Saturday, November 19, 2011

Viva España and it’s colourful cuisine!

goat's cheese  & chili tostada


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Nothing refreshes like a chilled GAZPACHO soup, it’s cold, tangy and fresh with cucumbers, capsicums and red onion. Make it well in advance and chill it before serving as an entree or a light supper with good bruschetta like GOAT’S CHEESE AND CHILLI TOSTADAS.

For a complete meal add a substantial salad of GREEN VEGETABLES w/ TOASTED ALMONDS & MANCHEGO CHEESE. Dressed with an orange vinaigrette and garnished with either some cherry tomatoes or roast red capsicums this is a feast for the eyes as well as the palette.

I watched a video recently with a local chef showing how they make their Spanish Tortillas. I was bowled over with the amount of olive oil they used in the recipe and how long the process took. I’ve been using an unorthodox way to make my TORTILLA DE PAPA for years now that uses much less oil and takes 20 minutes from start to finish. My secret is using the microwave to steam the potatoes in their skins. I slice them and leave the skins on for my recipe. You could steam them and peel the skins off if you don’t want to use the microwave. Be sure to proceed with the recipe straight away, cold potatoes take a lot longer to cook in a tortilla.

If you’ve got a crowd to feed or want to try something different you could make the TORTILLA DE ACELGA & GARBANZOS, made with silverbeet and chick peas in the same way as the potato one above. Using tinned chick peas this is also a very quick recipe.

For dessert on a really hot day you can get away with hardly turning the stove on to make the SPICED ORANGES W/ AMARETTI BISCUITS AND CREAMY YOGHURT. Or if the summer stone fruits are in season you could add some fresh apricots, plums and peaches to this compote and serve it with ice cream. It’s a great make ahead dessert that travels well.

Hope you enjoy this week’s recipes!



This cold tomato and cucumber soup is refreshing on a hot summer day.

Serves: 6 (as an entrée)

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


knife, bread knife, chopping board, garlic press, measuring cup, large bowl, small bowl for rubbish, pastry brush, chargrill plate for toasting bread, bowls and spoons for service.


1 Spanish/ red onion

3 ripe tomatoes

½ Lebanese cucumber

½ green capsicum, seeded

½ red capsicum, seeded

1 clove garlic

3 ½ c tomato juice

½ t sugar

¼ c olive oil

¼ c white wine vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chilli: optional


1. Finely chop the onion, tomatoes and capsicums and add to a large bowl with pressed garlic.

2. Stir in the tomato juice, salt, sugar, combined vinegar and oil.

3. Taste and add salt pepper or chilli to your liking.

4. Refrigerate till well chilled for at least one hour.

5. Serve in a bowl or glass sprinkled with chopper parsley and a drizzle of good olive oil


goat's cheese  & chili tostada


½ loaf of sourdough bread

¼ c olive oil

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup goat’s cheese

1 small chilli

chopped parsley to garnish


1. Slice sourdough bread into thick slices

2. Rub with clove of garlic on both sides

3. Brush liberally with olive oil

4. Place on hot chargrill to mark on both sides

5. Spread with goat’s cheese, sprinkle with chilli, parsley and olive oil

Serve warm.



A crunchy mix of green vegetables, great as a side to egg dishes or tossed through pasta

Serves: 6 (as a part of a meal)

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


Paring knife, chopping board, saucepan for boiling vegetables, oven tray, vegetable peeler, large bowl, whisk or glass jar with screw top lid, small bowl for rubbish, serving dish.

Heat oven to 180C to toast almonds


1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and washed well

2 bunches asparagus, washed and trimmed

500gm green beans, washed topped and tailed

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

50 grams manchego cheese, shaved (or parmesan, romano etc)

½ cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Orange Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon mustard

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional- sugar or honey to taste

For the salad dressing:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk till emulsified/ combined.

Alternatively use a glass jar with a screw top lid.


1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

3. Place slivered almonds on a tray and toast in oven till just golden, check regularly and set aside to cool.

2. Prepare all vegetables; cut broccoli into even sized florets, asparagus spears in half on an angle, green beans into even sized lengths.

3. Cook the vegetables in lots till cooked yet firm and bright green. When they are cooked strain them from pot and chill with cold water to retain their green colour.

4. To serve combine all vegetables and parsley with salad dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and shaved manchego cheese. Serve immediately to keep the acids from discolouring the greens.

Variations: This vegetable dish is great tossed through warm pasta.




A nutritious and fast meal that’s easily adapted for what’s on hand.

Serves: 8 (as part of a meal)

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


Microwave, grill, knife, chopping board, garlic press, non stick fry pan, 2 bowls, small bowl for rubbish,


1 onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 eggs, lightly beaten

5 medium potatoes, well washed

½ c parsley, chopped

¼ c olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat grill.


1.Place potatoes evenly around the microwave dish, cook on high for 6 minutes. Using a sharp paring knife or skewer check the potatoes are cooked through. If not cook them till they are.

2.Fry the onion gently in half the oil in a frypan adding the garlic towards the end to avoid burning it. Put into a bowl.

3.Leaving the skin on slice potatoes into 1cm thick slices.

4.Heat the remaining oil in a non stick fry pan. Arrange potato slices and scatter onion and garlic mixture on top. Season with salt and pepper.

5.Pour beaten eggs over the potatoes pressing them down if necessary.

6.Cook over medium heat till edges are loose then place whole pan under a grill.

7.When top is set and golden carefully place a plate over the pan and turn to invert.

8.Slide tortilla back into hot frypan and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

To Serve: invert onto plate and eat hot, warm or even cold the next day.

Variation: instead of potatoes try the following for a rich source of protein and iron.

English Spinach and Chick Pea Tortilla

2 English Spinach, washed well, trimmed and chopped (or 1 bunch silverbeet)

1½ c chick peas, cooked and well drained (or 1 can)

1. Fry onion and garlic, add chick peas and chopped spinach.

2. Season with salt and pepper and continue as above.

Also good with: Sweet potato, onion and peas, Zucchini and Grated Carrot etc….

chickpea and silverbeet tortilla


A nutritious and fast meal that’s easily adapted for what’s on hand.

Serves: 8 (as part of a meal)

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


knife, chopping board, garlic press, non stick fry pan, large bowl, small bowl for rubbish, plate for flipping


1 onion, sliced finely

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 bunch silver beet, washed, stems removed and shredded

1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas (or 1 tin), drained well

¼ c olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat grill.


1. Place half the oil in the non stick pan and gently fry the onion and garlic

2. Add the drained chick peas and warm through, stir through silver beet till wilted

3. Empty frypan and wipe it with kitchen paper

4. In a large bowl combine silver beet, chick peas, onion and garlic and season with salt & pepper

5. Warm fry pan and add remaining oil

6. Arrange spinach and chickpea mix evenly in the pan

7. Pour over beaten egg and allow to soak through to the bottom, eggs should partially cover the spinach

8. Cook for 5-8 minutes, keep an eye on the bottom by lifting with a knife

9. Place under grill and cook till browned; c. 5 minutes

10. Take pan out and place a large plate on top

11. Carefully flip upside down onto plate and slide back into the pan

12. Place back on the fire and cook till all egg is cooked through

To Serve: invert onto plate and slice into wedges or squares.

To be eaten hot, warm or even cold the next day.

Also good with: Sweet potato and peas, Zucchini and Grated Carrot etc….


spiced oranges


Make the oranges in advance and chill for a lovely dessert on a hot night.

Serves: 6

Preparation: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Chilling Time: 4 hours


Sharp paring knife, chopping board, saucepan, measuring cup, wooden spoon, non metallic bowl or dish, small bowl for rubbish, plates and spoons for service.


½ cup dried apricots, cut in half
1 cup boiling water
½ cup brandy or dark rum
3 whole cloves
2 small pieces fresh orange zest
15 cm cinnamon stick
1 small piece star anise
½ cup sugar
5 oranges

1 packet amaretti biscuits

1 tub good creamy yoghurt or ice cream


1. Soak the apricots in boiling water for ½ hour.

3. Place apricots (with their soaking water) into a saucepan along with brandy, cloves, zest, cinnamon and star anise.

4. Sprinkle with sugar and bring to a simmer stirring till sugar dissolves.

5. Continue to simmer gently till apricots are soft; about 5 minutes.

6. Slice the top and bottom of the oranges and thickly peel them so that no pith remains. Slice oranges into 1cm thick slices and place into flat non metallic dish.

7. Pour sugar syrup over orange slices and chill for at least 4 hours.

To serve: place a few slices of oranges with syrup into a bowl or glass. Top each serving with a dollop of creamy yoghurt and a couple of amaretti biscuits.

This may also be served hot for a warming winter dessert with custard.

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