Today I’m guest blogging at the fabulous Limes and Lycopene.
Find my post here.
We’ve been dog/house-sitting for the last few days. Great fun – especially when the three dogs are Irish Wolfhounds and the views from the house are as spectacular as these:
Earlier this week Molly posted a recipe for boiled kale which had me dashing out to the shop to try and find some of that dark green, crinkly veg. It wasn’t easy to find but, goodness, it was worth the hunt. Molly’s dish was superb and it inspired me to experiment with a brassica that I now so much wish I’d planted for a winter crop.
The following was one of my experiments and tonight’s dinner. And it was delicious. Just delicious. Really.
Baked Kale with Potatoes (adapted from The Cook’s Companion - wow, what a book)
(serves 2 as side dish)
1 tblspn olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
300g waxy potatoes, skin on and sliced thinly
Handful of black olives
1 tblspn capers
100g chopped kale (large stems removed)
100ml white wine
D and I had a Spanish night earlier in this week. He didn’t come to Madrid with me last weekend and I wanted to share some of the food ideas I had picked up. In particular patatas bravas and clara.
The latter is a shandy made from light Spanish lager and cloudy lemonade rather than the standard clear lemonade – very simple but wonderfully refreshing. The former dish is one of my favourite tapas – fried potatoes topped with a picante tomato sauce.
Traditionally the potatoes in this dish are poached in olive oil before being fried over a high heat but I just couldn’t bring myself to use all that fat. Instead, I blanched the unpeeled potatoes in water before roasting them with a mere brushing of oil. It worked very well, I thought.
Note: The following recipe makes a lot of sauce. We used half of it over two nights on potatoes and the rest was diluted with stock and cream to make a rather tasty soup.
Patatas Bravas (sauce adapted from Moro)
(Tapas for 4)
500g small, waxy potatoes – halved
1 onion, chopped finely
1 green pepper, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
Glass of white wine
400g tin plum tomatoes
1 tspn sugar
1/2 tspn smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper (optional)
A few people have asked me for recommendations on where to go and what to do in Madrid. Must say, I feel entirely under-qualified to do such a thing for this was my first trip to the city and a short one at that. But is was a wonderful weekend and I did discover some absolute gems. So here they are: my own personal favourites from a short but highly pleasurable trip to Madrid
My Favourite Tapas
La Casa del Abuelo (Grandad’s House). Their garlic and chilli prawns were to die for.
My Favourite Place for Breakfast
El Brilliante in Atocha. The churros con chocolat here were perfect. Crisp doughnuts and thick, not-too-bitter hot chocolat.
My Favourite Early Evening Spot
Hmmm, don’t know the name of this bar but it’s located across the square from the main entrance of the Reina Sofia Museum, near the above mentioned El Brilliante. It has a “Y” in the name…. Anyway, it’s a wonderful place to watch people going into the museum (free from 6pm – 9pm), hanging out on the square or draping over their balconies. And they serve you wine in very cool little glasses (see picture above). Small things..
My Favourite Late Night Spot
Plaza Santa Ana. Stunning, vibrant square with lots of outdoor seating.
My Favourite Museum
Reina Sofia. What can I say? I prefer modern art.
My Favourite Surprise
Atocha train station. There’s a rainforest in the train station! Really! With terrapins! Superb.
My Favourite Stroll
Well, we used this walking tour one of the mornings and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Make sure you map it out first though. We didn’t and got more than a little confused at times.
My Favourite Other Thing
El Rastro flea market. Takes place every Sunday morning. HUGE and full of tat. Great fun.
Taking off my wellies and hugging Marco goodbye.
Off to Madrid to see Sarah, eat tapas and celebrate my birthday.
See you all next week!
If you whisper “what’s that?” to Marco very quickly and excitedly, he goes nuts. He bounds up to the livingroom window and looks up and down the street growling and wuffing ready to protect us from those crazy neighbourhood cats or the odd buggy wielding mother. It’s a habit we shouldn’t encourage really but I couldn’t help but laugh this weekend when David walked into the kitchen and spotted the above vegetable. “Whassat?” he asked loudly and Marco went mental.
Fair question though. Romanesco do look odd with their strange geometric patterns and almost luminous green colouring. If martians had veg, I reckon they’d look like this.
In actual fact, romanesco do not have an intergalactic ancestry; they are part of the brassica family and can best be described as a funky cross between brocolli and cauliflower. As a fan of both of these vegetables and as someone who appreciates pretty food, I am always excited to find a romanesco on sale. More often than not, it ends up being cooked in the following way.
A fabulous end for a fabulous veg, I think.
Romanesco with Coriander and Chilli (adapted from Madhur Jaffrey)
(serves four as a side dish – two as a main)
1 large head of romanesco or brocolli or cauliflower
Large thumb of ginger, chopped roughly
2 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
1 tblspn ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 hot chilli, chopped
Big handful of coriander, chopped roughly
1 tspn cumin
1 tblspn coriander
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste