This New EBook Shows You How To Make Eggplant Chips With Honey and many More Classic Spanish Dishes
If you follow our blog, you will know we are lovers of Spanish food. Even our children are known to indulge in “not-so-typical” dishes for children.
We are always looking for ways to encourage friends and family to try new foods, to be more adventurous. Honestly, pickled raw anchovies are actually very very nice!
One day I met up with our friends, Elle and Alan, from SpainBuddy.com. We spent some time together in Málaga city, exploring the sights and grabbing a bite to eat.
I can proudly claim that I was able to persuade Elle to eat aubergine (that’s “eggplant” for our American readers) and actually enjoy it! Previously she wouldn’t touch it, but I was able to introduce her to “berenjena con miel de caña” – deep fried aubergine with cane honey. This dish rapidly became one of her favourites and she now eats it at least once per week – whipping it up in just a few minutes at home.
Elle has recently released a new cookbook in digital format – 125 recipes with full-colour photographs.
The cost is just €4.99 and you can BUY IT HERE!
The recipes are extremely easy to follow and to show you just how easy they are – here is a sample for you. This is Elle’s version of berenjena con miel de caña – enjoy!
Note: Miel de caña is cane syrup or molasses and can be found in most supermarkets. However, you can swap this for honey, golden syrup or runny jam if you prefer.
Berenjena con miel de caña (Aubergine with cane honey)
- One eggplant… or aubergine… or whatever you want to call it
- Couple of tablespoons of miel de caña for drizzling
- Couple of spoonfuls of flour (any type of white flour will do)
- Plenty of olive oil for frying
- Cut your aubergine into really thin slices – a couple of millimetres is perfect
- Pop the slices into a bowl of water and leave it for half an hour. Soaking before use takes some of the bitterness out (actually I never bother these days although I do give them a quick rinse so the flour adheres to them)
- Drain well and toss in the flour
- Deep fry in batches in very hot olive oil, flipping halfway through.
- When they are golden brown and floating, they are done. You can keep them warm in a low oven while you fry the rest
- Drain on paper towels and then arrange on a plate or in a bowl
- Drizzle the miel de caña on top.
- Serve immediately
eggplant chips drizzled with honey
Elle and Alan have lived in Spain since 2006, although only on the mainland since 2012. Together they run www.spainbuddy.com which is a general website about Spain.
One of the many things we love about living in Spain, is the food and the importance of family time around the table. If you read our post, Spanish Food For Children, you will see that our children enjoy a wide and varied diet. However, there are times when a bit of Spanish fast food is what is needed.
Fast food is a less common concept in Spain than in many other countries. And where you expect to find it, you are probably less likely to find it. Let me explain …
What do we class as Spanish fast food?
In many places around the world, the likes of KFC, Burger King and Mac Donald’s are some of the most popular fast food outlets. From our experience in Spain, the “fast food” concept has developed a bit of the Spanish “mañana” syndrome. Expect to stand in line and at the counter for a comparably long time. Do not be surprised if you are also sent to your table with parts of your order missing. They will usually arrive but maybe not a quick as you are used to.
At our local shopping centre, the biggest queues are to be seen outside Burger King.
Two of our most frequented Spanish fast food joints are 100 Montaditos and Lizarran. Each have their own particular way or ordering and paying for your food. We see many tourists and visitors totally confused in these places, where staff often only speak Spanish. So, we’ve decide to share the systems with you.
The Montadito is a typical element of the Spanish culture and gastronomy.Is a unique tapa-sized roll filled with the best ingredients, a very Spanish way of tasting different recipes. They are widespread and known in Spain since the fifteenth century. The montadito traditon is long and even previous tothe sandwich culture.Mount Up…!
The root of the word montadito is in the Spanish verb montar (’to mount’), because small slices of bread are topped, or ‘mounted’, with a variety of quality ingredients. Montaditos are essentially charming bite-sized finger food.
The food ordering process …
Have a look at the HUGE menu
Write down your order
The Tablas are an economic option
Once you’ve made your decision, you take the order sheet to the counter where you will pay for your order (unusual in Spain!) and receive your drinks. You will be asked for your name. It’s advisable to give an easy to pronounce name otherwise you will not recognise it when it is shouted over the tannoy!
Once your order is ready your name will be announced over the tannoy system and you collect your order from the hatch.
The tabla “Destroyer”
In all honesty, it is not gourmet food but it is pretty good value for money. And, where else can the children enjoy chocolate bread stuffed with orios?
Our children’s favourite “naughty” snack
Our number one favourite Spanish fast food joint is definitely Lizarran.
Inspired by the Spanish tapas tradition, and combining it with the techniques and demands of the modern restaurant industry, in 1988 the first Lizarran tavern opened in Sitges (Barcelona). That was the start of a meteoric expansion which, by 2010, had taken the total number of establishments to 200, throughout Spain.
We have eaten in Lizarran’s all over Spain and are yet to be disappointed.
The food ordering process …
At Lizarran, you can enjoy all types of hot and cold tapas and wide variety of other dishes. Generally, the cold tapas are found on the counter in each restaurant and the hot tapas are brought round to the tables by waiting staff. You need to work out the best time to go to be there when they bring the best hot plates out if that’s what you fancy.
Lizarran is also a great place to try traditional Spanish dishes. Depending on the day and on the location, you will find large clay bowls ladened with mouth watering food that you can order as a tapa (the smallest serving, ideal for tasting something new), media ración (a larger serving) or ración( a full plate).
Fresh dishes at our local Lizarran
At Lizarran, as in most Spanish restaurants, you sit at your table and a waiter comes to take your drinks order. You then go to the bar, collect a plate and help yourself to any of the cold tapas on display. If you want a hot tapa or ración, that are on display at the bar, it is better to order this from the waiter as they will heat it up and bring it to your table. If you get your timing right, serving staff will offer various hot tapas at your table. If you are there at a busy time you may need to be quick as the good bits fly off the plates fast.
At the end of your meal, the waiters will count up the different sized cocktail sticks and different sized serving bowls on your table and calculate your bill.
TIP: If you have young children, make sure they are not collecting stray cocktail sticks from other tables or on the floor or you may end up paying for more than you have actually eaten.
What are your favourite Spanish fast food joints? Have you eaten in either of these two? Do you have any tips to share? Just add your comments below and share with us all …
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Summer is here and the bbq is working over time. I love it as it means a lot less mess in the kitchen 😉
We love to experiment, cooking all different types of food on the bbq, from simple sausages, morcilla, pork chops, to our home-made fruit burgers, varieties of vegetable and meat kebabs and basically anything else we think of.
One evening, I decided to have a look for a simple pizza recipe to make a homemeade base and then concoct a way of using up the bbq leftovers.
Here is the result:
You can use ready made pizza bases or use the really simple recipe from Jamie Oliver:
To make Jamie’s cheat pizza dough you need:
1 cup of self-rising flour,
1/2 cup of water,
a drizzle of olive oil,
a pinch of salt
Add all the ingredients into a mixer and mix until all the ingredients are mixed together in a soft, wet dough.
Slowly add more flour, up to 1/3 to 1/2 cup, until you have an elastic sought that you can work with.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface or, as I do, roll between two strips of cling film (This is a great way to avoid the dough sticking and allows you to roll it very thinly).
Place the pizza base on a greased oven tray and bake ay 180ºC in a preheat oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
For the BBQ Leftover Topping:
Tomato purée / salsa or a simple white sauce for the base topping
Grated cheeses of any type (mozarella is best though)
Chopped BBQ leftovers
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh herbs & chills (optional)
Add your choice of sauce (tomato or white)
Sprinkle over a mixture of grated cheese
Add your chopped bbq leftover and any vegetables
Place slices of extra cheese over the top
Season to your liking and add a drizzle of olive oil over the top.
Place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese has all melted.
Slice and serve. (Our sweet potato chips are great with this 😉 )
This is such a simple recipe that it has become a regular in our house already this summer.
What do you cook on you bbq?
Do you ever have leftovers?
If you don’t, why not cook extra next time.
Remember to post a photo of your bbq leftover pizza on our Cooking with Languages Facebook page HERE
Have you signed up for our bilingual recipes, in English and Spanish on our Cooking with Languages website yet?
All the recipes we share are simple but scrummy and it’s a great way to improve your Spanish!
Read more here
Christmas is coming and this year we are having fun making all kinds of homemade gifts and decorations. The children are now at the age that the build up and fun is had actually making the gifts and decorations.
Once again, we are using recipes from the wonderful Spanish Village Cooking Recipe book by Debs Jenkins and the lovely ladies form Murtas.
Last year we made Spanish mince pie empanadas, this year we’ve made our own version of Deb’s Christmas Truffle Recipe (original recipe here)
The recipe is really simple to follow and the children love getting messy and licking the bowls …
We substituted whisky for rum as it was a bank holiday and this was all we could get.
Following the recipe, we broke the chocolate bar into pieces and melted the chocolate in a glass bowl, in a pan of boiling water.
Once the chocolate had melted completely, we added the large glass of condensed milk (leche condensada), that you can buy in most Spanish supermarkets.
Mix the condensed milk into the melted chocolate and then add your choice of alcoholic tipple.
The mixture is still very runny but it hardens as it cools down. We actually left the mixture overnight. The following day it was easy to roll into balls … without getting too messy 😉
We used a teaspoon to measure the mixture and then rolled it into small balls.
We decided that we should make us some other coverings apart from the chocolate sprinkles mentioned in the recipe.
The children had fun rolling the balls in:
- chocolate sprinkles & crushed flake
- hundreds and thousands
- desiccated coconut
- strawberry crystals
- blue “frozen-style” crystals
- a mixture of all of the above
This was the result … They look good. They taste great and we all had fun making them.
Thanks for another great recipe Spanish Village Cooking!
For a British and Spanish Mince Pie Recipe CLICK HERE
If you need a really easy Christmas Cake Recipe CLICK HERE
¡Felices Fiestas a todos!
As you know, we love cooking in our Cocina and are always looking for new recipes to try out and to share with you.
This recipe has replaced the pancake recipe (that is featured in our children’s language-learning cookbook) as the children’s first choice for breakfast at the weekend.
And I must admit, it is really easy to make and not too much washing up so it gets brownie points in my book too!
You can add whatever filling you like. We include berries and fruit to add a little bit of “healthy”! LOL! It’s the weekend so we are allowed to break the rules a bit!
The ingredients you will need are:
A few slices of crustless soft sliced bread, 2 eggs, a cup of milk, a cup of sugar (can be brown or white) and some cinnamon (vary quantity according to taste preferences).
Some butter for melting in the frying pan.
Your choice of fillings. ie. chocolate spread, cream cheese, honey, bananas, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
To make the rolls:
Whisk the eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl or on a plate, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Place on a surface close to the cooker.
Place the butter in a frying pan and gently melt.
Slice by slice, using a rolling pin, flatted the bread.
Add your chosen fillings. Ensure the fruit is added at the edge of the slice of bread and is not cut too thick and chunky (otherwise the next bit might be a bit tricky!)
Carefully roll the slice of bread, starting with the edge where the fruit is
Soak the roll in the egg and milk mixture
Add to the frying pan. Try to place seal side down. Carefully rotate the rolls until golden all over.
Remove from the frying pan. Roll in the sugar and cinnamon mix and serve immediately.
At this point, stop and enjoy the silence … until the first lot is devoured and they ask for more!
Let us know what your favourite fillings are!
¡ Buen provecho amigos!
PS: If you’d like a free sample of our English / Spanish language-learning activity cookbook for children, just SIGN UP HERE.
What is typical Spanish food for children?
One of the many things we love about living in Spain, is the food. We have always encouraged our children to eat whatever we eat. I couldn’t really tell you what is really considered as typical Spanish food for children, with the exception of the incredible range of dulces, bollerías, chuches, golosinas which are becoming a bit too common for my liking!
When we go to the UK, which is not that often, it is almost impossible to order plates from the kid’s menu that are as considered as healthy, (we’re not talking about visiting any fancy natural food place here, you know the ones I mean don’t you!). What we think of as typical English food for children are the likes of fish fingers and chips, sausage and mash, nuggets etc (you get the gist!).
In contrast, in Spain, it is very typical to see families sharing the same food. I suppose this is probably due to the fact that it is common to order plates that are placed on the table for all to share, rather than everyone ordering their own plate. Children’s “less healthy” options are available, but are not as common.
Here are some of our children’s favourite Spanish food:
Almejas and Calamares a la Romana: Small clams in a garlic sauce and squid rings in batter.
Almejas and calamares
Sopa de picadillo: A whole meal in itself. It’s a type of consommé with bits of chicken , egg, ham, mint and noodles in it. It varies depending where it is ordered.
Sopa de picadillo
Arroz y Paella: A variety of rice dishes or a traditional paella.
Arroz o paella
Tortillitas de camarones: A kind of battered pancake with tiny prawns.
Tortillitas de camarones
Bocadillos de salchichón y queso: A bread roll with a type of cold Spanish sausage and cheese. There is a wide range of cold Spanish meats available that are enjoyed by the children.
Boquerones al vinagre: Filets of whitebait pickled in vinegar and garlic.
Boquerones al vinagre
Gambas Pil Pil: Prawns cooked in a garlic and chilli oil.
Jamón Iberico: Good old Spanish cured ham
Pan con aceite (y tomate) : A typical Spanish breakfast of bread with olive oil (and optional tomato)
Pan con aceite y tomate
Arroz con leche: A cold version of rice pudding but often homemade and with a lovely taste of cinnamon.
Arroz con leche
Crema catalana: A scrummy citrus infused silky custard. (See our new Children’s Language-Learning Activity Book for the recipe)
So, there you have a few ideas of what might be the best kinds of Spanish food for children. Visiting a new place is a great way of getting children to taste new foods. Don’t be scared of getting them to try something completely different. If you aren’t, they won’t be!
What are your children’s favourite Spanish foods? We’d love to hear about them.
PS: If you’d like a free sample of our English / Spanish language-learning activity cookbook for children, just SIGN UP HERE.
Who doesn’t love mince pies? Today we are going to look at the origin of traditional mince pies and then dive in and make some.
We’re going to share not one but two great recipes showing you how to make mince pies. A rustic, very shortcrust traditional British version and an adapted Spanish version from the lovely Debs at NativeSpain.com
The history of mince pies …
Mince Pies, like Christmas Puddings, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes.
During the Stuart and Georgian times, in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas! Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made is different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers); they fancy shaped pies could often fit together a bit like a jigsaw! They also looked like the ‘knot gardens’ that were popular during those periods. Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks!
Now they are normally made in a round shape and are eaten hot or cold.
A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months! (source http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/mincepies.shtml )
I’d happily eat at lease one mince pie a day over the twelve days of Christmas but they’d have to be homemade. It is almost impossible to find tasty, package mince pies, don’t you agree?
How to make mince pies (a traditional British recipe):
You will need:
For the filling:
For the pastry
- 250g pack of cold butter, diced
- 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- 150g golden caster sugar
- Pre heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6
- Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a large bowl (big enough for a small child to get their elbows in!).
- Add the diced butter to the flour, mix well and rub between your fingers until it is the texture of breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and squash together to form a kind of very dry dough – don’t be tempted to add any liquid. (I must warn you that you really will be tempted to add some!)
- A lot of kneading and manipulation is required to ensure this very short pastry actually sticks together enough to be cut into shapes. Use a pastry cuter to cut circles to the size of your pie tray.
- Another option in to manipulate the mixture into balls and then flatten them in your hands to form circular shapes that fit in your pie trays. These give the mince pies a lovely, rustic, homemade look.
- Next, spoon the filling into the pies – try to be as neat as you can, as you don’t want to get any on the sides.
- Use the methods above to make the tops for your pies. Adding a bit of water around the edges of your base helps the tops to stick. Add tops and press the edges together. Stab each pie top with a fork.
- Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20 mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.
How to make mince pies (a twist on a traditional Spanish recipe)
This recipe is take from Spanish Cooking Uncovered: Farmhouse Favourites – http://nativespain.com/portfolio-item…
If you love Christmas mince pies then you’ll love this new way of making them, with a Spanish twist!
Ingredients for Christmas Empanadillas – Empanadillas de Navidad
For 8 empanadillas:
- 250g jam (whatever flavour you prefer, or Christmas mincemeat)
- 250g flour
- 70ml oil
- 3 eggs
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- 100ml olive oil for frying
For the full recipe go here: http://nativespain.com/food/christmas-empanadillas-empanadillas-de-navidad-spanish-recipe/
Listed as one of Spain’s most popular dishes, Tortilla de patatas is a simple yet satisfying omelet made of eggs, potatoes, onions and optionally garlic. There are so many ways of cooking a tortilla but we think we’ve discovered the best and we will share it with you here.
We’ll hand you over to the lovely Annie B to share the secret recipe …
The Spanish are the most fantastic cooks. They cook from their hearts and not from cookbooks. They follow traditions and not recipes. They take a few simple ingredients and create dishes that you will never ever forget . You will never forget the taste of a perfect tortilla. Soft and warm. Comforting and indulgent. Like Gazpacho, people will argue that their tortilla is the best. Some cut the potatoes in slices, some in cubes and some even use Patatas Fritas!
Here is my definitive recipe for Tortilla, from the hand of my master, Pepi. (more…)
Have you ever thought about cooking in Spain, in an authentic location such as the whitewashed village of Vejer de la Frontera?
If not, why not?
Introducing our Exciting New Project
As some of you may know, we are in the process of publishing a language learning cook book called “Cooking with Languages”. We have some simple, scrummy recipes for you all to enjoy whilst also learning Spanish . Many of these were contributed by friends and colleagues from all areas of Spain.
One of the contributors is the lovely Annie B.
So, whilst on our summer holidays in the province of Cadiz, we popped in for a quick cookery lesson with our Cooking in Spain twitter buddy. @cookinginspain is also known as the lovely Anne Manson from Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen in Vejer de la Frontera.
I met Annie a few years ago (you can read about it here ) and need no excuse to visit her in Vejer at any opportunity. However, this time it was our children’s turn to have a go. After all, our cookbook is designed for the children and for family fun in the kitchen.
- Learning is fun when you have a good teacher.
- Learning is fun when the teacher makes it simple.
- Cooking and learning is fun with Annie B.
Here is a short video to show you what they got up to and what they thought ….
If you’d like to know more about cookery courses at Annie B’s, visit her website. www.anniebspain.com
If you’d like to know the recipe for the lovely cookies we made … well, you’ll just have to wait until our Cookbook is published 😉
Do you have a favourite recipe that is simple but scrummy? If so, send it to us and if we include it in the book, we’ll dedicate it to you.
So, who’s ready to start cooking in Spain?
How to Order your Favourite Coffee in Spain…
One of the many things we love about Spain is its coffee! Did you know that there are so many ways to order coffee in Spain? People say that the Americans have too many ways of ordering a coffee … but what about the Spanish. Depending on in which region you find yourself, ordering a coffee in Spain can be quite a complicated affair. Thankfully, unlike the extremely polite and sometimes, over efficient Americans, your Spanish waiter is not likely to offer too many options. That is not, however, to mean that you will receive what you think you have ordered!
Here are just some of the ways of ordering the many combinations of coffee in Spain:
- Café Solo: A simple shot of strong black coffee in a small cup
- Café Solo con Hielo: A short black coffee poured over ice (very refreshing in the summer!)
- Café Americano: The same shot of coffee but in a larger cup with more water added
- (Café) Cortado: A shot of coffee topped up with a small amount of milk (often served in a glass)
- Café con Leche: A regular old coffee with milk (although it may be stronger than you are used to).
- Café del tiempo: In Madrid, that is a cafe solo with ice and lemon
- (Café) Sombra: A slightly weaker coffee with milk.
- (Café) Nube : A much weaker coffee with milk.
- Carajillo: A small shot of black coffee with a generous splash of alcohol. The most typical being coñac although Baileys is pretty nice too!
- Bomboncito: A small black coffee with condensed milk.
- Manchado: In Murcia, it is like the Bombón, but with less condensed milk.
- Trifásico: A small black coffee with condensed milk and a slug of brandy
- Asiático: A potent mix of condensed milk, double espresso, licor 43, brandy, lemon rind and cinnamon. Also known as a Barraquito in the Canary Islands
As you can see from the above image, the amount of coffee in your coffee is what influences its name. However, if you go to certain parts of Spain and ask for a “nube” (Spanish for cloud), do not be surprised if your friendly waiter looks at you as if you are in cloud cuckoo land …
How many of these coffees have you tried? Which is your favourite? Please let us know of any we have missed off and we will add them to the list.
On another coffee note, this is possibly the oldest poem in praise of coffee by 16th Century Sheikh Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir, known as the Saint of Coffee….
“Oh coffee, you dispel the worries of the great,
you point the way to those who have wandered from
the path of knowledge. Coffee is the drink of the
friends of God, and of His servants who seek wisdom.
As coffee steeps in the cup is gives off a musky
aroma and turns the colour of ink. No one can under
stand the truth until he drinks of its frothy goodness.
Those who condemn coffee as causing man harm are
fools in the eyes of God.
Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold it
brings to every man the feeling of luxury and nobility.
Coffee differs from pure, gentle milk only in its taste
and colour. Take time in your preparation of coffee and
God will be with you and bless you and your table.
Where coffee is served there is grace and splendour and
friendship and happiness.
All cares vanish as the coffee cup is raised to the
lips. Coffee flows through your body as freely as your
life’s blood, refreshing all that it touches: look you at
the youth and vigor of those who drink it.
Whoever tastes coffee will forever forswear the liquor
of the grape. Oh drink of God’s glory, your purity
brings man only well being and nobility.
Sheikh Ansari Djezeri Hanball Abd-al-Kadir , Sufi Mystic, 1587
*For a more detailed description of Coffee in the Canary Islands, read this great post: Here