Empanadillas de Crema (Custard Filled Mini-Pasties)

22 Empanadillas de Crema

Today’s recipe, and indeed the one I published last week, don’t include precise quantities for all of the ingredients. As an engineer, and someone who loves precision in all things, I sometimes find this hard to handle. Phrases like “Add just enough flour to ensure that the dough is no longer sticky” can give me the heebie-jeebies. Quantities are but one use of numbers, and there are many more.

For me the best, and indeed worst thing about numbers, is their precision. Numbers are black and white…..

I was out cycling over the weekend on a circuit I know well. I wanted to complete the route in under 2 hours, something I had never been able to do before. I did it in 2 hours and 35 seconds. Some might think I had done enough to achieve my goal, but for a man of precision like me, even 1 second over is still 1 second too many.

99 Prime Numbers

Numbers of course exist so that we can count things……

The junior school I went to was big on mathematics. I put much of my own mathematical agility down to a game we often played. Each child was given a random card with an arithmetical calculation on one side and a number on the other. One of us would start by reading out the calculation on our card, the person who had the number that matched the answer would call it out then read their card’s calculation. So it went until every child had read out their card. The teacher timed us to see if we improved over time. Simple but effective.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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Papas Arrugadas (Canarian Wrinkly Potatoes)

15 Papas Arrugadas

In my articles I tend to talk about the recipe I am presenting, or at least something associated with that recipe. That is not the case today.

Today I am moved to put pen to paper to write about one of the scourges of Spanish society, driving under the influence of drink or (other) drugs. I heard on the television news, just a couple of days ago, that for the umpteenth time some cyclists had been killed on Spanish roads.

This time a trio, mother, father and son were hit by a motor car. The road was as straight as a die, the visibility was good, but the driver was five times over the legal limit. The result, the  parents were killed and the orphaned son is currently in hospital recovering from his injuries.

I obviously blame these drunk drivers for their extreme negligence, temerity and complete disregard for other road users. A car in the hand of a drunken driver is as much a weapon as a gun or a knife and should be treated as such in law.

I therefore also blame the “powers that be”, for not changing the law to increase the very lenient sentences currently in place. At best a firmer sentence will dissuade others from taking to the wheel when under the influence. At worst the offenders would be off the road, in gaol for a long time and therefore unable to destroy other lives and families.    

01 Papas 01

I also blame the legal system for not taking lesser traffic infractions more seriously, in this case a stitch in time could end up saving lives……..

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Apricot and Ginger Rock Cakes

15 Apricot and Ginger Rock Cakes

When I told my Mother that this week’s recipe was going to be some rock cakes, she replied by saying it had been a long time since she had eaten any. That got me thinking about other traditional cakes from back home. It also had me recalling fond memories of calling into cake shops, and sampling their wares, whilst delivering milk as a youth.

For many years my parents had a milk round. It must be one of the hardest jobs going, long hours, seven days a week, often 365 days a year, out in all weathers and having to put up with cantankerous customers. They must have done something right though because the business grew year on year. This was no mean feat as in those days there were plenty of other milkmen around and if you upset a customer they could easily turn to another milkman to get their daily supply!

Hard work yes, and I am sure I complained at the time, but I also have some very good memories too:

99 Colne

Archive Photograph – Colne

An elderly lady way down the bottom of Newtown Street…… it was a long walk down for a gill of milk, and she always wanted something extra. My father would go down with extra milk, or with some cream, or eggs just in case. He invariably had to make two trips however, as she would often ask for something he wasn’t carrying. He never complained though, at least not to her……….

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Tapas Mariano

05 Tapas Mariano

Don’t be put off by just how simple this week’s recipe is, these little beauties pack quite a punch. They are also flexible and you can vary the ingredients to your liking or to what you have available…… but here I am starting at the end of the story, let me pause for a minute and take it from the top……

A couple of weeks ago restauranteurs Mariano and his good lady invited us round for an evening meal. The repast in question was a veritable smorgasbord of flavours. I particularly enjoyed a wild asparagus tortilla. Unfortunately, for the moment, I am unable to present it to you all as I don’t know (yet) which plants to forage! Another of my favourites is the recipe I have for you today and that I have named in his honour.

We decided to make and share the recipe now because we had a tin of anchovies open, and this recipe uses anchovies. As you know we try to never throw anything away!

It was also an opportunity to use up the last of my homegrown and roasted red peppers, that I froze at the tail end of last summer. If like me you have a glut of red peppers, or you can buy them cheap, then roasting then freezing them is a great way of using up the surplus. Have a look at myRoasted Red Peppersrecipe for more information.

Lastly, I wanted to try a new cheese I had bought when my sister and husband were over here a couple of months ago. We visited one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, a place called Albarracín and we bought some of their local cheeses.

The town itself nestles in the mountain range of the same name, in the province of Teruel. It is not far from the Zaragoza – Valencia motorway, although the last few miles are filled with numerous curves and few opportunities to overtake….. just take it calmly and look at the view, the scenery is well worth it!

2015 08 18 Albarracín

I could fill many pages extolling the virtues of the town, almost every street has something worthy of note…………..

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Cardamom and White Chocolate Biscuits

00 Cardamom and White Chocolate Biscuits

There has been much said about the quality of information on the Internet, or perhaps I should say the lack of it. They often talk about deliberate false news, miss-information and even election meddling by foreign powers in a modern day “cold war”. Unfortunately it is also true that there is much fallacious and poor quality content out there that was posted with the very best of intentions. A Spanish author stated relatively recently that it is not that there are more idiots out there than previously, it is just that they now have a platform that lets them express their often dubious ideas to all and sundry.

While the author in question is no doubt quite right, what I suspect has also changed is that people have become less worried about making a fool of themselves in public or, more worryingly, they actually believe that what they are saying is correct. I have even seen completely erroneous statements being espoused as true in quality journals targeted at the more intelligent segments of society!

Perhaps this quote, possibly from my namesake, should be heeded more often:

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

99 98% Americans distrust informatioin

99 85% Statistics are false or missleading

A contributing factor might be the immediacy of communications these days. Young and old alike are feeling the pressure to respond immediately, slaves to their mobile telephones and their instant messaging applications. A hurried response is likely to be less well thought out and therefore more subject to errors. I like to think long and hard about what I write. No doubt it is just my semi-illiteracy, but these more or less weekly articles of mine take me a full week to write, as I go from initial draft to a (supposedly) polished final version. Even then my brilliant editor invariably uncovers some mistake or other.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Dulce de Leche Custard Tart

30 Dulce de Leche Custard Tart

Do you ever have the feeling that you have forgotten something?

A couple of months after I moved to Spain, some thirty years ago, I had the feeling that I was missing or had forgotten something, that something in my daily routine was amiss. It took me a while to realise what it was, but I finally worked out I was missing my jacket, or should I say missing not missing it. I had stopped worrying about the weather, I had stopped taking a jacket with me when I went out. I would just walk out of the house carefree, without worrying about the possibility of inclement weather. It was summer and it rarely rains.

But have you ever had the experience of missing something without realising you were missing it; when in fact you only noticed the absence when you had a re-encounter with what you hadn’t realised you were missing?

2018 04 05 Effects Heavy Rainfall in Cosuenda

In the last couple of months it has really, really rained here. The village here has seen water of almost biblical proportions. The river that flows through the village, that is normally little more that a trickle, was turned overnight into a raging torrent. It swept away trees as well as the large stone blocks that had been placed there to define its watercourse. The result was that the village had, for quite a few days, something one would actually call a river.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Coney (or Chicken) and Bacon Pie

28 Coney (or Chicken) and Bacon Pie

Yes, me and my coney again. You will have seen that I use it quite a lot of rabbits, but then again I get them free. I can understand those that don’t believe in eating meat, and although I am not one of them, I do try and avoid animal suffering and any meat or indeed fish that has been intensively farmed. These rabbits are as free range as you can get, having lived their lives in the hills around where I live.

Here hunting the rabbits also provides a very necessary function, helping to keep their population in check. Unfortunately it is not actually working, as we still have a plague of them. Those who live in large towns or cities, might be unaware of just how much damage an out of control population of rabbits can be. It is rather sad to see local farmers planting new vines only to see them devoured before they have had a chance to grow, or the fields of wheat decimated to satisfy their hunger pangs. Many other countries suffer from voracious rabbits too, including Australia where the animals were unfortunately introduced in the 18th century.

31 Vines just planted

Young vines with rabbit protection sleeves

Introducing animals to a new area, or indeed reintroducing them to where they have become extinct, is not without risks. I read that many rewilding initiatives are underway to bring species back yet I wonder if we have really thought it through………..

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge