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

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

Maria Biscuit Puddings / Postre de Galleta Maria

09 Maria Biscuit Pudding

We make more and more things at home; I enjoy cooking, it is often cheaper and I also have better control over what goes into my digestive tract. Just about everything sweet we make ourselves, especially jams, biscuits and cakes. At times, after a meal, we have a yoghurt or a milk pudding; one of those types of dessert you can typically find in the refrigerated sections of supermarkets. It is one of those types of dessert we have typically bought.

Maria Biscuit Puddings are a popular dessert here in Spain and are one of the aforementioned puddings that we buy on a regular basis in the local shops. They are a milk pudding flavoured with “Maria” biscuits, something similar to a “Rich Tea” biscuit found in Great Britain. They are a nice size and in many ways an ideal quick dessert to finish off a meal.

99 Pots from Supermareket - Retouched

As you will have seen from an earlier post we already make our own yoghurt, but had taken no steps to make copycat milk puddings, that is until a few weeks back…..

I went to one of the local shops, here in the village, only to find that they had withdrawn from sale the yoghurts and milk puddings they normally stock. This is obviously a loss of income for the owners, so I was interested to know what had motivated them to take that decision.

 

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

 


2018 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Patatas a la Riojana

31 Patata a la Riojana

A couple of weeks back my wife and I went for a weekend away to the Parador of Alcañiz. Paradores are state-run hotels that are well worth a visit if you are in Spain. Often perched on high, these old castles, palaces and monasteries are both luxurious and spectacular. If you want more information, I mentioned them in a previous article that you can read here or visit their website via following link: Paradores website.

2017 11 02 Parador Alcañiz

I had been to this particular Parador before, having had a sumptuous meal there some years ago. I had been invited to attend the wedding banquet of a friend of mine, but at the time I did not stay overnight. I had been in the general area before too, and knew a little of the city, but this was the first time that I would be spending significant time there.

Alcañiz has some very impressive buildings, including the Parador, theTown Hall and various churches. I would also recommend going underground and visiting the impressive medieval tunnel system and also the underground fridges. In winter snow used to be brought down from the surrounding hills and packed into these fridges to eventually form blocks of ice. The more wealthy citizens could then buy chilled drinks in the warmer summer months.

2017 11 10 Subteranean Pasages

Alcañiz also has a river running at its feet, with overhead pedestrian walkways that I particularly liked, first for the view and secondly, because they led us to the lunchtime restaurant of our first day there………………

2017 11 15 Walkways with historic centre

…………… And so, after my customary mental musings let’s get back to the recipe for today and those Patatas a la Riojana. Simple, basic Spanish ingredients but with a flavour and colour kick from the typical Riojan choricero peppers. A perfect warming and delicious dish for these colder months of the year!

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Cod Fishballs

18 Fishballs on a plate

The recipe this week is a local one, from a lady in the town of La Almunia de Doña Godina who was born in 1917. An old and traditional recipe therefore, just what I like! Some though might think it strange, that in this land-locked region where I live, fish plays such a big part in the traditional recipes? Spain is large, so main cities and regions are at some distance from the sea. It should be noted though that Spain is also a peninsula, and that it is bathed by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters.

Towards the south of this region, the Mediterranean sea lies ever closer. There is in fact only a relatively thin strip of land, part of Catalonia in fact,  separating us from the sea. It is sad to think that the way things are going, although it is close, we may need a passport to get to the sea, we may need to change currencies before we can buy a beer at the beach and Barcelona Football Club will no longer be able to play Madrid unless it is an international match!

Seriously, what is it these days with this push for separatism, and I don’t mean just in Catalonia? Without travelling very far indeed we have seen or are seeing similar tendencies in the Basque Country in Spain, and Scotland and Wales in Great Britain. Statistically therefore Catalonia would appear to be far from an isolated occurrence……..

 

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge

Palometa en salsa / Atlantic Pomfret in Sauce

20 Palometa en Salsa

So why Atlantic Pomfret when there are so many other better-known fish to choose from? In spite of what you might think, it was not my intent to baffle you all with a relatively unknown fish. I chose the fish in question for a couple of reasons…….

Firstly, because I had never tried it before. That alone is reason enough for me to buy it, as I am not particularly interested in playing it safe where food is concerned. Secondly, it was recommended by the Greenpeace website I often frequent, which portrays the fish that are in season and therefore environmentally better to eat. Thirdly, it had been caught by relatively traditional means in the sea. I am very much against fish farms and avoid consuming their fish whenever I can. Although we have done much to better the conditions of the land animals we eat, giving them better more natural living conditions, I am not convinced we have advanced much in the world of pisciculture.

I am not a vegetarian, I eat just about anything that falls on my plate, I do however try and eat sensibly and as ecologically as I can.  I look for animals that have been reared naturally or caught in the wild and I also try to eat local produce. I grow my own fruit and vegetables as naturally as I can. I believe it is the healthier option, it is also often the cheaper option.

The hunting season here started last weekend. The neighbour passes me his excess, so my freezer now has a couple more rabbits and a hare than it did. He started giving me his game some time ago, and he always gave it to me skinned and ready to cook. One day he forgot, the rabbits arrived whole, hide and all!

Many, many moons ago back in Lancashire I used to go hunting with local farmer friends. Recalling how they skinned their rabbits I decided to give it a go……..

 

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

 


2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge