Eat Tapas Day Monday 28th February 2011

I have been sent an email about Spanish cuisine, produce and ‘Eat Tapas Day’ which is on Monday 28th February.

The information I have been given says that,

The fiesta, which falls on a Monday, is dedicated to the great Spanish custom of accompanying drinks with a small plate of food or ‘tapa’. Tradition has it that barmen in the Andalusian capital Seville, began the practice by placing slices of ham or cheese on top of glasses of sherry to protect them from flies; ‘tapa’ literally translates as ‘cover’ in Spanish. Tapas have since developed into a national obsession with most bars in Spain specialising in a particular dish. Going from bar to bar and trying a variety of tapas in each, known as ‘tapear’, is the favoured night out for Andalusians.

On ‘Eat Tapas Day’ the UK public is encouraged to have a go at making their own tapas feast or to search out their nearest Spanish restaurant. The farmers chose the 28th of February as it coincides with ‘Andalusia Day’, an important public holiday in Andalusia celebrating the region’s autonomy, culture and famous local produce such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.

Spain’s southern region of Andalusia is the home of much of what we think of as typically Spanish. It’s the birthplace of flamenco and fans and home to postcard-perfect sun-bleached villages. The cuisine is just as famous in its own right: gazpacho, Ibérico ham and sherry are some of the more well known Andalusian delicacies.

The area is nicknamed “Europe’s Vegetable Garden”, and fresh produce such as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines have always been at the heart of Andalusian cooking. The region is also the world’s largest producer of olive oil! Enjoying a taste of Andalusia’s healthy and vibrant cuisine has never been easier, as lots of the region’s finest fresh produce is available in UK supermarkets and green grocers.

I was also sent a series of recipes to share with you and here is my favourite Spanish recipe:

Andalusian Chicken Stew with Peppers

Andalusian Chicken Stew With Peppers

Andalusian Chicken Stew With Peppers

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

2 red peppers

2 green peppers

2 yellow peppers

4 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)

4 chicken legs

50g Serrano ham

250g tomatoes, chopped

250ml white wine

salt and pepper

Preheat the grill to high. Halve the peppers and cook under the grill for 20 minutes.

Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool. When cooled, deseed and peel the peppers then cut into slices.

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the garlic gently for a minute. Remove and reserve. Add the chicken and ham to the pan and cook until the chicken is golden brown. Add the tomatoes, wine, reserved garlic, paprika and the sliced peppers. Cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with rice and green beans dressed with olive oil.

Calories per serving-

474kcals

23g fat

5g saturated fat

39g protein

17g carbohydrate

15g sugars

4g fibre

0.5g salt

Let me know if you try this recipe!

For further information on Eat Tapas Day and for more tapas recipes visit www.andalusianfreshproduce.co.uk.

The Taste Adventure Birmingham NEC November 2010

The Taste Adventure is a hands on activity aimed at four to ten year olds, which encourages children to engage their five senses when eating and enjoying food.

The Taste Adventure was launched by Slow Food UK and is supported by grainchain.com For those interested in taking part in the Taste Adventure, the next Taste Adventure will be at the BBC Good Food Show at Birmingham NEC on the 27 & 28 November 2010.

Here’s a video to give you a taster of The Taste Adventure.

If you are passionate about food and want to pass this passion onto children, then why not take them along to the Taste Adventure.

Let me know if you go along.

Rye-Wheat Macadamia and Sultana Bread Recipe

With the summer season upon us, treat the whole family to freshly made home-baked loaves for picnics and barbeques.

Rye-Wheat Macadamia and Sultana Bread

Ingredients for one small loaf or approximately 8-9 small rolls.

  • 75g white sponge
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 100g light rye flour
  • 140ml warm water
  • 7g yeast
  • 4g salt (5g if using saltless sponge)
  • 5ml vegetable oil
  • 40g macadamia nuts
  • 40g sultanas

Method

  1. Mix the strong white flour, rye flour, water, yeast, salt and sponge to form a dough.
  2. After the mix has come together, add the vegetable oil, then gently mix in the nuts and sultanas.
  3. Leave to stand for an hour in a warm draft free place (or just before the surface of the dough begins to crack).
  4. Shape as it is soft enough into the “torpedo” shape by flattening the dough then tucking in the sides before rolling up into a boat like shape.
  5. Fold the sides together before rolling on the board to seal the dough.
  6. Place on a greased tray before leaving to stand for about 45 minutes.
  7. Move them to the oven just as fine surface cracking is beginning to show.
  8. Dust with flour and slash 3 diagonal cuts across their backs or one long slash down their length.
  9. Bake in the oven at 220-225°C for 25-35 minutes.
  10. To make small rolls use approximately 50g portions and mould in the same way.

    If you do not have white sponge, add 50g more to the white flour and raise the water to 170ml.

    Macadamia nuts are also high is beneficial monounsaturated fats which are proven to help reduce bad cholesterol levels as well as being a good source of protein and fibre. Further information and research about the health benefits of Macadamia nuts is available from the Macadamia Advice Centre website at www.macadamias.org.uk or by calling the helpline for more information on 020 7436 8800.

    Do you have any good bread recipes or recipes using macadamia nuts that you would like to share?

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Fruited Cornbread With Macadamias Recipe

With the summer season upon us, treat the whole family to freshly made home-baked loaves for picnics and barbeques.

Fruited Cornbread with Macadamias

Ingredients for one loaf or 8-9 small rolls

  • 220g flour (strong wheat)
  • 5g yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 20g raw cane sugar
  • 90g polenta (see description below of how to prepare)
  • 55g macadamia nuts
  • 80g milk
  • 90g jumbo raisins

Method

  1. First of all make up your polenta. Bring 670g of water to the boil and whisk in the polenta – leave to cool before use.
  2. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, raw sugar (such as Demerara), polenta and milk to form a dough.
  3. At the last stage, add the Macadamias and sultanas and mix in well so they are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  4. Leave to stand for two hours (the dough will have doubled in size leaving you over 500g for a loaf or two little ones).
  5. Shape by flattening the dough and then fold over length ways before rounding into a smooth ball.
  6. Leave the dough to stand in a warm, draft free place for about 45 minutes.
  7. Dust with flour and slash 3 cuts in each direction at 90 degrees and place on a greased baking tray.
  8. Bake in the oven at 220-225°C for 25-35 minutes.

To make small rolls, use approximately 50g portions and mould in the same the way.

Macadamia nuts are also high is beneficial monounsaturated fats which are proven to help reduce bad cholesterol levels as well as being a good source of protein and fibre. Further information and research about the health benefits of Macadamia nuts is available from the Macadamia Advice Centre website at www.macadamias.org.uk or by calling the helpline for more information on 020 7436 8800.

Do you have any good bread recipes or recipes using macadamia nuts that you would like to share?

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Spelt, Honey & Macadamia Bread Recipe

With the summer season upon us, treat the whole family to freshly made home-baked loaves for picnics and barbeques.

Spelt, Honey and Macadamia Bread

Ingredients for one loaf (500g)

  • 250g spelt wholemeal flour
  • 160ml cool water
  • 7g fresh yeast (buy from local bakers, supermarkets with fresh bakery section or health food stores)
  • 5g salt
  • 7.5g honey
  • 90g macadamia nuts
  • 5ml vegetable oil

Method

  1. Mix the cool water, fresh yeast and honey together in a bowl.
  2. Add the spelt flour and salt and begin kneading, adding a little water if it seems dry.
  3. Towards the end of the kneading add the vegetable oil.
  4. When the oil is properly incorporated,  add the Macadamia nuts.
  5. Leave to stand for approximately 1 hour in a warm, draft free place.
  6. Cover and give them a short time on a floured board.
  7. To shape for the baking tin: flatten, fold the ends over each other in the centre and then roll up for the tin.
  8. Leave to stand in the tin for approximately 45 minutes.
  9. Bake in an oven that is duller than hot because the crust will darken with the natural honey sugars: 200°C for 25 minutes.

Macadamia nuts are also high is beneficial monounsaturated fats which are proven to help reduce bad cholesterol levels as well as being a good source of protein and fibre. Further information and research about the health benefits of Macadamia nuts is available from the Macadamia Advice Centre website at www.macadamias.org.uk or by calling the helpline for more information on 020 7436 8800.

Do you have any good bread recipes or recipes using macadamia nuts that you would like to share?

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Sustainable Seabass Fishery Visit

On Saturday, 26th June 2010 we are taking my mother in law and father in law to Withernsea for a Slow Food North Yorkshire Seabass Fishery Visit.

Our host for the day will be Food Journalist/Historian/Chef/Beekeeper/local lad Gerard Baker. The day consists of going down to the beach to BBQ some fresh fish, have a picnic, swim (I grew up on the East Coast, do they not know how cold the North Sea is !!), set the shrimping nets and hear from Shaun all about the sustainable fishery.

In the afternoon we will then go to meet Gerard’s bees (10 min drive) where there will be the opportunity to ask questions and buy honey.

If you live in the area and are interested in eating locally sourced food then let us know and I’ll put you in touch with the Slow Food North Yorkshire Group. Look forward to seeing you there and if you can’t make it or live too far away for the Seabass visit I will tell you all about it on my return!

Tips For Peeling Hard Boiled Quail Eggs

I have been asked if there is an easy way to peel hard boiled quail eggs so here are a few tips to try:

* Older eggs peel more easily.
* Put eggs in fridge once cool and then they peel abit easier.
* Put the eggs into vinegar for 12 hours and the shell disintegrates and then you just peel the inner membrane off and rinse in cold water.
* Puncture the rounded end with the air pocket and peel abit of the shell and then roll on the work surface to break the rest of the shell making it easier to peel.

Roast Quail Stuffed With Prunes

My friend “Mama” has sent me a recipe for roast quail stuffed with prunes that she says tastes delicious and is very simple to make.

Ingredients

  • 6 Quail
  • 12 half dried prunes soaked in a little armagnac.

Method

  1. Baste quail with a little olive oil.
  2. Put prunes that have been soaked in almanac into the body cavity.
  3. Roast in a shallow dish  at 200 degs for about 20 mins.
  4. Serve with a mixed green salad and dressing.

This dish can work well as either a starter or the main course of a meal.

Enjoy – let me know if you try this dish and I’ll pass on your thoughts to “Mama”.

Recipe Suggestions For Using Duck Eggs

I am often asked if you can eat duck eggs and use them in cooking and baking.

Here is a list of ideas for using duck eggs in baking and cooking.

  • Making lemon curd.
  • Baking cakes – blueberry muffins.
  • Scrambling.
  • Poaching.
  • Making omelettes.
  • Frying for a cooked breakfast or egg and chips.
  • Pickled duck eggs.
  • Making quiches.
  • Hard Boiling for picnics and packed lunches.
  • Soft boiled eggs and soldiers!
  • Making pancakes.
  • French toast.
  • Egg Mayonnaise.
  • Cornbread tastes great using duck eggs.
  • Homemade cheesecake also tastes great using duck eggs.
  • Deviled eggs.
  • Scotch Eggs.

Let me know if you have any recipe suggestions you’d like to share then please leave a comment.

National Food Weeks In The UK 2010

I have been asked about national food weeks that are celebrated in the UK.

After a google search I have found the following national food weeks are celebrated in the UK.

Some of the dates are for 2009 and the dates for 2010 have to be confirmed.

  • British Yorkshire Pudding Day Annually on the 1st Sunday in February – Sunday 7th February 2010
  • National Bramley Apple Week (UK) 7th – 14th February 2010
  • National Chip Week UK 15th – 21st February 2010
  • National Bread Week 7th – 13th May 2010
  • May is Asparagus Month
  • National Honey Week (UK) 4th – 10th May 2009
  • National Doughnut Week 8th – 15th May 2010
  • National Herb Week – 6th – 9th May 2009
  • National Vegetarian week 24th – 30th May 2010
  • National Watercress Week 16th – 23rd May 2010
  • British Sandwich Week 16th-22nd May 2010
  • National Barbecue Week (UK)25th to 31st May 2009
  • National Salad Week (UK) 7th – 13th July.
  • British Cheese Week 25th September – 3rd October 2010
  • National Steak Week from October 12-18
  • National Chocolate Week (UK)12th – 18th October 2009
  • British Sausage Week 2nd -8th November 2009
  • National Curry Week 21-27 November 2010

Let me know if there are any other food celebrations in the UK that I have missed.