Sunday, 30 May 2010

Patatas Bravas, Fried Squid, Flapjacks and Beetroot Salad

An unlikely mix, to be sure!  Time was short this week, so here is a sample of what I have been cooking.  A lovely friend (hi Diana!) today wanted to know what to do with vegetables; ideas for new ways to eat our five-a-day.  I am someone who tries to plan what I am going to cook, and then just at the last minute I am inspired to do something completely different!  And the fact that I have a vegetable box each week means I have to be somewhat flexible, not knowing quite what I'm going to get.  If you have a question or a query, please ask, because you will by no means be the only one wondering what to do with your glut of courgettes or a strange looking thing like a kohl-rabi!
On to the recipes.  I have just been reading Jamie Oliver's new book, 'Jamie does....Spain, Italy, Sweden, etc'.  What a lovely, enthusiastic and inspiring man.  I actually found some squid in Waitrose, and decided to do some tapas.  Here is my interpretation of his recipe.

Patatas Bravas (Fierce potatoes)

4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked off
1 tsp each paprika, fennel seeds and salt
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, crumbled (or one fresh, finely chopped)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 400g tin tomatoes
1 tbs sherry vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Parboil the potato pieces for about 15 minutes, until nearly done.  Drain.
In a pan, add 2 tbs olive oil and the onion and 3 cloves of garlic.  cook for 5 minutes then add the chillies, thyme leaves and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, sherry vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a frying-pan, add some olive oil and fry the potatoes until coloured on all sides (about 10 minutes).  Add the rosemary and 2 cloves of chopped garlic, cook for another 5 minutes then remove from the heat.  Sprinkle over the paprika, fennel seeds and a pinch of salt.
Finally, tip the sauce over the potatoes (you can liquidize if you like) and stir gently.  Season to taste.

Serve this with:

Baby Squid

100g plain flour
300g baby squid (cleaned, and I cut them into rings)
vegetable oil
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Season the flour with a big pinch of salt and pepper, then toss the squid until coated.
Heat a pan with enough oil to cover the bottom.  The oil will be hot enough when a small piece of bread starts to sizzle.  Lower the squid pieces carefully into the oil and fry, turning so both sides are golden brown.  Tip on to some kitchen paper to drain, then serve with the parsley and lemon.

I have found a great flapjack recipe, having searched for a long time!  They are sweet enough without being sickly, and firm enough without being too crunchy - delicious!

Flapjacks (adapted from a recipe by Liz Franklin in 'brownies and bars')

Melt together:
180g butter
180g soft brown sugar
3tbs golden syrup
1 tbs honey

When thoroughly melted, mix in:
375g porridge oats and 50g cornflakes.

Tip into a tin measuring 20 x 30cm, lined with parchment paper, and bake at 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.  Leave to cool and then cut into squares.  Makes about 18.

And finally.......

This week I entertained my lovely 'Ladies Who Lunch'; old friends from Pre-school days.  I cooked the asparagus tart again (I love asparagus, see previous blog for recipe) and had some raw beetroot hanging around.  Here is what I came up with - for you Corrie!

Beetroot and Carrot Salad

1 large, fresh beetroot
2 carrots
1 squeeze of lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp grainy mustard
a handful of mixed nuts and seeds (pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. Waitrose does a packet)

Finely grate the beetroot and carrot, then mix in all the rest, seasoning to taste.  Enjoy!  (Took the picture at the last mouthful!)

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