This recipe is adapted from Claudia Roden. This cake has north African and Spanish roots. According to Claudia, citrus cultivation and trade was particularly associated with Sephardi Jews around the Mediterranean, and there are any number of orange cake recipes in Sephardi culture.
This cake is remarkable for its total lack of both butter and flour. You could use five or so clementines or tangerines instead of the oranges.
Don’t worry if the cake sinks as it cools, or in fact turns out looking rather boring. Trust me it is delicious, especially if served as a pudding with freshly sliced blood oranges and whipped cream.
Aka quince cheese, membrillate (Spanish), cotognato (Italian), pate de coings (French) and marmelata (Portuguese), this has to be one of my favourite things to do with quinces. It is the classic accompaniment for manchego cheese, but also very good with aged cheddar.
The trick is to avoid graininess, a common flaw. Quinces have tiny rock-hard grains in their cores, which will pass through just about any sieve. Most recipes tell you to cook whole quinces then blitz and sieve the lot, but this results in grainy membrillo. So remove the cores before or after boiling the quinces. I prefer after, as a) cutting cores out of raw, hard quinces is tricky, and one of these days I will slice right into my hand, and b) the cores and pips help add colour and pectin, so better to leave them in until just before you sieve.
The other tip is to add some acidity in the form of lemon juice or tartaric acid, to balance all that sweetness.
This hearty stew hails from Asturias, in northern Spain, where they grow the best white beans. The beans are dried and then used in this dish year-round. It really is the beans that make the dish – they are large, white and uniquely creamy and should be the most expensive ingredient in your stew since true fabas Asturianas sell for a small fortune. This dish does not take much effort, but do give it time – five or so hours if possible. There is probably nothing better on a dark, chilly evening than a steaming bowl of smoky fabada accompanied by a glass of deep red Rioja.
I had this twist on the traditional Spanish tomato and bread soup at La Taberna del Pindal in Arenas de Cabrales in Asturias, Spain. The trick, I discovered later, is to roast half the beetroot to bring out its lush sweetness, and grate the other half raw to keep its vibrant colour and fresh taste. Combined with the usual tomatoes, peppers and onions it makes a fantastic purple gazpacho, which is even better the day after it’s made.
This recipe is adapted from one by David Tanis, chef at Chez Panisse and author of ‘A Platter of Figs’, among other good things. You can make it a few hours before serving, but do not refrigerate or it may go rubbery.
These spicy kebabs are popular in Andalucia and originate from the era when the Moors occupied Spain. It works superbly with pork, chicken or lamb. Marinate the meat as far in advance as possible. This recipe is adapted from one in the fantastic Moro restaurant cookbook.
This week I bring you a more-ish warm salad, inspired by that Moorish
London restaurant on Exmouth Market. This one’s for Tara, who has
abandoned me at Chez Panisse to go and work at Moro for a while.
Hopefully I’ll get some more yummy Spanish recipes from her as a result.
All still goes well in the restaurant kitchen. I’ve had good days
(another soup proclaimed ‘delicious’ by the chef), bad days (a soup
proclaimed only fit for the compost), fun days (sausage-stuffing,
lemon-preserving, chicken-boning kinda days) and bizarre days (such as
the day I lost my bra strap somewhere in the restaurant, lord knows how
or when, but it must be there somewhere…).
This is a classic recipe, which we have practised at school. It is based on one by Julia Child in ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ (1961). It may not be trendy, but I like it. Hope you do too.
To make your water bath extra safe for your delicate custards, line it with a towel. This protects the bottoms of the custards from getting too hot. Don’t discard the vanilla bean (they’re expensive). Instead wash and dry it, then add it to a jar of sugar and leave for a few weeks, shaking occasionally. This makes delicious vanilla sugar, which you can use the next time you make a custard.
Sorry for the lack of Christmassy recipes. I could document the saga of
my Christmas pudding and Christmas cake for you (candying own peel – 6 days;
tracking down suet in a city where nobody’s heard of it – 10 days;
working out what to do with a huge hunk of fat cut straight out of a cow
– 3 days; preparing pudding and cake ingredients – 1 day and night;
baking cake – 5 hours; steaming pudding – 8 hours; feeding cake – 10
days), but I suspected not many would care to replicate this bizarre use
of time. Am I wrong?