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.

 

Grandma’s Sponge Parkin

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My Grandmother was a witch…… and, for all you naysayers, I can easily dispel any doubts you might have as to the veracity of my statement!

When I was an infant, she used to take me into the woods of Betws y Coed in North Wales. For those of you not familiar with Welsh let me say that it is nothing like English. Secondly you don’t have to “buy a vowel”, the “w” in Welsh is a vowel that sounds like the “oo” in “too”.

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The Woods of Betws y Coed

On one occasion she had me catching leaves, having told me that if I caught a leaf as it fell I could make a wish. As look would have it, I caught a leaf relatively quickly and wished for what all young lads want, to see a snake!

Well we tramped up and down the woods looking for a snake……….

And so from parking, to parkin and this week’s recipe, my Grandmother’s Sponge Parkin. Before you purists out there start to write in, I am aware that this is not a typical parkin cake. For me though it does have one very important advantage over the typical version, it has no treacle in it! Treacle is essential to a typical parkin cake and something I have not been able to source here in Spain…….

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

Rice Salad

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Many, many moons ago I was invited to cycle out to some villages around the city of Zaragoza by a couple of work colleagues. First I had to cycle to Zaragoza alone, from the village where I lived, and then we cycled together out the other side of the city to visit the villages they had mentioned. It was always going to be a long day!

I have always pushed a big gear, preferring to pedal slowly using my strength rather then spinning my legs like a windmill and using less force. If you have been watching the Tour of France these last couple of weeks you will have seen that the windmill technique is the preferred approach! The work colleagues noticed my unorthodox style and stated that I would not be able to cycle the entire route as I was. Never one to decline a challenge, I did in fact prove them wrong and never once changed into a lower gear…….

About half way back I felt a little parched and decided to stop and fill my water bottles……… I ran out of patience and knocked on the door of a couple who were work colleagues of mine. Luckily they were in and they offered me some water…..

The lady of the house, Esperanza, could see that it had been a long morning on the bicycle, she saw my weariness and offered me some of the rice salad she had just prepared…….

For the full article and the recipe please click here.

Fritada “Aires de Aragón”

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We were fortunate enough to be able to build our own house. Well, to be precise, although I installed many of the fixtures and fittings, it was down to the builder to actually build the house! Prior to that of course we contracted the services of a very good architect.

If I have one recommendation for those of you building your own house, it is to listen to your architect. I am an engineer and as such I was more than able to draw just what we wanted for our new house. I was once told that “diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way”……. Our architect managed to disregard all my drawings without me even realising it (and a good job he did too!). The result is a house that fulfils all we asked for, yet is more functional than we could ever have imagined, whilst still fitting harmoniously in with the neighbouring buildings. He really did a fantastic job.  The final house was nothing like we envisaged….. thank goodness!

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So why publish the recipe now? As usual the seasons dictate my recipe choices. This one has five main ingredients, courgettes, green peppers, onion, garlic and potatoes. With the exception of the potatoes, not only do I grow all the other vegetable but now is the time when I am harvesting them.

Although today’s recipe can be eaten as a vegetarian dish, the restaurant and we both sprinkle a little soused tuna on top. We find the sharpness of the vinegar from the sousing of the tuna livens the dish up.

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


2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Tiramisù

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The Tiramisù (half eaten!)

Well today’s article is a continuation from a couple of weeks ago, this is the pudding that I served up when my friends came visiting. The first course was the Pasta Salad which you can pick up from here, we then had various meats, done on the BBQ, followed by this pudding. I must admit to be a great fan of cooking on the BBQ, as it is a great way of cooking with friends round and nobody has to be stuck in the kitchen preparing food for guests.

Luckily my friends brought some bread with them, as the baker’s in the village has just closed. I often make my own bread, but it was always nice to have a local bakery too. I suspect that the bakery will not open again, I suspect that there is nobody willing to take it over. The village blacksmith is approaching retirement age, I suspect that here again we will be left without……

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Well back to the recipe, tiramisù…. one of the most common puddings to be found in almost any restaurant, yet according to Alessandra, not one of them conforms to the “original” recipe!

Towards the end of the last millennium I was working for a short while in Rome. It is a great city, lots of history, fantastic food, even better ice-creams and some great people. I was providing service to Opel Europe and was working in their Rome offices. Alessandra was the local Opel liaison.

An interest in food is something a little difficult to hide……

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