I know this post isn't strictly foodie, but I really want to take you on a walk through the Spanish mountains of Torrealqueria. Plus, walks sometimes end in cake.
As soon as the heat dropped this evening, we headed out for a walk. Can we call it a hike? I broke a sweat, so we'll call it a hike. We rambled up the mountains for a couple of blissful hours,it was an evening away from the kitchen, moments spent totally in awe of the vast landscape and ever-changing dramatic light.
My friend Emily is working for my parents at Rancho Del Ingles. I have popped over for the week to cook for a yoga retreat,so we got a chance to catch up and act silly up a mountain.
Emily wanted to swim, so I begrudgingly filled the pool with pails of water from the well. It took forever. ;)
I'm going to have to work out how to upload a video here because the chorus of bells rattling from these goats' necks is one my favourite sounds and I want you to hear it.
We reached the top and turned back to the most incredible view over the mountains and sea, that would you believe, I forgot to take a picture of. There's something to be said for enjoying the moment and taking it in through your eyes and not a lens.
On our descent, we took a wrong turn but made little discoveries we wouldn't have made otherwise. It's easy to feel philosophical up a mountain and we agreed that our walk was like a metaphor for life. Although a struggle to get up there to the top, it felt like an unknown journey, richly rewarding at times but with the odd wrong turn or rocky slip up on the way.
Excuse me for the iphone pics and who knows if I captured the beauty of this walk for you guys, but if you want to recreate the post walk-let's skip dinner-orange and polenta cake I have made it here before. I added a little set blood orange curd and cold Greek yogurt with thyme flowers as a nod to our escape into the wilderness.
Fancy kicking about amongst the flowers and picking avocados
with me? A good avo brings me such happiness.
If you visit my parents you will go home with avocados.
If my brother visits London and doesn't bring
me avocados and lemons, he will be
in my bad books. Unbelievably he's 'not too fussed either way about them' so I
felt I owed it to him to win him over. Would it be cheating to start my mission
with a juicy steak?
Avocados have a lot of calories in them and
their fair share of fat yadda yadda, I can't believe this stops people from
eating them. They are SO GOOD FOR YOU. Full of antioxidants and good for your
eyes, heart and unborn baby in wombs everywhere. They also taste delicious and
the cold, smooth, buttery texture is like nothing else. Slather in your hair,
on your toast, or blend it into a dressing. You can make it thinner than mine
to coat your lettuce leaves but I've made mine like a loose guacamole.
Blend the below in a food processor, taste and season
2 ripe avocados
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp coriander
1 lemon, 1 lime juiced
1/2 tsp Chilli pepper / cayenne pepper
Lots of Maldon sea salt
Splashes of rice wine vinegar
You can finish with olive oil or water or
more lime if you like...
Some food just screams EAT ME! Surprisingly, for me, it's the savoury stuff that beckons. I saw these Swiss pretzel buns on a food/photography blog and had to make them straight away. If you like bagels, or fresh, doughy pretzels then you're going to love these buns. They are chewy, salty, shiny and cute. They are addictive. I ate one warm with serrano ham, manchego and mustard mayo and then a few one with butter and heaps of jam. Excuse being that they're just not the same the next day.For a peek at some beautiful photography and the recipe, check out Rosa's blog
a funny thing, sculpting something lifelike out of a block of icing.
Pugs seem to have become a bit of a craze recently, tiny little dogs
that look like they couldn't stop their feet in time from running
into/face planting a wall. They are cute though, I've met one and they
are funny little things with zany personalities. At first the face
looking back at me just had that freaked out look and I felt funny
pushing those googly eyes in their sockets.. but at the finish, as I
sprayed her eyes glossy, she looked back at me and I couldn't help but
stroke her little flat nose.
I only got a fuzzy pic of the final cake but this wee pug crowned a big choc cake surrounded with glossy love hearts. I sprayed the eyes shiny too which really brought her to life but I don't like fuzzy photos so you'll have to excuse me.
I love Oxtail, you have to give it a lot of love (and by that, I mean time) but it's a cheap cut and it's gloriously unctuous and rich in flavour. I get the slowcooker out for this one, which is of some comfort in this mighty chilly weather..blip blip. That's the sounds of the stew blipping away whilst you go out and leave it to work its magic for 6 hours. I made this recipe as a gift and wasn't sure how hot to make it so I used regular chillies, if you want a proper Jamaican kick, grab yourself a scotch bonnet!
Serves 4-6 as a ragu with pasta. I would imagine Pappardelle would be beautiful with this.
Toss 6 pieces of oxtail in -
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground all spice
½ tsp ground ginger
Salt and pepper
Fry in a hot pan, sealing all sides of the meat.
Next, fry 2 onions, get some colour on them, this will give the depth to the sauce
Add 4 cloves of garlic
1 lrg thumb of fresh ginger
1/3 can coconut milk (not imperative, I just had some to use)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 can of water swirled in the empty tomato tin
3 bay leaves
small bunch of thyme leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dark vinegar
1 heaped tbsp dark muscovado sugar
Chopped chilli of your choice
Squeeze of 1 Lime
Add the meat to the sauce and Let it cook on high for 5-6 hours in a slow cooker or in the oven and let rest before sliding the meat of the bone and serving.
If you have any good oxtail recipes, I would love to hear them...
This space has been quiet for a while. Real life has taken over this month and I feel very guilty about it, so here is a pic of the Brownie Pie that I made on Valentine's Day from the Milk Bar Book, to keep the blog breathing. My friend Hannah is making their 'crack pie' on Sunday... I. can't. wait.
It was my niece Jasmine's 8th birthday last week. Holy Moly, where does the time go? I went to the trouble of making Amanda's super yummy and wholesome chocolate cake (I used wholemeal flour) and then covered the whole thing in little nuggets of dextrose, sugar and malic acid. OOPS! I hate to think what a mission it was to get the kids to sleep that night. I wanted to make Jasmine an awesome cake but didn't have time to do anything 'novelty'.. so I took a moment to think what I loved to eat at her age... NeRdS! NERDS AND POPPING CANDY! From the base to the top we have.. Grape-Wild Cherry-Strawberry-Peach-Amped Apple-Double dipped lemonade-lightening lemon. If that wasn't already a party for your mouth I chucked a load of popping candy on the top last minute. Fizztastic.
This cake is seriously moist and tastes just how chocolate cake should and the bonus is, you can cut all the tops off and dip in left over soured cream icing (from that blueberry cake)
Layer with a firm buttercream and plaster round the sides to stick in all those nerds. I used a spoon and didn't worry too much about where they were going, you could just mix them all up and throw them on, that would be fun.
Layer up baby.
Love you Jazzle Fizzle, here's to many more years of silly cakes and Jessie J sing offs. xxx