Tuesday 29 November 2011

Churros and my main man at our local

This very day last week,  my friend Lesa and I were ordering churros- far too much churros, nah I think it all went. I have a video of this too, will upload it when I find it! There is serious skill being displayed here, it all happens in about 45 seconds.
 And a mug of hot chocolate on the side mmmmmm...

Saturday 26 November 2011

Heart Frittata

That's quite hard to say out loud "heart frittata"
I have been working non stop for days so this is a mini post before I hit bed. Mum came to see me for a day yesterday as she flew home from Sydney (via London) before going back to Spain. I felt awful that I had to work all day but turns out she was pretty whacked with the jetlag and after a few discussions on dinner plans she slept through it anyway! 
I was making mini smoked salmon and quiches and so made her a couple of hearts with the leftover mix, you can do soppy things like this when it's for your mum.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Castañas asadas/roasted chestnuts

Got my design hat on this week and helping my Dad design a new house in Spain, well we've been doing that for the last couple of years and now we're building, it's time to choose the staircase/the doors/the windows... it's the exciting bit! Last time I was out here I baked lemon drizzle loaves for our slightly unhappy neighbours, when you're knocking down a town house in a narrow street it's not going to be without disruption, cake goes a bit of a way to make it better, they seemed happier at least. 
So, got off the plane and went straight to the beach for seafood and some toe dipping in the sea.
Work shoes...holiday shoes ;)
Then a trip to choose some railings and a balcony for the house. 
Where to start?!... this place gave me eye ache but we stayed for hours, I loved it.
Yes, that is me, shoved in the back of the van on the journey home. Cam and I fell in love with a table with little stalls that slot in on runners under the table top, we went halves.
I'm not sure what this was but it kind of looked like an oven, especially the dial but it can't be, it's tiny. Or could it? Then off to a venta for a quick lunch. So, you know Gazpacho, this is Porra, typical cold soup in Southern Spain, it's thicker and milder made with blitzed bread and topped with Serrano ham, tuna and grated boiled egg. It is heaven. Oh, not as heavenly as Paella.
So, this time of year in Spain you get roasted chestnuts, which are roasted on open fires on street corners or on these sort of makeshift chimneys. They are ridiculously delicious and warming, kept warm under a blanket, scooped into a paper cone and just the anticipation whilst you peel off the hot, blackened, smokey skin is so exciting. The locals go mad for these and start queuing before they're even ready. These boys were pretty chuffed I took photos so put my brother on a crate to hold the chestnut pan and proudly stood around him, eat your heart out Rick Stein, I can do the line up photos too!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Penguin Christmas Cake

It's got cold hasn't it. Like really not very nice cold. I'm not good in this weather but it made today's cake kind of appropriate. 
I have been asked to donate a cake to a silent auction for charity and this is it. It's great being able to make Christmas cakes so far in advance, and really, the longer the better for the fruit cake to mature. I soaked the fruits over night in brandy and cointreau so that penguin may find some boozed up fish down there!

Sunday 13 November 2011

Kabocha and Ginger cakes

I am truly sorry for being absent the last few weeks. I was really ill and then got blog block with all sorts of things going on, but I promise there are going to regular updates now as I have a heavy backlog! I had a tooth infection (pesky wisdom) and couldn't eat for 4 days and didn't feel myself, food was the last thing on my mind. That's until I felt faint and picked up a banana at the train station, it was the first time in days I laughed at myself. I had this peeled banana and I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to get it in. I was on an empty train carriage and so I used my oyster card to slice little slithers and pushed them through the gap between my top and bottom teeth. I know, its disgusting, but I was desperate. Anyhow, there I am going about my own business, trying to not to bite and swallow this thing down whole, when I spot a guy at the end of the carriage watching me..should have been mortified but I found it pretty funny.
Anyway, I'm better, I feel good and I got back in the kitchen and got going with some experimental cooking. I am trying my hand at making up some Japanese desserts and so far, so good.
Start by chopping up 400g of Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) or butternut squash, and pop in a pan with
100ml water, 60ml orange juice, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1tsp ground ginger, 1tbsp brown sugar, dash of vanilla. Simmer and turn the pieces for 8-10 mins until they soften.
Now pop into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then push through a seive.
Chop up 3 pieces of stem ginger in syrup and fold into a sponge batter mix with the pumpkin puree. Sponge mix - 100g caster sugar, 100g butter unsalted, 100g self raising flour and 2 large eggs. 
You can bake in a tin like a sponge (I would add 5 mins to cooking time) or you can put in silicone moulds, it keeps its shape well and these took 15 minutes. Once the sponge cools slightly, drizzle with the stem ginger syrup. 
I had friends over for Japanese curry and so we just had these little cakes with vanilla ice cream, more ginger, sesame and sugared lily but I also tried chocolate and making mini ones for canapes. Next time I think white chocolate would taste better. So, that's it, hope you make it!