Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Brussels sprout salad

I have to admit that I definitely exaggerated with the amount of Brussels sprouts purchased few days ago at the market. As a result, last week I had them in almost every possible way: baked, boiled, steamed and fried. It's a shame I haven't hit before on an idea to prepare them in its simplest form - just raw:). After all, Brussels sprout is nothing else but a little cabbage, which I eat very often without cooking or frying:). This salad is based on ''what's in my refrigerator and kitchen cabinets'' and also on this recipe. I liked it so much that I've made it few more times since the first one. In addition to the Brussels sprouts I added to it some chopped walnuts and Spanish Manchego sheep cheese, which can be replaced by other firm ripened cheese. I served the salad with orange slices, which added juiciness and contrasted fabulously with distinctive and well developed flavour of the cheese (I love the combination of cheeses with fruits:)). I also sprinkled the salad with some dried cranberries and pour it over with the sauce made out of olive oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard. It's really delicious!!!.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Grilled vegetables with romesco sauce

You will probably agree with me that there are people who have really good ideas for enjoying their free time?. For example, there is this guy - Edu - who tries patatas braves in Barcelona and then rates them on his website: He gives its price and the name and address of the bar or restaurant in which he has eaten them,  he evaluates the potatoes (their size, how they were prepared, whether they had a crispy crust, and were soft inside, if they were bathed in oil etc.) and also the sauces: alioli and tomato sauce (if were spicy, their texture, proportion between alioli and tomato sauce etc.). What intrigues me the most, however, is the list of 15 best patatas bravas in Barcelona, which is periodically updated. I must admit that I tried only few places from his list, but all of them were really delicious:). There are obviously many similar sites which evaluate restaurants, places with good coffee, with good carrot cake (recently very popular here in Barcelona), and also with spots for weekend brunch. Maybe I should think about this kind of site as well:). I could start with romesco sauce, very popular now when calçots are in season, which in many restaurants is also served with grilled or raw vegetables. I will definitely think about it:). Meanwhile, today I have for you this easy recipe for grilled vegetables with romesco sauce.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Mini sweet potato doughnuts, called buñuelos de boniato

Last Thursday before Lent is called in Poland Fat Thursday. Traditionally it is a day dedicated to eating large quantities of sweets, normally forbidden during Lent. Among the most popular served on that day are pączki (doughnuts filled with marmalade) and faworki. So, last Thursday I saw so many pączki on the Internet that, even if I'm not a huge fan of this kind of sweets, my desire to try one of them increased so much by the afternoon that I decided to look for them in La Donutería. Unfortunately, this afternoon they didn't have any filled one left, so I decided on the ring-shaped one. Despite the fact that it was really good, artisanal and made by a former pastry chef of famous patisserie Escribà, Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona and also Eleven Madison Park in New York City, it wasn't the same as Polish doughnut filled with jam:). Totally different, but also delicious, are Spanish buñuelos - savoury or sweet mini donuts, made of flour, milk, eggs and baking powder and then deep-fried in oil. To the sweet ones apples, pumpkin or sweet potatoes are sometimes added. They can also be filled with custard. The savoury ones can contain cod, shrimp, black pudding, cheese or cauliflower, for example.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Meatballs with artichokes and peas

Probably many of you will look at me in disbelief if I say that the last few days were probably the coldest ones in my life... This is precisely the charm of living in an apartment in the centre of Barcelona, where the the buildings are more than 100 years old, and although their beautifully decorated, modernist facades are clean and well maintained and the apartments in them are renovated, unfortunately most of them do not have a central heating. So normally we try to warm the flat with all types of electric heaters, and then we wait with fear for the electricity bill...I have to admit that it's not so bad in the night  - with a duvet pulled over my head, I'm actually very warm - but the worst is probably in the morning, just after getting up from a warm bed, when I turn on the heater which thermometer notifies me that the temperature in the apartment is, for example, 11,4 ºC!. Have you ever been so cold in your house?. Fortunately, today is a bit better:).

Hot meals are, of course, the best warm-ups, like today's meatballs in hot tomato sauce with artichokes and peas :).

Monday, 2 February 2015

''Galets'' pasta stuffed with cod and broccoli

To my surprise, I've noticed that there are many pasta based dishes in Spanish cuisine and this got me wondering: where did they come from?. I discovered that it was probably via the Arabs living in Andalusia long time ago. In the early thirteenth century water and flour based pasta with very strange names: fidawus, al-muhammis, zabzin or aletría had appeared in this part of Spain. 

In many traditional Spanish dishes pasta, just like rice, is cooked directly in sauces or soups, not separately in water. The most commonly used by Spaniards is pasta called fido. It can be bought in a variety of thicknesses marked with a number (fideo nº0, nº1, nº2, nº3, ...) and sometimes it has a hole along its entire length. This pasta is commonly used to prepare the dish called fideuá - very similar to paella, but with pasta instead of rice. Another popular pasta dish are canelones - sheets of pasta similar to those used to prepare Italian lasagna, which are folded into a tube and stuffed with meat, spinach or other vegetables; then are topped with tomato and bechamel sauce and baked in the oven (you can also buy the ready to fill canelones tubes). In Catalonia there is also pasta called galets that appears here especially during Christmas in traditional one-pot dish called Escudella i carn d'olla - a bit like cocido from Madrid. Normally this dish is eaten as two separate ones: first one is the broth served with galets stuffed with meat, and the second one contains all the ingredients, from which the broth was made: meat, sausage (botifarra), chickpeas, vegetables (cabbage, potatoes, carrots) and huge meatballs called pilotes

Galet pasta is similar in shape to snail shells, but with an opening on both sides. I must admit that it's a little complicated to fill it with the stuffing, so I recommend you use a large open shells instead of galets, if you want to prepare this cod and broccoli stuffed pasta.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sea bass with florence fennel and saffron

You probably agree with me that one of many positive things associated with Spain is the constant access to fresh fish and seafood and fresh vegetables and fruits. It's been almost 10 years since I moved here and during this time my everyday meals have become almost entirely dominated by sea creatures, vegetables and legumes, leaving behind meat, poultry and cold meat (excluding jamón serrano, because I just can't resist this delicious ham:)). When it comes to seafood the one I like the most is all kind of shellfish (mejillones, almejas, chirlas, lapas, navajas), in case of fish I mostly reach for sardines and sea bass. The last one is probably the most commonly eaten fish in our small family. Most frequently I simply bake it in salt, because this is the easiest and the fastest way; sometimes I just fry the fillets with a little bit of olive oil, garlic and parsley, and very rarely I serve it with some tasty sauce... like this one with florence fennel, saffron, young garlic, almonds and a hint of ginger, which I've seen in cooking show presented by the cook Julius Bienert.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Pumpkin and chestnut cream soup

Feliz año 2015, my dear friends!.

I know, I know that Christmas holidays are long gone, but I'm just now starting slowly to adjust to my daily rituals. Any break in the routine is undoubtedly very positive, indicated, welcomed and eagerly awaited, but then I need some days or even weeks to stick to the rhythm of a normal day...

Today's recipe for the soup has been waiting quite a few weeks for the publication... More than 3 weeks ago winter started and this soup is truly autumn one; but I hope that even though the season changed it won't be a problem to find pumpkin and chestnuts in your local markets or grocery shops. In any case, you can always keep the recipe until the next year, because it's really worth it:).