Tag Archives: Spanish

Almond milk rice pudding with lemon zest and cinnamon

A warming and regressive pud, perfectly pitched against the cold and grey weather that is still lingering on in the April month… This will comfort your soul and make the world suddenly feel like a cosy and reassuring place! Don’t sue me if it fails though: can’t be held accountable for freak weather…

I love the spanish style rice pudding my grand-mother used to make for us, but I made mine with almond milk for a change and it fitted beautifully. Lately, I have enjoyed using almond milk for its subtle taste as much as its health benefits. It was delicious in Panacotta and today it sings away in humble rice pudding.

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Ingredients list:

  •  Almond milk (or full fat milk) 1L
  • Round or short grain rice, 170g
  • Zest of one lemon cut in big strips
  • Ground cinnamon, 1tsp
  • Brown sugar (or vergeoise) 140g
  • Butter, 50g
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped

Warm the milk in a pan and sprinkle the rice and spices and the lemon skin. When I peel the skin off my lemon (organic and unwaxed for this), I like those strips to be large and uneven: this is proper family food, not dainty party pudding.

Turn and check the rice often but the cooking should take about 45 min to an hour- sometime I put it in the oven for 1h30 at 150degrees. Towards the end, you add the sugar and the butter and mix it all in.

Alternatively, you can use a Thermomix and here is the step by step- this produces a lovely soft and pillowy result:

First insert the butterfly whisk and add the milk, rice, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon.

Cook 45 min at 90° speed 1.

The great advantage of course of the Thermomix over the oven version is you don’t have to watch it : just set the timer and go for a half hour run!

When you come back:

Add the sugar and butter and cook 10 minutes at 90° speed 1.

Remove the butterfly whisk and turn into a serving dish to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve at room temperature or cold the next day.

It’s heavenly! A spoonful of it and you get this happy, contented-baby, feeling all around the table… Regressive possibly but so good…


Paëlla “comme à la maison”

Gambas and paella for four

This is not a dish, it’s an event- and be prepared to take time over it even though this is a ‘quick’ version of mine and I have made it all under an hour several times. But some dishes taste better when they take longer… Choose your day.

Ingredients list: This will serve 6 to 8 people

  • Red and green peppers, 4
  • Green beans, 100g
  • 3 or 4 artichoke hearts
  • a handful of garden peas
  • Garlic cloves, 3
  • Olive oil, 100ml max
  • Diced pork or chicken, 1 kg (mix of drumsticks, oyster thighs…)
  • Mussels and shrimps, one bowl – add a few squid rings if you can
  • Rice, 500g
  • Spicy chorizo, to decorate

For the tomato sauce:

  • Garlic cloves, 6
  • Chilli paste or Harissa, 1 Tsp
  • Tomato paste, 4 Tbsp
  • Big tomatoes,8
  • Saffron, a pinch
  • Water 1L 500ml maximum
  • olive oil 100ml
    salt and pepper to taste

  • Lemons, quartered to decorate the dish

First cut up the peppers in large strips and fry in olive oil until soft. Remove the skin when cool.

Fry the green beans in oil and reserve.

Prepare the artichokes and fry the hearts. You can use canned hearts if easier.

 Tomato sauce:

Fry the chopped garlic in the same frying pan, with the chilli paste and a generous part of the olive oil; add the tomato paste and the chopped fresh tomatoes. I remove their skin first by dipping them in boiling water but you can skip that. Add the saffron strands by crushing them in between your fingers and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Reserve.

 Now, using a large, flat, paella dish or similar, fry some garlic and the meat in a generous amount of oil until brown. Add the tomato sauce and half the water and when the liquid is bubbling up, throw the rice in as a scatter, making sure you cover all of the dish with it but never with too thick a layer.   You have to have one part rice to 3 parts water eventually, so keep track of how much you are using!

Throw in the garden peas, fresh or frozen and add some oil- if there is any left. Let it simmer for 1/2hour. Try not to stir the rice at this point but just keep shaking the pan and move the rice up with a wooden spatula if you need to, to get the stock moving around. Add water or oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper- to taste. It will need about 30 minutes to cook through but keep checking so the bottom does not burn and the rice is kept moist. The proper paella stand will have several rings of flames so the dish is cooked evenly but you might have to cheat and move the rice about to achieve the same result on the stove…

10 minutes before the end of the cooking, add the seafood, the chorizo and the fried vegetables on the top of the cooked rice. If using large gambas (but not shrimps!), I pre cook them on a “plancha” or cast iron pan before putting them in. Finish the cooking by raising the heat for the remaining 10 minutes and cover with some foil to let it steep for another 10 minutes before you serve. Check the seasoning and serve with chunks of lemon to squeeze over each plate.

This for me is comfort food: a wonderful party dish for sharing with family and friends. When I am making it I feel incredibly joyous, as if I was connecting with a long line of women from the family, passing on the knowledge…

There is never enough and there is always enough paella for however big the party is – this dish is pure magic. These proportions will serve 6 to 10 people of varying appetites.

The version in the photo is a smaller version and just with gambas. More chic dinner than family party but just as good.

>Churros from Spain for this TGIF feeling!

>If the children happen to be on holiday on a Friday, I often take them to Portobello Market in the morning to have a browse around the clothes stalls, grab some cool T-shirts from Pinky Fish and get a plateful of “churros con chocolate” at Cafe Garcia, next to the supermarket of the same name. It is our treat and our pleasure to dip the fat Churros into a thick Spanish chocolate while sharing a few thoughts.

For the week-end, I give you the true Churros recipe from the bible of Spanish cooking by Simone and Ines Ortega “1080 Recipes”.

A holiday feeling with “chichis” (French Churros)

I tried it together with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingshall’s one in last week-end’s Guardian and I am afraid it won hands down for authenticity and speed – They were on par for taste with Hugh’s one being heaviest.

Ingredients list:
Boiling water 350 ml
Flour 175g
Rapeseed oil for frying
Icing sugar and cinnamon

Boil the water in a large saucepan.
Add a pinch of salt and the flour all in one go- do not worry about lumps!
Mix briskly with a wooden spoon until the batter gathers up and pulls away from the sides.
Take it off the hob and leave to cool.
Heat the oil in a wok or a chip pan.
Using a piping bag with the fattest possible opening, fill and squeeze the cooled dough out.
Make long fat Churros and cut them up as they come out to chuck into the oil.
Fry until golden.
Take out on some kitchen towel then dust with the sugar flavoured with a pinch of cinnamon.
Serve hot for breakfast with a cup of thick chocolate. This is Seville street breakfast at its best!

This is so easy I wonder why I never tried it before… But I will still take the kids out for it because it is really a street and café food and I love the buzz of the market.

>Smoked cod in onion and white wine, Spanish style


Fish is on the menu this week, may-be in anticipation of more exotic summer delights…

Ingredients list for two people:
1 large fillet of smoked cod
2 thinly sliced onions
1 handful of cold-water prawns
Pinch of smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
1 glass of dry white wine
2 Bay leaves

Sweat the onions until tender in a shallow cast iron pan with a bit of olive oil. Add the fish and pour enough wine to cover. Add the bay leaves, the spices and simmer on low heat for 20 min with the lid on. Serve with fried potatoes or a potato gratin.

Smoked cod is both healthy and relatively cheap so this is a perfect dish for entertaining on a budget! This recipe is also very good with Pollack (Colin).

There are lots of variations on that theme in the Spanish cuisine but this I love for its simplicity and robust flavours.