Sunday, 27 June 2010

Cooking Class - "Paella Campesina" and "Guitarras"

Last Friday I had my first cooking class,  I was the teacher.
My first student was my acting teacher, Barbara Woods. 
She teaches Meisner Technique, and I love it! You can take a look at her web here:
It was nice to change the roles and I have to say that she did a very good job.
We made a "Paella Campesina" for 4 people, and "Guitarras" as entrées.
You need:

  • 6 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Approx)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 Chorizo, Sliced (Barbara bought a Serbian one from the Mediterranean Warehouse)
  • 1 Teaspoon paprika "Pimentón de la Vera" ( Moore Wilson e.g., optional)
  • 1/2 Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 Peeled Tomato (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Red Capsicum (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Glass White Wine
  • 10 Prawns 

Rice and Legumes
  • 300gr Medium Grain
  • 100gr Boiled Chickpeas (The Turkish brand "Tamek" are my favourite)
  • 100gr Boiled White Runner Beans ("Bianchi di Spagna" from Mediterranean Warehouse)

  • Crushed Parsley
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed)
  • Black Pepper (Crushed)
  • 4 or 5 Saffron Strands (Crushed)
  • Salt to taste
  • Hot water (Approx. double volume of the rice)
Heat the EVO Oil in a Paella pan (30cm dia.)
Add the Garlic and the chorizo and fry for a minute on a medium fire.
Add the rest of the ingredients for the sofrito, stir for 10 minutes. 
Then add the wine and the prawns and stir.
When the liquid has evaporated add the rice and stir well.
Then add the hot water, the Legumes and the seasoning and stir well for the last time.
Cook on a medium fire until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked.

  • 2 Slices of sour dough bread (we used Normandy Rye from Mediterranean Warehouse)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic cut in half.
  • EVO Oil
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 Slices of Jamón Serrano or Prosciutto (Mediterranean Warehouse or On trays)
  • 2 Slices of "Manchego" Cheese (Mediterranean Warehouse or On trays)

Toast the bread and rub the garlic on to it.
Pour some EVO Oil.
Cut the tomato in half and squeeze it over the toasts.
Put a slice of "Jamón Serrano" and "Manchego Cheese" on top.
A comer!

For dessert Barbara brought some Dates that we ate with Manchego cheese, it was delicious!
Thanks Barbara!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Happy Matariki! Filled Eggs

Matariki is the Maori New Year. It's the name of the group of stars called the Pleiades, the rise of Matariki occurs on the last days of May and the celebrations start at the sighting of the next new moon, normally in June. This year was on 14 of June.  It was the perfect excuse for me to make this recipe that according to the tradition (or maybe just to my family tradition) it can only be made on Christmas or New Year.
So Happy Matariki!
You need:
  • 6 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Home-made Mayo (Approx.)
  • 1 Can of Tuna in Brine
  • 12 Stuffed Green Olives with red Pepper
  • 50g Cooked Green peas, (Approx.)
  • White Asparagus, Canned (On Trays in Petone) 
For the Mayo,you can follow this recipe but using the following ingredients:
  • 1 Egg
  • 150ml Sunflower oil
  • 50ml EVO Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt to taste
Peel and cut the boiled eggs in half.
Remove the yolks and place them in a bowl.
Mash the yolks thoroughly, then add the tuna and mix well.
Now add 3/4 of the Mayo and mix.
Then fill the white eggs with this mix by using a spoon and place them in a tray.
Put a little bit of Mayo on each egg and put an Olive on top.
Sprinkle the Green Peas all over the eggs.
Put some white asparagus around them.
This is delicious with slices of sourdough bread, preferably toasted.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

"Mahonesa" How to make a Mayo in less than 5 minutes

Mayo or Mahonesa is basically a sauce made by emulsifying oil and egg. "Mahonesa" sauce is a Spanish salsa. According to wikipedia:
"The most probable origin of mayonnaise is that the recipe was brought back to France from the town of Mahon in Menorca (Spain), after Louis-François-Armand du Plessis de Richelieu's victory over the British at the city's port in 1756. According to this version, the sauce was originally known as salsa mahonesa in Spanish and maonesa in Catalan (as it is still known on Menorca), later becoming mayonnaise as it was popularized by the French."
You need: 
  • 1 Small Egg
  • 150ml of Oil (I used a good EVO Oil)
  • 1 Tbspoon of Lemon Juice or vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Mustard (Optional)
  • Salt to taste
Put first the egg in the beaker, then add the oil and the rest of ingredients.
Put the stick/hand blender at the bottom of the beaker, blend at low speed and lift the blender slowly. You'll get something like the picture. Done! 
This "mahonesa" is not very thick, if you wanted it thicker you'd need to add a bigger amount of oil. And remember, you shouldn't keep this Mayo in the fridge for more than 3 days, it is not like the one from the supermarket ok? that's why I've used just one small egg.

And here it is the purpose of my "mahonesa":
White asparagus, lettuce, and homemade sour dough bread.
I've added this video by popular demand:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

EVO Oil - Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We can't talk about Spanish Cocina without mentioning EVO Oil. It is present in almost every Spanish recipe, including desserts. In my town most of the families own a piece of land full of olive trees, sometimes inherited from their parents. There are still families who get together to pick up the olives. My older sister's husband used to have one of those "olivares". I was hardly a teenager at that time and I didn't have much motivation to help with the labour of picking up the olives: the idea of getting up early in the morning in winter, sometimes at minus something degrees didn't seduce me too much... until my sister came to my room and whispered in my ear the gastronomic delights my mum has cooked the previous day for the ones who went to pick up the olives. I was the first one jumping into the van. I was already hungry.
Olives trees now are planted in many places around the world, including New Zealand. And you can find EVO Oil in almost every supermarket all around the world. But why is Olive Oil so popular?
  • EVO Oil tastes better than any other oil.
  • It has more Vitamin E (natural antioxidant) than others, so lasts longer.
  • And contains a high amount of monounsaturated fat, good for your heart.
"Deep frying" doesn't sound healthy but it depends on which oil are you using. And good news, deep frying using EVO Oil is actually healthy!
  • EVO Oil smoking point is 210ºC, much higher than any other edible oil and higher than the ideally temperature for frying food, 180ºC. Butter, for example, breaks down at this temperature and forms toxic products.
  • Frying in EVO Oil creates a crust on the food surface that doesn't allow the oil to penetrate into the food, making it less fatty. 
  • It can be reused more times than any other oils without loosing its properties and its volume increases when heated, so literally it "grows".
But remember:
  • Never mix EVO Oil with others oils when you deep fry and don't use it more than 3 times.
  • After frying, filter the oil in order to remove the possible food particles.
  • Use always enough volume of EVO Oil to cover the piece of food completely.
  • The Oil has to be always hot, 130ºC min. so that the food doesn't absorb any oil.
So all good! 
Ready for "Spanish" Fries?

Friday, 4 June 2010

"Conejo en escabeche" Spanish Rabbit Marinade

According to the Merriam-webster dictionary:
Main Entry: escabeche
Function: masculine noun
Language: Spanish
: brine (for pickling) 
I have to say that "escabeche" is a lot more than that. It's not like a pickle at all, it's a dish itself. I'm afraid, there is not a word in English to define this delicacy, hence let's call it "escabeche" (pronounced "esca-bercher"). And when you try it you will know what I am talking about.
For this particular one I've used rabbit but other meats can be used, also fish and some kind of shellfish.
You need:
  • 1 Rabbit, like this, you don't need to become a hunter, rabbits are sold in Moore Willson at the meat section, they are skinned and gutted, ready to cook! You just need to cut it into pieces.
  • 70 ml EVO Oil
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 2 Carrots, Sliced 
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Unpeeled
  • 20 Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Bay Leafs
  • 6 Cloves
  • 2 Sprig of Thyme
  • Salt to taste 
  • 200 ml White Wine Vinegar
  • 500 ml Water
Pour the EVO Oil in the pot, this time I've used my presser cooker, it's faster and it will tenderise the meat.
Fry the rabbit and the chopped garlic on a medium/high fire until golden brown.
Then add the onion and carrot, stir well.
Add the spices and stir. Cook for 15 minutes on a low/medium fire, stirring when necessary.
Pour the Vinegar, water and salt to taste.
Close the lid, bring to pressure and cook for 25min.(You may need to look the instructions of you pressure cooker for the right time, unless you have a Fagor Pressure Cooker)
Reduce Pressure and remove the lid.

Cover and leave to cold.Then put it in the fridge for a day. 
Waiting worth it.
This dish can be kept in the fridge for at least one week and every day it's more tasty!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

"Pimentón de La Vera" The best Smoked Paprika

"Pimentón" is an essential ingredient in the Spanish "Cocina" 
"Pimentón de La Vera" can be found almost everywhere in New Zealand now, it's one of the best Spanish Paprika, be careful when you buy it and read the label at the bottom, this one is "sweet" but there is a "hot" version too.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

'Lentejas estofadas" Lentils Stew

 This kind of dish is what we called in Spain "comida de cuchara" which means "spoon food".  It's traditionally eaten as a main course for lunch, preferably with a piece of bread. It can be a very good vegan dish if you don't include "chorizo" and you can always add any other vegetables other than carrots.
You need:
300 g Lentils (Organic Brown Lentils Cerec are my favorite)
1/2 Onion
3 Cloves of garlic
1/2 Red capsicum
2 Carrots Sliced
1 Potato (peeled and sliced)
1 Teaspoon of black peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
4 Sundried Tomatoes (Optional)
2 Cloves (Optional)
1 or 2 Chorizos Sliced  (Optional for non vegans)
Put all the ingredients in a pot, cover with hot water and cook on a very low fire until the lentils are cooked (for about one hour, depends on the kind of lentils).
Cook the "sofrito" in the meantime.

4 or 5 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO Oil)
1 Tablespoon Spanish paprika ("Pimentón de la Vera")
3 Chopped garlic
5 Segment of Onion
2 Tablespoon Concentrated Tomato or 1 Cup of pasatta
2 Tablespoon Apple Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
Salt to taste

In a small frying pan poor the EVO oil and fry the garlic and onion, add the pimentón, stir for a minute and add the tomato salt and vinegar , stir well and poor the mix into the pot of lentils (when the lentils are done). Stir well and cook for other 5 minutes more.
A comer!