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Posts Tagged ‘spanish’

Arroz Negro (Paella with Squid Ink)

Arroz Negro (Paella with Squid Ink)

My new TV obsession is The Newsroom, an HBO drama that depicts behind the scenes events of an American Cable News company. I’m hooked on the dialogue and have grown fond of the characters (well, most of them anyway). I think however, what appeals to me most, is how everyone in the team seems to be committed to reinvent cable television news. At the end of the fourth episode entitled “I’ll Try to Fix You”, the news anchor, Will McAvoy is meant to choose between running with an unconfirmed news report that all other channels have called, or wait until the news has been verified. He chooses, despite being pressured from upper management, to wait, which was actually the better thing to do since the report was proved false.

While the drama ensues, Coldplay’s song Fix You starts playing in the background and I’ll be the first to admit a few tears were shed which I was furiously trying to hide from my husband.

The episode made me think about how there is always hope and, if we wanted to, it’s never too late to re-invent ourselves.

It also made me think about some of the older dishes that I’ve made on this blog. A while back I made a paella with squid ink called Paella Negra. It’s been a long time since I made it and while I remember the dish tasting delicious, the picture never did the dish justice.

So here is the new and improved version of Paella Negra. This recipe comes from Frank Camorra of Movida Restaurant in Melbourne. Here is: Paella Negra 2.0.

Arroz Negro (Paella with Squid Ink)

Paella Negra (Paella with Squid Ink)

Arroz Negro (Paella with Squid Ink)

Serves 6 to 8
Recipe from Frank Camorra

  • 5 vine-ripened tomatoes, scored
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 500 grams squid, cleaned and cut into 2.5 cm squares
  • 12 pieces prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 grams squid ink (available from delicatessens)
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 400 grams bomba rice
  • 1.2 litres hot fish stock
  1. Blanch the tomatoes in a saucepan of boiling water until the skin starts to blister, around 30 seconds, then place in a bowl of iced water to refresh. Peel and dice the tomatoes, then set aside.
  2. Heat 50 ml of the olive oil in a 30-34 cm paella pan over high heat. Add the squid and the prawns and cook for about a minute on each side, making sure to season. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the olive oil along with the onion and the garlic. Cook over low heat until translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes over low heat. Now, add the white wine and continue to cook for another 15 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and add the rice. Cook the rice for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Now, pour in the hot stock and mix well. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium immediately and add the squid on top of the rice (save a few pieces for topping). Cook the rice for 10 minutes. The rice should have now expanded a little so reduce the heat back to low if the flame doesn’t cover the base of the pan. Move the pan around during cooking to allow the paella to cook evenly for 10 minutes.
  5. Before removing from the stove, add the prawns and the some of the saved squid and cook on high for about 1 minute to help form a crust on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and cover with foil for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

On another note, I’m about to undergo a change myself! I’m so excited to let you know I’ve signed up for Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths Campaign. The campaign is to donate real hair to make wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment. National Haircut Week is from 12 to 18 November. If you are interested to learn more about this campaign, please click here.

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Chicken Wings with Spicy Basque Ketchup

Chicken Wings with Spicy Basque Ketchup

This, my friends, is going to be a very short post. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the lack of any online presence lately… and there’s certainly a reason for my silence. First, my parents are around for another few weeks – and family always takes priority so I am trying to squeeze in as much time as I can with them while they’re here. Then, there’s the new job which has been keeping me quite busy as I try to  to navigate my way around a whole new business. So something’s got to give –  and in this case – it’s catching up with friends, those I see in person as well as in cyberspace.   So this unfortunately means  there’s also less time now to visit my favourite blogs and I am sorely missing you all (and my RSS feed).

I’m hoping February should quiet down somewhat (but of course, you never know!) and things return to normal…  But I couldn’t let this week pass without sharing another recipe I made for our New Year’s Tapas Party.  If you love chicken wings, you’d be crazy not to try this recipe.  Everyone at the party went crazy for them. I had initially used only half the wings I had bought thinking I had too much food.  Half way through I had to bake the rest which was also promptly devoured.  So advice, when you’re making this – make lots!

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Bechamel and Prawn Stuffed Mussels

Bechamel and Prawn Stuffed Mussels

Is it any surprise that my most favourite presents to give (and receive) during Christmas are cookbooks?  I consider myself a pretty good judge cookbook character.  For example, my brother who is a bachelor loves the four ingredients or less series and his idea of cooking is to buy a chicken, buy a packet of spices and chuck everything in the oven. For one of my sisters, I am always on the look out for cookbooks that have recipes that can be completed in thirty minutes or less.  She is so keen on saving time (in fairness to her, she does have a four month old baby), that we call her “Miss Shortcut”.

My Mom is getting a book I bought a few weeks back, Miguel Maestre’s first cookbook, Miguel’s Tapas.

Born in Murcia Spain, Miguel has worked in many celebrated restaurants including Bather’s Pavillion and Bilson’s in Sydney and even Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Roses, Spain. He has also been on a number of TV shows including the popular Boy’s Weekend.  Today Miguel owns two restaurants in Sydney, El Toro Loco and Argyle Bazar.

The cookbook is divided into seven sections based on the times of day the tapas are meant to be eaten. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, dessert, afternoon tea, dinner, and evening snacks. Hmmm… the Spanish seem to love their tapas anytime of the day!  There is also a section at the very end covering basics and sauces which includes among other things, a variety of stocks, flavoured oils and vinaigrettes.

Miguel has managed to strike a balance between the classic tapas such as the tortilla (potato omelette), paella and churros (his chocolate sauce is made with condensed milk!) and some tapas he gives a contemporary twist.  For instance, Wild Rice Popcorn and a Deconstructed Spanish Omelette inspired by his time at El Bulli.

I’ll be honest, the reason I’m giving my Mom this book isn’t so much that I want her to enjoy it (well, that’s part of it), but mainly because I want her to cook many of the dishes from it while she’s here for a visit.  Top of the list would be the Flamenca Eggs, Manchego Bread Rolls (inspired by the very popular Brazilian cheese bread), Salted Cod Croquettes, and Wagyu and Chorizo Meat Pie.  For dessert, I’m thinking she could make Bombe Alaska Fruit Skewers, Santiago’s Tart and Bread and Butter Pudding…

Like his TV shows, Miguel has a light hearted approach to cooking tapas.  As he shares his recipes, he also shares stories behind the recipes, in particular about his childhood growing up with a large family from where he got his love for cooking from.

So yes, this book’s going to my Mom for Christmas… unless of course… I decide to keep the book for myself…

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Beef ribs with chorizo

Beef ribs with chorizo

They say, necessity is the mother of invention.

These last few weeks, I would say that moving is the mother of improvisation. As we countdown to moving homes, I find myself limited as to what I can cook because I’ve either packed something away or I’m trying to use up miscellaneous ingredients that have been hiding in my freezer or pantry.  I had some friends over for dinner a while back and I discovered some chorizos and beef ribs hibernating in my freezer and an almost empty tin of paprika and decided that I would make a Spanish inspired beef stew.

I mentioned in a previous post that I learned to brown tough cuts of meat in the oven rather than frying over the stove top – after trying it again for this recipe I have to say, this is definitely my preferred method – it’s less messier and healthier because some of the fat is rendered from the meat using this technique.

I love the beef and chorizo combination – this is dish is so hearty and so easy to put together.  Many stews taste better the next day as all the flavours develop overnight…I wish I could say the same for this dish – I suspect it would, but I wouldn’t know as we finished it in one sitting.

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Pinchos Morunos

Pinchos Morunos

Today at work we chatted about our favourite pastimes as children. I mentioned that , to pass the time during summers, my siblings and cousins would meet at my grandmother’s place every day. We would swim, watch (music) videos, eat, sleep, fight, swim some more, eat some more and definitely fight some more. Almost like a day care for grandchildren.

Today, I am much more civilized. If I have any spare time I like to pour over the pages of cookbooks, food magazines and food blogs. I love stacking cookbooks by my beside pouring over them to get myself to sleep.

My husband was recently away for three weeks so I left all the cookbooks on his side of the bed. In an attempt to tidy up one Saturday morning, I covered the books with the bed cover. A friend came over and did a double take when she entered the room.

“Is that your husband?” She whispered. We both had a good laugh when she realized that I had accumulated enough cookbooks to make her think it was him under the sheets.

Equally as addictive is my love of food blogs. I have recently discovered many great food blogs like this one and there are many that I visit regularly. I find their stories, recipes and photography inspiring and definitely, they take up less space that the cookbooks! A few weeks ago I came across Peter’s swordfish souvlaki and I was reminded of a Spanish tapa called Pinchos Moruños. These moorish inspired Spanish  skewers are usually made from pork but the recipe is easily adaptable to chicken, lamb and yes, I think even swordfish! It’s so easy to make, just marinate a few hours (overnight is preferable) and grill. They are great served with lebanese bread and aioli (Spanish mayonnaise).

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Chorizo Croquetas

Chorizo Croquetas

The other day, as I do every morning, I took my two labradors for a walk. Nothing out of the ordinary except I had overslept and had less time to walk them and get ready for work. I knew I had to rush. So we went to a park that was 10 minutes away and I let them loose thinking I would let them spend a good ten minutes chasing each other and sniffing other dogs. This took longer than I expected because the little one, Bizou, decided to forage for breakfast which meant I had to spend an extra ten minutes chasing her and trying to get her to stop.

As we made our way home I saw a man stading infront of his truck. He must have been in his twenties, and I suspect he was in the construction business because he was wearing a fluorescent yellow safety jacket, worn boots and had a rugged look about him. As we walked towards him I saw him look at them and his face broke into a wide grin and then he looked at me and said “Can I pat them?”.

He kneeled down and my dogs made a dash for him. He started patting them and then Baci, flirt that she is, lay on her back as if to ask for a tummy rub, which made him smile and happily oblige.

“You have a labrador too?” I asked him.

“Had,” he replied. “She died early this year. She was fifteen.” Then I saw him close his eyes and give each dog a big hug.

I was in a hurry and had an early morning meeting that I didn’t want to be late for… but at that moment none of that was important.

“There’s a park across the road, I was going to take them there for a little run. Did you want to come along for a few minutes?” I asked.

What mattered was that I felt like I was giving him a few moments with his dog back.

There are times in our lives when we have the opportunity to help someone relive a certain moment, it’s wonderful when we can oblige. Whether it’s spending an extra few minutes with them… or even cooking a dish that brings back the memory.

Which is why I made these Chorizo Croquetas the other day.

But I’ll save that story for another time.

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Braised Beef Cheeks with Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Cauliflower Puree

Braised Beef Cheeks with Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Cauliflower Puree

Patience has never been my strong point.  When I want things done, I want it straight away and a few years ago I realized my husband just doesn’t work on the same time zone as I do.

Every Monday night I used to ask “Can you take the trash out?”

“Yes.”  He would reply.

Five minutes later he still hadn’t done so.  “I thought you were going to take the trash out?” I would remind him.

Finally, one day, fed up with my nagging he said “When I say I’ll take out the trash, I’ll take it out when I want to, if you can’t wait, then take the trash out yourself.”

Hmph!  Since then, I haven’t bugged him about the trash (well, or any other house chores really) because given a choice between doing it myself or having him do it “on his own time”, I’d rather wait.

On my recent Melbourne trip I was pleased to discover that Movida was a few steps away from my hotel.  I managed to sneak in a lunch and had (among other things) the slowly braised beef cheek (Carrillera De Buey).  What can I say?  Here was a well-marbled piece of meat, covered in a sticky, glossy Pedro Ximenez Sherry sauce and served with the creamiest cauliflower puree.

When I got back to Sydney I raved about the dish to my husband and I promised to make it for him after I found the recipe in the Movida Rustica cookbook.

For a number of days he’d ask “When am I going to try the Movida beef cheeks?”

“Soon.”  I said.

The other day he said “Are you ever going to make the beef cheeks?  I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll ever get to taste them!”

Here was my chance.

“When I say that I’m going to make the beef cheeks, I’ll make it when I want to.  If you can’t wait, then make the beef cheeks yourself!”

Hmph!

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