Sunday, August 2, 2015

Home made Spain

One of the events I look forward to most in my food year is the Mid-Winter Birthdays.  My friends Ali and Lynn have their birthdays close together in July, and we always come up with a food-themed celebration.  This year, because I'm off to Spain later on and Ali had given me Claudia Roden's The Food of Spain for my birthday, we had a Spanish theme. Each of us made three tapas dishes, from various recipe books, and I made a very light dessert as well. Between us we did make rather a lot of food, of course, but that didn't matter - our families were very happy to gobble up the leftovers. And the array of different dishes, almost all of them completely new to us, was splendid (even though we could eat only a little of each one, and the helpings had to get progressively smaller towards the end).
       The way we arranged them worked very well too. We paced ourselves - including some on-the-spot cooking and a break for presents, it took us four hours. Maravillosa!

First we had a big platter of cold tapas, with Ali's home-made bread:
Champiňones marinados - marinated mushrooms
Tortillitas de camarones - prawn and chickpea flour fritters, with lemon wedges
Spanish olives, artichoke hearts, goat's cheese (La Marche Buche Ziekli) and Serrano Montenevado ham aged for 18 months (the cheese and ham came from On Trays, in Petone)

The marinated mushrooms were very easy to make, and different from the usual recipes because you cook them first.  I made them again in the weekend as a dinner starter.

Champiňones marinados
(Claudia Roden)
This needs to be made at least 5 hours before eating.

juice of 1 large lemon
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
5 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil (I used a good Australian one with "robust flavour")
salt and pepper
500g button mushrooms (evenly sized, so they will cut evenly into quarters)
2 Tbsps chopped flat-leaf parsley (But I forgot to add this!)

Make a dressing with the lemon juice, zest, oil and some salt and pepper.
Wipe the mushrooms and rinse them briefly, if necessary (it wasn't). Trim the stems and cut them into quarters (or halves if they're very small).
Cook them over medium heat in a wide, dry, non-stick frypan for 10 minutes, turning them over until they release their juices, which will evaporate. (They will shrink quite a lot.)
Put the hot mushrooms into the lemon dressing in a wide, shallow bowl, mixing them well. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 5 hours at least. Take out ahead of time so that they are served at room temperature. Sprinkle the parsley over to serve.

For our second helping, we served two dishes:
Empanada de hojaldre con atún - tuna pie
Habas con jamón - broad beans with garlic, mint and ham (although because we had two other things with ham, Ali left it out for this one)

The pie filling is delicious but really easy to make, and as it uses canned tuna, it isn't expensive. With salad and bread, it would make an excellent lunch or light dinner. Roden's recipe tells you how to make olive oil pastry, but because I was cooking four things in advance I was a bit short of time, so I made her suggested alternative with good butter puff pastry. The edges did get a bit thick and untidy, but I solved that by cutting them off and taking one big neat square for lunch. My son happily ate up all the edges, which had plenty of the tuna filling embedded in them. I'll try the oil pastry later, and report back.

Empanada de hojaldre con atún
(Claudia Roden)

Enough butter puff pastry to line and cover a square or oblong dish about 3 cm deep, preferably with a rim (the shape gives neater slices than a round pie dish)
1 egg, separated (for brushing and sealing later)

Thaw the pastry and set the oven to 200C bake.
Line the bottom and sides of the dish with baking paper.
Set aside enough pastry to cover the pie. Roll out the rest to cover the bottom and sides of the dish on top of the baking paper.
Place the lined dish in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out the rest in a shape to fit the top, and place it on bake paper on a flat sheet in the fridge.

For the filling:
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into small pieces
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 450g tin of tuna in oil, drained and flaked
20 black olives, pitted and cut into pieces
2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

Fry the onion and pepper in the oil in a large pan over low heat, stirring often, till soft.
Add the tomatoes, sugar and a little salt (the olives add salt too). Cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thick and jammy.
Remove from the heat and stir in the tuna, olive pieces and chopped eggs. Set aside to cool.

Take out the lined dish, prick the base of the pastry, brush with the egg white and blind-bake in the oven for 5 minutes. (If the bottom still puffs up, just prick it slightly again to flatten it a bit.)
Beat the yolk with the rest of the white and 1 Tbsp water, and set aside to make an egg wash for the top.
Turn the oven down to 180C. Fill the pie with the tuna mixture, spreading it evenly, and cover with pastry, using some of the egg wash to seal the top on. Brush the top with egg wash.
Bake the pie in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden brown.
Cool a little before slicing into squares, or set aside and warm it through later before cutting and serving.

Next we had alubias con almejas - clams with haricot beans. The clams came from Moore Wilson, but I couldn't find a tin of haricot beans, so I used cannellini instead and that seemed to work well. It was followed by Lynn's classic tortilla de patates - potato omelette, and Ali's albóndigas en salsa tomate - pork, chicken and ham meatballs in a tomato and sherry sauce, a Rick Stein recipe; then garbanzos con chorizo, chickpeas with chorizo sausage (made by the Eastbourne butcher) and pimientos asados, grilled red peppers with garlic and sherry vinegar.
        But so as not to overdo this post, I'll put up the recipes for the clams and the meatballs next week.  Then I'll do marquesas, the light, lemony little cakes I made for dessert. We had just enough room left to eat one each with our coffee.


Deborah said...

That looks stunningly delicious, Anne. I've been given a sizeable book token for my favourite book store in town, so I'm going to see if they have that book, and if not, whether they could order it in for me.

AnneE said...

It's really worth having - Roden shows how the food reflects Spain's complex history. I love the way the recipes combine simple ingredients in different ways to make such delicious food.

AnneE said...

It's really worth having - Roden shows how the food reflects Spain's complex history. I love the way the recipes combine simple ingredients in different ways to make such delicious food.

AnneE said...

It's really worth having - Roden shows how the food reflects Spain's complex history. I love the way the recipes combine simple ingredients in different ways to make such delicious food.