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Entries in paprika (8)

Wednesday
Apr112018

Dad's Mexican mince

I had a craving for my Dad’s Mexican mince recently. We used to get so excited when we were little and came in the door to that unmistakable smell of stewing meat and spices.

Before I moved to the UK it was one of several recipes I made my Dad make in front of me so that he couldn’t “forget” any ingredients. To this day, I still haven’t quite managed to master his “benchmark aioli” and I have always thought that maybe there is something he is not telling me. The Mexican mince, on the other hand, I watched him make step-by-step so there was no room for items to be lost in translation.

Apart from the optional ingredients, this is to the letter. That isn’t to say that it is traditional – I have no idea, my Dad isn’t Mexican – but it tastes damned good and better than any I’ve tried elsewhere, but I have to admit that I haven’t been to Mexico so, until then, I will reserve judgement.

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Sunday
Nov032013

Chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew

It’s that time of year again. I’m back at uni and this year is going to be even busier than the last. This is why it has been such a long time since I have written anything. I have barely had time for anything else, including cooking.

Last week, though, I cooked a proper meal for the first time in a while. It was my friend Amy’s birthday so we had her over for dinner. I cooked one of my favourites: chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew.

This is a variation on one of the early recipes on my blog.

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Sunday
Jun232013

Dr Shakshuka

Shakshuka is my new favourite weekend brunch. I was introduced to it via Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast on Channel 4. In the last episode, Ottolenghi visits Israel where he grew up. Everything looks so delicious that it made me want to book a holiday right there and then. Since I’m a poor student and can’t afford that any time soon, I’ve made do with cooking this at home. Frequently.

Shakshuka “was brought to Israel by Tunisian Jews. It is a rustic concoction of eggs poached in a fiery tomato sauce, a bit like a sort of spicy fry up” says Ottolenghi. “It’s great for brunch and a fantastic hangover cure.”

There are lots of other versions out there, for example, the Italians do uova in purgatorio (eggs in purgatory) and the Morrocans do it in a tagine with lamb. I think the traditional Israeli version is my favourite though, not in small part because it includes my favourite sausages, merguez. 

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Monday
Nov052012

Claudia Roden's potaje de garbanzos y espinacas

(Chickpea and spinach stew)

For my birthday my Mum gave me Claudia Roden’s fabulous cookbook, The Food of Spain. I love this book because the recipes are real and unadulterated Spanish food. The other Spanish cookbooks I have are full of extravagant recipes that are difficult or very expensive to source ingredients for in London or which are too fiddly to make for anything other than a special occasion. Roden’s book is full of the kind of recipes Spanish people actually cook and eat regularly.

I have tried to replicate this Spanish staple several times before and, until now, it never tasted quite like it does in Spain. I have a good palate for detecting spices, and got close with that, but I would never have guessed that the key to it’s “rich texture” and “intriguing flavour” comes from a paste made of stale bread fried with garlic blended to a cream with hard-boiled egg yolks and stock.

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Tuesday
Feb072012

Albondigas árabe – my Moorish meatballs

 

It is a bit cheeky of me to give my meatballs this name, because they are exactly that – mine. They are neither traditionally Spanish nor from the Moors, but they are packed full of Moorish spices and these are used a lot in the south of Spain where the Moorish influence is most prevalent. Indeed the Spanish are rather quick to add this suffix; a little pinch of cumin or all spice seems enough to mark a dish Moorish and so I am following suit. Oh, and a double whammy of alliteration in both languages was too much to resist.

I started out with the intention of making traditional Spanish albondigas, but even those would rarely involve chorizo or paprika, despite these both being typical Spanish ingredients. Then I got carried away and decided on a Moorish theme adding all spice, cumin, nutmeg and ground coriander too. The result was spicier than the meatballs you would typically get in a tapas restaurant in Spain, but it was wonderfully hearty and warming and the chorizo and paprika gave it a deep, smoky flavour. If you prefer something milder you could tone it down by using sweet smoked paprika and skipping the chilli. And for something smoother with less intensity, you might like to try adding thyme in place of the fresh coriander.

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