Category Archives: recipe

fabada con almejas/beans and clams…

We need to talk about food so it’s time for another recipe from my mum…for those who don’t know she was a professional chef for 50 plus years, now in retirement she still lives to cook and i for one am not complaining! Here is how she makes Fabada con Almejas or Beans with Clams, it’s rich deep and unctuous in flavour and always has to be eaten with really good crusty bread.

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Into a large pot put:

1 large onion cut in half, 1 large leek cut into 2 or 3 big chunks, 2 big carrots cut into 2 or 3 chunks each, 3 large peeled but whole cloves of garlic, a good glug of virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper and 750g (or thereabout) of dried white beans (soaked overnight) *

Add plain cold water, enough to just cover the contents in the pan, add some saffron and put to boil,  (adjust seasoning to taste) and cook until the beans are almost tender**. When the big chunks of vegetables and garlic are soft, fish them out and liquidise them in a blender with a little of the bean liquid and/or cooked clams liquor (see below). Put the thick veg puree back in the pan with the beans to thicken the sauce. Meanwhile fry some sliced garlic in a frying pan with lots of olive oil, when the garlic begins to be golden, take off the heat and allow to cool a little, add a teaspoon of Spanish sweet paprika, stir it in and deposit the oily mixture into the pan with the beans. Add a little chilli at this point (flakes or powder).

While the beans are cooking:

In another pan pour in a little cold water and add some salt, a bay leaf and washed clams (anything from a half kilo to a kilo) NO wine necessary. Put on the hob and bring to the boil, cook till the shells are open and remove from the heat. Drain and reserve the (sieved) liquor from the clams. Add the clams to the cooked bean stew and add as much of the clam liquor as you need to loosen up the sauce. Cook altogether for a couple of minutes to amalgamate nicely and make sure the beans are fully cooked. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Sounds a bit more fiddly than it is and it’s really REALLY work the bother (and it’s not that much bother!)

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*about those beans…well it’s easy if you are in Spain, you just use Asturian fabas/beans i think you can find them in the UK  if you look hard! Don’t use Judion beans, ‘cos the skins can be a bit tough. Basically you need a big fat white dried bean that has been soaked overnight… but don’t use butter beans…they are not robust enough and they will beak up in the cooking process. The quest is yours!

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** how long to cook the beans? in the photos above mum used her own beans fresh from the garden so it took less than half an hour till they were tender, but if you are using pre soaked dried beans it can be anything from 45 mins to over an hour, you just have to keep checking them.

other foody posts on this blog:

preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

preserving wild garlic…

Back to those foraged leaves from the previous post…Most important thing, having made sure you picked them from a safe place, wash the leaves really thoroughly…

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OK, so i already posted how to make a pesto from few flowered leeks, for the recipe click here

i decide to do the same with the wild garlic leaves…works really well but be warned this is a far more pungent (but delicious) version…after processing more than half a kilo of wild garlic, my home smells really REALLY of garlic for a day or two!

The pesto freezes really well, i use an ice cube to portion it out.

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I have so many leaves that i try some other methods of preservation. I make a wild garlic paste by whizzing it up with some olive oil – the ordinary kind, nothing fancy- and salt (for every 100g of leaves use 100g of oil and 6g salt) . I read that this will keep in a sterilised jar in the fridge for many months…just make sure you top it up with a layer of oil to stop the leaves oxidising. I use it to boost the flavour of soups or stews or in marinades.

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…and do not disguard the stalks, they are delicious, i wilt them along with some of the leaves, v nice with steak or fish, or add them to a daal.

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tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

making makloubeh…

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So food and cooking are truly wonderful things and learning about new dishes is one of the nicest things about living with people from other countries. Been meaning to post about this for a while…this is Makloubeh, a Palestinian kind of upside down rice and chicken affair…

the small stop-motion film shows the crucial moment when the Makloubeh is tipped out…usually its cooked in a ceramic dish to avoid sticking…

I amended slightly this recipe from here, and am assured by a Palestinian friend that it is authentic:

Ingredients:
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Chicken – 1 Whole (1.5kgs)
Potatoes – 3-4 medium size
Aubergine – one large
Onion – 1 big
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Olive oil – 2-4 tablespoons
Vegetable oil for frying
Rice – 750g
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Spices for the chicken:
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Cinnamon ground – 1/2 tspn
Cardamom ground- 1/4 tspn
Coriander ground – 1 tspn
All spice ground – 1 tspn
Seven spices ground – 1 tspn
Cumin – 1 tspn
Turmeric – 1 tspn
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Spices for the rice:
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Salt and pepper- 1/2 tspn each
All spice – 1/2 tspn
turmeric – 1 tspn
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Method:
1. De-skin the chicken, cut into 12 pieces at the joints.
2. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a big pot and add the diced onion.
3. When the onions sweat a little add the chicken to the pan followed by the spices and mix well. Keep turning over and brown the chicken in the pan.
3. Add 3 – 4 cups of water and let it cook for sometime till the chicken is done.
4.Slice the aubergine and potatoes separately.
5. Deep fry them separately or if you want a less oily version you can bake them till soft.
6. Boil water in another pot. Add the rice. When the rice is 80% cooked, drain well, then add the spices to the rice, mix well and set aside.
7. Take a round ceramic oven proof dish and grease it with some butter (1tspn) on the inside. Then sprinkle a little of the spiced rice at the bottom.
8. Now spread a layer of the chicken pieces (reserve the cooking liquid) on top of the sprinkled rice.
9. Then spread a layer of baked/fried aubergine and potatoes on top of the chicken.
10. Finally add the spiced rice on top. Press the rice with a lid and then pour the reserved broth on top of the rice. Close the lid and put it in the pre-heated oven (at 350 degrees) for 15 mins till you see the steam rising as you open the lid.
11. Keep a round serving platter ready. Remove lid and replace it with the upturned serving platter.
12. Put your oven gloves on and turn the ceramic dish on to the serving platter
13. Let this rest for 2 mins. Take a serving spoon and tap the dish on the top and all the sides slowly to release the makloubeh from sticking to the dish.
14. Uncover the the dish slowly. You should have the whole makloubeh with the chicken on the top like a cake.
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other foody posts on this blog:

tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

tortilla de maiz y chicharrones or what to do with that maize flour…

…So you have ground your maize as in the previous post (or gone to the supermarket and bought a bag!). What to do with it? Here is something super old school and Galician you can do with your maize flour. Tortilla de maiz y chicharrones  is a bit like a cross between a thick savoury crepe and a flattened Yorkshire pudding made from a maize rich batter and flecked with onions and confit pork (the aforementioned chicharrones). With the inclusion of pork, this dish would have been a bit of a luxury in an ordinary countryside household at one time, far more likely it would have been made with just the batter and maybe a few onions and/or some pork fat. ANYWAY regardless it’s fantastic comfort food, though quite wintry and heavy…so save the recipe for chilly times:

ingredients:

a little pork lard (for frying)

some sliced pre fried (but not coloured) onions

some chicharrones (or try some fatty cubed pancetta)

300 g maize flour

150 g strong plain flour

2 – 3 eggs

water

salt

These ingredients are approximations, for method see short film above.

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other foody posts on this blog:

tortilla de maiz y chicharrones  fabada asturiana  lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

fabada asturiana…

Been a while since i posted a recipe…this is a good one… P1170621

Am lucky as my mum has been a professional cook for 55 years and i know most people think their mum can cook but really, my mum really, really can!!! As my folk are from Spain, Spanish cuisine is her forte, :

Fabada Asturiana is an incredibly delicious hearty Asturian bean casserole which is very popular in Spain and is often served (believe it or not) as a starter…which gives you some idea to the countries appetite capacity…mum’s version is second to none…

Ingredients:

Fabada
2 Litres meat stock (plus a little extra if the beans get dry)
4 chorizo sausages
(optional) 1 morcilla (black pudding) sausage
1 piece of salted pork belly (anything up to 500g)
(optional) 1 salted pork bone
Half small onion roughly chopped
1 big clove garlic roughly chopped
*1 kilo dried haricot beans (pre soaked for 24 hours)
I sachet of saffron
Quarter teaspoon cayenne/chilli powder
olive oil
salt to taste (at the end of cooking)

Refrito/Rostrido
200 ml good olive oil
1 large clove garlic sliced
half tablespoon sweet paprika (spanish if possible)

*any kind of large dried white bean will do as long as they don’t have tough skins. My mum uses “fabas de Lorenzà”. Note you should soak them overnight, then you can add hot stock. If you have dried beans that don’t require soaking, you must add COLD stock and then bring to a gentle boil.

Pour a generous glug of oil into a large pan with a lid, Add the chorizos, morcilla, pork belly, bone, onion, garlic, saffron, chilli powder, soaked and drained beans and 2 litres of stock, cover with lid and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile make the refrito by heating the 200ml of olive oil in a frying pan and adding the sliced garlic. The oil can’t be too hot as it will burn the garlic. When the garlic just begins to take a little colour, take the pan off the heat and wait a minute or so till it cools a little and quickly stir in the sweet paprika (if the oil is too hot the paprika will burn).

Add the oil/garlic/paprika mixture or refrito immediately to the now gently boiling fabada (bean casserole). Replace the lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. At this point you can fish out the chorizo and morcilla sausages and keep them aside for later. Leave everything else to simmer away till the beans are cooked which could be anything from another 40 – 60 minutes depending on the hardness of the beans. By then the sauce should be nicely reduced and thickened. Don’t add any salt till the end as it will make the beans tough. You may find you don’t need any salt at all as the dish will be seasoned by the stock, salted pancetta/pork belly and salted bone. However adjust to your own taste at the end and even add a little more chilli if you want the dish to have more of a kick. Add back the chorizo and morcilla at the end to heat through.

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Fabada Asturiana is even better on the second day when the flavours and sauce have had time to really develop. My photo at the start of the post is of a little tapa but normally they serve the beans in a soup plate along with a couple of thick slices of the chorizos, morcilla and pork belly and mop up the copious amounts of sauce with lots of crusty bread…it does not need anything else.

other foody posts on this blog:

lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano