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Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

Beetroot fritters

Tasty starter that we made this summer. Was really delicious and made up for the disappointing main course that followed. The day that I discovered too much parsley is not good. Thanks to the Guardian for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 250g cooked beetroot, grated
  • 100g cooked chickpeas roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 free-range egg
  • ½ tsp salt and some black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • For the yoghurt sauce
  • 1 big pinch saffron threads
  • 250g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt

Method

Very simply add all of the ingredients together and shape into patties. Shallow fry in very hot olive oil and serve with the yoghurt. 

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Smoked Haddock Fish cakes

Boxing day starter this year was my job. I thought, what would be nice and different from the beef that was  to follow and I decided on fish cakes. Smoked haddock seemed like a perfect flavour that cuts through the potato and also meant that I didn’t need to add something like chilli to make it interesting. Also very quick to make. You can even make them a few hours before.

Ingredients

  • 400g smoked haddock
  • 400g potatoes
  • large pinch of saffron
  • sprig or two of flat leaf parsley
  • milk
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt and pepper

Method

Pre heat the oven to 200C. Put the fish into a baking tray and just cover with milk. Bake the fish in the milk for about 25 mins to half an hour. While the fish  is in the oven,  make your mashed potatoes, setting them aside to cool when they are done.

When the fish comes out of the oven, peel away the skins and flake the fish into a bowl and leave it to cool. When both the fish and potatoes are cool enough to handle, mix them together with the saffron, parsley and season. You can shape them into whatever shape you like, I went for a kind of croquette shape and then shallow fry them in hot olive oil until they’re nicely browned.

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Things have been a little quiet at “The Pear Tree” recently. But we have been making lists of things we want to cook and things we have been practicing and  will be posting shortly. Another thing is that I keep forgetting my camera when we are at restaurants or markets or places where we have had amazing food. I am working on this, so hopefully more posts in the coming days. Here is a traditional Greek salad, without lettuce.

It was made for the night of the Eurovision song contest, for which we made food from a lot of countries. Bangers and Mash – UK, Goats cheese – France, Chorizo and Salchichon – Spain Smoked fish- Scandinavia and a shredded beetroot salad to represent the Ukraine, Moldova and other other eastern European countries. I love beetroot.The Greek Salad was dressed with fresh Olive oil from our friend Gabri’s mother. It is truly delicious.

Ingredients

  • fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 small cucumbers, diced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • feta cheese
  • black olives, pitted
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • a little salt

Method

Chop the ingredients and mix together. drizzle with olive oil to finish and season with a little salt.

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Over Easter we were in Cordoba, the home of Salmorejo (it’s on every menu), and I defy anyone on return NOT to attempt to make it. This really is peasant food at it’s best. The over ripe tomatoes that are no good for salads, stale bread, some garlic which is in abundance everywhere in this country, off cuts of jamon as a garnish (optional) some olive oil (not peasant food where I’m from in south east England, but in Spain, Europe’s largest producer, it is!) and a dash of wine vinegar. It just tastes so fresh and if you get the right tomatoes, you get this wonderful salmon colour in your bowl. Good luck, this is really worth having a go at.

Ingredients

  • 500 g  ripe, red tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 stale loaf, crust removed (spanish/french stick is perfect)
  • 1 tbsp spoon vinegar
  • 4 tbsp spoons of olive oil
  • big pinch of rock salt
  • jamon, chopped to garnish

Method

Put all of the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt in a bowl. or blender and, you guessed it, blend. Then Slowly add the bread to make a thick soup. Garnish with bits of chopped jamon and a drizzle of olive oil. Refrigerate and serve cold.

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Cooked a very simple, yet delicious Tuna Nicoise, salad for lunch. Found some great new potatoes to go with this and made a dressing with Dijon mustard.

Ingredients

serves 2

for the salad

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 4 small new potatoes
  • salad leaves
  • 1 tomato sliced into eighths
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 red onion finely sliced

for the dressing

  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

for the eggs

Place the eggs in cold water in pan. Bring to the boil and once boiling cook for a further 5 minutes for sof boiled and 7 for hard boiled. When the time is up, plunge the eggs into cold water to stop the cooking process.

for the dressing

2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Then add Dijon mustard to taste and a little salt and pepper. Then lightly dress your salad and assemble your ingredients.


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Gazpacho

Spain’s summer soup is wonderful on a sunny day. If you can get good ingredients it just tastes so fresh. Originating from Andalucia this dish is classic Spain.


Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 slices of stale bread made into breadcrumbs
  • 2 italian green peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 5 tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • bread for croutons
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

Peel the tomatoes by dropping them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then the skin will fall of more easily.

Add all of the ingredients into a food processor, in batches if so required. And blitz into a smooth consistency, adding a little water to help the process. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Serve with croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Usually canned products aren’t renowned for their quality, but here in Spain some of the most amazing  quality products come from a can. I remember Anthony Bourdain being blown away by some of the amazing produce found in cans in the north of Spain. These mussels are so tasty, and I like to have them as an appetizer. These came in olive oil and Jerez Sherry wine vinegar, others come with spices and are equally as good… But if you come to Spain, my advice is to get some because they are delicious. I’ll photograph the packaging when I get a chance.

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