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Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in saffron (4)

Sunday
Mar242013

Dad’s Provençal Seafood Soup

 

Continuing the French theme, here is my Dad’s take on a Provençal fish soup or stew. It's similar to a bourride, using many of the same aromatics, but without the egg yolks. Also, a traditional bourride is usually just fish, but Dad uses a range of seafood.

I asked him to send me the recipe, which was characteristically vague – a pinch of this, a slug of that, “loadsa garlic”. Having eaten it many times when I was younger I was able to guesstimate, but I have tried to make it more user-friendly for you. However, there are some things that are hard to quantify and that are really up to you. For example, the amount of stock depends on the consistency you want; how much saffron depends on the quality of the saffron and how much you like the taste of it; what seafood you use is up to you, which means it is hard for me to give accurate cooking times.

I made this for my flatmates a few weeks ago and they both thought it was fab. I didn’t think it was quite as good as Dad’s, but then these things never are when you try to replicate them, are they?

“What do you think is missing?” asked Jen.

“I don’t know. A little bit of love?”

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Monday
Jun132011

Tapas no.5: Two tortillas

 

As you may have gathered, I am loving the Movida Rustica book, but one thing I have found is that it tends towards more obscure recipes using unusual or ‘fancy’ ingredients which, apart from being difficult to source, are not fully representative of the type of food one finds in a typical Spanish restaurant. I was surprised, for example, that there is no recipe for tortilla de patatas  or Spanish omelette, a dish that you would have to go very far out of your way to avoid when dining out in Spain, or at least in Andalucia. Fortunately, my host Mum in Seville taught me the tricks of the trade and, although I have still never made one as good as hers, I am getting closer with each try.

The first recipe below is for a traditional Spanish tortilla based on Carmen’s recipe. I asked Carmen why my tortilla was never as good, I talked her through my recipe and at the first step we discovered my main problem; I was cooking the garlic. Carmen puts her garlic in raw, or at least some of it, and WOW does it make a difference. In addition to parboiling her potatoes, Carmen also deep fries them. However, I don’t think this makes a significant difference to the flavour and given this is already a high calorie dish it seems a bit like overkill.

The second recipe is from Movida Rustica, a spinach and white bean tortilla in saffron sauce. I have made this several times now, sometimes substituting asparagus for spinach. I have to admit to being a bit of a traditionalist and still favouring tortilla de patatas, but this is great if you are hosting a tapas themed dinner party and want to impress with something more exotic. 

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Tuesday
Jun072011

Tapas no.3: Pinchos from Movida Rustica

Updated on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 11:10AM by Registered CommenterVix

I lived in Seville for three months in 2008 and Granada for 3 months in 2002. One of my favourite of the tapas I ate while I was there were the adobos de pollo or "pinchos". Usually made with chicken, these salty, spicy skewers were served all throughout Andalucia with a piece of crusty bread to mop up the juices. I was over the moon when I found the recipe in Movida Rustica.

Now I have to admit that this recipe does not produce results as good as some I have tried in Andalucia, but I think that is because I love the ones I am used to and this is different. If you have ever tried to replicate a favourite dish you will know what I mean. I will try to play around with this recipe next time to get it closer to what I know, but in the meantime this is a very nice, if not quite right, rendition.

The recipe below makes 12 tapas or 6 raciones (larger portions). If you are only cooking for 4-6 people and serving the pinchos as part of a selection of tapas, I would recommend halving the recipe.

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Saturday
Oct232010

Stephanie Alexander's Moroccan-inspired chicken

About halfway through making this dish I thought I might have another Dalmatian disaster on my hands. Part of me was thinking what a waste of good ingredients, while the other half of me was eagerly imagining the comic potential of another culinary catastrophe. In the end I was left disappointed on both fronts; I was able to save the dish from disaster but not from the dull and the ordinary, the result being that I still felt I had squandered good ingredients on a dish that turned out to be perfectly pleasant, but rather plain and where is the comic value in that?

So why, you may ask, am I sharing it with you? Faith. And a lack of it. 

Faith: This is the first time I have ever been disappointed with a recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. It seems so unlikely that a recipe with so many sumptuous spices could fall flat. Caroline Dewe of the Mostly Undaunted Cook certainly rates it (“Love this dish”) calling her post ‘Thank you Stephanie: Morrocan inspired chicken’.

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