The Baztán Valley in Navarre II

Today I am going to jump straight into the main recipe, one of my favourite Spanish puddings. As I have admitted in the past, I love custard. Some people think custard a little sweet, well this pudding balances that sweetness with unsweetened whipped cream. With a bit of caramelised sugar on top this one is a winner and not that difficult to make at all.

This pudding is called Goxua and the name comes from the Basque language…….

5 Complete 2

The finished pudding

As part of the trip we decided to stop in the town of Amaiur / Maya. The town is famed for being the last town to fall in the Spanish conquest of the Kingdom of Navarra and now gives its name to a Basque nationalist political party. More importantly it has a working flour mill that grinds organic corn that is made into the locally famous Talos.

Amaiur

Amaiur

The recipe that follows comes from the miller himself. He can also be seen preparing a stuffed talo in the following video…….

 

For the rest of the post and the Goxua and Talos recipes please click here.

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Shortbread

7 Ready to eat

Today’s post is all about shortbread..… but before I get into that just a few words on strawberries……..

On the top of my blog it says “Traditional Recipes for a Sustainable World”. As such you will probably have noticed that my recipes tend to be traditional and that I use few technological kitchen marvels. I felt I had to take it a step further this week and get on my soapbox. You see my ire was raised on my last couple of visits to the local fruit and vegetable market here is Spain! Yes, they were selling strawberries. They had replaced the red of Santa’s Suit by the red of the strawberry……

So shortbread….. what a delicious and delicate thing it is that if done properly will just melt in the mouth. I put a little semolina flour in the mix as I think it adds a little more crunch to the shortbread, but if you are without then just substitute for an equivalent amount of ordinary flour.

The recipe below uses a shortbread mould but I also explain how to do it without. It is far easier and quicker to make the shortbread without the mould and to be honest with you I only use one on special occasions.

 

For the full post and the recipe please click here.

Xamingoxo in the Baztán Valley

2014 11 05 Elizondo

Elizondo

I thought I might write about a recent trip to the Baztán valley. As a non-Spaniard I believe I can give an objective view of Spain, and Navarre has got to be one of the best regions in Spain to eat. Spain has some excellent dishes, and all regions are worthy of a gourmet visit, but Navarre for me comes out on top! An average meal in an average restaurant in Navarre would not look out of place in a more expensive restaurant elsewhere. If you like food….. go to Navarre.

In the area we visited, many of the words are or have a Basque origin. The Basque language is nothing like Spanish. Other languages and dialects spoken in Spain have Latin roots and are therefore relatively easy to pick up. Basque has a very different root and has few similarities to Spanish. The best way of understanding of just how different Basque is to Spanish is to think of the difference between Welsh and English.

The word “xamin goxo” actually means “sour – sweet” in Basque and comes from the mixture of lemon juice and condensed milk that the recipe contains.

8 Finished dish

This recipe is about as simple as it gets, to read the full post and to view the recipe please click here.

Arroz Cremoso de Trufa y Pato Confitado

(Creamy rice with confit duck and truffles)

In the last post I was taking a fanciful look back to a glorious summer, this post unfortunately returns us to the cold winter months. Although I much prefer the warmth of summer, winter is an opportunity to clean the allotment, prune the fruit trees and plan for the new year. It is also the best time to go truffle hunting!

A couple of years ago now I was fortunate to be invited to Teruel, one of the three provinces in the region of Aragón and famous for its truffles. Actually, perhaps I should say not famous for its truffles, as although one quarter of the world’s black truffles come from Spain, few people are aware of its importance in the international truffle market. The weekend was a complete immersion in truffles and based at a hotel called “La Trufa Negra” that can be found at http://www.latrufanegra.com/en/.

2013 12 18 Mora de Rubielos

Mora de Rubielos

The truffle hunting is done on the hotel’s own truffle farm, just a short drive up into the hills. We were shown how to hunt truffles using dogs by Alba, a guide from the hotel. We walked the fields whilst the dog sniffed for truffles. Alba then showed us how to dig the truffles up……

To read more about the weekend, to learn more about truffles and to see a recipe for Creamy Rice with Confit Duck and Truffles please click here.

El Día de la Vaca….. and a Lemon Tart

05 Lemon Tart - UncutAs we start to feel the tightening of winter’s grip here in the northern hemisphere I thought it would be a good time to think back to the heat of a September day here in Spain. A few moments of speculative thinking taking me back to warmer days and people sat out in the street enjoying the weather and the company of fellow residents.

00 People in street

On the “Día de la Vaca” they close off the main street and set up tables for a meal and get-together for the whole town. Traditionally, for the “Day of the Cow”, they would probably have sacrificed one to feed the whole town. Modern times have brought with them a more modern version. Here the meal tends to start off with an excellent consommé made by the locals in a large cauldron over an open fire. The main course tends to be contracted out and is often a beef stew. In spite of it being contracted out it is made in situ over and open fire. As with the consommé it is cooked over an open fire in a humongous pan, a pan big enough to serve upwards of 150 people!

So back to this lemon tart……. as I have already said I tend to make it round about now. As this is a good time of year to get fresh lemons I tend to make my own Limoncello round about now. This drink only uses the peel of the lemons. I found myself therefore with lots of unused lemon juice, and invented this recipe to use them up.

To read the rest of the post please click here