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.

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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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”.

Blueberry Muffins With Duck Eggs

My husband and I love blueberry muffins, so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz/225g soft margarine
  • 10 oz/275g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 duck eggs – beaten
  • 11 oz/300g self raising flour
  • 8 oz/225g blueberries – washed

Method

  1. Cream the margarine and sugar together.
  2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla essence.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Stir in the blueberries until they are mixed into the mixture without getting mashed up.
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin cases. Fills 12 cases. Or use grease proof paper cut to fit the muffin tray with some excess paper around the edges.
  6. Place in the oven 180-200 degrees for about 30 minutes. Check after 15 minutes that not browning too much on top.
  7. The muffins are ready when golden brown on top and when you place a knife in the muffin the knife comes out clean.
  8. Remove from over and allow to cool a little still in the muffin trays and then place on a cooling rack.


Makes 12 large muffins. Muffins can be eaten as they come or served warm or cold with custard or yoghurt.

Zucchini Muffin Recipe

Here is a Zucchini Muffin Recipe sent in by Helene of  Countryside Connection and Once Upon A Pine. Helene has also includedwith the recipe recommendations for healthier / dietary substitutions as well as changes she has adopted over the years. The original recipe has been provided with subsitutions and changes noted in brackets. Helene says, “Everyone always loves these and they are definitely a family favourite.”

Zucchini-Nut Muffins

Ingredients:

3 cups flour, sifted (I use half wholemeal flour and half white)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda (American name for bicarbonate of soda)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I love extra spices, so always increase the amount or add some fresh grated nutmeg and a bit of allspice as well as the cinnamon)
1 1/2 cups sugar (Splenda works perfectly for diabetics or those restricting sugar intake; using one cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar is also a great option)
4 large free-range eggs
1 cup oil (I subsitute with 1/4 c. oil needed for moisture content and 3/4 cup homemade applesauce)
2 cups unpeeled, coarsely grated zucchini
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins or sultanas (I prefer sultanas and use a VERY generous 1/2 cup)

Method:

Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add oil in slow, steady stream, beating constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add zucchini and vanilla and blend well. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

Fold in dry ingredients just until batter is evenly moistened. Do not overmix.

Note: This works just as well using a large mixing bowl and mixed by hand with a large wooden spoon.

Fill 22 paper-lined muffin cups (or butter cups well if like me you prefer to prepare without paper linings) 2/3 full with batter. Bake at 175 degrees C. for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from pans to cool.

Note: Makes 22 muffins, or if larger muffins are preferred, fill about 16 cups to the top (butter around the top of the muffin tin for easy removal) This recipe can also be used to make a dozen medium size muffins and one small loaf of zucchini bread.

To freeze: Wrap individual muffins or small loaf in foil and when ready to use, simply remove the foil and reheat from frozen in warm oven or smaller toaster oven – tastes freshly baked every time.

Enjoy!

Let me know what you think of Helene’s Zucchini Muffin recipe when you try it.

Chef Mike Robinson’s Top Ten Tips for Christmas Dinner

With christmas just around the corner there is no better time for me to be sent the top chef and TV presenter Mike Robinson’s top ten tips for Christmas dinner,

The Perfect Roasties

  1. Top chefs recommend goose fat  for roasting potatoes for a reason – the fat’s high burn point makes them perfectly crispy.
  2. When roasting the potatoes, always pre-boil them until the outsides are starting to soften, then drain and take them outdoors to shake vigorously – the cold air will help fluff up the outsides of the potatoes beautifully.
  3. Make sure the roasting tray for the potatoes is really hot, then add plenty of goose fat and tip in the potatoes – brown them a little on the hob before putting the roasting tray into the oven.
  4. Try roasting whole bulbs of garlic with the potatoes – the insides of the garlic cloves will become lovely, sweet and gooey.

Tender Turkey

5. For tender turkey you want the meat to be cooked through but try cooking the bird for slightly less than recommended and resting it for longer than suggested. For example if it suggests cooking the bird for 3 ½ hours and resting it for 15 minutes, try cooking the bird for 30 minutes less and resting the cooked bird for an extra 30 minutes – the result will be splendid!

Impress with Easy Veg

6.  If you are worried about timings during Christmas lunch, then pre-cook the sprouts, cabbage and other veg the day before. To do this cook the vegetables until ¾ done, then plunge them into iced water to keep them fresh. They will keep perfectly until the big day, when all they need is 2 minutes in boiling water to finish them off. 
7. Parboil parsnips and then roast them in goose fat for 30 minutes, brushing them with honey for the last 10 minutes of cooking – these taste amazing!

Try Pheasant

8. As an alternative to turkey – try roasted pheasants instead. These are great value, easy to cook and very seasonal. Try to get hen pheasants and roast them for 45 minutes at 200c. Then leave them to rest for a further 30 minutes. One hen pheasant will serve two.

Christmas Leftovers

9. Chop cold turkey, sprouts and potatoes and fry in goose fat till piping hot, stir in a teaspoonful of grain mustard, divide onto plates and top each one with a fried egg for a perfect Boxing Day brunch.
10. Try crumbling leftover Christmas pudding into a bowl of custard and churning it into Christmas pudding ice cream.

Mike Robinson is chef and patron of the award winning Pot Kiln. He is also a regular presenter and guest chef on UKTV Food and Saturday Kitchen.

Do you, like Mike, have any top tips for Christmas dinner? If you do then I would love to hear them.

Macadamia Fruit Crumble

I have been sent a recipe for macadamia fruit crumble so I thought I would share it with you as it sounds like a great pudding suggestion for the Winter months and a healthy alternative to all the Christmas pud, cake and mince pies weare bound to consume during the festive season. This delicious crumble is a much lower cholesterol and GI alternative to many traditional puddings, so go on indulge yourself!

Macadamia Fruit Crumble
Ingredients 

  •  4 fresh apricots, or 100g dried ready to eat apricots.
  • 1 sweet red dessert apple.
  • 2 bananas.
  • 25g butter.
  • 25g soft brown or demerara sugar.
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup.
  • 75g porridge oats.
  • 25g sunflower seeds.
  • 50g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped.

Preparation / Cooking Instructions

  1. Set the oven to 190°C or Gas 5.
  2. Stone and slice the fresh apricots or roughly chop the dried ones.
  3. Core and slice the apple.
  4. Put the fruit in a small pan with 1 tablespoon water.
  5. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes until soft, shaking the pan occasionally. Leave a few minutes to cool.
  6. Peel and slice the bananas and put them in an ovenproof dish.
  7. Spoon the apricot and apple mixture over.
  8. Warm the butter in a medium pan with the sugar and syrup until the sugar dissolves.
  9.  Mix in the oats, seeds and most of the macadamia nuts.
  10. Spoon this over the fruit to cover it. Sprinkle with the rest of the nuts.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Serve warm with fromage frais, greek yogurt for healthy options or custard, cream or ice cream for a more indulgent pudding.

Serves 4.

A range of healthy eating recipes, in depth information and research about the health benefits of Macadamia nuts is available from the Macadamia Advice Centre website.

Salmon & Macadamia Salad

I love having salmon in a salad and adding some macadamia nuts is a great addition making a very healthy salad which makes a great light lunch at any time of the year.

Salmon and Macadamia Salad

Serves 4

Salmon and Macadamia Salad

Salmon and Macadamia Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon steaks
  • 100g toasted macadamia nut halves
  • 150g green salad leaves
  • 8 sundried tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Seasoning

Preparation / Cooking Instructions

  1. Grill the salmon and flake.
  2. To toast the macadamia nuts, place halved macadamia nuts in a dry frying pan and cook until golden, shaking regularly.
  3. Whisk oil, mustard and vinegar, mix together with leaves and season.
  4. Divide into 4 servings and sprinkle the salmon flakes, nuts and sundried tomatoes over the green salad leaves.

Click on the link for more information about facts and nutritional value of macadamia nuts.

A range of healthy eating recipes, in depth information and research about the health benefits of Macadamia nuts is available from the Macadamia Advice Centre.