Tag Archives: Spanish Cooking

Playing Spaniards

Home-made paella, ready to eat.  Bad weather on and off these last few weeks has meant not much fishing for me, but at least I am eating well.

Fuet sausage ready to eat

It turned out to be my best fermented sausage yet.

More fuet

Fuet sausages, after nearly two weeks of drying.  These should be ready to eat in another fortnight or so.  I was expecting more Bactoferm-600 growth, but the culture in my freezer was old (way past the use-by date) and I did a complete antiseptic clear-out of the chamber during the last monsoon, perhaps removing the long-term resident 600 mould spores.  Before that, any sausage or cured meat would mould up almost immediately without me inoculating them at all.

Fuet progress

After 10 days of drying: the sausage is appreciably thinner, with pieces of fat standing proud in the casing, and small colonies of Bactoferm-600 mould (good mould) have sprung up too.  Current conditions inside the chamber are 70% relative humidity, temperature 14±0.5°C, moderate airflow speed.  Sorry for the poor quality image but it is dark inside both the room and the chamber itself.

With eggs, we have everything

One of my fishing buddies gave me a box of local breed chicken eggs – a very welcome present.  These are very good eggs, with a nice deep yellow yolk and rich taste.  With a surfeit of eggs one of the first things I made was tortillas; that is, tortillas española – a family favourite.

Closer to home I also made some ajitsuke tamago – literally ‘flavoured eggs’ which are a mainstay of Japanese restaurant ramen but can be eaten as-is and goes with most things.  In essence they are soft-boiled eggs that are stewed in dashi or ramen soup till it seeps into the whites which take up both the flavour and colour of the steeping-liquor.

Eggs are also good for baking: I put some in my homemade pão de queijo, which came out very nice.

The last of the eggs was despatched in an Indian dish – to be precise, a Parsee-Indian dish called ekoori, which is essentially scrambled eggs with a decidedly Indian flavour (recipe: Madhur Jaffrey).  I made this with my garden cherry tomatoes straight off the vine, and as a breakfast dish is pretty hard to beat.

Whilst plucking my tomatoes, amid a cloud of greedy mosquitoes trying to feed on me, I noticed a praying mantis lurking on the plant: always a welcome sight, and the first I have seen of the season.

Fabada Asturiana

One of the kings of charcuterie, or perhaps of winter one-pot dishes: fabada asturiana.  Mine contains homemade morcilla (Spanish black pudding) and home-cured salt pork – but I cannot pretend to have made the chorizo, which I paid a sinful price for to a Japanese importer.  Some of the more flightier recipes call for saffron, spices and other delicate ingredients but I found the chorizo, rich fat salt pork and blood sausage added more than enough flavour to the dish and anyway I reserve my stock of Spanish saffron, jealously, like some kind of culinary John Elwes, for such deserving dishes as paella and Muglai biryani.

It is a hearty peasant dish and needs nothing else other than some lightly toasted bread and of course, a rich Spanish red wine to wash it all down.

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Black puddings

these are made continental-style, in natural casings rather than black plastic and with browned onions instead of rice or barley.  I also added some garlic and paprika, so they are really more of a morcilla than a John Bull black pudding.  Straight after poaching they are cooled down in ice water, then they will keep in the fridge for a week or more.  Despite the Spanish flavour of the recipe, they eat just as well sliced and fried with an English breakfast, although I also plan on making the perfect winter dish fabada asturiana with some of it.

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