Veggie Garden Eggs

Well, we´ve been home a week and, as expected, it´s been a week of running around seeing folk, catching up with all that awaits you after a 2 month absence and lots of eating and drinking!

Veggie Garden Eggs (10)

When I first used to visit Big Man before I lived in Spain, he was puzzled as to why I used to complain at the lack of vegetables in our diet. Spain has beautiful vegetables pretty much all year round. The problem is, when you live in the mountains and are eating in restaurants, the focus is on heavy mountain dishes – predominantly meat. Of course, this week, he´s come to understand what I was talking about and started groaning that he couldn´t face another meat heavy meal.

No problem, the little bit of veggie gardening we managed to do this year was tucked happily in our freezer and our lovely hens were happy to oblige with delicious free range eggs.  The result? A delicious, home cooked, not too heavy, but satisfying meal made entirely from home grown ingredients.

It´s similar to a Spanish dish called Huevos a la Flamenca, which I´ll show you another time, but today it was less about the jamon and the chorizo, and all about the vegetables. Leave out the eggs and you have a vegan meal, add them in and it´s vegetarian.

Ingredients for 2 people as a main course

  • 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 mixed peppers, cut into thick slices
  • About a cup of a favourite green vegetables (I used our runner beans, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • A sprig each of oregano and rosemary
  • A glass of wine (or water) Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil

Start by gently frying the onions and garlic in a little oil until they start to soften then add in the peppers. Cover with a lid and when the peppers start to soften add the rest of the ingredients. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes until the peppers have broken down and are very soft.  Taste and adjust the seasoning and if too liquid, cook for a minute or two to reduce the sauce and remove the herbs.

Veggie Garden Eggs (2)

Transfer into individual (heat proof) serving dishes if you like, then crack two eggs into each portion. You can either pop the dishes into the oven on a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the eggs are set, or continue to cook on the stove top (this is what I did). If you like a soft yolk, using a chop stick or the “wrong” end of a spoon, gently stir the white into the vegetables as it cooks, avoiding the yolk. The white will “scramble” into the vegetables and the yolk will stay soft.

A foggy morning Up the Mountain
A foggy morning Up the Mountain

Eat with plenty of crusty bread and listen to your body thanking you for giving it a welcome hit of Vitamin C. A glass of wine also helps, but then it´s made of grapes and grapes are fruit…right?!

Green Summer Vegetable and Chicken Casserole

Now that we are starting to have a little drop in temperatures during the day, and a nip in the air first thing in the morning and last thing at night, we know that autumn is just around the corner.  While this means saying a gradual farewell to summer, it also means an autumnal welcome to the next season and the food and change in cooking it brings.

Off out for a busy morning and knowing I was not going to be in the house while it was still relatively warm, prompted me to cook the first casserole for a long time.  We came home to delicious chicken, vegetable and brothy smells and apart from opening the wine and grabbing the loaf of bread left for us earlier that morning on the gate by Bread Man, there was nothing more for us to do other than set the table and enjoy lunch.

The dish was a celebration of almost the last of many of our summer vegetables.  The bobby (french) beans finally started producing yellow as well as green beans, with kilos of them stored in the freezer for the months ahead.  The green peppers are still doing well, we´ll see how much longer they last.  Our onions have dried out nicely and are sweet and delicious and I had been hoarding the last handful of potatoes we had left from our first ever potato crop.

Into a big pot went two large legs (drumstick and thigh) of our free range chicken, some chopped peeled potatoes, large chunks of courgette given to us by a neighbour along with some whole unpeeled garlic cloves.  A few chopped green peppers, a roughly chopped onion, a few handfuls of green beans and some seasoning finished off the ingredients.  I covered everything with water and bought it to the boil then put a lid on the pot which then went into a very low oven for about 5 hours. You could, of course, cook it much more quickly on the stove top with equally good results if you´re not off out shopping for the morning!

And that was it…memories of summer and anticipation of autumn all in one delicious bowlful.

Am off to London to visit my family tomorrow for a week.  Will try to keep up with all your lovely blogs and posts, but apologies if I can´t always comment.  Looking forward to a proper catch up when I return!

Kid (or lamb) with rosemary and garlic

Simple and tasty

We´re very lucky here to be able to get hold of the freshest, free range goat and lamb. I know that most lamb is free range anyway as it needs to graze, but I guess we can never be too sure if there have been chemical sprayed on what they eat or if they are getting food supplements. When I first arrived in Spain my only experience of eating goat was in a plate of curried goat at an ethnic restaurant in London.  It was alright, I suppose, but apart from a delicious sauce, the meat was rather tough and greasy.

I read somewhere that more goat is consumed per person in the world than lamb, and I guess it makes sense.  They are hardy creatures, can survive in very rough terrain and can climb to what we would consider inaccessible heights to reach their food.   Once I had tasted good kid (or young goat) out here, I realised that taste wise, it´s very, very similar to young milk fed lamb.

When you see the flocks of goats going past your house daily, you know they´re well fed and looked after.  We buy direct from the goatherd who slaughters for you and then you have to prepare it for the freezer.  I´m sorry if this all sounds a bit gruesome to anyone who either doesn´t eat meat or is a bit squeamish, but it´s what has to happen if you choose to eat meat.  And I do, and luckily I am able to eat the freshest most organic, free range meat possible.  Whew! Hope that didn´t sound like I was on my little soap box.

Anyway, one of the cuts of meat you get is neck of kid -and I know that in the UK at least, you can buy neck of lamb. It used to be one of those cheap cuts, but has now become trendy. It´s cooked in the oven simply and then depending on the weather I serve with salad or vegetables and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.  It´s best picked up and eaten with your fingers!

It´s an incredibly quick and simple dish to prepare if the meat is young and tender and lamb can be substituted for goat.  If it´s a little older, just add more liquid and cook for about 30 minutes longer. You´ll need the following:

  • Neck of lamb for 2 people (I think mine was about 800g)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • A large spring of rosemary
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A glass of white wine
  • A glass of water
  • Half a lemon

Rub the lamb with seasoning and roughly chop the rosemary and mix it in with the lamb.  Peel and half the garlic cloves and add them in.  Pour over the wine and if you have time to leave it for a couple of hours, so much the better.

Leave for a while if you can

Put into an oven dish where it will fit quite snugly and put into a high oven for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium, cover with foil and cook for a further 45 minutes approximately.  After about 20 minutes check the liquid – you don´t want to casserole it but you want some at the bottom of the bowl to cause a slight steam effect under the tent of foil.  If necessary add more water.

When it´s done (you can check by prodding with a skewer to see if the juice run clear), remove and leave it to sit for 10 minutes still under the foil.  Squeeze over a little lemon juice, then serve and enjoy!

PS. Sorry for blurry photos, they were taken with my old camera which was on its last legs!