Visit us at

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Warm up with these recipes from Spain!
Winter has well and truly arrived here in Australia and our cold bodies are craving warming, comforting foods which the Spanish happen to do very well. Here are some of my favorite Spanish Winter recipes.
Castilian Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo Castellana)
One of the most humble yet famous recipes of Spanish Cuisine; the garlic soup or Sopa de Ajo Castellana.  The soup made by grandmothers and mothers all over Spain, traditional and comforting. This soup can be served in individual earthernware dishes (cazuelas), in which case the egg is added after the soup has been poured. 
Serves 4
6 tablespoons of  olive oil
6 cloves garlic (more if you like!)
100 gr sliced Serrano ham (thickness your choice)
6 slices of stale bread, sliced (preferably from a crusty loaf) 
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón/paprika (use hot if you like it spicy)
4 eggs
1 3/4 litres meat stock or water
Peel and slice the garlic, it does not need to be very thin. Heat the oil in a skillet, soup pot or heat-proof casserole and add the chopped garlic. Saute until they begin to turn golden brown. When just turning brown, add the sliced ham and slices of stale bread. Fry together for two minutes then add the pimento/paprika. Brown, then immediately add the boiling stock or boiling water. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. The bread should almost dissolve into the broth. Place the soup into four individual earthenware bowls (or cazuelas) and add one egg in each bowl. Poach the eggs in the soup either in the oven or on top of the stove top. As an alternative, you can also beat the eggs and then stir them into the soup allowing it to cook until eggs have set.
Hot Gazpacho (Gazpacho Caliente)
Rural, simple and exquisitely natural, a hot variation of the quintessential Andalusian gazpacho. The following recipe is from “Cooking in Spain” by Janet Mendel, Santana books and will soon be available through Artesano. (Image not from book)


1 medium onion
1 green peer, chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
50 ml olive oil
¼ tsp of saffron or paprika
¼ teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon ground chilli pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 litre of water or stock
4 slices of bread, toasted and cubed
Mint for garnish and figs to accompany

In a soup pot combine the onion, pepper, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and let them stew for 10 minutes. In a mortar crush the saffron and mix with the cumin, pepper and salt. Add to the pot with the water or stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes more. Serve garnished with croutons of bread. Garnish with mint and serve with figs and pieces of green pepper and raw onions.

Meatballs in Almond Sauce (Albóndigas en salsa de almendras)
Meat balls are a favourite hearty dish and this version with saffron and almond sauce, is especially delicious.  This recipe is taken from “tapas a bite of Spain” by Janet Mendel, by Santana books, which we sell on our website. (Photos not from her book). It makes about 36 meatballs: 12 tapas or 4 main dishes.

For the meatballs
340 g minced ground beef
340 g minced ground pork
2 slices of stale bread, crusts removed
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
Flour for dredging meatballs
6 tablespoons of olive oil

For the sauce
3 tablespoons of olive oil
40 almonds, blanched and skinned
1 slice of bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 pepper corns
½ teaspoon saffron
1 clove or pinched ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
175 ml 2/3 cup white wine
240ml / 1 cup of chicken or meat stock
Chopped parsley

Combine the beef and pork mince in a bowl. Soak the bread in water or milk, cover until soft
Squeeze it out and add to the meat with the garlic, onion , parsley, salt, nutmeg and egg
Knead well to make a smooth mixture.

Form into 25mm/ 1 in balls and roll them in flour. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs until brown on all sides. Remove and drain.

Place 3 tablespoons of oil in a clean frying pan and fry the almonds, bread and garlic until golden. Remove. Set aside a few almonds for garnish.

In a mortar, crush the peppercorns, saffron, clove and salt. In a food processor or blender, grind together the tasted almonds, bread and garlic with the wine to make a smooth paste. Add the spices to this mixture.

Stir the almond mixture into the oil in the frying pan and add the stock. Bring to the boil, then add the fried meatballs. Simmer the meatballs for 20 minutes in the sauce, adding a little additional liquid if needed.

Serve the meatballs garnished with the reserved toasted almonds and chopped parsley.

Warming Winter's Brunch
A very traditional Andalucian breakfast, typically eaten by farmers, shepherds and workers during the winter months, out in the countryside. Very filling and warming, ideal to get you prepared for the working day ahead. This recipe is courtesy of Orce Serrano Hams.

Photo courtesy of Orce Serrano Hams
5 - 6 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
Jar white beans
3 or 4 sweet chorizo
Olive oil

Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Remove the top and seeds from the pepper, chop into bite sized chunks. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and peppers and fry until slightly coloured. Chop up the chorizo also into bite sized chunks and add to the pan, cook for a few minutes on a high heat. Add the beans and than lower the heat, cover and cook gently for 20 minutes. Serve with thick slices of fresh bread.

Instead of sweet chorizo you can use the picante or hot variety for extra bite! You can substitute the white beans for chick peas or even baked beans.

Paella "Pablos Paella"
ahh the Paella.."When people think of paella, they almost always imagine the seafood variety although traditionally it was made with rabbit, chicken and pork. The dish originated from the region of Valencia where it was cooked by the men who worked in the countryside. They set a large paella pan over a wood fire and used whatever ingredients were to hand - meat, rice and vegetables. The dish has hardly changed over the years although there are many different recipes and variations" excerpt Orce Serrano Hams. Paella Great all year around but in Winter I like to serve the meat variety rather then the seafood variety.

This recipe from “Mouth-Watering Spanish Recipes” by Gayle Macdonald and Victoria Tweed. Their book is available as an e-book online. Follow link below.

Gayle: Pablo is our neighbour and also a chef in the village. We are very lucky to be treated to little morsels of whatever has been cooking that day...if there is any left over. One bright January day, he invited us and some other neighbours round for his famous paella, cooked on the barbecue. During the cooking, he let us in on some of his secrets, which I am happy to share below.Victoria: The meat is cooked on the bone and the barbecue method of cooking adds lots of outdoor flavour. 
Serves 10-12~ 20 minutes preparation ~~ 50 to 60 minutes cooking

Photo courtesy of Orce Serrano Hams
1 rabbit, cut into pieces
2 chicken legs, cut into pieces
250g (8¾ oz) pork ribs, cut into small pieces 
(ask your butcher to do this)
1 large onion
1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
4 cloves of garlic
6 ripe vine tomatoes
1kg (2.2 lbs) bomba or paella rice
1½ litres (51 US fl.oz) chicken stock
Good pinch of saffron
Olive oil
Lemon wedges to serve

1) Salt the pork ribs and set them aside.
2) Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and slice the garlic. De-seed the peppers and chop into
small pieces. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
3) Put the stock on a low heat to warm through gently. In a pestle and mortar, grind the saffron,with a little heated stock, and leave to stand.
4) Heat a little olive oil in the paella pan and add the chicken. Cook until browned all over, then add the rabbit and the pork. Continue cooking until all the meat is nicely browned all over.
5) Add the garlic and the onion, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the peppers and cook for about five minutes more.
6) Add the tomatoes and cook until they are soft. (Don’t worry if they begin to stick, in fact it is better if they do! 
7) Add a little stock (about 1 full cup) to the saffron and season with salt.
8) Add the rice, a cupful at a time, counting as you go. (You will need approx. 1.5 cups of stock to every cup of rice.)
9) Stir the rice and cook until it turns translucent. (Again, don’t worry if it sticks, it all adds to the flavour! In fact, when the rice sticks to the bottom of the pan and goes crispy, it is known as socarrat and is a sign of a good paella.)
10) Add the hot chicken stock, counting as you go, to get the correct ratio of rice to stock. (If the pan seems full, leave it for a bit, and, when the liquid has reduced, you can add more stock.)
11) Check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
12) Give the paella a stir and then check the heat.
13) The paella needs to be left alone now, to cook gently. Enough heat is needed to ensure the paella is slightly bubbling all over, but not boiling too much. 
14) Leave to cook for about 15 minutes, regularly checking the fire. You may stir the paella
provided there is liquid. Once the liquid begins to be absorbed, shake the pan from time to time but touch it as little as possible.
15) After 15 minutes, taste the rice. If it is still quite hard, add a little more stock (or hot water) if necessary, and cook some more. Adjust the seasoning.
16) After 20 minutes, the rice should be nice and tender and all the grains separated. Cook for 5 more minutes if necessary.
17) Remove from the heat and cover with a towel, foil or newspaper. Leave to stand for 5
minutes, while you enjoy a glass of wine!
18) Garnish with lemon wedges, place in the middle of the table and let everyone dig in.

Spanish Hot Chocolate (Chocolate a la Español)

      You cant go past a Chocolate a la Español on a cold winters day or night. Rich and delicious. 

For 4 persons/or allow 50 grams of chocolate for each cup


 2    50 gr good quality dark chocolate,

500 ml milk,
2 teaspoons cornstarch.



Chop chocolate into small pieces. Place in a small saucepan. Add milk to chocolate in saucepan, and heat over low heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until the mixture just begins to boil. 

Remove from heat. Dissolve cornstarch in a little cold water in a cup. Add corn starch solution to chocolate mixture. Return to low heat, and, stirring constantly, cook until the hot chocolate thickens. Serve hot. If chocolate is too bitter add some honey or sugar to taste. delicioso.........

I hope you enjoy trying some of these favorite winter warmers

1 comment:

  1. Drinking gallons of homemade gazpacho (cold version) at the moment, made the day before and bottled to take to work - A tremendously healthy meal and a refreshing drink at the same time:)