Chocolate Ginger Biscuits

14 Baked biscuits

I love chocolate and I love ginger, so what better than some biscuits that combine the two. They also contain a little orange peel to further add to the flavour combination, so now is a good time to make them as we still have local fresh oranges available. We go through quite a few biscuits at home, I having at least one every day with my morning masala chai……. an Indian tea and spice mix to which I add lots of fresh ginger.

Fresh ginger is something that can be quite expensive in England yet it can be so cheap here. In large supermarkets it tends to be expensive, but the local town of La Almunia has several shops run by and catering for north African workers. They are over here working in the fields, caring for and later collecting the fruit from the many thousands of vines and fruit trees. These shops have all manner of dried and fresh fruits, herbs and spices overflowing their shelves and baskets in a veritable Aladdin’s cave of  culinary delights. It is here that I can buy the majority of what I need and at very, very competitive prices.

But is the small independent shop an anachronism in this modern digital age?……….

………….Zaragoza, in spite of having a population of only about 700,000 people, opened the first macro complex,  Plaza Imperial,  in 2008 with 170 shops. The second, Puerto Venecia, was completed in 2012 and has 158 shops. They expect to open the third one, “Torre Village”, with 90 shops this year. It sounds like a lot of new shops per capita and of course their being out of town means a lot of travel by car, consumption of fuel and environmental pollution.

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Zaragoza

To read the full article and the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

14 Ready to eat

Stuffed piquillo peppers is a dish one would serve in Spain on special occasions, but is in fact so easy to make it could be served every day. These peppers look good and taste good, thanks to their bright red colour, their rich flavour and their mild peppery warmth. They really are fantastic peppers to cook with and are common in many traditional Spanish dishes.

So, you might ask, if this recipe is so good, then why have I taken this long to publish it?

As an ex-IT engineer, I could blame it all on the recipe database programme I have….. but that would be an over simplification. The problem is that the database I have is too good, and storing recipes in it is in fact too easy. The tool I use can generally automatically grab recipes from websites….. I don’t have to type anything, just press a button. My over-active button pressing finger mean that I have lost control of what I have……

…….Anyway, back to the recipe. This one is a gem as I said above, get the right peppers and give it a try, you will not be disappointed:

To read the full article and the recipe please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Carrilleras de Cerdo / Pork Cheeks

06 Finished cheeks 4 - Close-up

Not my usual format of article this week as I am going to jump straight into the recipe. Apart from not having fully thought out where this article will actually go, I wanted to talk about the recipe before some of you decide not to read any further. Yes, pork cheeks and they are delicious, trust me!! If my recommendation is not enough, you might not be aware that it is served in one of the finest traditional London restaurants, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, and it is far from the cheapest starter on their menu……

It is some time since I sampled this restaurants board of fare, in fact it was many years ago when I found myself in London, on business, with a small group of Americans. I was volunteered to choose the restaurant, and chose Simpson’s. It is of course quintessentially British and perfect for visitors looking to immerse themselves in Simpson’s 185 years of culinary history. The truth is that I also wanted to try the restaurant as my parents-in-law had gone there on a sightseeing trip to London and had extolled its virtues to me on numerous occasions since………

……..In some ways the result is much like a “beef bourguignon”, where the slow cooking tenderises what is a relatively poor cut of meat whilst the red wine adds depth of flavour to the plate of food. As it is a local recipe and the cheeks are cooked in wine, I chose a bottle from the village here that a neighbour had kindly given us:

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

 

No-Knead Rustic Loaf

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Today I thought I would write about something different. Today I thought I would write a little less about the origins of the recipe and more about the actual process of writing one of my articles. Today I thought I would give you a little insight into what challenges I face in my weekly self-imposed task of publishing a recipe and article on this blog………

Some people ask me where I get the ideas for my articles, well the truth is that in general they are just my idle musings, just whatever is going through me head at the time, given expression on a piece of electronic paper. Often, as mentioned in other articles, these ideas pop into my head from a dopamine induced brain-fog I often succumb to as I run in the mountains. As I often avail myself of the local mountains, at least for the moment, I have no shortage of things to write about. I can only hope that these musings are something you are interested in reading!………

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…….. This particular bread journey started last summer in Galicia where even the humblest of restaurants served us fantastic bread. The quality and variety of breads they served was one of the first things I noticed about the region. So the bread has somewhat of a Galician style to it.

The next influence was from a bakery on Zurita, the street where my mother-in-law lives, that bakes a “pan de aceite”, a bread with lots of olive oil in it. Their bread is delicious so I wanted to get some of that flavour into my bread too.

The third was a television programme that was talking about “Panishop”, a local bakery chain. They had started selling a “slow” bread with a longer raising cycle to give it a better, stronger flavour. I liked the sound of that too!

Lastly, but far from leastly, I wanted a bread that required no kneading.

For the full article and to read the reciope please click here.


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Pork Rilette

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I love living in Spain, the sun, the people and of course the fantastic food. In fact in my book, it is one of the best countries in the world for food. I live in the north of Spain, not that far from the French border. If there is one country in the world that could possibly push Spain into second place, it would be France. I am therefore ideally placed to sample the culinary skills of two of the finest exponents of the art. There is however one part of France that holds a special place in my heart, or should I say stomach, and that is the Périgord region.

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Beynac-et-Cazenac

I have visited Provence a couple of times, I have travelled through France a few times too, particularly up around Bordeaux and the western coast, I even worked in the centre of Paris for a couple of years. I am sure there are many culinary delights still waiting to be discovered, but so far Périgord is my preferred corner of France……..

……….Although traditionally more of a northern French dish, I wanted to share with you today the rilette, a coarse pâté-like dish normally eaten with bread or toast. Unlike a true pâté it contains no liver and it can be made with many different meats or indeed fish. I have chosen the traditional way with belly pork. It is amazing to me how the French can they take something as simple as belly pork and turn it into a veritable delicacy, with just the addition of a few other basic ingredients…….

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

Black Currant Cheesecake Porridge

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When I look at old recipes, recipes of a bygone age, I am struck by how different the cooking methods were. Even a couple of generations back they had little more than a wood fired stove and a pair of hands to make their meals with. Nowadays of course we have many electrical gadgets, indeed I might say that we have a surfeit of them. The modern home has everything from microwave ovens, through multifunction mixers and blenders to the omnipotent Thermomix! One might wonder where it will all end…..

Those of you who like Science Fiction will have seen futuristic scenes where by simply pressing a button, a whole meal materialises in seconds as if by magic. Science Fiction right? Well a couple of recent articles have led me to believe that the this future is possibly nearer than one might imagine…..

………… My reason for talking about food gadgets is that I was given a new one for Christmas. My sister and her husband gave me a spurtle. For those of you unfamiliar with this most useful of kitchen gadgets, it is a hand-powered rotating, low drag coefficient, carved wooden precision implement with a stick-like profile that has been in use in Scotland since the 15th century……….

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Teisen Ann Dafis / Welsh Fruit Cake

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This week is all about a traditional Welsh fruit cake. I’ve had the recipe in printed form for 30 years so why make it now you might ask?

Well I guess there are a number of reasons. My maternal grandfather’s side of the family came from Wales. When I was very young I lived there for a while and throughout my informative years I spent many holidays there. Important reasons no doubt, but again one might ask why now?

Well a big part of the “why now” has to do with the fact that I decided I wanted to learn Welsh!

As an infant I was enthralled by a children’s programme on Welsh television. They had this humongous snakes and ladders board set-up where the children would walk around the board depending on the number they achieved from rolling the die. There were ladders to be climbed and slides, as snakes, to be slid down. Most entertaining to a young mind and with the constant repetition at least I learnt the numbers in Welsh from one to six!………….

………One of the places we would often visit is Conwy, or Conway in English. Its magnificent castle again made a great impression on my young mind. If you like castles then Wales is the place to go, they are really magnificently large military fortifications. In no way are these the palace-castles of other countries, these were built for one purpose only, war. If my recommendation were not enough, the UNESCO considers Conwy castle one of the finest examples of late 13th century military architecture in Europe.

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……Oh….. and before I forget…. for you English teachers out there and I know I have a couple at least. The cake is called Ann Dafis. Welsh has a few double letters, “ff” is one of them. A double “ff” is pronounced as an “f”, whilst a single “f” is pronounced as a “v”. The name of the cake therefore would be pronounced Ann Davis in English. The same pronunciation rule applies to and explains the difference between the words “of” and “off” in English!

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge