Pork & Peach Kebabs

I made this awhile ago but just haven´t got round to blogging about it until now. Unfortunately, I only have the one photo as we were starving and it was all we could do not to gobble it up, then and there! This is a recipe adapted from quite an old book, which I found in the library, called Miss Read´s Country Cooking and I think it´s a British recipe.

Ingredients: (to serve 2)

1/2 lb (around 230g) pork fillet/tenderloin,cubed

1/2 green pepper, chopped into thick squares

about 2-4 canned peach halves, quartered

1/8 pt peach juice (from canned peaches)

4-6 button mushrooms

1/8 pt water

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tbsp of soy sauce

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch

4 wooden skewers


1.Soak skewers in water to prevent them from burning. Chop all ingredients.

2. Blanch mushrooms and pepper in boiling water for about 5 mins.

3. Thread pork, peach halves, pepper and mushrooms onto skewers. Brush with olive oil and place in oven under the grill for about 20-30 mins. During this time baste with oil frequently and turn kebabs to cook them evenly.

4.Heat peach juice, water, lemon juice & soy sauce.

5. Mix cornflour with a little water and peach juice to make paste.

6. Pour peach & soy sauce mixture into paste and mix, then return it to the pan and cook for 5 mins, stirring continuously till sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve kebabs with rice or potatoes and vegetables and drizzle peach sauce on top of the kebabs.


Buttercream Cake-Decorating Course

I took part in my second cake-decorating course held at Fabricando Delicias, this time about Buttercream. Our instructor was Jose, one of the owners of the shop, who is a very patient teacher and gave us very clear explanations and demonstrations. The course was held over two Saturdays from 10am-2pm and cost a reasonable 50 euros,plus materials.
In the first lesson, José showed us how to prepare buttercream to various consistencies depending on the type of decorations you were going to use it for (recipes are also included in the instruction booklet to accompany the course). He then showed us how to make icing bags out of baking paper...a little tricky as I´ve never been one for handicrafts! We then learnt how to use the icing bags to pipe stars, a wavy line, tight zigzags, dots and figure piping using plastic templates which we were allowed to keep (great for further practice). We made a face although I didn´t get very far with the hair! He also showed us how to pipe a heart although I didn´t have time to try piping a heart. We also had a go at piping writing, which was also fairly tricky. We were given a muffin ,which we could decorate with buttercream and quite a few of us had a go at using the grass effect nozzle, then decorated the muffins with the faces we´d piped (as you can see in the final photo).

The following Saturday we had to bring a cake with us to decorate. I just made a plain Yellow Sponge Cake but unfortunately I had a bit of a disaster and the cake stuck to the bottom of the cake tin. It was a new cake tin so not sure if that had something to do with it so it was a bit uneven. We also had to prepare Buttercream of two different consistencies but I had another disaster and only brought one kind. I made the stiff consistency to the recipe given in the instruction booklet but it ended up looking like breadcrumbs so I added 2 tbsp milk and it seemed better. However, José said it was too still dense and added water to it till it was much more manageable. I think my problem was that I didn´t leave the butter out of the fridge long enough before making the buttercream.
José showed us how to level off our cakes using a cake leveler and then we piped on the buttercream, then used the spatula to smooth it over. We then practised piping star flowers (for me perhaps one of the easiest things so far!)and swirl flowers, shells (which are also fairly complicated). Using a flower nail, we stuck some sticky tape and baking paper over the nail and practiced making cone shapes, then once we had a half-decent cone, José showed us the next steps of how to pipe a rose. It is really difficult and hardly any of us accomplished a complete rose. You definitely need lots of practice and plenty of patience!
We then went on to decorate our cakes, a bit on the rushed side as time was running out. With piping gel, which is much easier to pipe than buttercream, we traced the outline of a Hello Kitty template and then placed it on top of the cake and using a wet paintbrush went over the lines till the pattern was traced on the cake. Then, with chocolate or black buttercream we piped the outline. As we were running short of time, I also piped the eyes and nose in chocolate buttercream. Then, using the star nozzle and pink buttercream, I filled in the dress and flower with pink stars and voíla a fairly impressive Hello Kitty cake for a novice cake decorater (as can be seen in the first photo above)! The middle photo is of the teacher, José´s cake! Using a piping bag is very difficult as I´ve found out and my common problem was that I often held the bag too high up, which meant I had to use more force than necessary to squeeze out the buttercream. My hand and wrist were often aching by the end of the course! Or maybe I just need more strength!

I took part in my second cake decorating course at Fabricando Delicias


Shan: Possibly the best Asian restaurant in Ciudad Real or even in Spain!

I love Asian food and have been to quite a few Chinese/Asian restaurants in Spain, particularly in Ciudad Real.However, I have often found Chinese/Asian restaurants to be quite disappointing in Spain as they tend to be seen as a cheap alternative for eating out and the quality and choice of dishes can be very limited compared to in the UK. I tend to find Chinese or Asian food in Spain has been adapted significantly for the Spanish palettes or that many dishes are simply not on Chinese restaurant menus here and I find it less authentic.

Until I discovered, Shan Cocina Asiática restaurant that is! Shan restaurant can be found in the city centre on Avda de la Mancha 5 in Ciudad Real. It is a spacious restaurant, very clean and nicely-decorated. It is an Asian restaurant, as opposed to a Chinese restaurant, which means that as well as the usual typical Chinese dishes, it also does some dishes from other Asian cuisines, such as sushi, Thai red curry, Vietnamese spring rolls etc.

All the food is of good quality, flavourful and authentic tasting. Our favourites include the restaurants speciality dish of chicken or beef in Thai red curry, beef in Tien-Ban sauce, ham knuckle or hock Shan-style (with a lovely tasting sauce made from five-spice I think...it reminds me a little of crispy duck too),Wok-style rice noodles (with a lovely spicy Thai-style sauce). We went last night for dinner and ordered some of our favourite dishes, the Vietnamese spring rolls as a starter, fried and bursting with mince pork, carrots, cabbage, Chinese mushrooms, agar-agar, served on a lettuce leaf with a sweet-sour sauce. Then, we had the Thai Wok-style rice noodles to follow and tried a new dish, Sizzling Duck of the house. The Sizzling Duck consisted of a lovely tender and juicy duck breast cooked to perfection, with crispy skin in a brown sauce and onions, served on a sizzling hotplate. Absolutely delicious!Even my husband, who is not that keen on duck, thoroughly enjoyed this dish. We have never had a bad meal or dish at this restaurant.

I´d reccomend fried ice-cream for dessert if you fancy something sweet. The restaurant usually throws in free prawn crackers and an after-dinner chupito (shot). Service is very good, the waiters/waitresses are very friendly and the food is very prompt. It is also very reasonably priced with dishes costing between 4.45 euros to the speciality dishes and duck ,which although slightly more expensive are still very reasonable, from 8.25 -10.95 euros. If you prefer to eat at home, you can also choose to get a takeaway or order it over the phone and have it delivered to your door!

My only concern is that this wonderful restaurant is often empty, which I cannot understand as it is definitely the best Chinese/Asian restaurant I have eaten at in Ciudad Real and maybe even in Spain! Do people just not know about it or is it too authentic tasting for Spanish palettes?I really would find it a great shame if this restaurant were to close.
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