier clime of Spain, that and a Spanish girl……

……….. As you will have seen from the recipe, I use standard oranges. In spite of living in Spain I can’t get Seville oranges where I live. In spite of this, the recipe does provide a good, strong, orange flavoured marmalade that will bring your tastebuds back to life first thing in a morning.

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

Tarta de Santiago / St. James’ Almond Cake

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This is the third and last article that I planned on writing with recipes gleaned from our summer 2016 trip to Galicia. The bad news is that it has taken me over 6 months to get the three recipes out, the good news is that I do believe that I have left the best till last. This cake is so simple, uses just four readily available main ingredients and, for those of you with allergies, it does not contain any wheat. It has to be one of my favourite cakes of all time. Although here in Spain it is relatively easy to find this cake in shops and in restaurants, the home-made variety is far superior and I would recommend even my Spanish readers giving it a try.

The cake gets its name from the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, which in turn is named after the saint who is supposedly buried in the cathedral there (Originally Sancti Iacobi or in English Saint James). The city itself is a historic and beautiful one, and is also well known as the finishing line of the Camino de Santiago (St. James’ Way) long distance walk……….

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The Cathedral

…………… Anyway, back to the cake. This is another recipe from my wife’s Aunt who lives in La Coruña, the first being the “Empanada Gallega” which I published recently. As I mentioned at the start of this article, it is so easy and really is worth a try……

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