Continuing with this month's theme, here are some of my favourite foods, including the recipe to a dish that I have made so many times I can cook it with my eyes closed.
The food of my childhood
I'm very biased, but I think the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest and tastiest you will find. It's so varied, seasonal and simple. One of my favourite dishes is a simple tomato salad made with Valencian tomatoes, a clove of garlic finely sliced, a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. To me, nothing means summer like tomatoes, peaches or watermelon. I find that fruit and veg in Valencia are so local that smell and taste completely different.
Another one of my weaknesses is iberico ham. At home we often get a big ham for Christmas and it's become a bit of a tradition. Whenever I can I bring some back to the UK with me, as although it can be found, the really good kind is prohibitedly expensive over here. Last week my mum sent me back to the UK with half a ham, I kid you not! Her butcher sliced it all and packed it in airtight bags, so it is safe to travel with it. I feel like I will be sharing it with my friends quite a lot, as there is no way I will get through all that on my own!
Coming from Valencia I've eaten my fair share of paella. The best kind is usually the one you will eat at home rather than what you find in restaurants, although there are a few good places to eat it in Valencia. The general rule of thumb is that the less fancy the place looks, the better it will taste. I learned to cook it from my dad and have all the step by step instructions from him in a notebook so I'll probably post it here soon. However, it is arroz al horno that makes my heart sing (top right photo). My granny used to make it every Saturday. It's made with pork ribs, chickpeas, potato, tomato but the star ingredients are black and white pudding, which I buy from the butchers in Sueca, the town she lived in, and bring back to England every time I run out. They're more crumbly than the British kind and they have all sorts of spices which make the house smell lovely when you're cooking them. They taste so good that even if I overcook the rice, the intense spicy flavour can mask a multitude of mistakes. I love to cook this for friends and it brings back so many happy memories!
Although I like all sorts of food and don't stick to Spanish food here, there are a few things that are just really easy and that I've grown up with, so I make them time and time again. These are Spanish omelette, pisto and stewed lentils, amongst others. If you'd like to see any of these recipes in the blog, leave a comment below and I will happily make them. Cooking Spanish food always sends me on a trip down memory lane and I love it!
Linguine with smoked mackerel
This is a dish that is so simple yet so tasty that I really like to cook it when people come over for dinner because it makes me look like a better cook, ha ha. I first saw it made by Nigella Lawson and thought it sounded delicious. When I looked for the recipe I only found a video but I've made it so many times now that I don't follow the recipe anymore and so I think it's gone a bit off piste. I love the contrast of the sweetness of the sultanas, the salty flavour of capers and the depth of the smoked mackerel. Another recipe for the blog, perhaps?
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and what I focus on to make sure I stay on the healthy side. If I have a good breakfast, I don't normally snack during the morning and it motivates me to continue to eat healthily for the rest of the day.
I tend to switch up what I eat in the morning quite a bit, but this tends to be a rotation of avocado on toast (add spinach at weekends for brunch), porridge with all sorts of toppings and smoothies. Deliciously Ella has a recipe for raw buckwheat porridge with blueberries that I really love! Another one of my favourites is a slice of toast with olive oil, grated tomato and a slice of cured ham. Yum!
Vegetable tagine with couscous
This is something I can make with my eyes closed. It's so easy and quick that it makes a perfect midweek supper. The leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day and it's very healthy
1 courgette, diced
1 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of cinnamon
4 tbsp sultanas
1 tin of tomatoes
Half an onion finely sliced
1 tin of chickpeas
1 pint of vegetable stock
Put a dash of olive oil in a sauce pan and fry the onion on a medium to low heat. When it's soft, add the spices and courgette. Mix it all and then add the chickpeas, tinned tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down a bit so it simmers for about 20 minutes.
In the mean time, add some boiling water to the couscous and cover it with some cling film so that it cooks while the stew is on the hob.
After 20 minutes it's all done and you can enjoy this very simple dish!
I don't know about you, but my mouth is watering now! Earlier I said I enjoy food, whether it is cooking it or eating it. Now I've also discovered you can add talking about it to the list!
What are your favourite foods? I'd love to hear!
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