At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them
Sometimes things so dreadful happen that there are no words. Am reblogging this for my blogging friend Rosemary and her family. If you can help, please do so. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.
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On November 24, 2013 Jade took the train from Stuttgart, Germany to Strasbourg, France. Normally, she would have taken the school bus from the train station to her boarding school in Walbourg, France but she didn’t get on the bus.
Her dream was to become a fashion model and we believe that that was her plan when she left home.
Jade has lead a very sheltered life and our concern is that some person(s) might be taking advantage of her naivete and possibly holding her against her will.
An investigation and search is being conducted worldwide and particularly concentrated in France, Germany and England.
It has finally occurred to me that this blog has almost 4,000 followers worldwide, and while I wanted to keep “CookinginSens” as my refuge from the harrowing…
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Summer is here, the vegetable gardens are starting to deliver all around us and the time has arrived for vegetable swapping. Nothing to do with Wife Swapping in Suburbia, oh no, much more interesting (well, I’m guessing) and enjoyable. This week we’ve been lucky to get a good supply of pak choi (or bok choy).
Staying with the Asian Food theme, I cooked this quick vegetable dish to enjoy with the Ginger Beef.
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
- 2 tablespoons groundnut oil (I used olive oil)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 300g pak choi, washed and cut if necessary to fit in your wok or frying pan
- 100ml water
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce
Heat the oil on high and stir fry the garlic for 30 seconds, add the pak choi and continue to stir fry for about 2 minutes (or until it begins to wilt). Add the water, bring to the boil and continue to cook on high for a couple more minutes, turning the vegetable to cook evenly.
Reduce the heat and remove the pak choi to a serving dish, leaving the liquid in the wok. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and turn up to high to reduce a little. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and serve.
Recipe from Gok Cooks Chinese.
Yes, it feels to us like this renovation business has been going on forever, so I dread to think how it feels for you my patient readers. But we’re so very close to to finishing our own place. Not totally you understand, a home can’t be created in a month or two. That takes time, love and memories. But the construction is almost there.
By Wednesday the bathroom will be fully installed. It will have gone from this…
The kitchen will be complete too, so I’ll show you what they look like soon.
In the meantime I’ll recreate a simple cold charcuterie dish we ate with my parents over Easter. A platter of prosciutto, salami, pancetta, coppa covered with baby rocket, toasted pine nuts,shavings of fresh parmesan and tomatoes then drizzled with olive oil. Perfect for sharing.
As I say…not long now!
Summer time means sweet juicy fruit. And fruit isn´t just for jams or desserts you know. Oh no, mixed with peppery salad leaves and a citrusy sweet dressing it´s a perfect summer starter.
We have two seasons of figs here in Andalucía, early summer Brevas (usually the dark, black-skinned figs) and late summer Higos (the green variety). How lucky are we?!
Big Man came home yesterday with four juicy figs that had somehow fallen into his pocket off someone´s tree. At least, that´s what he told me and who am I not to believe him?!
Not enough for dessert, but just enough for a little salad.
Not so much a recipe as an inspiration to make a version yourself. I mixed some chopped lettuce with basil and rocket then over the top I put the four
stolen precious figs, one peeled chopped peach and about 2 tablespoons of chopped semi cured goat´s cheese.
To make the dressing I mixed 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Salt and pepper were added then it was all shaken up then poured over.
Ah, “stolen” fruit always seems to taste that much sweeter!
A final post on Festive Food from me here. The Twelve Days of Christmas come to an end on Twelfth Night, the evening of 5th January. Traditionally in Spain this was the night to bake your Roscón de Reyes to be eaten the next day, Epiphany, which celebrates the arrival of The Three Kings.
For the children of Spain this means polishing their shoes to be put outside, awaiting the arrival of the Kings to fill them with gifts. I guess little gifts were the norm way back, although that has changed over time. Naughty children were left Carbón, or coal….so get polishing and I hope you´ve all been good.
The Roscón is a light, brioche like sweet bread which is filled and covered with candied fruits and often split and filled with whipped cream or sweet custard. Additionally it is traditional to bake or put into the cake a small trinket (it used to be a figure of the Christ child) and a dried bean. The finder of the trinket in their slice was King for the day, and the finder of the bean had to pay for the cake!
This is the first year I´ve attempted to make a Roscón, but I was pretty pleased with the results. I hope my neighbour is too as I am taking this over to her this afternoon as a little thank you in return for a huge basket of Persimmons she gave me. Happy Epiphany to you all on 6th January!
- 200g approx of sultanas, glacé cherries and candied peel, soaked in alcohol if desired (see my Boozy Fruits recipe)
- 500g plain flour
- 1 sachet of quick/easy blend yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 150 ml milk
- 100g softened butter
- 100g caster sugar
- Grated zest of one orange and one lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- To decorate – about 6 roughly crushed sugar cubes or 6 heaped teaspoons of sugar dampened with a few drops of water and thick slices of candied peel (see this excellent post on how to make your own over at Rufus´ Food and Spirits Guide) and some glacé cherries. You will also need one beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of apricot jam diluted with a little water to glaze when the cake is baked.
Mix the flour, yeast and salt together. In a separate bowl beat the sugar, zests and butter until fluffy then gradually add the beaten egg, vanilla essence and milk. It doesn´t matter if it curdles. Now add the flour and knead to form a dough – if it is too dry, add a splash of milk.
Now add the fruits and knead for 5 minutes on a well floured surface with plenty of flour for your hands – things could get messy! Put the dough into a bowl, cover and leave to double in size (about 2 hours).
Now knead again briefly and push a hole into the centre of the dough so that you can start to form a ring. Imagine you are making a pizza doughnut with a hole in the middle. When it is about the size of a large dinner plate, put it onto a lined baking sheet. You can tuck the trinket/bean wrapped in foil under the cake now or put it into the cooled cake later if you are using. Note, next time I make one, I´ll make the hole in the middle larger as the dough rises quite a lot during baking.
Leave for about an hour until it has doubled in size and brush with beaten egg before pressing the candied fruit in around the top and sprinkling the sugar over.
Bake at 180º for about 45 minutes (check after 30 mins) and brush with the jam when it has cooled a little. Leave to cool completely. You can now serve it as it is or split it though the middle and fill with whipped cream or confectioner´s custard. Warning – this is a HUGE Roscón and will serve about 10-12 people. It does keep for a few days, and if unfilled is also good sliced and toasted.
Adapted from a BBC Good Food Recipe.
I believe there is a saying which goes something like “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” – well I have to say that I can´t quite agree with Robert Louis Stevenson. But I expect he wasn´t heading to London for eight days to visit my family and friends, so I´ll just have to excuse him.
I arrived home late last night to be met by my wonderful Big Man bearing flowers. Lilies…my favourite. It´s been a while since he bought me flowers, (impossible to get where we live) so the surprise romantic gesture was very much appreciated.
Being a canny packer of cases, I always go right to the limit on my baggage allowances. 20kg in the suitcase, 10kg in the hand luggage and the biggest hand bag possible. No, I most definitely don´t travel light! I went out loaded with Christmas presents (can´t tell you much about them though, as I don´t want to give any surprises away). The case was also packed with packs of chorizo and morcilla to make Fabada Asturiana, plastic lid things to “flip” your tortilla, chillies from my garden, wine glass/tumblers, gifts from my recent holiday, chocolates for my niece and nephew, books to entertain young children on a long flight to the States to see their grandmother, Spanish fans for a friend´s mum, olives, biscuits….well, I think you get the picture.
The advantage of this is that once you´ve unpacked and “shared the love”, you have an almost empty suitcase waiting to be filled with gorgeous things to take back home with you. Of course, I wasn´t about to go home empty handed.
I carefully packed some lovely pictures done by the wonderful children I got to spend time with. A very flattering portrait of me done by my 10 year old niece, Lara. Look at that fabulous waist and bust…if only! A lovely thank you card from 4 year old William and his 2 year old brother Matthew.
Chocolate. And then some more chocolate. If you haven´t tried Quality Street, track it down! Lots of lovely chocolate toffee and caramel sweets in a tin. They just take me back to childhood Christmases when these were a very special treat. And then you get to use the tin to put your cakes in!
I had a bit of a mad fabric buying spree. I´m laying some of the blame for this on my new blogging pal Evie, over at Pendle Stitches. I was the very lucky winner of this beautiful shawl that she had made, and it was waiting for me at my parents´ house. Very handy actually, as it was a little nippy last week in London. Anwyay, Evie suggested some wonderful fabric shops for me to look at in London. The fabrics were amazing.
Eventually I bought a huge variety of fabrics in Tooting Broadway, my old neighbourhood in South London, plus an amazing discovery of some vintage fabrics, still neatly folded and never taken out of storage since about 1950. They almost tipped me over the baggage allowance, but as there were only 31 people on the flight home (I felt like I was on my own private jet), the check in girl turned a very kind blind eye to my extra kilo…20 metres of cotton, linen, silk, jersey, viyella, crepe and who knows what else do weigh rather a lot. I also bought a new magazine to inspire me.
And finally, to food. My mother stocked me up with all sorts of odd and bizarre things I find hard or expensive to buy out here.
All spice berries, Golden Syrup, Maldon Salt.
Loaf tin liners and vanilla for my baking.
And talking of food, guess what? I got to meet one of my new blogging pals face to face. It was Mad Dog, who was not in the least bit mad and not remotely dog like! We spent a happy and all too short hour in Bar Italia, in the heart of London´s Soho, drinking coffee and chatting about food, Spain, food, photography, food, ourselves. What a great guy he is, and he gave me a fantastic gift of the film Tampopo, a comedy featuring…yes you´ve guessed…food!
So, now I´m home again and looking forward to getting back into my kitchen. Big Man has already started stocking up on autumn fruits and vegetables.
A neighbour gave us a crate of Membrillo, or quince, so we´ll be making quince jelly this weekend.
So, time to unpack, wash, cook and sew. Sounds odd, but I can´t wait!
PS. Am looking forward to a few days of blog catching up – really looking forward to seeing what you have all been up to.
Well, it´s not exactly Italian salsa verde in that there are no capers or anchovies…but, it´s a green sauce so that most definitely makes it a salsa verde!
Restaurants round where I live have good, simple food. It can sometimes get a little repetitive, and often there´s no menu as they all serve pretty much the same selection of grilled meats (usually pork cuts) and some grilled or fried fish. What you get though is fresh, well cooked and tasty food. Often the meat or fish will come drizzled with a delicious garlic and parsley mixture blended with olive oil.
One of our regular local restaurants moves everything outside onto the “summer terrace” during the hot months. This includes the cooking, so you can sit at your table and almost within an arm´s reach you have Luis at the bar, his partner Sonia in the kitchen area and the mountain views. I noticed that Sonia makes her sauce up and keeps it in a squeezy bottle which she then uses to dispense the delicious mixture over the cooked food as it leaves the kitchen and is delivered to us by Luis.
All she does is finely chop parsley and garlic and blend with a season of salt and local extra virgin olive oil. I make mine up in the food processor or in a small jug using the hand stick blender. I have now taken to keeping a bottle of this in my fridge. Sometimes I add the zest of a lemon, and squirt it over simple grilled dishes (including vegetables) to liven them up.
Do give it a go, it´s handy to have around and apart from looking pretty, tastes wonderful. Probably best not to eat it if you´re going out on a hot first date though!
When my pals came over from the UK recently they came bearing gifts, just like the wise men. One package was from my lovely mother and she had made up Za´atar and Dukkah for me. What a lovely mum I have! We can´t get them or all the ingredients to make them up here. At least, I can´t seem to track them down, and it´s always lovely to have a gift like this as every time you use it, you think of the person who gave it to you.
We had a very small shoulder of goat in the freezer (enough for two hungry people or two regular appetites with enough left over for sandwiches) and I thought I´d do it on the barbecue.
It was very easy to pull together and quick to cook. I made a package with a double layer of foil to put the meat in the seasoned the meat with salt before sprinkling over and rubbing in the Za´atar.
I wrapped it up and put it onto the barbecue at a low heat for about 40 minutes and that was it.
We ate it with lemon juice squeezed over, a big salad and some cold runner beans from the garden dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. Oh, and a glass of wine of course!
So, now we come to the Gazpacho most people are familiar with – the iced tomato and vegetable soup famed the world over (well, almost!).
It is served both as a soup here and as a drink. In most homes it comes in a glass. In fact there is a wonderful advert for my favourite Spanish beer, Cruzcampo, which celebrates all things Andalúz. One line in the voice over says something along the lines of “In Andalucía we don´t eat tomatoes, we drink them!” (If you have time to watch it, it´s worth it, even if you don´t understand Spanish, just to see a few snippets of summer life in Andalucía).
Every housewife will give you a slightly different recipe, adding her own little tweaks (more of this, less of that). Some use stale bread, some don´t. I tend not to unless I want to serve it a little thicker as a soup which can then be garnished with little chopped cubes of the same vegetables that go into it.
So, without further ado, here´s how I make mine.
Peeled Tomatoes, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Onion (optional) Peeled Cucumber, Salt, Water, Olive Oil, White Wine Vinegar.
It´s difficult to give quantities. If my tomatoes are lovely and red, I use less red pepper. Sometimes I don´t use onion. But the green pepper and the cucumber do give it that distinctive fresh taste, so try not to leave them out.
Today I used 4 large plum tomatoes, one thin green pepper, a small amount of red pepper and a small chunk of onion and half a small peeled Spanish cucumber.
Put all the vegetables into a jug or the food processor.
Start with one level teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about half a litre of water.
Now it´s time to start blending. Add more seasoning, vinegar and water as you go along if you want to. Today I added another tablespoon of vinegar (you remember they like it “alegre” or lively here right?!) and about another 250ml of water to thin it a little.
Then chill until you need it. If you have put onion in it´s fine on the day you made it but I find it starts to “ferment” a little if you have any left over. Also, while standing in the fridge it may start to separate a little with the water at the bottom and the vegetables on top – just give it a stir before serving and it will be fine.
Now, go and put on a straw hat, a paso doble on the cd and lie back in a shady spot and sip on your ice cold Gazpacho. Or ga-pacho, as they tend to say here! These Andaluces and their habit of dropping the “s” sound….most confusing!