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.

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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.