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Posts Tagged ‘Spanish’

Spanish rice with pork & spinach

Another great one-pot dish by Diana Henry – one our absolute favourite food writers (we might have said that already). Don’t be tempted to stir the rice, it’s not a risotto.

Wine Suggestion: this dish goes with juicy Spanish reds with a good option being the Finca Antigua Syrah from La Mancha. While not a traditional grape variety for Spain, Syrah is increasingly seen and seems to take on a local twist which we find works really well; creamy with warm spices.

Spanish rice with pork and spinach – serves 6

  • 350g pork fillet, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 chorizo, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 300g bacon, cut into meaty chunks (you might have to order a piece of bacon from your butcher)
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 300g paella rice
  • 1.2 litres hot chicken stock
  • 650g spinach
  • 1 lemon

Season the pork. Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan and quickly brown the pork until cooked through, then set aside.

Reduce the heat and add another 3 tbsp of the oil and the chorizo and bacon. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the onions and peppers and cook over a medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, paprika and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the rice. Stir the rice into the juices (this is the only time you will stir it), then add the stock and season. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until there is only a little liquid left and the rice almost tender.

Meanwhile, wilt the spinach in the last tbsp of oil and season. Scatter the spinach over the rice and tuck in the pork pieces. Check for seasoning, then reduce the heat to its lowest, cover and leave for 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and serve.

Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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White aspargus with serrano ham and chive dressing

We adore this stuff. A piece of salty ham and mustardy dressing are all that’s needed for a delicious starter or light lunch.

Wine Suggestion: given the ham and mustard dressing we chose a bottle of Dönnhoff Liestenberg Riesling Kabinett which was superb. It had a vibrancy and freshness to match the salty fatiness of the ham and the tangy dressing.

White asparagus with serrano ham and chive dressing – serves 4

  • 16 fat white asparagus spears
  • 4 slices serrano ham

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 3 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives

Trim the asparagus and peel the stems with a potato peeler. Boil in salted water for 12-15 mins until the spears are tender, then drain well.

Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and honey with some salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil, then stir in the chives just before serving.

Divide the warm or cold asparagus between 4 plates. Lay the ham on top and drizzle over the dressing.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Albondigas

These spicy Spanish meatballs are delicious and just the sort of casual thing we feel like on a Friday night with some patatas bravas, a green salad, and a glass of wine.

Wine Suggestion: Our choice for this tonight was the Dominio de Tares Baltos, a Mencia from Bierzo in Spain. Velvety and dark fruited with a fresh finish and medium body.

Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs – serves 4-6

  • 600g lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • small bunch of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped plus 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley to serve
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 50ml double cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey

To make the meatballs put all the ingredients, except the oil, into a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Shape into 16 meatballs of about 50g each.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the meatballs onto an oiled baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes or until browned and cooked through, keep them warm.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, spices, and bay leaves and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring, then add the tomatoes and honey. Pour in 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.

To finish the dish, put the meatballs into a large, deep frying pan, and cover with the sauce. Simmer gently for 5 minutes to heat the meatballs through and reduce the sauce a little. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure, Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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Patatas Bravas

We love these crispy potato cubes with spicy sauce and this version roasts the potatoes in the oven rather than frying them in heaps of oil. Serve as a side dish or just on their own for a snack.

Wine Suggestion: We love a dry sherry with these, but can’t decide between whether we prefer Fino, Amontillado or Oloros – we recommend them all.

Patatas Bravas – serves 4

  • 800g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley, to serve

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp hot paprika, plus extra to serve

Put the potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, add plenty of salt, and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until starting to soften. Drain gently so they don’t break up too much.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a roasting tin and heat in the oven. Add the drained potatoes, toss in the oil, and roast for 40-45 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic has started to soften but not coloured. Add the vinegar and sugar or honey and stir until dissolved. Stir in the sweet and hot paprikas.

Pour the sauce over the crispy potatoes and sprinkle with a little extra paprika and some finely chopped parsley.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure by Si King and Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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Romesco de peix

We’re still trying to get in the last of the summery dishes before we succumb to roasts and pies! Season this well and add plenty of parsley at the end; a lift that can’t be understated.

Wine suggestion: cross the border for this and go to Portugal for an oaked and aged Alvarinho (there may be some similar oaked/aged Albariño from Rias Baixias in Spain but I haven’t found the right ones yet). Quinta de Soalheiro make a Reserva Alvarinho that with 12 months extra ageing from release makes a perfect match.

Fish Stew with Peppers, Almonds & Saffron – serves 4

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 dessertspoons of finely chopped rosemary
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes, drain of the juice and roughly chop
  • 150ml white wine
  • 100ml hot fish stock
  • 50 saffron strands infused in 4 tbsp boiling water
  • 150g whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted and roughly ground
  • 650g monkfish fillets, cut into chunks
  • 500g clams, rinsed well

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, then cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic, rosemary, bay leaves and red pepper. Soften for 10 minutes, then add the white wine and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes before adding the fish stock and saffron water. Add the crushed almonds and season to taste.

When almost ready to eat, add the monkfish and clams, put a lid over the pan and simmer until the fish is cooked through and the clams are open – about 5 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes.

(Original recipe from Moro the Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Mussels with chorizo & spiced fries 1

One of our least favourite kitchen jobs is scrubbing mussels but they’re always worth it in the end. This chorizo sauce and spicy fries make a great casual dinner.

Wine Suggestion: Chill a Spanish red for 30-40 minutes. A good choice could be the Jesus Romero Rubus, and unoaked blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha & Syrah which has a brilliant purity and drive. Alternately, and contradicting our initial thoughts, a big robust Ribera del Duero, the Condado de Haza also worked a treat chilled down with this dish.

  • 250g skinny oven fries
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • olive oil
  • 125g chorizo, diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 200ml white wine
  • 125g tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1kg mussels, cleaned

Heat the oven to whatever heat suggested on the pack of fries. Toss the fries with 1 tsp of the paprika and some seasoning, spread out on an oven tray and cook until crispy.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan that you have tight-fitting lid for. Add the chorizo and fry until crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion, garlic, 1 tsp of paprika, chilli and thyme springs to the pan. Cook over a low heat until softened, then turn the heat up, return the chorizo to the pan and add the wine, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, lots of black pepper and a little salt. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir the mussels into the chorizo sauce, cover with a lid and steam for 3-4 minutes, shaking now and then, until the mussels have opened. Serve in bowls with the spicy fries on the side.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, July 2014.)

Mussels with chorizo & spiced fries 2

 

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Mussels with chorizo and cider

We had a hankering for mussels, as we often do, and thought this sounded a bit different. There’s no finishing of the sauce required once the mussels are cooked unlike other classic mussel dishes. Last minute finishing can be fiddly, especially with guests, so this worked well for us. Easily scalable, provided you have a big pot, and a good party dish.

Wine Suggestion: we used Stonewell Dry Cider from Kinsale in County Cork for this dish which has a really good depth of flavour and it would equally work well as the accompaniment. Some ciders are lighter but the robust nature of the chorizo and mussels needed a more robust flavour like the Stonewell.

Alternately if you would prefer to drink some wine we’d suggest a good South African Chenin Blanc, like Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs. The ripe yellow apple flavours are a good compliment and the freshness, texture and zing provide a good balance. The Secateurs is a great go-to wine in our house and we highly recommend it!

Spanish mussels with cider & chorizo – serves 4

  • 2kg mussels
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chorizo, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Wash the mussels really well and scrape off any barnacles and beardy bits. Tap any opened mussels on the sink and throw them away if they don’t close.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chorizo with the onions until slightly coloured and softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the mussels, cider and some black pepper, then cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and steam until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Pea soup with ham and mint

This is not your average pea and mint soup and has the most amazing sweet & salty flavour. A delicious starter to impress a few friends and very little work to prepare.

Wine Suggestion: a lighter weight red with spicy, peppery tannins was our choice, making sure it had a wonderful freshness of acidity too. We opted for a regular favourite, the unoaked Jesus Romero Rubus from Teruel in Spain. The absence of oak seemed to accentuate the “Spring” freshness of the peas and helped lift the grey, windy and damp January day.

Pea Soup with Jamón & Mint – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 150g jamón serrano (Spanish cured ham), finely chopped
  • a small bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • 500g podded peas (frozen are fine)
  • 1 litre chicken stock (it’s worth using home-made for this recipe)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden, then add the carrot and bay leaves.  Fry for another 5 minutes, then add the garlic, two-thirds of the jamón and half the mint. Fry for another minute or so before adding the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the stock and simmer gently until the peas or tender, 2-3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and liquidise until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper and add the reserved mint. Serve with the rest of the jamón on top and drizzle with olive oil.

(Original recipe from The Moro Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

 

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Setas al jerez

One of our local grocers had a pile of mushrooms of all sorts (it is the season) so we took the inspiration and had a delicious version of mushrooms on toast flavoured with sherry. Good quality sourdough, toasted, rubbed with a clove of garlic & drizzled with good olive oil to serve.

Wine suggestion: As we started with this for a much larger dinner with friends we opened a bottle of dry Oloroso sherry to accompany. We were lucky to have a bottle of the Hidalgo Oloroso VORS (average age 30yo) which was a complex, rich, nutty style of sherry with a wonderfully complex citrus peel, nutty and spicy nose. The palate is funky with profound, fresh, nutty, lemony complexity. The surprising citrus notes in the sherry lifted the mushrooms even further. Sherry of this quality is simply the best value fine wine in the world as we we kept on running out of descriptions of the taste, smell and finish of this.

Setas al jerez – Mushrooms with Sherry – serves 4

  • 400g wild mushrooms
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150ml fino or dry, old amontillado sherry
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth but don’t be tempted to soak or wash them in water.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, cook the onion gently for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Next add the sherry and nutmeg and cook for another minute, followed by the parsley, salt and black pepper.

Serve with toast that you have rubbed lightly with garlic and drizzled with your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from The Moro Cookbook, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Garlic sauce

This is a great sauce for a beef or lamb steak. Don’t be put off by the amount of garlic; the poaching process takes away any harshness from the garlic and results in a sweet and delicious sauce.

Wine Suggestion: While your choice of wine might be determined somewhat by the type of meat you have, with the garlic sauce the key is to choose something robust, not delicate. For this steak we had an old vine Carignan (with a touch of Grenache and Syrah in the blend) from Domaine Roc des Anges in Roussillon. Their “Reliefs” cuvée is one of the best we’ve tasted of this grape variety. It is smooth and sophisticated and yet down deep it seems informed by a rustic prehistoric core.  Supple, deep and fleshy with sheets of shimmering tannin, great driving depth, cherry and dark chocolate flavours and a full, juicy and balanced finish.

Poached Garlic Sauce – serves 4

  • 3 garlic bulbs
  • milk
  • 3 tsps extra virgin olive oil
  • ½-¾ tablespoon sherry vinegar

Break up the garlic bulbs and throw away the woody roots. Put the garlic cloves, skins on, into a small saucepan and cover with milk by at least 3cm. Bring the milk and garlic to a simmer and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Reserve 6 tablespoons of the poaching milk and discard the rest. Either put the garlic through a mouli or squeeze the soft garlic out of each skin and mash to a puree. Add the reserved milk to thin it slightly , then stir in the olive oil and sherry vinegar. Season well with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

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Paella de rape con azafran

This is a great weekend dish that is relatively easy to make and looks amazing when brought to the table with all its fabulous colours. The key to a good paella is not to stir it. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent sticking.

Wine Suggestion: We started with a glass of dry Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado sherry followed by an old, but wonderfully youthful and fresh, Dehesa la Granja 14 1998 a Tempranillo from close to the Portuguese border in Castilla. The 14 refers to the minimum amount of time it is held by Alejandro Fernandez in his underground caverns on this property before release. At 18 years old it was delicious proof of the ageworthiness of this unique estate and its elegance and refined fruit didn’t overwhelm the monkfish.

Monkfish rice with saffron (Paella de rape con azafrán) – serves 4 as a main or 6 as a starter

  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g monkfish fillets, trimmed and cut into bit-size pieces
  • 2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
  • 2 green peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 800ml hot fish stock (buy it fresh at your fishmongers)
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 250g calasparra (paella) rice
  • 80ml white wine or fino sherry
  • 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 225g piquillo peppers, torn into strips (we buy the brand Navarrico)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a 30-40cm paella pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the monkfish and toss gently to fry until slightly undercooked in the centre. Remove the monkfish and any juices to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and put back onto the heat. Add the rest of the olives oil and heat until hot, then add the onions and peppers, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic and the fennel seeds, and cook for 10 minutes or until coloured and sweet. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a separate saucepan. Add the saffron, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Add the rice to the paella pan and stir for a minute to coat with the oil and vegetables. (You can prepare the dish up to this point before your guests arrive. The recipe will take about 20 minutes to finish.)

Put the heat to medium-high and add the wine/sherry to the pan, followed by the hot stock. Add half the parsley and the paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Do not stir the rice after this point. Simmer for 10 minutes or until there is just a little liquid above the rice. Spread the monkfish and its juices out across the top of the rice and gently push each piece of fish into the liquid. Gently shake the pan to prevent sticking and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes or until there is just a little liquid left at the bottom of the rice. Turn the heat off and cover the dish tightly with foil. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Decorate with strips of piquillo peppers, the rest of the parsley and the lemon. Serve with a salad if you like.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

Paella de rape con azafran

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Marinated Piquillo peppers

So easy to prepare, but the real key is getting top quality roasted peppers. If you can find Navarrico Piquillo peppers from Spain then rejoice. They are expensive but the tin is jammed full so you will get several tasty dishes out of it.

Wine Suggestion: This dish works great with an extra dry and savoury Sherry and our pick is a dry Amontillado which is salty, savoury, nutty and yet with super low acidity it is a perfect balance to the sweet, smokey and piquant peppers.

Pimientos del piquillo aliñados (Marinated piquillo peppers) – serves 4

  • 225g piquillo peppers (see above)
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Drain the peppers and either leave whole or tear roughly. Toss with the rest of the ingredients, season with sea salt and black pepper, and leave to allow the flavours to come together for 30 minutes or so.

(Original recipe from Moro: The Cookbook by Sam & Sam Clark, Ebury Press, 2001.)

 

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Pot-roast Chicken with Chorizo, Leek and Cider

A great array of flavours and super-moist roast chicken. Chorizo cooked in cider is often served as a tapa in Spain and it’s delicious!

Wine Suggestion: A Spanish cider would be of course be great with this or failing that a good quality dry cider from somewhere else. If you feel like wine we’d recommend a really smooth Rioja.

Pot-roasted Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks & Cider – serves 4

  • 1 x 1.75kg chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 700g leeks, washed and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 300g baby carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • Leaves from 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200ml dry cider

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3.

Season the cavity and outside of the chicken with salt and black pepper.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the chicken on all sides until golden, then set aside.

Lower the heat and add the chorizo, butter, leeks, garlic, carrots, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and cook gently until the leeks have softened.

Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish, pour over the cider, then cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid from the casserole dish and turn the oven up to 200C/Gas 6. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken skin is browned.

Remove the chicken from the casserole and onto a carving board, cover with foil. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the vegetable juices, then place over a medium heat and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes to reduce. Season to taste with more salt if needed.

To carve the chicken, remove the legs and cut each one in half at the joint. Carve the breast in slices. Use a slotted spoon to put the chorizo and vegetables onto the centre of the plates and place the chicken on top. Spoon the cooking juices over to serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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Gambas al ajillo

This is the same dish as Prawns Pil-Pil which you get in restaurants all over Spain. Ordinary food but absolutely delicious. Don’t forget some crusty bread to mop up the oil.

Wine Suggestion: This is great with a Manzanilla sherry, like the La Gitana by Hidalgo we had with it. The dry and savoury character of the wine makes every component sing and has a great ability to both entice hunger and also sate the palate.

Gambas al ajillo – to serve 4 as a starter 

  • 750g unpeeled prawns
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 5g flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 300ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed dried chilli flakes

Peel the prawns but leave the last tail segment in place.

Sprinkle the garlic and parsley with ½ tsp of salt and chop together to form a course mixture.

Pour the oil into a large, deep frying pan over a low heat. When hot, at the chilli flakes and garlic and parsley mixture and cook gently for a few minute or until sizzling and smelling delicious.

Turn the heat up a touch before adding prawns and cooking for a few minutes or until just cooked through. Season with a bit more salt to taste.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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This is one of our hearty dinners from the 5:2 diet we are on and it was very welcome this evening after getting in from the rain and cold. Full of flavour and filling despite the low calories!

Chicken, Red Onion and Mushroom Stew with Sherry and Butterbeans, serves 4

  • 6 Chicken thighs, skinned and boned then quartered
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 red onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 100ml dry sherry
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin butterbeans, drained and rinsed
  • small bunch parsley, chopped

Heat a little olive oil to a medium-high heat in a pan and add the chicken, browning until golden on all sides.

Add the paprika, garlic onions and mushrooms and cook until the onions and mushrooms have softened. This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pan for a second to deglaze, then add the chicken stock, tomatoes and butterbeans.

Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with the parsley sprinkled over the top and some crusty bread if you like.

Wine suggestion: If you feel like a glass with this we’d suggest trying a red from Navarra, an under-rated region in Spain. The balance of juiciness and structure would work with the simple, smokey and rustic flavours of the dish.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Inspired by the food of Valencia this dish has a bit of wholesome soul-food about it, while maintaining a vibrant taste of Spain with the Pimenton and garlic. The pork becomes tender and just melts with flavour. We served it with tasty new potatoes and some tender-heart cabbage quickly fried with a little butter.

Pork in an Almond Sauce – Carne en salsa de almendras, serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 chopped and 4 peeled and left whole
  • 15g slice of fresh white bread, crustless
  • 1kg piece of rindless, shoulder of pork
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pimenton dulce / smoked, sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 large sprig of thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 75g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1tbsp  flat parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large shallow flame-proof casserole dish. Add the 4 whole garlic cloves and the slice of bread and fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes, turning one, until golden. Lift out and leave to drain and cool.

Cut pork into 2.5cm/1 inch slices and then into 75-100g pieces. You want them to be quite large. Season well then dust them in the flour. Add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the pieces of pork to seal and only lightly colour. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan with the onion, chopped garlic, pimenton dulce, thyme and bay leaves and cook gently for 10 minutes until onions are soft and sweet but not browned. Add the wine and stock and bring to the boil, rubbing the base of the pan to release any bits and pieces.

Return the pork to the pan, lower the heat  and season well. Cover and simmer gently for 1.5 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.

Spoon about 16 tablespoons of the sauce into a liquidiser or food processor and add the fried bread, fried garlic cloves, almonds and parsley leaves. Blend to a smooth paste (this is called a picada in Spain). Stir the picada back into the pan, taste and adjust for seasoning, cover then cook for a further 5 minutes which will allow the sauce to thicken.

Wine suggestion: You could try an oaked, white Rioja particularly if you can find one with a bit of age, or alternately a dry Amontillado sherry. Both have good texture and a savouriness which works well and touches of nut and saltiness in the palate that will complement the flavours without overwhelming them

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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We’re really getting into desserts these days. I think we might have made two in the one month! We’re not really dessert people but lots of are friends are so we’ve been making an effort. This is a Spanish cake which is flavoured with orange and almond and is traditionally marked with the shape of a cross on the top. You don’t have to serve it with the strawberries but they work really well.

Tarta de Santiago with Strawberries & Sherry Vinegar – 8-10 slices 

  • a little butter, for greasing
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the strawberries: 

  • 250g strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered lengthways
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50ml Sherry vinegar
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve

Mix the strawberries in a bowl with the sugar and vinegar, cover and leave to marinade in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and line a 22cm springform tin with baking parchment. Use an electric whisk to mix the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Gently fold in the almonds and zest with a metal spoon.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes – it should be golden and a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come away clean. Take the cake out of the oven and cover with a clean tea towel to cool it down, so it doesn’t dry out. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the strawberries and ice cream.

Wine Suggestion: Try a rich Olorosso, a dark sherry from Spain, which has a warm nuttiness to complement the almond flavour in the cake.

(Original recipe by José Pizarro in BBC Good Food Magazine, August 2012.)

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A classic Spanish tapa dish. Don’t fork out for fancy mushrooms as ordinary button ones work perfectly here, taking on the flavours of the garlic, oil and white wine.

Champiñones al ajillo – to serve 4 as a tapa 

  • 250g button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on what size they are
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp dry white wine or 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the mushrooms with the garlic and chilli over a medium-high heat. Add some salt and pepper as the mushrooms are cooking. The mushrooms will soak up all of the oil first and then release it again with their juices. Add the white wine or lemon juice, lower the heat and cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are really soft, the juices have almost evaporated and the oil is sizzling through. This should take 15-20 minutes in total.

Stir in the parsley and serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Drink with: a glass of rich and nutty Amontillado sherry.

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This is a Basque inspired dish where fresh fish is cooked really simply over hot coals. Firm fish like Monkfish, or Grouper, will not fall apart as easily so make them perfect for barbecuing. Serve with a green salad and some bread.

Barbecue Monkfish Kebabs – to serve 4

  • 1 kg monkfish fillets, cut into large chunks
  • 12 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Light the barbecue and wait until it is really hot before you start cooking.

Thread the monkfish onto 4 metal skewers. Make a marinade using 6 tbsp of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 3 tbsp of the white wine vinegar and 1 tsp salt. Brush this lightly over the kebabs and barbecue until the fish is browned and cooked through. Keep brushing with the marinade as the fish cooks.

Put 6 tbsp olive oil, the garlic and chilli flakes into a small pan and heat over a high heat until the garlic turns golden (but don’t let it go brown as it will turn bitter). Take off the heat and stir in the parsley, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and ½ tsp salt. Drizzle over the fish and serve.

Drink with: a chilled glass of Txakoli if you can find it. This Basque speciality is hard to find outside Spain but an Albarino from Galicia makes a more than satisfactory substitute.

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We’ve made plenty of variations on Spanish potato omelettes or tortilla but it’s hard to know when the centre is cooked. We’ve also found grilling the surface under the grill much less daunting than trying to flip a semi-liquid pan full of hot ingredients! So we were relieved to read that Claudia Roden has had similar issues and this time followed the advice she got from a Spanish friend and recounts in her fabulous book The Food of Spain. The trick is to use a smaller non-stick pan and a slightly concave saucepan lid, larger than the pan, to catch the liquid when you turn the omelette upside down. It worked for us!

Tortilla de patatas – to serve 4

  • 250g new or waxy potatoes, peeled and cut in 1.5cm cubes
  • 300ml olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • salt
  • 6 large eggs
Dry the potatoes with some kitchen roll as soon as you dice them.

Heat the oil in a smallish non-stick frying pan that will hold all the ingredients over a medium heat and add the potatoes and onions. Cook and cook over a low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Give them a gentle shake now and again and don’t let them colour. Drain in a colander and keep the oil which you can use again. Spread the potatoes out on kitchen roll and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Beat the eggs lightly and add a little salt. Add the potatoes and onions and gently mix together.

Pour 1 tbsp of your reserved oil back into the frying pan and heat until almost smoking. Pour in the egg mixture and turn the heat to low. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the eggs set at the bottom, shaking now and then with a circular motion to stop it sticking. Put a slightly concave lid larger than the pan on top and flip the pan over quickly to leave the omelette on the lid of the pan. Pour another tbsp of the reserved oil into the pan and gently slide the omelette back in, uncooked side down, and lower the heat. Cook for 2 minutes more until just set. Run a wooden spoon round the edge of the omelette to make it neat before turning out.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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