Cañas de Alagón

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Cañas are a traditional dessert from Spain. There are many variations on the basic recipe, the one I wanted to share with you today was given to me in a town called Alagón that is near the city of Zaragoza in Northern Spain.

The recipe only has four ingredients, two of which are olive oil and wine. As I said, I will be explaining the basic recipe, and I would suggest you start there….but I would also encourage you to experiment with different oils and wines…… Perhaps given the season, a lighter flavoured oil, and a bit of grated orange rind in the mixture together with a little orange liqueur? The combinations really are only limited by one’s imagination!

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The Canes

Anyway, back to the basic recipe. This really is a traditional recipe and a great talking point for your next dinner party. The dessert gets its name from the canes (cañas in Spanish) that are used to form and fry the dough. If you can get a good cane of around 2cm diameter, then just cut off pieces around 10cm long. Half a dozen pieces should be enough. A good wash and they are ready for use. Don’t throw them away after use, they can be re-used many times.

The alternative is to use some other fire resistant material. There are metal tube moulds on the market that would work perfectly well.

As for the wine, I chose a Sweet Muscatel wine from the local bodega. Living in a village  sometimes means a limited number of retail establishments. Here for example there is no computer shop, no clothes shops or indeed supermarket. This village makes up for this however with a humongous wine cooperative. It is by far the biggest building in the whole village.

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The Bodega in Cosuenda

For the full article and the recipe please click here.

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Rice Pudding with White Chocolate and Multer

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Rice Pudding with White Chocolate

As I write this, my eyes and mind are snow?-drifting off to the snowy scene outside my window. Yes it is March, I live in Spain and it is snowing. The last few months have been back to front, with unseasonably early warm weather and now unseasonably cold with snow. I can only hope that the precocious plants and trees are not going to suffer too much.

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Spring in Cosuenda

This winter scene also has me thinking of a relatively recent trip to Norway. Today’s recipe is from that trip……..

One March a couple of years ago I was invited to a cabin in Telemark, Norway. The cabin was situated in the mountains close to the town of Rjukan, famous for the hydroelectric plant that the Germans used in WWII for the extraction of heavy water. “Heroes of Telemark”, the most famous of several films, describes the area and the allied attempts to stop the production of heavy water. One of the most interesting evenings in the cabin was when an aged local told us the true story of the events there during the war. There were in fact four separate attacks on the hydroelectric plant. Interestingly, the attack that actually stopped production was performed by ten allied troops without a shot being fired. The majority of the film is dedicated to this last attack and there is considerably more lead flying. The true story is much more about survival against the elements and an entry into the plant via a route the Germans thought was impossible….. but I guess that doesn’t sell as well as bullets and blood!

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

Chicken with Pancetta and Lentils

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No soap box this week, just straight into a very simple one-pot recipe…… and I have chosen one that is particularly apt for cold winter days. It also features one of my favourite pulses, lentils. I notice that this is the first lentil recipe I have shared with you, expect more over the coming weeks! There is nothing fancy here, just basic ingredients cooked simply, but that doesn’t mean it lacks flavour!

Today was a wet and windy day here in Spain. Living in the mountains quite some distance from the sea means we have more inclement weather than the more touristy coastal towns. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, but days like today are a perfect opportunity to cook on the old wood-fired stove we have. Once lit the whole stove gives off quite a bit of heat and it is a real pleasure to get up close and personal with it!

To read the rest of the post and this week winter warming recipe please click here.

Limoncello in Tel Aviv

LimoncelloA couple of years back I was fortunate enough to work briefly in Israel. I met some great people, both from within the international team I was a part of and also from the local working teams. I also visited some amazing places too. I could fill several pages on the wonderful places, but if I were to pick one it would have to be Jerusalem. What an amazing blend of races and cultures so steeped in history, truly amazing. Just wandering through the open markets with all the smells and colours of the myriad of different products, it was a culinary Aladdin’s cave. It really is a great shame that there is so much conflict currently in the Middle East and that many wonders of the ancient world are now all but inaccessible………….

As I have said, I had a great time in Israel, enjoying both the company of the team I went with and the company of the locals. It really is a great shame that peace currently seems so far away as the country has so much to offer. Many people may be surprised to learn that Israel is full of people that were born in other countries and that have migrated to Israel. This has led to a vary varied culture and cuisine. This week’s recipe is proof of that, with an explanation of how to make one of the most typical Italian spirits……

This one couldn’t be easier, so to read the rest of this week’s post and the traditional Italian Limoncello recipe please click here.