I made this wee promo for the legend that is Sarah Savoy for her new cook book “The Savoy Kitchen, A Family History of Cajun Food”, and I thought I’d share it with you. Sarah also plays traditional Cajun music with her band The Francadians, and is one of the most awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure of filming. Christmas is coming, and why not have gumbo instead of turkey this year? You can get the book via www.kitchenpress.co.uk or amazon, probably, and while you’re cooking up a storm you could listen to her on spotify, if you like?
For a while now I’ve been advocating that the Spill could expand to be more adventurous than just a music blog. After Zala’s painting success I tried photos, dead flop, no one came. So how about food? Everyone likes food, right?
So here’s a very simple and topical recipe that anyone can try; since we’re all in the middle of a tomato glut, at least I am.
I don’t know what I did wrong/right this year but we’re deluged with tomatoes just now in a way that’s never happened before and there’s only so many that two people can eat.
Just about every day I pick about 10+ lbs of fresh tomatoes, whatever we do there’s always that amount sitting on the kitchen counter, almost all Brandywine heirlooms, the best tasting tomato in the world, bar none! Gina gave me an ultimatum, NO MORE TOMATOES, she’d canned/salsa-ed and preserved enough to feed the the 5,000! And yet they kept coming and they will continue to keep coming, there’s many dozens still on the vines!
So today I decided to try something, Tomato Soup. It’s very simple, takes about 15 -20 minutes.
I always use peeled tomatoes in anything I cook, it’s just a thing about not liking tomato skins in food, so let’s begin by peeling the tomato’s.
It’s very simple, start with a saucepan of boiling water, have another of cold water in the sink. Add your tomatoes to the boiling water and keep an eye on them, depending on size within about 2-3 minutes you’ll see the skin begin to split; quickly scoop them out and into the cold water! With an apple corer scoop out the top stem, If your timing was right the entire skin should just fall away, if not, poke at it.
You’ll get a feel for the timing fairly quickly, if you leave them in the boiling water too long they’ll become soggy and cooked, too short, more difficult to peel, work at it.
Once you have a quantity of peeled tomatoes quarter them and set them aside.
Peel and slice half an onion and chop small. Saute it in a saucepan in olive oil ’til soft, add the quartered tomatoes and any spices that you think necessary plus some chicken, broth; I use organic and for 10+ lbs I used less than a quart. I add about a half teaspoon of very hot African peppers, it doesn’t make it hot but gives a lovely warm afterglow.
Let it sit.
In another saucepan melt about 3/4 of a stick of butter, when melted begin to add flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time with constant stirring with a whisk.
Keep adding until it gets very stiff and then add a ladle of tomato juice, stir ’til smooth and then add some more juice, keep going until it’s a creamy thick paste and then add it back to the original.
You’ll have a wonderful rich tomato soup much better than anything you ever bought from Heinz! Give it a few stirs and let it cool ’til the spouse/significant other/sweetheart comes home at 5 o’clock. He/she will think that you’re absolutely fabulous and will offer to type your impending cook book for you. Have a baguette at hand.
As they/she says, bon appetit! Enjoy and feel free to improvise freely, I did.
Let me introduce you to the newest member of the Abahachi household: Pat (named after my late father-in-law). Pat may look like a galvanised dustbin with a few holes in it, but this is actually my new smoker, in which I put to work the skills and knowledge acquired at a course last week (birthday present from Mrs Abahachi). So far I have smoked bacon, salmon, chicken, scallops (delicious), mackerel, cheese and salt; in this picture you can see Pat smoking some haddock for next weekend’s kedgeree, and at some point I plan to smoke some malt so that I can make Rauchbier. And if you come to the West Country Social – looking like mid-September, but there’s plenty of time still to register your availability – you’ll be able to sample some of Pat’s products, plus my home-produced cider, beer, bread, apple juice…
Beginning with apologies for a blatant format swipe of recipe and song from Steenbeck’s blog! It’s wonderful, if you haven’t yet checked it out.
Tincanman‘s challenge this week has started the gastric juices flowing. Some wonderful recipes (some new and some old family favourites) have been hinted at, alluded to and one already offered by Fintan on the Challenge itself.
Edit: We’ll start by asking you to share your favourite barbeque recipes here, adding an appropriate song or tune to go with the recipe. It doesn’t need to be a barbeque themed song – you can post that on the Challenge. We can cover grilling meat, fish, vegetables and marshmallows (!) next week, and salads and deserts after that, if there is sufficient interest.
This one is dead easy. It’s also really scrumptious. Loads of lovely liquid to dip crusty bread in as well as the chorizo itself. It’s originally from Asturias in Northern Spain but can be found all over the place now.
250 grams of chorizo. The soft, cooking kind not the cured, slicing kind.
Half a litre of cider (farmhouse / scrumpy not Woodpecker or Strongbow)
Rinse the chorizo and pat dry.
Pop it in a saucepan with the cider.
Cover and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Slice the chorizo into bite size chunks and serve with the remaining liquid. Loads of crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Simple recipe. Simple, straightforward, classic Asturian new wave, Los Ilegales with Tiempos Nuevos, Tiempos Salvajes.
A tapa I first came across in Seville, although you can find it all over Andalusia and the rest of Spain. Mrs Maki quite often does this as a meal and serves it with plain white rice and some garlic mushrooms.
SOLOMILLO AL WHISKY
2 or 3 pork fillet tips cut into slices
1 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves, which should be crushed but left unpeeled
1 glass of whisky (or brandy)
Juice of 1 lemon
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan
Add the cloves of garlic and gently brown
Add the slices of pork fillet and brown
Add salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
Add the whisky and either flambé or let the alcohol evaporate. (Better flambéed).
Cook through for a minute or so.
Add the lemon juice and half a glass of water.
Cover and simmer for two or three minutes.
Serve with chips (UK version) and crusty bread for mopping up the juices.
Here’s a rumba from Rosario Flores, the youngest daughter of Lola Flores and Antonio González, “El Pescaílla”
Some of the best tapas are really just made with leftovers. This is another great way of using up bread that’s past its best and really is one of my favourites. There are many variations on the theme but this one is pretty standard and not too difficult to get right.
Half a kilo loaf of white bread (proper bread, mind, none of that sliced rubbish!).
3 cloves of garlic.
2 soupspoons sweet paprika.
4 soupspoons water.
3 soupsoons olive oil.
50 g of serrano ham cut into little cubes.
12 slices of chorizo.
It’s a good idea to prepare the breadcrumbs the night before. Cut the crust off the bread and break up into crumbs.
Finely chop the garlic and mix with the water and the paprika. Mix with the breadcrumbs stirring vigorously to make sure they all get coated with the mixture.
Roll the mixture up into a ball shape and wrap in a damp tea towel. Set aside for 12 hours.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Toss the crumbs in the oil till they are crisp but not burnt.
Flatten them a little and add the ham and the chorizo. Stir well, heat through and serve immediately.
Great with a really cold beer. Some people like to add grapes to the migas just before serving.
This dish reminds me of a hotel out in the wilds of Castile that I used to teach residential courses in. Here’s a song from Celtas Cortos – one of whose members used to pop in from time to time, as his uncle lived just up the road.
One of the staples of any Bar de Tapas in Madrid are the Patatas Bravas.
Here is a recipe:
700 gm Potatoes.
500 ml Tomato Sauce (see below).
1 hot red pepper or a generous splash of Tabasco.
3 soupspoons of olive oil.
Plenty of oil to fry the potatoes in.
Peel potatoes and cut up into bite sized chunks.
Fry the potatoes in plenty of oil and set aside.
Crush the hot pepper and fry it in the 3 spoonfuls of oil.
Tip the oil and pepper over the potatoes and make sure they get a good coating.
Add the tomato sauce* and mix, making sure the potatoes don’t get soggy.
Lightly fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat. When transparent add the garlic, tomatoes and bayleaf. Cook over a low heat and crush the tomatoes into the sauce as they soften. When the sauce is more or less smooth add salt to taste and a teaspoon or so of sugar. Cook very slowly for at least 45 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce. Strain.
These Patatas Bravas are often served with Ali-Oli sauce (often advertised as Patatas Bravioli). I like the mixture. Others don’t.
Here’s a quick recipe for Ali-Oli for anyone who wants to try them that way.
250 ml low acidity (0,4º) olive oil
2 soupspons water
1 soupspoon red wine vinegar
2 gloves finely chopped garlic
Pinch of sugar
Place all the ingredients in a liquidiser.
Start mixing slowly and continue mixing until you have a mayonnaise type consistency.
Here is Antonio Flores with Pongamos Que Hablo de Madrid.
What to do with that loaf of almost stale bread and those over ripe tomatoes? Here’s a couple of ideas. SALMOREJO
This is a tapa or starter from Corboba and is reminiscent of Gazpacho, although the consistency is considerably thicker.
1 kilo ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic (more if you like it really tangy)
1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (from a loaf – not the “bought” type)
250 ml olive oil
1 tablespoon good quality wine vinegar
2 hard boiled eggs
strips of serrano type ham
Put the tomatoes and garlic in a food processor and whizz till you get a fine paste. Add the bread crumbs and whizz again. Reduce the speed a little and gradually add the olive oil, the vinegar and the salt. When you have a smooth paste, put in bowls and refrigerate. This used to be done with a pestle and mortar but it’s so much easier this way!
Serve well chilled with chopped boiled egg and the ham to garnish.
PAN TUMACA (Tomato Bread)
This started life as a way of being able to eat stale bread. The recipe has a thousand and one variations (do you toast the bread? Do you smear the tomato directly on the bread or make a mixture beforehand?) Here are the two main schools of thought. Try them and choose the one that best suits your tastes. They’re both good.
Crush a clove of garlic and slice a nice juicy, ripe tomato in quarters. Take your chunky slices of bread (toast them lightly beforehand, if you want) and firstly rub them lightly with the crushed garlic. Repeat the process with the tomato, rubbing a bit harder this time. Lightly sprinkle (or spray) with olive oil and salt.
Whizz a clove of garlic and a couple of tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt. Toast (or not) your slices of bread and smear with the mixture.
Both types are really good as a side dish, especially when there’s some good jamón serrano, cheese or salchichón on the table.
Here’s the song Córdoba from Medina Azahara to accompany the Salmorejo and Como Un Burro Amarrado en La Puerta from Catalan group El Último de la Fila for the Pan Tumaca.
One for our veggie friends this week! Courgette (Zucchini) omelette (omelet).
200 ml Olive oil
1 kilo courgettes (unpeeled)
2 onions (chopped)
In half the oil gently fry the onions, well seasoned with the salt. Wash the courgettes and without peeling, slice finely and fry with the onions until transparent. They shouldn’t be fried for too long or they will go mushy and lose their flavour. Remove from the heat and put in a colander to drain.
When well drained, heat in a frying pan with the remaining oil. Beat and season the eggs. Pour over the courgette and the onions mixing gently. Reduce heat and allow to set slowly. Using a pan lid or a large plate turn the omelette over and cook the other side until golden.
Once cold, cut into six slices and serve with a little mayonnaise on slices of ciabatta. Decorate with fried peppers if you like.
A Mediterranean recipe so it has to be Joan Manuel Serrat’s Mediterráneo.
Our local fishmongers is full of boquerones and sardines right now. Here’s another maki family recipe that will no doubt get a few outings over the next month or so.
16 large sardines
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 soupspoons capers, drained and finely chopped
35g parmesan cheese, grated
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
fresh milled black pepper
juice of two lemons (to serve)
Heat oven to 200ºC (Gas mark 6)
Grease an oven tray with a little olive oil.
Clean sardines, remove head and bones carefully. Wash and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Mix together the breadcrumbs, the crushed garlic, the capers, the parmesan and a little fresh milled black pepper and bind with the egg yolk.
Stuff the open sardines, pop them on the oven tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Can be served either hot or cold, doused with the lemon juice. Must be eaten with fingers, which are to be licked afterwards. A glass of cold White Ribeiro or Albariño is recommended. Failing that a dry Rueda would do.
The mixture can be prepared in advance and refrigerated (separately from the sardines). If you do this you will need to stuff the sardines an hour or so before baking them to get the right results – otherwise the mixture will be too cold.
This tapa always makes us think of the North of Spain, so here’s the piper Carlos Nuñez from Galicia playing a typical Muñeira with the Chieftans.
I’m a big fan of the “Tapa de Cocina”. One thing is the slice or (hopefully) slices of some fine charcutería that the barman will plop down on the bar alongside your drink and quite another is the lovingly prepared mini dish of some regional speciality that you may have to order and pay for but ends up being a mini starter in itself. This tapa is one that I have enjoyed many, many fine sunny evenings sitting with an ice cold cervecita on the pavement terraza outside Bar Góngora in Seville. Give it a try, but if you can get to Seville and order it in the aforementioned bar, so much the better. It’s called “Espinacas a la Andaluza” or “Espinacas con Garbanzos” or Spinach with Chickpeas, and that basically is all there is to it. Ingredients (for six)
2 big bunches of spinach
1/2 kilo of chickpeas
4 cloves garlic
2 slices of bread
1 dessertspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
White wine vinegar
Guindilla (cayenne pepper or similar) to taste
Soak chickpeas overnight. Cook until soft or al dente as you prefer. Definitely better soft, imho.
Wash spinach. You can also use frozen spinach for this dish, if you can’ t get fresh.
Cook spinach on a low heat for ten minutes, once the spinach is cooked, drain and chop roughly.
In a frying pan on a medium heat, fry the bread until it is crispy golden (then remove) and cloves of garlic (peeled but whole) until soft – the garlic will take a bit longer. The slices of bread should be the equivalent of two slices from a Spanish stick which is about two and a half times as “fat” as a baguette. Once the garlic is done, remove the pan from the heat.
Using a pestle and mortar, make a paste of the fried bread and garlic, adding a generous splash of vinegar, the cumin and cayenne pepper.
Once the oil in the frying pan has cooled somewhat, add the paprika and fry, taking care not to let it burn. Return the frying pan to a low heat and add the paste. Stir well. Add the spinach and chickpeas and cook through, stirring frequently for ten minutes.
Season and serve in individual earthenware dishes with slices of fried bread.
I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. Simple recipes for tapas. This is a first try and although I’m confident about the recipe, I’m not so sure how it’ll work with the fish you have access to. If anyone tries it, I’d appreciate feedback. Mrs Maki and I have a lot of tapas recipes. We love going out for tapas, of course, but sometimes it’s a lot of fun to try them out at home and have a little more control over the freshness etc of the ingredients.
This is the way we prepare Cazón en Adobo.
Cazón is a member of the shark family. Dogfish or “rock” are two of the names it goes by in the UK.
1 lb (and a bit) of cazón cut into bite size chunks
1 teaspoon sea salt
For the marinade;
1 wineglass of sherry vinegar
1/2 wineglass of fino wine
2 soupspoons of sweet paprika
1 soupspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
Flour. There is a special flour they sell here for frying fish. I find that a mixture of two parts plain flour to one part cornflour is a pretty good substitute if you can’t get hold of it.
Clean the fish. Make sure there are no bones and cut into bite size chunks.
Add salt. Don’t worry about oversalting as the marinade tends to absorb most of it.
Mix together the marinade ingredients.
Put a layer of fish pieces in a a glass dish. Add half the marinade. Put in a second layer and add the rest of the marinade. Cover and put in the fridge overnight. Give it a stir from time to time.
Drain the fish well. Once it is drained, pat dry with kitchen paper and coat well with the flour mixture. Put the fish back in the fridge for half an hour.
Heat a generous quantity of oil in a frying pan to about 170ºC or 180ºC. Fry the fish in small batches till the batter is a crisp golden brown, making sure the oil doesn’t overheat at any time.
Serve with crusty bread and a cool glass of beer or fino, as is your wont.
*There will be vegetarian tapas later in what, I hope, will become an occasional series.*
As this is a tapa that is typical of Cadiz, here’s an Alegría.
I don’t really have time to do this properly, and I really ought to be doing several other things – but since everyone else is clearly in the same position, that is going to provide the theme for these last-minute stopgap EOTWQs. Apologies for the fact that they’re rather mundane, but it’s that sort of day, and in any case I’m hoping that in true ‘Spill fashion the most mundane questions will actually yield the most fascinating answers…
1. What domestic task do you complete every week without fail – or get very twitchy if for some reason you’re prevented from doing so?
2. What is the task that you will avoid doing by any means possible?
3. What thing do you always forget – genuinely forget, rather than accidentally on purpose – to do?
As some of you may recall, I recently had a trip to New Orleans . As a lover of jazz, blues and cajun/zydeco, this has been on my wishlist for years, and I was not disappointed (thanks for the research, ejaydee). I can see why Ray Davies chose to live there (until getting shot, and health problems, drove him back into the arms of the NHS). My yen to visit was piqued by the TV series ‘Treme’ (from The Wire’s David Simon, on Sky this Spring – highly recommended). Given the eclectic tastes of most spillers, N’Awlins is a music lovers heaven. Music oozes out of every pore. Buskers, bars, clubs & parades mean you are almost always in earshot of some aural pleasure or other (tho’ like everywhere else, some buskers are clearly trainees). And it’s ‘all the day, and all of the night’, as Ray would say. If that wasn’t enough, the place itself is such a treat. This is a US city where walking never died out as a mode of transport, and when your feet are tired there’s the streetcars and – for tourists – the mule carriages and Mississippi steamboats. Katrina remains an ongoing and shocking scar on the American dream. The population has halved, whole districts have been pulled down as health hazards and left as wasteland. Black families who had lived there for decades have seen their land revert to the city, if they couldn’t prove title. Others have had to downsize as the insurance and Government aid wouldn’t pay to rebuild what they had. But on the surface the place has been resuscitated, the French Quarter and Garden District are as gorgeous as ever, the joint is jumpin’, and the food to die for, despite BP’s best efforts (don’t miss catfish; bread pudding). We had a whale of a time there, and can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve spliced together a few musical moments off my camera, to give a little taster. If you’ve not been, add it to your list.
We were there for haloween, which as you can imagine is a big thing in Voodoo city. And the Saints were playing the Steelers. And there was an amazing annual 3 day music festival in City Park, which sadly I didn’t make. The Irish community had a parade. And the sun shone. ‘Party atmosphere’ just doesn’t do it justice. And at the end of the trip, you can take some of it home, via a credit card binge at the top record store, Louisiana Music Factory…
We haven’t had a food post for a while, so I thought I’d post one.
OK, it was a coldish and wet evening and I wanted some proper comfort food tonight – sausages with whole-grain mustard mash and onion gravy.
Sausages and mash is just one of the truly great things to eat. Porky loveliness plus silky mash and rich gravy. It is just heaven on a plate.
The sausages were Waitrose Gloucester Old Spot with sage, given a nice slow cook in a heavy black iron pan with a slick of oil (Matthew Fort-style sausage cooking) and the mash was made with Desiree potatoes that I put through the ricer and then reheated with butter, milk, Maille whole-grain mustard and finely chopped parsley.
For the gravy, I slowly cooked two thinly sliced red onions in some oil until they were coloured and beginning to caramelise, I added some flour, stirring to amalgamate the oil with the flour and added a slug of Marsala, making a roux to which I added some beef stock (I cheated here because I used a powdered beef stock base rather than a fresh stock) and simmered until it thickened slightly.
I love sausages with mustard, so I had a dollop of Dijon Mustard on the side, but English mustard would work well too.
As this was a hearty dish, most red wines would go well. We drank a Rhône red wine, a 2008 Vinsobres AOC, a wine that is a blend of Syrah and Grenache and a lovely fruity, spicy wine.
Thanks to Panthersan for the “souperstar” post! Here’s the recipe for anyone who might want to try it!
Summer’s here and Gazpacho is back on the menu. A refreshing, tangy, cold tomato soup from Andalusia.
I make no claims as to authenticity but this is the way we make it in Casa Maki. (You can, of course, increase the quantities but this has to be consumed fresh – the longer you keep it, the more vitamins you lose!)
1 kilo of (over) ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
a pinch of cumin (stops the garlic repeating)
Salt to taste
1 small green pepper roughly chopped (or half a bigger one)
1 small white (sweet) onion roughly chopped
half a small cucumber (with most but not all of the skin peeled off) roughly chopped
150 ml virgin olive oil (as this is a raw dish it needs to be good quality)
50ml (minimum) white wine vinegar: add more if you want it more tangy
200g stale bread (no crusts) soaked in cold water and then squeezed to remove excess moisture.
Bung this all in the liquidiser and zap till you have a smooth paste/liquid.
We then put it through a food mill to remove skins and pips – this is a matter of taste.
Add ice cold water to obtain the consistency you want. We like it pretty thick. We tend to drink the stuff in glasses. It needs to be in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before you consume it – or you can cheat and add ice cubes and stir until they melt if you’re in a hurry!
If you want to have it as a soup you can tear up some crusty baguette or similar, dice tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and even melon to garnish and eat with a spoon.
My father-in-law used to enjoy this at the end of a long, lazy, summer lunch, garnished with grapes. A very different take on this classic dish – and quite delicious!