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.

2014 05 16 Zaragoza - El Pilar

Zaragoza

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Nine Plait Herb and Cheese Bread (Re-post)

13-completed-whole-bread

Here is a simple bread recipe that can be made as a loaf, a simple three strand plait or, well whatever you want to really. As I was having one of those relaxing baking days I decided to push the boat out and go for a nine strand plait. When you get the hang of it, the plaiting is not actually that difficult, yet can produce a complex structure that makes quite a centrepiece for when you are entertaining guests.

This particular dough is one of my favourites, but of course you can use just about any hand or machine-made dough. If this one doesn’t suit, just pick the one you like and are most familiar with. The one I suggest today has a good texture and with the addition of herbs and cheese a good, strong flavour too……………..

14-bread-cut

………I make quite a bit of bread as I live in a small village without a bakery. It was not always the case as we had an excellent local one until relatively recently. We would pop in for some freshly made bread, and almost always walk out with some other local (sweet) delicacy they had, still warm from the oven. Not for lack of clientele did the bakery close, but alas, close it did. A young couple opened a small shop selling bread in the centre of town, unfortunately it did not take off. Perhaps the locals, in the majority septuagenarians or greater, didn’t approve. Perhaps it was because the dough was brought in ready made, with only the final bake performed on-site? Anyroad, whatever the reason, all I really know that we now have no bakery! (And yes I can use anyroad, it was officially added into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016).

One of the biggest problems in this region of Spain is the ever increasing population growth of a few major cities and towns, with the corresponding drop in the local villages……….

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Nine Plait Herb and Cheese Bread 

13-completed-whole-bread

Here is a simple bread recipe that can be made as a loaf, a simple three strand plait or, well whatever you want to really. As I was having one of those relaxing baking days I decided to push the boat out and go for a nine strand plait. When you get the hang of it, the plaiting is not actually that difficult, yet can produce a complex structure that makes quite a centrepiece for when you are entertaining guests.

This particular dough is one of my favourites, but of course you can use just about any hand or machine-made dough. If this one doesn’t suit, just pick the one you like and are most familiar with. The one I suggest today has a good texture and with the addition of herbs and cheese a good, strong flavour too……………..

14-bread-cut

………I make quite a bit of bread as I live in a small village without a bakery. It was not always the case as we had an excellent local one until relatively recently. We would pop in for some freshly made bread, and almost always walk out with some other local (sweet) delicacy they had, still warm from the oven. Not for lack of clientele did the bakery close, but alas, close it did. A young couple opened a small shop selling bread in the centre of town, unfortunately it did not take off. Perhaps the locals, in the majority septuagenarians or greater, didn’t approve. Perhaps it was because the dough was brought in ready made, with only the final bake performed on-site? Anyroad, whatever the reason, all I really know that we now have no bakery! (And yes I can use anyroad, it was officially added into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016).

One of the biggest problems in this region of Spain is the ever increasing population growth of a few major cities and towns, with the corresponding drop in the local villages……….

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


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Orange Marmalade

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Although this isn’t the first article I have published this year, it is the first time I have really put finger to keyboard as the previous articles were largely written in 2016. It is therefore the first time I have sat down and really thought about 2017….. not great thoughts I might add, I am not trying to fix all the world’s problems nor indeed my own, just everyday thoughts, thoughts about the season we are in and a few ideas about what I would like to do this year.

Not that I have much time for speculative thinking as the truth is that I am as busy, if not more busy, this year than previous years. I am actually a summer person, a person who likes to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on his back. I guess that is one of the reasons why I moved from the uplands of northern England to the more sunnier clime of Spain, that and a Spanish girl……

……….. As you will have seen from the recipe, I use standard oranges. In spite of living in Spain I can’t get Seville oranges where I live. In spite of this, the recipe does provide a good, strong, orange flavoured marmalade that will bring your tastebuds back to life first thing in a morning.

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

Manchester Tart

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In October I was back in the North of England seeing family and friends. I normally fly into Manchester airport then for logistical reasons take a taxi to my final destination. On this occasion I had time to spare and decided to take the longer, slower route, by rail.

The train went from Manchester airport then into the city itself passing via Piccadilly Station then on through Deansgate before leaving the city and moving towards my destination via Wigan and Preston. There tend to be few residential buildings close to noisy railways for obvious reasons, and I found myself instead watching the large Victorian industrial buildings go by as I looked out of the windows of the train.

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Piccadilly is the principal railway station in Manchester. It was inaugurated in 1842.

Some houses are of course built near to the railway lines, my father for example was brought up in just such a house. Not only was it close to the railway, but the railway sidings themselves in the town of Colne…….

……… Being in and around Manchester, however briefly, reminded me of the Manchester Tart. Not only was it a staple pudding from the school dinners of my youth, but it is also a pudding that my Spanish father-in-law often talks about. Many moons ago, my father and mother-in-law went on a trip to England and were fortunate enough to sample this simple but delicious pudding.

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

Black Pudding & Bacon Toasted Sandwich

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In previous articles you will have seen me make reference to my Collins Contemporary Dictionary from 1959. I use it not only as a reference work, but also a baseline against which I measure the changes to the English language. One of the areas that I look at each year are the new words that officially enter the English language and therefore are included in the new versions of their dictionaries.

This year there are a couple of obvious ones. I guess the addition of the word “brexit” comes as no surprise to anyone, nor indeed the word “trumpism”! Unfortunately the word processor I use marks both words in red, as words that are not in its dictionary.  Obviously the changes have not percolated down to my computer yet! Perhaps I can catch you out with the word “jomo” which means the joy of missing out? Or how about the “snowflake generation” which is defined as “the young adults of the 2010’s, viewed as being less resilient than previous generations”? The word, or indeed words I wanted to focus in on today though are “dude food”………

………. So, not only do these sandwiches have tasty black pudding, they also filled with streaky bacon and cheddar cheese…… a real feast of forbidden fatty fruits! Perhaps not something you ought to be eating every day, but it is good to let one’s hair down from time to time and get one’s teeth into a flavoursome savoury treat…….

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

Apple and Caramel Crumble

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This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Halloween is not originally an American custom. I say this particularly for non Anglo-Saxons, the majority in fact of my readers. Halloween in fact comes from the Old World and has probably been around in some form or other for thousands of years. Historians point to Dumha na nGiall), a passage tomb in Ireland built around 3,000 BC that is aligned to the sunrise on the 31st of October. They also mention links to the old Celtic festival of Samhain that again was celebrated on the 31st of October.

If further proof were necessary, the origins of the word Halloween go back to Old English, a language in use more than 500 years before Columbus’s outing to the New World…………….

………… All these Halloween celebrations had me thinking back to my youth and how we used to celebrate Halloween. The one custom I remember well was Apple Bobbing. How many of you have heard of, or even better tried apple bobbing?……..

………. We had some friends over a couple of weeks back, an ex work colleague, her husband and son Elías, who I think deserves a special mention. Not only is he a reader of these articles, but to the best of my knowledge is the youngest reader! Thanks Elías.

We drove across the hills to a botanical trail in the next village, Almonacid de la Sierra. The route is engaging,  with educational information on the flora as well as the odd bit of rope climbing up the steeper banks or quaint wooden bridges over the occasional ditch. Weather-wise it was also interesting with banks of fog pushed up from the valley alternating with clear blue skies and sunshine. The main Ebro valley below is prone to heavy fogs at this time of year. Here we are much higher up and are generally affected little. There are times however when the winds can push the fog up here into the mountains……..

2016 11 07 Botanical Route of Almonacid

All the walking of course gave us an appetite, luckily we had a meal prepared which included an apple crumble. As you will have seen from the title above, the article this week is about apple crumble……..

To read the article in full and to see the recipe please click here.