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IAN & SPAIN

WELCOME TO MY BLOG. I WILL BE WRITING ABOUT SPANISH FOOD AND DRINK AND IN PARTICULAR MY OBSESSION FOR OLIVE OIL, ONE OF SPAIN'S MAJOR ASSETS AND GREATLY MISUNDERSTOOD BY THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS WORLDWIDE. I WILL ENDEAVOR TO PROVIDE YOU WITH ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO ENJOY THE WORLD OF OLIVE OIL WITHOUT BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE! HOPE YOU ENJOY IT AND PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

Spanish....Baked Beans & Sausages!
20 September 2017


During my student days one of my all time favourite meals was beans and sausages on toast, although I must admit it they were the Heinz tinned baked beams and sausages, God I loved those sausages, absolutely no goodness to them, but I just loved them all the same. To be honest, healthiness never even crossed my mind. But now time has moved on and fortunately I have discovered wonderful dishes in my time here in Spain. But you have no idea how pleased I was when I discovered a natural and flavoursome Spanish version of my all time student favourite! So I thought I would share it with you today, as it is this time of year that something warm and hearty should be on the dinner table for all to enjoy.  It really is quite a simple recipe so you must give it a go!

 

Spanish beans and sausages: Ingredients for 4 people:

400 gr. white beans
8 fresh sausages
200 gr. pumpkin
1 spring onion (Spanish style, or a small onion)
1 leek
2 cloves of garlic
Water
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Parsley


The first thing you need to do is peel the garlic, leek and chives and let them simmer in a pressure cooker (without the lid on) with a little extra virgin olive oil. Chop up the pumpkin and add it in too. Season with salt and cook it all together for about 7- 8 minutes. Remove the vegetables and place them in a blender, pour in a little water and blend it to a puree.

   

 

 

 

Pour the puree back into the pressure cooker, add the beans (which should have been in water over night if they were dried white beans), cover with water and add a pinch of salt. 

 

 

Close the pressure cooker and cook for 10-12 minutes. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can still cook them but they will take a little longer (45 minutes) to cook, but keep an eye on the water so they don’t dry out too much.  

Another option is if you are in a rush is to buy the beans that are already cooked in a glass jar. If you do this, you only need to add a very little water and cook them on a slow heat for about 8-10 minutes. 

 

Now for the sausages… Brown the sausages on a griddle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Cut them in half and add them to the pot. Stir in on low heat for a couple of minutes and sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley over the top and mix in well. 

 

 

Now serve with a nice piece of crusty bread and a glass of red wine!

 Enjoy.



Like 1        Published at 15:39   Comments (6)


Jazzing Up Salmorejo
14 September 2017

Believe it or not but ‘Salmorjeo from Cordoba’ has its own culinary guild which aims to make this traditional recipe become the ambassador of the city, its culture and cuisine, so each year they organise an event to promote this wonderfully cersatile dish. For two days, lectures, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, tastings are conducted in the city in order to help disseminate the authentic salmorejo recipe to the rest of the world.

The guild is conducting an initiative that aims to turn this star dish into a Universal Salmorejo so standardizing the recipe and ingredients as it has many variations. They want to spread a traditional protected recipe, which will become an emblem. A panel of expert tasters approved the recipe after researching the most common proportions between ingredients and rounding them off to a standard.  So I thought I would share this recipe with you all and I hope you do the same.


Ingredients:
1 kg of ripe  tomates
200 gr.  Telera Cordobesa Bread (this is a bread with a thick, heavy dough. Better if it is a day old too)
100 gr. de Extra Virgen Olive Oil
1 ‘Montalban garlic’ clove from Cordoba
10 gr. de Sal

    

 

Version Nº 1  - Traditional Preparation:

Wash, scald in boiling water and then place in cold water to separate the skin from the flesh of the tomato. Peel the tomatoes and blend them in a food blender, pass the liquidised tomato through a sieve to remove the seeds then pour it back into the blender and start blending again, while at the same time adding the bread, olive oil, garlic and salt until you have a homogenous mixture which is thicker much thicker than gazpacho. Finally sprinkle chopped boiled egg and finely diced Serrano ham over the top and serve.


Version Nº 2 -  With Tuna tartar and Mango


Here is an alternative to jazz up this dish and create a bit of variety during the hot weather. All you need to do is reduce 50gr of bread and replace the boiled egg and Serrano ham with a fresh tuna tartar. It is fantastic and a lovely light alternative and it is so easy to make.

For the Salmorejo follow the instruction above, only remove 50gr of bread, this will make it slightly lighter and not as thick.  You will need:


300 gr of raw red tuna steak
100gr of diced Mango
A few sprigs of diced chives
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Arbequina)
A pinch of wasabi (optional)


Quite simply dice it all up and mix it well in a bowl and leave it in the fridge for 45min before serving. Serve the Salmorejo with a healthy serving of tartar in the centre.


Version Nº 3 -  Buffalo Mozzarella  and Crispy ham 

This version is a real winner with everyone and another fun way to give salmorejo a fresh twist. All you will need apart from the Salmorejo (this time with the original recipe, not reducing the bread) are 4 buffalo mozzarella balls, 4 slices of Serrano ham, a few sprigs of fresh basil and of course extra virgin olive oil. To prepare quite simple finely chop up the Serrano ham and crisp it in the microwave for a minute or so.  Then place the mozzarella ball in the centre of the Salmorejo with the crispy Serrano ham sprinkled over the top with the fresh basil leaves.  Salt and Drizzle some Picual olive oil over it all and serve immediately.

 

ENJOY!



Like 2        Published at 20:37   Comments (1)


Taking Pyrotechnics to Another Level
06 September 2017

If you have been to Valencia in Fallas you may think that you have seen the ultimate pyrotechnic spectacle but I can assure you, you haven’t. Some call it madness, some call it stupidity but the locals call it fun! Just two weeks ago on Sunday 27th August in Paterna the annual celebration of 'La Cordá' took place. This unusual celebration takes pyrotechnic spectacles to another level.

 

This crazy “fiesta” happened by accident just as the Tomatina in Buñol did. In 1898 a group of friends were having dinner in the street and this pleasant summer evening ended up in a battle of gunpowder rockets. Paterna in those days was famous for its development of the Valencian “Traca” a long length of rockets tied together which once lit would produce a chain reaction of explosions. This battle developed into an annual event until it became what it is known today as, La Cordá.

 

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, every year in Paterna near Valencia, a cage, which is 125m long and 8m wide is built along the Calle Mayor in the village. This cage is designed to hold approximately 200 experienced “rocket throwers”. The rocket throwers are each given their position inside the cage and allocated their series of rockets to set off. Following the commands of the Master Rocket thrower, a symphony of explosions and fire start to fill the cage around the 200 participants held inside it. The act lasts for about 20 - 25 minutes and a minimum of 50,000 rockets are released at  rate of 2000 rockets a minute!

 

 

 

This year they set off 55,000 rockets in about 20 minutes! What looks like complete anarchy is actually planned and programmed to the second. There are three type of rockets used in the cage, one that are designed to fly along the ground rebounding off the walls and the participants, others that are designed to jump into mid air and rebound off the bodies and walls and others that are designed to fly up over their heads and fill the air with trails of fire and sparks, all are capable of taking you hand clean off!

 

 

It is an extremely dangerous event, even though the locals don’t seem to be too worried about the dangers. Imagine 55,000 rockets being let off in a cage rebounding off the walls, the ground and the ceiling and you in the middle of it! That is the Cordá! Naturally all participants aren’t suicidal and take same precautions wearing protective clothing and facemasks that are similar to fencing helmets to avoid major injuries but every year there are injuries and this year there were “only” 21 and not serious according to the local press, no one needed to be taken to hospital. So if you happen to be near Valencia on the last Sunday of August next year, pass by Paterna and take a look at this insane spectacle!

 

 



Like 1        Published at 12:12   Comments (2)


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