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.