Friday, 19 December 2014

Spanish Three Kings Cake: Roscón de Reyes

In Spain the night of 5 January is believed to be magic and exceptional, because during this night Three Kings come and bring the children (and not only) gifts - provided, of course, they were nice and well-behaved, if not, they will find coal under the Christmas tree (usually sugar or chocolate one)...

This night many cities in Spain organise Cabalgata de Reyes Magos, a traditional parade of kings. Gaspar, Melchor and Baltasar ride through the streets on camels and their page boys in specially prepared for the occasion and beautifully decorated coaches or trucks and they throw candies to children. It is also the right time to deliver the Three Kings a letter with a list of gifts they want to receive. When the night comes, just before going to bed, the children prepare hay and water for the camels, and milk, sweet wine, cookies or oranges for the kings. This is quite a restless night for the children, because very often they are so excited or even frightened by the fact that the kings on camels will come through the window of their house that its hard for them to fall asleep. The following morning they open the gifts that they have requested in the letter and then, for breakfast they have Roscón de Reyes, Three Kings Cake in the form of large ring, decorated with candied fruits and often with a layer of pastry cream, whipped cream or marzipan in the center. Roscones bought in pastry shops have a small surprises hidden inside. Generally it is a figure of one of the Three Kings and dry fava bean. Whoever finds the figure is crowned king or queen of the celebration and puts on his head a golden crown (paper crowns are normally sold with the cake), whereas whoever finds the bean should pay for the cake. 


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Squid with pasta in tomato sauce

Well, December has finally arrived. There is lots of festive meals recipes all around, but I still prepare the everyday ones (please forgive the breakout from the common trend). Perhaps I will disappoint a little some of you, but the truth is that for the last few years I've been out of Christmas culinary fever and apart from traditional Polish gingerbread cookies, I will not have the opportunity to prepare (or even to try) any other traditional Polish Christmas delicacies this year. I have to admit that I'm quite accustomed to the fact that on Christmas Eve there are shrimps and mussels instead of herring and carp on the table, and that there is also meat dish to be served (in Poland we don't eat meat on Christmas Eve). Quite normal becomes also the after Christmas Eve dinner meeting with friends and New Year's Eve dinner with family until the midnight and then the meeting with friends. From the beginning of December I'm eating turrons, especially the Jijona one and during the Christmas holiday season I'm going to eat truchas de batata (fried dumplings stuffed with sweet potato and almonds) for breakfast or with afternoon tea. I also look forward to try Roscón de Reyes: a traditional Spanish cake-style pastry with marzipan or cream filling in the centre (which can also be chocolate flavoured) eaten the morning of Reyes - King's Day -, which celebrates the Epiphany - 6th January - when the Tree Kings came to leave presents for the Christ child. This is the day that Spanish children open their Christmas presents (writing this I'm denying what I wrote in the previous post that I strongly prefer savoury dishes!:)....well, as you can see at Christmas, everything changes:).  

Thus, today, instead of Christmas recipe I have something for before or after Christmas: delicious squid with pasta in tomato sauce and cheery tomatoes.



Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rice pudding with chestnuts

Probably many of you have noticed that I'm not a sweet-toothed person, and when it comes to Spanish food I definitely prefer salty, savory dishes over sweets. So, there are only few recipes for traditional Spanish desserts on the blog, because I'm not really into flan, crema catalana, arroz con leche or natillas....well, maybe with the exception of rice pudding (arroz con leche). My first memories of this sweet rice are from already mentioned on this blog little family run hotel in Andalusian town Laujar de Andarax, where I spend some months at the beginning of my Spanish adventure, working and learning Spanish. Rice pudding was prepared there at least once a week. On these days I was waiting for the empty pot, to eat the remains of slightly burnt, dense and still hot rice pudding. This rice, often eaten with my finger, was absolutely the best:). This dessert is quite a filling one, so I do not recommend it straight after the main meal. For me, it tastes best for breakfast or with afternoon tea or coffee. I'm sure that eating it on empty or nearly empty stomach you will certainly appreciate its delicious taste:). 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and mushrooms

This year's Catalan autumn is rich in mushrooms. I've heard that this year there are about 180 kg of mushrooms for every hectare of forest - a record from almost 20 years ago:). This is why I'm not surprised that they are all around, in every greengrocery and market, and also in my kitchen:). I eat them several times a week; sauteed in olive oil or butter with a hint of garlic and parsley, or I simply add them to meat and seafood meals or to soups. The second star of this year's autumn season in my kitchen is a sweet potato, which I add to the traditional lentil soup (instead of pumpkin), and which enrich the taste of other casseroles, stews or desserts. I have to admit that this year I haven't tried yet the roasted chestnuts - sold in Barcelona by street vendors - (probably because of very warm autumn), nor have I made any dish with chestnuts.... I'm going to get down to it very soon. Meanwhile, today I have for you a delicious roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and mushrooms:).

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mackerel stew

In humid autumn days, which fortunately doesn't happen here very often, I fancy warming, one-pot meals that help me forget for a few hours about this unbearable, damp chill. The whole process of preparation the meal fills the kitchen with warmth and aroma of frying garlic and lightly toasted smoked paprika that stimulate the senses, warm my body and give me energy. One of this kind of dishes is popular in Catalonia and Valencia suquet - fish stew with aromatic sauce and vegetables. Was invented by fishermen who were trying to made the most of unsold fish or seafood while preparing their everyday meals. Traditional suquet, apart from fish or seafood, also includes potatoes, tomatoes and smoked paprika, which give the dish a characteristic red colour. The basis of this fish stew is rich in flavor fish broth prepared from fish heads and bones. Fish, which I added to today's stew is mackerel, which intense flavor harmonizes perfectly with very simple, but incredibly aromatic sauce of tomatoes and paprika.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Wild mushroom empanada

I would say that empanada is a huge baked dumpling or pie, and an older brother of empanadillas, which are small baked dumplings, popular in Spain and several South American countries. In Spain, the most popular are empanadas from Galicia. Their dough contains quite a large amounts of fat (lard or olive oil), flour and water; sometimes a liquid formed during the preparation of filling is also added to it. Fillings are quite varied: meat, fish, seafood, vegetables or mushrooms, but the basis of almost all of them is sofrito: chopped onions and green and/or red peppers fried in olive oil, to which grated tomatoes or tomato sauce is often added. Typical Galician empanadas are prepared in large circular baking tins. The dough should be rolled out quite thin into 2 circles - one for the bottom and the other on top of the filling. The sealing of typical Galician empanada is done by forming spiral shaped edges and its top is often decorated with dough strips. In the middle of almost every empanada you will find a small hole, which helps the empanada to ''breathe'' during baking. Normally it's cut into wedges, served hot or cold, as a snack or appetiser. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Panellets: traditional Catalan sweets

Panellets are traditional Catalan sweets associated with All Saints day or the night before this day. In these days families and friends meet together and celebrate very popular festival called Castanyada, which consist of a meal of hot toasted chestnuts, sweet potatoes, panellets and sweet moscatel to drink. Panellets are made out of marzipan dough prepared by mixing together almond flour, potato or sweet potato and sugar. They come in many different shapes and flavors, although the traditional ones are small balls covered with pine nuts. You can also find them with coconut, chocolate or dried fruits. Traditional recipes for these sweets contain almost the same amount of sugar as almond flour, but for me these are simply to sweet, so this time I decided to add only 100 g of sugar per 250 g of almond flour. In addition to classic ones, rolled in pine nuts, I also prepared the coconut and chocolate ones.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Rice with rabbit and mushrooms

I explained a bit about Spanish dishes based on rice on the occasion of the recipe for Rice with octopus, broad beans and artichokes, today I invite you to try another rice dish. This time with very healthy and often underrated rabbit meat and mushrooms. The recipe comes from one of the television programs hosted by Spanish chef José Andrés (I'm sure lots of you know who I'm talking about), who has been leaving for more than 20 years in the USA and who contributed largely to disseminate Spanish cuisine among Americans. At this link you can see José Andrés in action, and below you will find my description of this delicious and warming one-pot dish.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Thick soup with codfish balls, pasta and vegetables

I must admit that I had a little problem with naming today's dish called in Spanish: Guiso de albóndigas de bacalao con aletría. The problem turned out to be two words: guiso and aletría. Spanish verb guisar means ''to cook'' or ''to stew''. For me a typical stew contains meat and gravy and is thicker then this dish, which looks more like a thick soup. So, after giving some thought to the matter today's guiso has become a thick soup. As to the second word, at first,  I did not have the slightest idea what aletría could means, then I read on the website of the author of the recipe that aletría is fideo gordo, which means short and thick pasta used mostly to prepare fadeuá (dish similar to paella, but instead of rice with pasta called fideos) and called aletría in Murcia Region. This is where this dish with codfish balls, pasta, potatoes, artichokes and peas comes from and which is just perfect for the upcoming cold days.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Meatballs in tomato sauce (Albóndigas en salsa de tomate)

When a few years ago I decided to start a blog, not for a moment did I think that I would get so much involved in cooking, photographing and writing the posts. From the begging, I decided that I would never force myself to do it. It so happened that during the last three months I took a break from blogging and instead of writing posts and photographing what I cooked, I preferred to cook just for my own pleasure; not only Spanish dishes, but especially those Polish ones, from my ''old'' years. Thus, my summer menu was full of cold soups with beet, potato dumplings (kopytka), stuffed dumplings (pierogi), cauliflower with butter and bread crumbs and beef roulades. Fortunately, after the storm comes the sun, and now, day by day, I'm more keen on looking for new Spanish recipes and of course on testing them. Today's recipe was tried out by me in late summer, when the stalls sagged under the weight of juicy, ripe and incredibly red tomatoes. Meatballs in tomato sauce is one of the classics of Spanish cuisine. You will meet them in tapas bars and also in restaurants serving traditional Spanish dishes.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Broccoli and feta cheese salad

Broccoli is not a vegetable which appears frequently in traditional Spanish dishes, but due to its high nutritional value is increasingly appreciated also in this part of Europe. Broccoli is often served here as a side dish for meat, seafood or fish, or is added to stews or salads. Today's salad inspired by a recipe I've found on a Peruvian kitchen website: www.yanuq.com, contains broccoli florets (cooked or steamed al dente), feta cheese, pine nuts and raisins. The sauce, which I used for the salad is basically mayonnaise mixed with natural yogurt; however, if you prefer less caloric version, I suggest  replacing it with just the yogurt or simply drizzle the salad with extra virgin olive oil mixed with a bit of vinegar.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Courgettes stuffed with chanterelles and serrano ham

I like wandering around the Boquería food market and look for vegetables or fruits, which I simply can not find in other places. Without doubt, this is where you can buy all sorts of weird edible things. I don't know if you realise that many Spaniards do not know what rhubarb or gooseberry look like, have no idea about the existence of redcurrants and do not distinguish blackcurrants from blueberries. Buying these fruits is practically impossible here, but sometimes at Boquería, there are such ''unusual things'' - last year, for example, I found there rhubarb; unfortunately its price: 10 euros per 1 kg, totally scared me off. During my last stroll through Boquería,  I found neither the currants nor the berries, but I noticed round courgettes, which are not common here at all. As soon as I saw them, I thought of stuffing them with chanterelles and serrano ham. So, with purchased courgettes I went straight to the stand with mushrooms. Finally, I returned home with neither currants nor blueberries, but with excellent idea for delicious dinner:).

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Rice with chard, white beans and snails

I hope that the snails in the title haven't scared you off:), but if you don't feel like eating snails, I assure you that this dish tastes just as well without them. However, one thing is certain: snails add the character to this rice dish:). So, the choice is yours:). I've always associated snails with French cuisine and I was quite surprised to see that also Spaniards appreciate their taste and that snails is a key ingredient in many traditional Spanish dishes. They are often added to dishes with rice, combined with rabbit, tuna, cod or a quail meat. Snails are also served with a variety of sauces, often with a spicy tomato sauce; or can be simply stuffed with a garlic-parsley butter. The most delicious snails I've ever tried, however, are those from Seville, where - in almost every tapas bar - snails are served with a little bit of delicious broth - during my 3-day stay there, I ate them 3 times and they had always been delicious:). Apart from the land snails, in Spain also sea snails are eaten, e.g. the Galician small, gray-black ones called caramuxos or Mediterranean cañaillas, larger than the land ones.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Monkfish with clams

The magical San Juan night was three days ago and, as usual, I did not manage to prepare the traditional Catalan, sweet coca; being prepared specially for the night of June 23rd - la noche de San Juan (I hope to share this recipe with you the next year:)). Coca de Sant Joan (in Catalan) or coca de San Juan (in Spanish) is nothing else than an oval cake similar to a sweet bread topped with candied fruits and pine nuts or with custard. More original is - also popular in this day - coca de chicharrones (coca de llardons in Catalan), a puff pastry with crackling, pine nuts and sugar.

Traditionally, the San Juan night is celebrated on the beach with roaring bonfires, drink, food, and friends. According to tradition, if people jump over bonfire three times on San Juan's night, they will be cleansed and purified, and their problems burned away. Barcelona's beaches, however, do not resemble the very pleasant tradition, because here the voices and thoughts are drowned out by the noise and roar of firecrackers; and this is why instead of the beach I normally chose the street. In many parts of the city the streets are alive with parties (in my neighbourhood at the intersection of two streets).  People gather together and create large bonfires from any kind of wood, such as old furniture and other non-usable wooden objects. They also put out the tables on the street and they have a lot of fun drinking, eating, listening to the music and even dancing.

And now the recipe:). Not the traditional ''coca'', but monkfish with clams:).

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tomato salad on salmorejo bedding

Recently I have been having an irresistible craving for tomatoes, and although I still have to wait for the ''truly'' red ones with a mouth-watering flavor, I could not resist the temptation of making this delicious salad:). Salmorejo is a Spanish creamy, cold tomato soup, which is a bit like gazpacho, but without peppers, onions or cucumber, and with more olive oil and bread - this is why it has more calories then gazpacho and is more creamy. In this salad, salmorejo is a kind of bedding for the remaining ingredients: tomatoes, goat cheese, basil and avocado, which mixed together form a real tomato festival:).

Monday, 16 June 2014

Gazpacho with cherries

As every year, during the next four months I'm going to eat gazpacho over and over again, because only this ice-cold soup can help me to survive the unbearably hot and humid days in our apartment without air conditioning:). When almost ten years ago I tried for the first time the traditional gazpacho, and it was in aforementioned on the blog Andalusian village Laujar de Andarax, not even for a moment did it cross my mind that there were so many variants of this delicious cold soup. So far, you can find on my Polish blog not only the recipe for traditional gazpacho, but also for one with beet, pumpkin or watermelon. Today, however, it's time for gazpacho with cherries based on the recipe, which I found on the website of a popular Spanish chef Martin Berasategui.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Tapa called banderilla

One of the popular tapas served in bars and taverns of northern Spain is Banderilla. These easy treats got their name from spears (one end has the spear and the other ruffled paper of different colours) used during bullfight by banderilleros, who attempt to plant them into the bull's shoulders. Banderilla as cold spicy-sour tapa is made from green olives, spicy pickled green peppers (guindillas), anchovy or tuna preserved in olive oil and pickled cucumbers; skewered together. Sometimes other pickled ingredients as onions, red pepper or carrots are added.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Baked sardines

This tiny, silver and delicate fish with distinctive flavor; and most importantly very healthy, because it contains large amounts of omega-3; tastes better grilled, but I assure you that baked in the oven is also delicious:). When buying the fish, remember that fresh sardines should be silvery and shiny, and their eyes should not be sunken or yellowish, but bright and clear. Fresh fish smell like the sea but have no strong odor, which usually indicates spoilage.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Fig and goat cheese tart

Can somebody loves so much a combination of some ingredients that is craving for them at least once a week?. Well, the answer is yes:). Every time I ask R what he would like to have for lunch at the weekend I hear ''ensalada de higos''. This has been happening since the first time I made the salad with figs, arugula and goat cheese, and believe me or not, it was precisely in September 2012. During almost half a year, I've been answering that the season for figs is from June until September, and without this main ingredient preparing the salad is just impossible:). The fig tree is somewhat unique, because it produces two crops of fruit every year. The first one, which ripens in June and July is called breva (these are the fruits, which spend the winter on the branches of the tree) and the second one is called higo and ripens in September. So, last week when I saw brevas at a local market I knew that I wouldn't escape from preparing so desired, during the last months, salad. This time, however, I've added some calories, serving the salad on puff pastry.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Stuffed and breaded mussels

I must admit that, unfortunately, this recipe doesn't belong to the fastest ones. First you have to scrub the shells, then steam the mussels, remove the dead creatures from the shells, chop them finely and then add to the rest of the stuffing ingredients. After that you stuff the shells, dip them in beaten egg and cover with breadcrumbs, and finally you have to fry them in oil until golden brown. These stuffed and breaded mussels are called here simply mejillones rellenos (stuffed mussels) or mejillones tigres (tiger mussels), because they tend to be (more or less) spicy. They are served cold or hot as a tapa to a glass of wine or a beer.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Strawberry-banana and orange juice smoothie

Since the beginning of strawberry season, which starts here in March, I've been preparing banana and strawberry smoothie with milk (often replaced by oat or rice milk) more then twice a week. Last week, however, I came up with the idea of replacing milk with orange juice and this is how today's strawberry-banana-orange smoothie was created. If you haven't already tried to combine these three fruits into a refreshing drink, I encourage you to give it a try, because it's really worth it:) - on a very hot days you may want to add a few ice cubes to make the smoothie more cool and refreshing.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Cod with roasted red peppers

Cod is commonly associated with Portuguese kitchen, but it's hard not to notice its presence in neighbouring Spain, where many traditional dishes are also based on that fish. A dish called bacalao a la tranca is a culinary classic in a little-known by tourists province Zamora in Castile and Leon. This dish is essentially a fried cod with ajada  (a sauce made with fried slices of garlic and smoked paprika (pimentón)) and is often served with potatoes and finely chopped hard-boiled eggs. It's prepared mostly during Holy Week period,  dominated in Spain by this kind of fish. Today's recipe inspired by a recipe from delicious blog mercadocalabajilo.com, apart from a typical ajada also contains roasted red peppers.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Eggplant in vinegar with garlic, parsley and olive oil

These are the eggplants that I ate for the first time about 10 years ago while leaving in picturesque Andalusian village called Laujar de Andarax. I lived there with Spanish family, owners of quite small but cosy hotel and restaurant, which serves delicious traditional dishes. It was my first contact with a truly Spanish family, with Spanish cuisine and with Spanish language in situ. One of my favourite dishes there were berenjenas mediterráneas - Mediterranean eggplants - cooked in water with wine vinegar, then drizzled abundantly with olive oil and sprinkled with finely chopped garlic and parsley. Eggplant prepared in this way can be eaten alone or can be put on a slice of toast or fresh bread and drizzled additionally with high quality olive oil.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Omelette with asparagus, tomatoes and goat cheese

May has started with quite busy, but relaxing, two short trips. First one to Catalan la Garrotxa (I strongly recommend this part of Catalonia to everyone who likes long walks in nature and to lovers of sausages and dishes with white beans - a pork tripe sausage (butifarra) and Santa Pau beans are the must-try dishes in this part of Catalonia), and then there was a short trip to Poland (lots of Michałki chocolates, chocolate covered dried plums, pork sausages called Kabanosy, sweets with rhubarb and of course Polish dumplings:). After such a binge, now is the time for something lighter. Today's dish is an omelet, called in Spanish tortilla francesa with grilled asparagus, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese - in Spain there are 2 basic omelets (tortillas): Spanish tortilla (tortilla española) - with beaten eggs and potatoes - and French tortilla (tortilla francesa) - made just from beaten eggs.



Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Polish cabbage rolls with seafood

Classic Polish cabbage rolls (gołąbki) are stuffed with ground meat and rice, but these have a Spanish twist because they contain shrimp, mussels, green asparagus and oyster mushrooms. After dumplings with Catalan green onions (calçots) and romesco sauce, this one is my second recipe which combine Polish and Spanish cuisine and which I've added to the category fusion. It's definitely quite a simple way of preparing meatless, modern and still delicious version of stuffed cabbage.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Blue cheese salad with pear in puff pastry

The combination of pears and blue cheese isn't certainly the culinary novelty, but what if the pear is wrapped with strips of puff pastry and baked in the oven?. Will you agree with me that this is a very original addition to a fairly popular salad?. Unfortunately, It wasn't my idea, but I've seen it on one of the popular Spanish blog La Receta de la Felicidad, whose author Sandra Mangas has recently released a book Las recetas de la felicidad - I haven't seen it yet, but taking into account the delicious recipes and beautiful photos from her blog, I'll probably also like the book:). Apart from the pear in puff pastry, I've added to the salad some blue cheese, walnuts and lettuce mix. Finally I've sprinkled it with dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sample Basque mini open-faced sandwiches called pinchos

Tasty, little, diverse in terms of combination of ingredients, often colourful pinchos (pintxos in Basque language) can be found on the counter of every Basque bar or tavern. The name comes from the toothpick which usually hold together the slice of baguette and the ingredients placed on it, or which is simply stab into it (Spanish verb pinchar means stab, poke). Generally, the customer of such bar help himself to the pinchos located on the tray on the bar counter. It's hard not to notice that not all the sticks stabbed into pinchos are of equal length, frequently they have also different ends, which indicate a different price of each pincho. After the little sandwiches have been consumed, the sticks still remain on a plate, and that helps the waiter to calculate the bill. Perhaps you are wondering what is the difference between a pincho and a tapa. Well, according to Real Academia Española tapa is a small portion of food served as accompaniment to a drink, while a pincho is a portion of food consumed as an aperitif, which is sometimes stabbed with a stick. And now my yesterday pinchos:):
  1. Pincho with beetroot hummus, a few slices of avocado, pickled green chili and radish sprouts.
  2. Pincho with blue cheese, pear, walnuts and mint.
  3. Piquillo pepper (pimiento de piquillo) pincho with sardine, anchovy and chopped chives.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Green asparagus and cucumber salad

I have a feeling that far too soon all spring vegetables are appearing on grocery store shelves this year:). So far, my appetite has not filled with artichokes and suddenly broad beans and peas has appeared, which are now slowly fall into oblivion giving way to green and white asparagus. First recipe I've made this year using this delicious vegetable is a very simple salad with green asparagus, cucumber and romaine lettuce, with plenty of fresh coriander, chives and dried tarragon, with sweet and sour sauce made by mixing wholegrain French mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and honey.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Salt cod fritters

The basic batter for Spanish fritters called buñuelos is made with flour, eggs, baking powder or baking soda and water or milk. This small treats can be sweet or salty. Among the first ones, there are very popular in Catalonia buñuelos de viento (''wind fritters'') named so because of its fluffiness and because they have a lot of air inside - these fritters are very often filled with custard (buñuelos de crema). In Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands you'll find a variety of sweet fritters types. In The Balearic Islands, for example, regular or sweet potatoes, Mahón cheese or dried figs are added to the fritters batter, and in Valencia you can find buñuelos with pumpkin. Practically, all over Spain, Portugal and also Italy and France savoury fritters are made. The most popular in Spain, are salt cod fritters (buñuelos de bacalao) prepared mainly during Lent and Holy Week. Apart from the basic ingredients like flour, baking soda, water and eggs, the batter for salt cod fritters contains also desalinated and flaked cod, garlic, chopped parsley and sometimes onions and a little bit of turmeric, which turns them yellow.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Bread with anchovies and olives

Skimming over ''The book of tapas'' written by Simone and Inés Ortega - two very popular in Spain authors of many culinary books - I came across a recipe for pan con anchoas y aceitunas (bread with anchovies and olives), similar to Italian focaccia. As you probably may have guessed, this is not a traditional Spanish bread, but since Simone and Inés Ortega (for many Spaniards a culinary gurus when it comes to traditional Spanish cuisine) had included this recipe in their tapas book, I also have decided to share this recipe with you. This bread is made with whole meal flour and a little bit of butter and is covered with sort of compote with onions, black olives, finely chopped anchovies and thyme.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Avocado stuffed eggs

It just so happens that it has been quite a few years since my last Easter in Poland, and even if here in Spain many traditional dishes are prepared during Holy Week, they are not even a little bit similar to Polish ones. In Spain, Holy Week is marked by processions throughout the country, and when it comes to food there are, above everything, verities of sweets: torrijas, leche frita, rosquillas or hojuelas. Besides, there are all kinds of dishes with cod in the main role - the most traditional one is potaje de vigilia, which is a kind of thick soup with cod, spinach and chickpeas. So, in order to feel a little Polish Easter, in the week before Holy Week, I normally prepare stuffed eggs (this year I've made avocado stuffed ones), one of the traditional Easter cakes or - like yesterday - a soup made from fermented whole rye flour called żurek. Apart from trying out the recipe for stuffed eggs I encourage you to follow My Spanish Taste on instagram, where I'll try to add - this is my plan:) - photos from Spanish (or in fact Catalan - Canarian) Holy Week:).

Monday, 7 April 2014

Stuffed squid

So far, several recipes for very popular in Catalonia dishes called mar y montaña (sea and mountain), combining sea ingredients (fish and seafood) with ingredients from land (mainly meat: beef or pork) have appeared on the blog (unfortunately still only in Polish). Today's recipe, however, should be in a group called mar-montaña-bosque (sea-mountain-forest), because apart from squid as the representative of the marine fauna and beef as a representative of land, contains also forest mushrooms. This dish has very interesting and original taste, which is why I recommend it to all of you who like to experiment with different ingredients.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Rice with octopus, broad beans and artichokes

Everyone knows Spanish paella, but probably only few people know that apart from this traditional rice based dish there are many others called simply arroz, which means rice. Depending on the ingredients added to it there is: rice with chicken, with cod, with rabbit, with mushrooms, with a variety of vegetables, etc. Besides, rice dishes may vary depending on their consistency: paella is called dry rice (arroz seco), apart from this there is also arroz caldoso which has the consistency of soup and arroz meloso which is something between the two previous ones. Generally speaking, if you want the rice dish to absorb fully the broth during cooking you should add double the volume of broth in relation to the volume of rice - if you are using a typical paella rice called bomba. So, if you want the rice to be dry you need to add 2 cups of hot broth for every one cup of rice, but if you want the rice to be watery you should simply add more liquid.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Cream cheese flan with strawberry sauce

Flan is one of the most popular Spanish desserts. It is smooth, rich, creamy, sweet and not particularly low in fat. The classic one is a mixture of eggs, milk and sugar which is poured into the molds with caramel and then baked in water bath.  Milk, which is used to prepare a flan, is often flavored with vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest. There are, of course, many mouthwatering variations of flan: with almonds, fruits, chocolate, coffee, cheese, yogurt, turrón or dulce de leche. There are also savory ones, which may contain fish, seafood, vegetables and so on. Today, however, being in a season for strawberries, I decided to prepare flan with cream cheese, covered with strawberry sauce with a hint of vanilla; instead of traditional liquid caramel.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Shrimp stuffed hake with artichokes and potatoes

Today I recommend one-pot meal with white fish. It's, unfortunately, a little difficult and time-consuming, but isn't it worth to make an effort to prepare such a dish, from time to time, just to experience new tastes and make our taste buds happy?:). Apart from hake stuffed with shrimp and sauce - or rather spread - made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of chili flakes, I've added to the pot sliced potatoes and artichokes, and finally I pour in a fish broth with white wine. If you don't have or do not like artichokes, you can replace them with green beans, broad beans, green peas or cauliflower florets.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Broad beans and peas salad with arugula pesto

Spring has already come, so it's time for a decent shot of vitamin:). It's been quite a few days since broad beans and peas has appeared on vegetable stalls in Barcelona's markets. Broad beans are one of my favourite vegetables, normally I eat them cooked, but here, in Spain, I've tried for the first time the raw ones that I eat immediately after removing them from the pods. This young broad beans and peas do not require even a bit of cooking, but if you want  you can put them for 2-3 minutes to salted boiling water, and then, after straining them through a sieve, put them into cold water to stop the cooking process. This way the peas will keep their beautiful green colour. Broad beans, unfortunately, after cooking will become a little grayish.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Pisto with fried egg

Pisto manchego or simply pisto is a traditional Spanish dish. Nowadays, vegetables added to a pisto varies depending on the season, region or a personal taste, but the authentic pisto, coming from La Mancha, contained only red and green peppers and tomatoes. Very often onion, garlic, zucchini and eggplant are added to this dish, although some believe that with an eggplant, pisto is no longer a pisto, but French ratatouille. It's served cold or warm, often with fried egg or sausage and sometimes as a snack with bits of serrano ham.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Toasts with sobrasada, goat cheese and pear

Have you ever heard of sobrasada?. It's Spanish raw, cured sausage made with ground pork, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper and other spices. Thanks to its soft consistency, sobrasada can be easily spread on a piece of bread. Just like chorizo sausage it's seasoned not only with salt and pepper, but also with smoked paprika which gives it very characteristic reddish colour. It's a traditional product of Balearic Islands, where it's consumed both fry and raw. In many traditional recipes a little bit of honey is added to sobrasada, so as to alleviate its very intense flavor.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Spanish Russian potato salad (ensaladilla rusa)

Ensaladilla/ensalada rusa (Russian salad) or ensaladilla/ensalada Olivier is the most popular Spanish vegetable salad, which was probably created in 1860 by Belgian Lucien Oliver, chef of Hermitage restaurant in Moscow. Except for the name, Spanish Russian salad has little in common with the original recipe invented by Olivier, who depending on the season was adding to it grouse, veal tongue, caviar, capers, crayfish or smoked duck. Spanish ensalada rusa is similar to Polish vegetable salad, but apart from potatoes, carrots, peas and eggs contains also tuna, green olives, and grilled red pepper. Some add to it crab sticks and/or pickled cucumbers called in Spanish pepinillos


Monday, 10 March 2014

Beet salad with red beans, arugula and kiwi

Guapo and guapa, two Spanish words - actually one word meaning nice, handsome (first masculine, second feminine) - which, while being in Spain, is hard not to hear. All children, girls and boys are called this way in different everyday situations, but not only them...A few days ago, while shopping at a nearby supermarket, I heard a young shop assistant working at a fish stand asking a client: ''¿que te pongo, guapo?'', which loosely translated  means: ''what can I do for you, handsome?''. Hearing this, I turned to look at this guapo and when I saw hunched, almost bald old man I smiled to myself and thought: this is so Spanish. It's very funny and enjoyable at the same time that such a completely unconscious, spontaneous, often mechanically used word can cause satisfaction,  encourage positive state of mind, and put a smile on our faces - I'm sure that not only it caused smile in my face but also put this older gentlemen into a good mood:).

Today's salad was created very spontaneously - as the Spanish word guapo is used - while checking the content of my fridge and cupboards, but fortunately it turned out to be a complete success, stimulating and fully satisfying my taste buds.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Dumplings with calçots and romesco sauce

Some time ago a colleague gave me an idea: Polish and Spanish fusion cuisine. I must admit that this idea sank very quickly into oblivion, because at that moment any specific recipe came to my mind. Last weekend, however, when preparing calçots I came up with the idea for Polish dumplings - pierogi - with Catalan inseparable duo green onions and romesco sauce. So, yesterday I made them, and I must - subjectively - admit that they were tasty:). Therefore, from now on, a new category called fusion will appear on the blog. I'm going to add to it recipes combining Polish and Spanish cuisine - today's is the first one:). Last year I had written about popular in Catalonia green onions called calçots served with romesco o salvitxada sauce - link here, today I suggest the recipe for dumplings stuffed with grilled calçots (you can replace them with leeks or green onions), romesco sauce and quark. The recipe for a dough is from gotujebolubi.pl blog. His author, Monika ensures that this is a great recipe for her mom's dumplings, and she is not wrong, because the dough is just as it should be: very soft and light.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Razor clams with parsley and garlic vinaigrette

I finally made it!. On Friday, as I had been assured, razor shells appeared again at the market Sant Antoni, obviously all of them  alive, because only these are suitable for consumption. Those which I bought had so much vitality that when I tried to take a picture, one of them shot at me with water and almost wet my camera lens:). The natural habitat of these mollusks - just like the other clams - are the sands of the sea, hence don't freak out if you detect creaky sand in your teeth while eating them:). You will probably forget about it very quickly, savouring the delicious taste of these sea creatures.


Friday, 28 February 2014

Crispy pastries, bathed in honey syrup and flavored with white wine

Pestiños, is the name for the pastries presented in the title. They are usually prepared during Lent and especially during Holy Week (Semana Santa). As is usual with traditional recipes, there are almost as much recipes for pestiños as Spanish villages. Some add the anise seeds, some do not bath them in honey, but sprinkle them with sugar, and some do not prepare them for Lent, but make them for Christmas. Also at issue is their origin - some believe that they originate from Seville whilst others claim that they are from Cordoba. One thing is certain: these are Andalusian pastries, because not hard to notice that they resemble, flavorful and bathed in honey, Arabic sweets.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Clams with garlic and parsley and artichokes

Yesterday I had a plan to prepare razor shells, but unfortunately I picked the wrong day!. Why?. Let me start from the beginning: last Friday, looking for culinary inspiration for the coming week, I went to the nearby market Sant Antoni - I like going there from time to time just to wander around and see what fish, seafood, vegetables and fruits are in season. In almost every fish stall I noticed razor shells, snails, all kinds and sizes of clams, and on some of them even goose barnacles. I immediately decided that on Tuesday (not Monday, because on that day nobody buys fish, seafood or meat, because they are not fresh) I will prepare razor clams. So, yesterday morning I went to the market. To my surprise I did not find them in any stall, and when I asked what was going on and why on Friday all had them, but that day no one did (actually it's a little strange that their season has ended so abruptly, I thought), a nice gentlemen explained that on Tuesday it did not pay to bring them because almost nobody wants to buy them, and those are one of the seafood that cannot be eaten the next day. Perhaps there is some logic in it...anyway, I will come back to buy them on Friday. For this reason, today there is no razor shell, but there are clams, and with clams there are artichokes.


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Catalan pa amb tomàquet

I overheard once such a comment: ''In most places in which pan con tomate is served, they have no clue how to prepare it''. It caused that every time I ate this bread in a tapas bar or a restaurant I was wondering whether or not this one is the properly prepared:). So, I started to look for information on the true Catalan pa amb tomàquet. Since then, I know one thing for sure: this is not a slice of bread smeared with grated tomato mixed with olive oil and salt!. The authentic pan con tomate is prepared by rubbing a slice of bread with ripe tomato, cut in half - ideally if it's tomato called tomate de colgar/tomàquet de penjar. In old times, these particular tomatoes came from the summer harvest and were subsequently eaten during the rest of the year. Normally, the tomatoes were attached to a string and hung in places such as attic, where very slowly were becoming ripe. A characteristic of these tomatoes is that the pulp is very soft, juicy and easily moves away from the skin, therefore, after the tomato is rubbed into bread what remains is only its skin. Pan con tomate is prepared from fresh bread, or slices of bread toasted in the oven, toaster, or on a grill, and it is mostly bread called pan rústico / pa de pagès. Often, but not always, the first step is to rub the bread with garlic clove cut in half. Then the tomato is rubbed into it and finally the bread is drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Pa smb tomàquet can be eaten just plain, without any additives, or with serrano ham, chorizo sausage, or with a variety of cheeses. The key to the perfect taste of pan con tomate are undoubtedly good quality ingredients: crispy bread, very ripe and juicy tomatoes and good quality olive oil.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Chicken with dried plums, raisins and pine nuts

Chicken with dried plums also known as chicken in the Catalan way (pollastre a la catalana), is a Catalan dish - as the name suggests - most often prepared for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally the whole chicken stuffed with meat, botifarra sausage, dried plums and pine nuts was roasted; but it was in old times when normally there was only one dish on a table which was supposed to fill up all members of the family. Nowadays, however, the tables are full of countless different dishes and the traditional chicken would be simply too much, so it's often replaced by pieces of chicken with dried plums and pine nuts. To prepare this dish you will need liqueur wine, called in Spanish vino rancio and known colloquially enhanced wine, due to the fact that it has more alcohol than a regular wine. If you do not have this kind of wine you can replace it with Spanish Sherry wine (Jerez), with Port, Madeira, Marsala wine or with rum or cognac.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Avocado milk chocolate mousse tartlets

Today I propose very unorthodox tartlets: without baking, with no flour, eggs or fat, but with creamy avocado and milk chocolate mousse, which reminds me of the avocado shakes with a drop of chocolate sauce, which I discovered in Indonesia. Their crust is a combination of cocoa powder, dried dates, almonds, oat flakes and orange juice. They are not only very tasty but, as you may have guessed, also very healthy. Their taste and texture will definitely surprise - and I hope in a positive way - people with any knowledge of the ingredients used to prepare them. It just so happened that I made them on Valentine's Day, therefore the heart on one of them:), and I must admit I was a little stressed waiting for the reaction, but I quickly found out that quite unnecessarily, because the tart was approved just after the first bite and even praised with words: ''muy buena'', he said:). I saw the recipe on this site: http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com, you will find many other very original recipes there.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Shrimp and green garlic tortilla

I think that I've never met a person who was in Spain and did not try the traditional Spanish tortilla de patatas, called as well tortilla española, which is a variation of an omelette with eggs and fried potatoes, to which sometimes onion is added - a recipe for it here.

Spaniards eat tortilla for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or simply when they feel peckish. You will probably find it on the menu in all bars and restaurants serving tapas, where it's dish up mostly cold, cut into wedges and put on a piece of bread. Very popular in Spain is also serving tortilla baguette sandwich, cold or hot, which is probably, next to serrano ham sandwich, the best-selling food on Spanish railway stations and airports.

There are, of course, many variations of tortillas: with mushrooms, ham, vegetables, spinach and cheese, or the one that I suggest today: tortilla con gambas y ajetes (tortilla with shrimp and green garlic). In fact, a combination of shrimp and green garlic is more frequently served with scrambled eggs (revuelto) than in tortilla, but I prefer it in the second form:). And one more thing, this tortilla is very tasty, but unfortunately after eating it you will breathe the smell of garlic, so just in case do not schedule any important meeting for this day:).

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Artichokes stuffed with mushrooms

Being in a middle of the season for artichokes, it's quite difficult to pass by the stalls sagging under, as beautiful as any flower, artichokes. This is one of the reasons they have appeared on my table today. This versatile vegetable can be served in many ways: raw, boiled, fried, breaded, grilled, etc., but for me, the best ones are these baked with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Eating artichokes prepared in this way is, kind of entertaining, because it involves peeling the outer leaves - which are too hard to eat them -, to finally get to their delicate and melting in your mouth centre, called the heart (in Spanish corazón).

Today, however, I suggest the recipe for artichokes stuffed with fried mushrooms and onion, topped with grated cheese and then grilled in the oven. But before starting to prepare them, I have some practical tips for you:
  • Artichokes will keep fresh longer if you store them wrapped in a plastic bag, in refrigerator.
  • It's better to wear rubber gloves when preparing them to prevent dark spots on your hands.
  • After peeling, artichokes turn black very quickly, so it's advisable to put them in water with lemon juice.


Monday, 10 February 2014

Crispy orange - almond cookies

Crispy and flavorful cookies in the shape of tiles, called in Spain tejas (teja in Spanish means tile), are a great accompaniment to coffee or tea. Their only drawback is that they contain quite a lot of sugar, which when baking converts to caramel - and this in any way is the disadvantage of the cookies, but on the contrary, it complements their extraordinary taste. Apart from caramel, you can taste the abundance of orange flavor - thanks to the addition of orange juice and zest - and detect pieces of almonds, which give them extra crispness.