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25 Mar

Torrijas 2013

Torrijas because we are almost in Easter. There is nothing I miss more (besides my family) than eating torrijas in Spain in these days. Everybody cooks their own version, so the best way to cope is make mine too.

This year I decided to make them in a mini version, using milk bread. They are so nice. You can use any other bread you like or have anyway. I used the same torrijas recipe as last year.

Before I get into the recipe, I want to say a big SORRY. School is taking most of my time. I love it because I learn so much and it feels right that I am there. But it also feels exhausting and I miss posting more often in here. I wish and hope I can catch up here again soon. Therefore, I am going to chance a little bit my posting schedule as it doesn’t sound realistic anymore. Anyhow, I have plans to publish in here, to improve the design of this site… ooooh, I just need TIME. Why is it not unlimited??

Recipe for torrijas

Ingredients for 10-12 torrijas:

– 1 or 2 days old bread or brioche / milk bread.

– Milk infused with the peel of a lemon and a stick of cinnamon and 2 tbps of (vanilla – optional) sugar.

– 2 eggs beaten

– 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1tpsp of cinnammon

Steps

0. Start heating oil in a frying pan. Oil should cover well the whole surface of the pan. It must not be super hot, torrijas are quite delicate.

1. When milk has cooled down (less than 104ºF/40ºC), soak bread in. You must pay attention to how much milk the bread has absorbed, if it’s too much, you won’t be able to handle bread well.

2. Immediately after soak the slice of bread in the beaten eggs.

3. Right after, fry them in olive oil, both sides. Transfer to a plate when they are golden as in the picture.

4. Repeat this action with all the slices.

5. As soon as you can, coat into the sugar + cinnammon mixture every torrija and let them cool down.

Notes:

The cinnammon and sugar coating will melt with the heat of the fried torrija while it cools down. That coating will give torrijas a nice brightness as you see in the pictures.

Don’t soak too many slices of bread at the same time, just the slices you can put right after in the frying pan. Thus, you will avoid the risk if disintegrating bread  ;)

Enjoy torrijas and Easter!!

15 May

15th May: Rosquillas de San Isidro

Today is San Isidro Labrador’s holiday. San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and some other cities of Spain.

This week there a lot of parties in Madrid’s streets, normally concerts and some other activities such as traditional dances and other performances. If you’re in Madrid today, I would have suggested you to go to Plaza Mayor. But giving this year’s circumstances, maybe it’s better to avoid it or at least to get informed beforehand. The reason: because today is the first anniversary of Spanish Revoution, and that zone might be too crowdy (and full of not very nice policemen, be careful…)

Going to a much more delicious topic, of course, food always have a seat in any Spanish holiday. In San Isidro’s case, we talk about rosquillas. Rosquillas (/rohs-kee-yahs/) are the translation of the word doughnut, even though they have nothing to do with american doughnuts.

Although I have been living almost my entire life in Madrid, I tried them last year. There are 4 types:

1) yellow color are called “listas” (/leestah-s/), which means smart doughnuts. That yellow icing uses to taste like lemon and the dough is also soaked in some syrup. These are my favourites.

2) tontas (/tohn-tah-s/), which means silly doughnuts. They have no icing on top and they are not soaked in any syrup either.

3) de almendras (/deh-al-meh-n-drah-s/), which are topped with chopped toasted almods (almendras) and icing sugar. Nice but too dry for me, because they are not soaked in syrup.

4) Santa Clara (/Sahn-tah–Clah-rah/), is the name of another Saint, and I have no idea how it’s related to that meringue icing they have. They are also soaked in syrup. These are my second choice.

Happy San Isidro’s Day!!

Categories: San Isidro
23 Mar

Torrijas

If you have a spaniard around and you want to make them happy during Easter time, torrijas are the answer for that. Torrijas (pronounced /to-rree-has/) are in every spaniard’s sweet and good memories of this season. If you go to Spain right now (I wish I could myself), you are about to see torrijas in almost every pastry shop. Since about now until the end of Semana Santa (The spanish Holly Week).

Torrijas are very close to the french pain perdu, but there are some differences between them. The pain perdu or french toast is a slice of bread soaked in a milk + eggs mixture. Torrijas are traditionally old bread soaked in milk, and then, in beaten eggs. Torrijas are fried in olive oil and french toast is fried with some butter.

Torrijas have only a few varieties to be served with while french toasts have a wider repertoire, either sweet or savory.

Traditionally, there are 3 kinds of torrijas: most popular of milk (the ones you see in this post), sweet wine and honey. Last year I went on a little crusade in Madrid in order to try new torrijas and different flavors. I think that “short tour” deserves a different entry, you’ll see.

My mother has always made torrijas with milk, and she used to pour over a syrup I didn’t like at all. I always thought torrijas weren’t that great because of that syrup until I tried one friend’s grandma’s torrijas, they didn’t have that syrup, they were either dry (no syrup) or floating in more milk (delicious!). After I tried them that year (remember, we only eat torrijas in Semana Santa (Easter time)), I suggested her to separate some torrijas without syrup for me next time. She did so and they were great! Everybody loved them.

My first batch of torrijas were cooked in 2006. It was a bit of a mess because I was studying in UK and didn’t have the normal spanish bread around, so they looked like this (yes, those were my photographic skills at that time). The resultant flavor was nice anyway.  After coming back from UK, I think I didn’t dare to do them again, I had my mother there, and some pastry shops selling them too (at a very expensive price, but I was buying time for me, too).

This year I decided that I am making torrijas again. I even made torrijas bread myself. There is no need to make the bread yourself if you have nice baguete bread near you. The traditional torrija is made from 1 day (or 2) days old bread, so it soaks milk easily. Therefore I made torrijas bread (it is also sold in Spain in bakeries) which is nothing else but a brioche bread, yeasted bread with butter basically. It is a very close recipe to Roscón de Reyes but without any blossom orange water.

Ingredients for 10-12 torrijas:

– 1 or 2 days old bread or brioche bread.

– Milk infused with the peel of a lemon and a stick of cinnamon and 2 tbps of sugar.

– 2 eggs beaten

– 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1tpsp of cinnammon

Steps

0. Start heating oil in a frying pan. Oil should cover well the whole surface of the pan. It must not be super hot, torrijas are quite delicate.

1. When milk has cooled down (less than 104ºF/40ºC), soak bread in. You must pay attention to how much milk the bread has absorbed, if it’s too much, you won’t be able to handle bread well.

2. Immediately after soak the slice of bread in the beaten eggs.

3. Right after, fry them in olive oil, both sides. Transfer to a plate when they are golden as in the picture.

4. Repeat this action with all the slices.

5. As soon as you can, coat into the sugar + cinnammon mixture every torrija and let them cool down.

Notes:

The cinnammon and sugar coating will melt with the heat of the fried torrija while it cools down. That coating will give torrijas a nice brightness.

Don’t soak too many slices of bread at the same time, just the slices you can put right after in the frying pan. Thus, you will avoid the risk if disintegrating bread  ;)

Torrijas are good for breakfast, dessert, merienda (mid afternoon time), before going to bed… summing up: They are always great!

I hope you like them.

Have you ever heard about torrijas? Have you ever tried them?

Have a nice weekend!!

28 Feb

Potaje

Hola!

Here I am again. My apologies for my absence this month!

Even though I have just started this blog I am really happy that some of you guys appreciate this. Thanks to Vicky from Avocado Pesto, this blog has been nominated for this award:

Liebster Blog Award consists in make nominations to blogs which have 200 followers or less which deserved to be noticed. Thanks a lot!!!! I am really happy someone thinks this blog deserved to be noticed :) If you have this award, you should nominate yourself 5 other blogs. I list some blogs but I am not sure if they have less than 200 followers… I looked at their twitter in case they have or blogger followers in case they have, if not, I look at their number of comments per entry.

My Liebster Blog Awards go to:

– Kat of Our Adventures in Japan, one of my favourite blogs! I love Japan and I love everything Kat tells about her husband and her life there!

– Antonia of Swedish Love Affair. She runs a fantastic blog about her life in Sweden. She writes a bit about food but mostly about her daily life and Swedish culture. Lovely pictures, lovely blog.

– Karaimame of Acquiring Taste Blog, I have been following Karaimame for a short time, but I really like her pictures, blog. I love her background too, japanese roots but raised in Brazil and now living in Finland. A combination like that in a food blog can’t go wrong!

– Cate from Girl Cooks World, again, I love international lifes. Cate is from Hawaii but she cooks any sort of international dishes and she takes fantastic pictures!

– Vytran from Beyond Sweet and Savoury, vietnamese husband and wife, they make a blog with great pictures and for the short time I have been following them for a short time now, but I really like their blog which really deserves to be visited!

Thanks a lot again! Now let’s go and have something to eat ;)

Today I would like to introduce you to the savoury dish for the spainish Lent. Cuaresma (spanish word for Lent) started along with Shrove Day last week in some countries. However, we don’t celebrate Shrove Day (I do just because I love pancakes!!) in Spain. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday the day after Shrove Day.

I must say that although I am not a believer, Spain used to be a very catholic country. There are a couple of representative dishes of this religious season. My aim is to show you both. One is sweet and the other is savoury. The savoury is potaje.

According to Lent religious traditions, Potaje is eaten on fridays, because friday is the day when meat is not allowed to eat.

Nowadays if you travel to Spain in Lent, it’s very likely that you find potaje in the menú del día (menu of the day) every friday. You will also see meat, traditions are not that strictly followed anymore.

Potaje is made with 3 main ingredients: dried garbanzos (chickpeas), spinach and bacalao en salazón (cod cured with salt). But what really empowers these main ingredients are garlic and a paprika (they also give the color to this dish). To make this dish even richer, surface is garnished with chopped boiled egg.

Traditionally white beans are also added, but I prefer to keep it simple.

Potaje de garbanzos

Adapted from Recetas sencillas para novatos y cocinillas. Cocina Española

Ingredients for four servings

400 gr dried chickpeas (they should be in water the night before you cook them, to soft them a little bit, garbanzos are a hard legume)

200 gr spinach (I had frozen spinach, always better to have them fresh!)

250 gr cod cut into walnut sized pieces (I didn’t have a salt cured cod, aka bacalao en salazón. If you do, you need to have it in water the night before with chickpeas. Note that if you use fresh cod it will be spread all over the soup than if you were using salt cured cod. Salt cured cod will result more like chunks in the soup)

1 garlic bulb (don’t worry, it gives flavour but it’s not that much garlic flavour ;))

3 tbsp sweet paprika

1 onion quartered and chopped in slices

2 saffron threads mashed in a mortar / saffron podwer if you have it

Salt to taste

Boiled eggs (They are for garnishing the dish when serving. Therefore I just boil 1 egg because I use to freeze the rest of potaje)

Steps

0. The night before: put dried chickpeas and bacalao (in case is salt cured) in water (cold for both, but lukewarm if you only have dried chickpeas) until the next day. Drain them when you are about to use them.

0. You can also boil eggs in advance. One / half egg per person is fine.

1. Add chickpeas and garlic bulb in a pot with boiling water and let them simmer 60 minutes. Check if chickpeas are tender for your taste or not. Chickpeas are a very hard legume which calls for some patience, if you find them very hard yet to eat, let them simmer for a little bit longer, check, and so on.

2. While chickpeas are simmering, you can fry the chopped onion with a medium-slow heat until they are very tender, transparent. Then, add the paprika until is well spread all over the cooked onion. And then, add spinach again until paprika flavour is well distributed.

3. When chickpeas are ready, is the moment to add bacalao (remember, if it’s fresh it will “break” into bits, nice anyway! ;) if it’s cured, you will apreciate chunks in your potaje)

4. Then, spinach, onion and paprika mix. Stir the soup to distributed everything. Add saffron and stir again.

5. Wait for 5 minutes and it’s done!

* Potaje and other legume soups / stews are much better if you eat them the day after. The flavours improve with a day of rest.

* Vegetarian version of this dish is very simple to do. Just omit cod and boiled egg and that’s it!

* I always drizzle a bit extra virgin olive oil to empower potaje’s flavour ;)

06 Jan

Roscón de Reyes (Wise Men Cake)

I am not sure if this tradition is so famous everywhere. I certainly know there are other countries beside Spain which also celebrate this holiday. Anyway, today is Día de Reyes in Spain. Yesterday’s eve (5th January) the Reyes Magos (aka Wise Men) make all their way to Spain by camels. These Wise Men go first to offer their gifts to Jesus Christ Baby. Afterwards, they visit every house in the world in give every child a gift.

The night Wise Men are coming to spanish houses, every family leave for these men and their camels something so they can rest and enjoy a little bit. I used to leave lettuce leaves and a bucket of fresh water for camels. My parents told me Wise Men like champaigne and turrones (spanish christmas sweets).

But what we really always have done on the 5th january in my family is one of the best traditions ever: Eating Roscón de Reyes all together. Roscón de Reyes is a brioche – like pastry aromatized with orange blossom water and covered with almonds, sugar and iced fruits.

I love Roscón de Reyes. One of my favourite pastries ever. The smell of orange blossom water… ohhh. It’s usually filled cream or chocolate cream as a sandwich for a meal between lunch and dinner in Spain. Bear in mind that in Spain lunch is at 2 pm and dinner at 9 pm. So around 5 pm is when meet with your family and eat this delicious treat. With milk, drinking chocolate… whatever. It’s lovely.

I just posted these pictures in my spanish blog. I was intending to take some more pictures to the rest of Roscones I just baked today, but I didn’t want to delay this entry.

The recipe of Roscón de Reyes is from a blogger friend of mine. It always gives great results.

Have a happy day!!!

Update: Roscón de Reyes Recipe

Adapted from Albahaca y Canela

Ingredients for 2 roscones (1 big and 1 medium size)

– 650 g strong flour
– 250 ml milk room temperature
– 25-30 g fresh yeast (in cubes) equals to a packet of instant yeast
– 120 g sugar
– 120 g butter room temperature
– 2 eggs and one egg yolk
– 1 tsp salt
– 3 tbsp orange blossom water
– 3 tbsp rum (optional)
– Grated peel of an orange and a lemon

For garnish:

– Candied fruits to taste. I always put only candied orange (I candy oranges always this way), as I don’t like other candied fruits.

– Sliced almonds to taste.

– Sugar and water mixed (3 tbsp sugar + 1 tbsp water, don’t mix them until it’s time to garnish).

– 1 beaten egg to brush.

* We also put a surprise inside the roscon. It uses to be an oven proof piece treat, for example, a porcelain shaped wise man. My thing is that I always forget to buy it before baking, so I never put it in… The tradition says that whoever finds it, will pay roscón. Anyway, nobody is going to pay mine ;) Traditionally, it was a dried legume instead a porcelain piece. For instance, a big bean. Last time I improvised putting a bean and everybody in my family were worried thinking the finder will break their tooth… So I don’t improvise anymore.

Steps:

0. Starter dough: Put half of the milk with two tbsp of the flour and yeast. Mix them altogether and cover it during an hour. It double its volume.

0. Aromatize sugar with orange and lemon peels. Mix with your hans both peels with sugar. You will see how sugar gets colored and citrus aromatized.

0. Mix rest of the flour and salt.

1. Put in a bowl of a stand mixer sugar, eggs and mix them. Add in orange blossom water and rum.

2. Add in the starter dough, milk and rest of the flour.

3. Last ingredient to add: butter. Always has to be the last addition. The dough will get a bit sticky, but that’s gives the lovely moisture to roscón.

4. When all is completely mixed, knead the dough for 10 minutes.

5. Make a bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth for 2 hours. It will double its volume.

6. Knead a little bit again and divide dough in two parts: one bigger and one smaller.

7. Shape them like doughnuts but make the hole much bigger and thinner sides. It should look like a hawaian flower necklace. People form the dough either on a rectangle or a circle (according to your taste and available plates at home ;)).

8. Brush the dough with egg for the first time. Leave it to rest another hour covered with a kitchen cloth (I put something higher than the dough in the middle so egg brush doesn’t stick to the cloth.

9. Start preheating the oven at 350ºF degrees / 200ºC degrees.

9. Brush it again with egg and garnish it, how:

Put candied fruits, and sparkle sliced almonds and sugar+water mix. The sugar+water mix should be like small rocks. I brush a little bit once again.

10. Put it in the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until it’s slightly golden (if it’s too golden, it’s almost burnt, oven light can be a bit tricky). I also open the oven 5 minutes before the baking end and brush once more again. The reason why I brush for a third time is because dough increases its volumen again within the oven and some parts look like “broken dough” without any egg wash. I think it looks better this way.

11. Leave it in a cooler tray.

Serve it with whipped cream or chocolate whipped cream.

Roscones last around 3 days or so with a nice texture. Just be careful and cover them well while you’re not eating it ;)

Whipped Cream ingredients:

250 ml whipping cream (35% fat at least)

3 tbsp of icing sugar

Whip cream and sugar until it forms peaks.

Chocolate whipped cream ingredients:

250 ml whipping cream (35% fat at least)

4 tbsp of icing sugar

2 tbsp cocoa podwer

Mix them and whip them until cream form peaks.

Categories: Reyes
23 Dec

Merry christmas!!

Even though I really wanted to post a longer entry than this one today, I finally decided there were too many things to do these days (such as staying all I can with my family and cook with and for them!).

Instead, I leave you with my best wishes for you and your loved ones in these days.

Hopefully before 2012 I will let you know what was behind that cloth that you see in our table… I think you are going to like it, a lot. Wait for it, you’ll see :)

Enjoy christmas!!

Categories: Navidad
13 Dec

Unexpected post: Memories…

This is a surprise entry!

Today I remembered I had some pictures of christmas time in Madrid years ago, when I just ended my degree at university (around this time of the year, but 4 years ago). I had almost month to walk around, rest, stay with my family and friends before I started my internship in a big company.

This is Plaza de Callao in Madrid. One of my favourite spots. One of my favourite moments: reading a book in a Starbucks' sofa with these views...

Puerta del Sol in Madrid. I think there's a bigger tree this year.

Very close to the place of this second picture you can find one of the most famous pastiseries of Madrid, la Mallorquina. Right now they must be selling artisan turrones, which is a christmas sweet I will talk about soon.

Categories: Madrid, Memories, Navidad

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