10/18/2020

Cooking Spain Region by Region: The Balearic Islands: Cocarrois or Spinach Pasties

 

 When you think of the Balearic Islands, you tend to think of beautiful beaches and crystalline waters and you probably aren´t far wrong. The Balearic Islands are formed by Mallorca, Menorca,Ibiza and Formentera. The only island of the Balearic Islands I have been to is Ibiza but I was more into the clubbing scene at that time and typical gastronomy could not have been further from my mind!I don´t recall even seeing these typical spinach pasties, or Cocarrois, let alone trying them. However, I decided to have a go and making them for this month´s Cooking Spain Region by Region and they were definitely worth it.

The pastry was a very short, crumbly pastry made with lard and olive oil, which was new to me and it was filled with spinach, pine nuts, currents and smoky paprika. These could easily be made vegan or vegetarian by using vegetable shortening. I´d definitely make these again even though unfortunately I couldn´t persuade the kids to try them. The recipe is taken and adapted from the book ¨ Las 1000 Mejores Recetas de Cocina¨. I think I halved the recipe which made about 3
  

Cocarrois (serves 4)
 Ingredients:
Pastry:
 400g plain flour
50g lard
50 ml olive oil
40g sugar
50ml water
1 egg
 Filling:
3/4kg fresh spinach
50g currants
40g pine nuts
1tbsp of sweet, smoky paprika
40ml of olive oil
Salt & pepper to season

Method:
1. Mix the egg, lard and olive oil until creamy, then add the sugar and water and mix till combined,add the flour gradually and knead till it has some consistency. Cover and allow to rest for half an hour.
2.Wash the spinach leaves, chop and boil for 10 minutes, then wring as much water out of the spinach as possible.
3. Fry the spinach in a little oil for a few minutes,season with saly and pepper and add the currents, pinenuts and paprika, stir quickly over the heat for a short time.
4. Roll out the pastry..it is quite crumbly so my advice is to roll it out on top of plastic wrap or Clingfilm. Using a small saucer or pizza cutter cut into circles of around 20cm and place filling in the centre of each circle.
5. Double the pastry covering the filling to form a semicircle or pasty shape,sealing the edges of the pasty.
6. Heat the oven to 180/170º C and place ¨Cocarrois¨ or pasties on a greased baking tray and cook for 25 to 30 mins until a pale golden.
7.Serve hot or cold.
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5/30/2020

Cook & Learn About the World: Algeria: Twabaa: Algerian Lemon & Olive Oil Cookies

Since the lockdown started I´ve actually managed to get back my cooking and baking mojo and when I find time blog about it again!! I wanted to get back to my challenges and when I saw these biscuits thought they´d be ideal for the Algeria Cook and Learn about the World. Even better is that they don´t require any special or difficult to buy ingredients, unless you choose to use orange blossom water,which is not hard to find where I live, but as it´s optional you can also choose to leave it out although it might lend a slightly more authentic flavour.

Although they are essentially a biscuit or cookie, Algerian Lemon and Olive Oil Cookies are quite crumbly and more cake-like in texture. They are simple to make, the most difficult part being creating the hole as the dough tended to spring back. I basically followed the recipe from Tara´s Multicultural Table but omitted the orange blossom water. I also used a mild olive oil and next time I make these would try using extra virgin olive oil as I think it would give the biscuits more flavour. We really enjoyed these biscuits and I´d definitely make them again. Unfortunately,we didn´t do much learning about Algeria this time but if i´d love to hear about any activities that you do or find about Algeria.






3/31/2020

Cook & Learn about the World: Algeria: Algerian Lasagne


I made this awhile ago but haven´t got around to blogging it as I have so little time these days!! I love lasagne so this dish really appealed to me and I was not disappointed. I followed Global Table Adventure´s recipe almost to a tee, and hardly changed anything, maybe I made half the amount of the recipe and as I don´t like my food too spicy, a smaller amount of cayenne pepper. I made this for my parents and they really enjoyed it too so I will definitely make it again...it´s just a shame my kids wouldn´t try it!!We don´t eat a lot of pulses so it was great that it also included chickpeas.It seemed strange to have two lots of carbohydrates, with the potatoes and the pasta and also double the protein with the meat and the chickpeas all together but it just works...although it´s very filling.You won´t need a dessert.However, as it is difficult to buy lamb mince where I live in Spain I shall probably make it with chicken mince in the future.

Here are some activities you can do with your kids before or after eating some of the Algerian dishes you´ve cooked so they can learn more about the country and its culture. Kid World Citizen has some nice activities including art and books about Algeria and the website Activity Village also has some interesting activities such as maps,a flag colouring page etc. although its drawback is that you have to pay to become a member in order to access the activities.

Let me know if you cook this dish or any other Algerian dishes and your opinions. I´d also love you to share your child´s work or what they learnt about Algeria.

8/10/2019

Eat More Variety Alphabet Challenge: F: Fish: Monkfish Kebabs

 It´s back! The Eat More Variety Alphabet Challenge is back and to kick off we´re continuing with the letter F. I knew immediately which ingredient to choose for F! Fish without a doubt! We don´t eat enough of it as I´ve never liked it, neither the taste,the smell nor having to touch it and my hands smelling fishy. We only eat it once a week and I can only eat white fish battered(usually frozen battered tilapia!) and my daughter is also not so keen on fish so hopefully I can discover some new recipes that will change our minds. The first recipe I decided to try out was one I came across in a book about feeding babies and  toddlers and family food; monkfish kebabs. The recipe is very simple and fairly quick to make and it was a hit with both my husband and my son.However, I chickened out of trying it....I think it would taste too fishy for me and my daughter refused to try it at first ,then she eventually tried it but spat it out so a bit of a mixed result.I don´t think this is going to convince my daughter and I to eat more fish though.

If you´d like to join in with the Eat More Variety Alphabet Challenge, either make this recipe or make your own fish recipe and blog about it linking back to this page. I´d love to see your fish recipes and get more inspiration of ways to eat more fish especially for those who don´t like fish!

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

1 tomato cut into 6 slices
1/2 small red pepper,cut into squares
1/2 small yellow pepper,cut into squares
3 mushrooms
monkfish tail cut into about 12 cubes
juice of 1/2 lemon
a pinch of black pepper
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Method:
1.Heat the grill and soak 3 wooden skewers.
2.Thread a slice of tomato,monkfish,red pepper, monkfish,yellow pepper and then a mushroom onto the wooden skewers.
3.Mix olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper together.
4.Place kebabs on top of oven tray covered with tinfoil and brush the dressing over the top.
5.Grill for 5 mins,then turn over and cook for a further 5 mins till fish is cooked.



7/30/2019

Cooking England County by County: Cambridgeshire: Duke Of Cambridge Pudding

 I´ve been blogging my way round England county by county to get to know more English regional dishes and recipes to prove that English cooking is not quite as bad as everyone makes out and that it is more varied than you might think . However, with time constraints, I haven´t got much further than Cambridgeshire!!

I discovered this Duke of Cambridge pudding that I´d never even heard of,let alone tried, and as I had mixed peel, which I needed to use up as I hadn´t got round to making a Christmas cake last Christmas, decided to go ahead and make it. Despite it´s name, Duke of Cambridge Pudding is more like a tart or pie rather than a pudding.

I followed this recipe by Pasta Grannies substituting the ready to roll shortcrust pastry for my homemade shortcrust pastry and I think I halved the recipe. The end result is a sticky, gooey tart which reminds me a little of a treacle or syrup tart. It´s quite rich and sweet though so only one helping is enough! It´s delicious served warm and lots of cream...even better I imagine with a dollop of clotted cream or thick double cream!!

7/16/2019

Great British Bake Off Technical Challenges: Cherry Cake

 Lately, I haven´t had time for blogging nor for baking and cooking, as I´ve been really busy with other projects.

It´s also been a long time since the Bakers&Friends met up so after nearly one and a half years we finally got round to getting together to catch up over lunch and as is the norm, we all brought savoury and also some sweet snacks. I had some glace cherries that needed using, as I didn´t get round to making a Christmas cake last year, so decided to do a Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge and make  Mary Berry´s cherry cake. which I wanted to try. Also it was the first time I used my Bundt mould too!!

The bake is not a difficult one to do if you follow the recipe closely despite it being a technical challenge although without the recipe I´d probably be lost. I didn´t alter anything and the result is a lovely spongy cake. Although glace cherries are not my favourite, I really liked this cake and it was a hit with my Spanish Bakers & Friends so I´ll definitely be making it again although it can be quite hard to find glace cherries in Spanish supermarkets!!

1/16/2019

Cook & Learn about the World: Algeria: Spicy Chickpea Soup (Hu mmus b´il Kammun

Gradually starting to ease back into blogging and have brought back Cook and Learn about the World, which was inspired by the blog Global Table Adventure and to try to get my fussy eaters to try new things and also learn a little about the different countries.

So, I have arrived at Algeria and thought I´d kick off with this soup as I thought it might be something that my OH and children would possibly enjoy as we´ve never eaten Algerian food before. I´m not a big fan of pulses and we hardly ever eat them so it sounded like a good way to get some pulses down us too. This soup is simple to make and is perfect for a cold winter´s day or night and it has a lovely blend of spices that whisk you off to another country.Plus the majority of the ingredients are easy to find in your local supermarket...the only thing I found a little difficult to encounter was harissa.I actually got mine from an English supermarket but if you don´t come across it, you could make your own using Global Table´s recipe for harissa. Again if you can´t find the specific chilli peppers, you could just use what you can find. The smell while it´s cooking is tantalizing and it´s ideal for mopping up with some crusty bread.

I pretty much followed Global Table Adventure´s recipe although I think I used slightly less chickpeas, which were already cooked and as I didn´t cook the chickpeas instead of cooking water I just used tap water. As I´d never tried harissa before I only used a teaspoon of it as the recipe states but next time I might add a little more. Also, as the chickpeas are already cooked, I didn´t cook it as long as the recipe says so instead of simmering for an hour, I probably only simmered it for a further 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I couldn´t persuade either of my children to try it which is a pity as I think they would´ve enjoyed it as it is quite similar to some Spanish food.

In order to learn a little about Algeria, which I have to admit I don´t know much about myself, we looked at my daughter´s The Usbourne Children´s Picture Atlas and found Algeria and saw that the capital is Algiers and that the Sahara dessert and Atlas mountains can be found in Algeria and that the people of Algeria use camels.We will hopefully learn a lot more about Algeria as we cook a couple more dishes from this country.
 
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