Sunday, 31 October 2010

THE GASTRONOMIC DELIGHTS OF BARCELONA


The love of ham and sausages almost reaches cult status and is so apparent in this Xarcuteria where all the choice cuts are so proudly displayed.

The City of Barcelona is a place of exquisite beauty. It is a place where all the arts are in the highest order. Its architecture and arts are like no other and are renowned the world over. The whole place is like a gallery of their artistic heritage. It is also a place where food is showcased in every manner in every part of the city. It is a gourmand's definition of heaven. Food, glorious food, lots of it and everywhere! And so beautifully presented, you can't help but gape and marvel at all the gastronomic delights presented as an art form.
 
A whole stall dedicated to mushrooms.
The supermarkets have not replaced
the traditional markets (Mercat) in Barcelona. The people still prefer their fresh produce and gourmet products to commercially produced ones. They are not tucked away but are located in places of prominence and are one of their tourist attractions. Their markets are like no other_each kind of food is presented with pride in a very  beautiful tableau. You can just walk around and fill all your senses.


Each stall specializes in certain products and they only sell the best of it. I was amazed by the extensive variety of artisan hams and sausages at the Xarcuteria. The high quality of these products are due to the unique conditions  that the Iberian Peninsula provides. The aroma is heady as you approach. Some stalls offer a free taste and some, to my delight, sell little bits of Jamon Serrano in french fries boxes so you can snack on them as you stroll. There were cheeses of every sort, fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, meats and seafood. You can also hop on a bar stool at the seafood shop and let them cook your chosen treat while you watch. If you want to keep walking, there are also lots of pastries, sweets, shakes and fruit salads to eat on the go. There are also tapas bars on site. You can't be more spoilt for choice. It would be such a shame to walk away empty handed.


Dried fruits and nuts.
Candied fruits.









   



Fresh fruits.




Yummy pastries.













Restaurants abound, most of them serving the renowned tapas. Those tasty  little morsels just aim to please. Even the very simple bread smeared with tomatoes (pa amb tomaquet) is surprisingly delicious. Pastry shops sell traditional specialties. Sweet shops sell their indulgent sweets such as turron, polvoron and yemas. Always, the shop is as beautiful as the wares.  

Fideua, same as paella but uses fine pasta instead of rice
This elegant shop sells turron de almendras,
polvoron, yemas and other decadent delicacies.
Tapas selection.


The place is full of well preserved history yet has all the influences of modernism.  As you walk along the streets, your eyes will be drawn upwards to their magnificent buildings. It is not only the landmarks that are beautiful but the local architecture and town planning as well. The residential buildings are of the old world yet the introduction of modern commercial establishments on the bottom floor does not cause disharmony at all.
  
A gelato shop.

I thought the locals would observe their siesta, but actually the city never seems to sleep! The streets are busy, morning 'til night. Of course the food is available at all times. 
 
Beautiful place, exquisite food, Barcelona is totally fantastico! 

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Calamares Fritos 
Catalan Fideua
Seafood Paella
Patatas Bravas

POT ROAST BEEF WITH RED WINE AND MUSHROOMS


Here in ye ole England, roast and trimmings is the traditional English Sunday lunch. A lot of people look forward to this weekend finale, when the family will partake of this special slow roasted meat that fills their houses with that very special and unmistakable aroma that heralds, "It's Sunday!" It is a happy occasion to sit down together to partake of this special fare, lovingly prepared by the Mum(usually). 



Unfortunately, time is sometimes the missing ingredient that hinders people to have this Sunday special. A pot roast is roast, too, and uses cheaper joints and may be cooked ahead of time, whilst doing other chores or perhaps indulging in other more pleasurable undertakings. It can then be reheated with the sauce in no time the following day, leaving the would-have-been-Sunday-roaster to have an extra hour or two in bed, reading the papers whilst sipping tea (served by one of the soon-to-be-pot-roast-partaker). Everyone's happy.



Ingredients:

1 large onion chopped
3 gloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 c. chopped celery
1 cup red wine
1 sprig each of fresh thyme and oregano
2 tsps. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
juice and rind of 1 orange
1 kg. joint of top rump, topside or silverside of beef
3 tbsps. flour
2 tbsps. butter plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
4 medium carrots, cut into 4 pieces each
250 gms. chestnut mushrooms
2 cups of beef stock or 2 c. water plus 1 beef stock cube

Instructions:

Put the onions, garlic, celery, red wine, herbs, salt, sugar and orange zest and juice in a heavy oven proof casserole. Marinate the beef in this mixture for at least an hour. 



Pre-heat the oven to 325° F/170° C.

Take the beef off the marinade and coat lightly with flour. Shake off the excess

Sear on all sides in the mixture of butter and oil until browned all over. 



Transfer the beef to an ovenproof pot, and pour the marinade back in together with 2 the stock. Bring to a boil on the stove top then roast for 2-3 hours or until tender, adding the carrots and mushrooms after 45 minutes of cooking. 



Test for doneness by inserting a metal skewer in. It should go through easily. Do not overcook so that it doesn't fall apart when sliced.

Add a bit more water if too dry. There should be enough gravy to serve with the meat. Check the seasonings. 

Rest for 20 minutes before slicing if serving immediately. This may be cooked ahead, refrigerated and reheated, then sliced before serving.




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Roast Prime Rib of Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Pot Roast Soy Sauce Chicken
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Saturday, 30 October 2010

CARAMEL BUTTER COOKIES



Halloween is not just a time to be spooky. It is also a time when all is allowed to overindulge in sweets. It is nice to nibble on biscuits while waiting for trick-or- treaters or, if feeling generous, offer them some. It takes just a few ingredients to make these treats. I've cut them in Halloween shapes but they can be cut in any shape. In fact, they can simply be rolled into balls and pressed down with the tines of a fork.

Ingredients:

1 c. butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 cup skimmed milk powder
2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method:

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and milk powder while beating, until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour. Cover and refrigerate the dough to firm it it up. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. 


Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut into shapes. I find it easier to roll the dough on a lined (with non-stick liner or baking paper) baking sheet, stamp out the shapes, then peel off the excess. Re-roll dough and cut more shapes. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or the until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave in the pan for 2 minutes before lifting onto a cooling rack.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!

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Friday, 29 October 2010

FRIED APPLE PIE (APPLE TURON)


Short cut pocket sized apple pies! This is a twist of the classic Filipino snack and street food turon na saging (banana turon) whick is basically cooking bananas with brown sugar wrapped in spring roll pastry and fried. Slivers of jack fruit are sometimes added for a special touch. 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

CRISPY GINGER CHICKEN


Chicken is the usual suspect when it comes to planning a weekday meal. It is quick and easy to cook, very versatile and super tasty. I am always trying out new chicken recipes so that it doesn't taste like "same old chicken". 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

COURGETTE FRITTERS WITH GINGER SOY DIP


I only got to eat courgettes (zucchini) when I came to London. It is not a strange taste to me as it is similar to some vegetables we have back home. I love courgettes but only when it is done just right. Underdone or overcooked courgettes taste equally bad to me. If made into fritters they always come out just right.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

KING PRAWN AND CHORIZO LINGUINI


Pasta is probably one of the quickest meals to prepare. It is a very versatile dish and a lot can be done to make it completely different each time. 

This surf and turf pasta with red pepper pesto will surely excite your taste buds. It's the Spanish tapas favourite prawns and chorizo served on pasta. The pesto is made with roasted red pepper, lemon and ground almonds.  

Friday, 22 October 2010

CHICKEN WINGS WITH PINEAPPLE AND CELERY


Pineapples are widely used in Philippine cuisine. Although pineapples grow in abundance, it's the tinned pineapples in syrup that are mostly used because Filipinos love that sweet and sour flavour combination.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

STEAMED PORK WITH ANCHOVIES AND GINGER

This is a twist on a classic Chinese dish of steamed minced pork with salted fish. The fish that is usually used is a salted fish preserved in oil that is sold in jars. That being just too pungent for my liking, I used anchovies in oil which has a more palatable saltiness. For those who have access to "tuyo flakes in olive oil" (Filipino dried fish flakes in oil) , I imagine that that would be a very good substitute for the anchovies.

Ingredients:

300 gms. minced pork
3 tbsps. light soy sauce
2 tsps. sugar
1 tbsp. cornflour
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. water
1" x 1" cube of ginger, cut into strips
1/2 red finger chilli, slices diagonally
4 pieces anchovies in oil, drained and cut into pieces
4 pieces of water chestnuts, chopped

Method:

Season the minced pork with light soy sauce, sugar, water and sesame oil. Mix altogether with the water chestnuts and cornflour. Pat onto a shallow heatproof dish. Sprinkle with the ginger and chilli strips and the anchovies. Steam in a pre-heated steamer for 20 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.


A wok may be used as a steamer: simply sit a trivet at the bottom
or two chopsticks across the wok. Add water, wait until it boils,
put your dish in and cover with a well fitting lid. 












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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

FIVE SPICE CHICKEN


This is my version of Chinese fried chicken. It is one of those dishes that are so simple to make yet so delicious. It has no flour nor breading so the skin is all toasted and crisp while the meat is succulent and flavourful.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

CRABS WITH GINGER AND SPRING ONIONS


A specialty of most Chinese restaurants, Crabs with Ginger and Spring Onions is a truly delectable dish. The only downside is that it is very fiddly and messy to eat, not a good idea when you are in a more formal dining atmosphere. 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

PORK LOIN STEAKS ON FRIED NOODLES

Noodles is another choice for carbohydrate source other than the usual rice and potatoes. It has its own taste and does not need too much effort to make it delicious. This noodle dish is a complete meal in itself. It has fried pork loin steaks rather than the usual bits of meat. My children love this dish although one of them prefers it sans the vegetables. This recipe will serve 4 people. 

Ingredients:

350 gms. dry egg noodles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced diagonally
1 large carrot, split in two lengthwise then sliced thinly diagonally
1 onion, sliced
20 pcs. green beans, each cut into 3 diagonally
200 gms. cabbage, cut in 1"x2" pieces
2 bunches of spring onions cut into 2" pieces diagonally
4 dried Chinese mushrooms. soaked and cut into strips
2 tbsps. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsps. dark soy sauce
1 egg white
cornflour for dredging
sesame oil
light soy sauce
cooking oil

Method:

Boil the egg noodles just until al dente. Drain and set aside. 


Season the pork loins with 2 tbsps. light soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Dredge in corn flour, shake off the excess. Dip in beaten egg white and again dredge in the corn flour. Pan fry for about 4 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness) or until done. Set aside. 


Stir fry the noodles in 1/4 cup of cooking oil and season with 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce and 2 tbsps. of dark soy sauce. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add 1/4 cup of water and stir. Transfer to a serving dish or divide onto four plates for individual servings. 


Heat up 2 tbsps. of cooking oil in a clean wok. Add the carrots, and stir fry for about two minutes. Add the garlic and onion together and stir. Next add the green beans, Chinese mushrooms, 2 tbsps. of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Stir fry for 1 minute then add the cabbage, celery and spring onions. Stir, then add the 2 cups of stock (or make stock cube and water) and bring to a boil. Disperse 2 tsps. of cornflour in a bit of water and thicken the sauce. It's done when the cabbage is done (crisp tender). 


Scoop the vegetables with a slotted spoon onto the fried noodles. Chop the pork loin and lay on top of the vegetables. Spoon the sauce over the pork. It's then ready to serve.



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Friday, 15 October 2010

TAHO (SOY MILK JUNKET)


Of Chinese origin, soy milk junket or "taho" is a very popular Filipino snack. It is peddled in the streets in tin vessels balanced on a wooden stick on the peddler's shoulder_ one tin contains the junket and the other tin is divided into two compartments which contain caramel syrup and sago pearls. It is a comfort food for both children and adults. 

Every day, a lot of people wait for the distinctive holler of the vendor: "Taho!". This signals for them to come out of their houses for their daily dose of this beloved comfort food.  

Thursday, 14 October 2010

PORK WITH GARLIC, ONIONS AND CHILLI


I don't know the exact name of this dish but it is listed as such: a list of the  main ingredients. Nevertheless, it is a very popular dish in Chinese restaurants. Thin strips of pork are twice fried: first deep fried until crisp then stir fried with onions, chilli, garlic and spring onions. It's a very simple dish but is truly delectable . 

It's an easy recipe to recreate and can  also be used to rehash leftover meats like pork chops (sliced into strips) or fried/roast chicken.


Ingredients:


500 gms. pork meat (shoulder, butt or loin), in thin slices
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 medium egg
corn flour for dredging
cooking oil for frying
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bunches spring onions
1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
1 tbsp. of sugar


Method :


Season the pork with 2 tbsps. of light soy sauce, salt, sesame oil. Beat the egg, add to the pork and mix well. Dredge the pork in corn flour and shake off the excess. Deep fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside. 


Heat up a clean wok. Add a tbsp. of cooking oil . Add the onions, garlic, chilli, and spring onions. Stir fry for one minute. Add the fried pork and stir. Season with a tbsp. each of soy sauce and sugar. Stir to coat. It's then ready to serve.



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You might also like

Chilli Garlic Pork
Tahitian Pork
Stir Fried Green Beans Adobo

Thanks for dropping by. It would be nice if we could meet up on FACEBOOK or TWITTER

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

NASI LEMAK (TAMARIND FISH AND COCONUT RICE)


My husband had to go to the Malaysian Embassy last week. When he came home, he brought back a treat that really excites me: nasi lemak! Yes, that excites me.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

SESAME AND SPRING ONION STEAKS


Steaks are special treats most reserve to having on special occasions. One's imagination precedes the actual first mouthful and it is then, at that very moment, that we decide whether we are immensely gratified or extremely disappointed. I like my steaks well seasoned, with added extra seasonings that heighten the flavour of the beef without smothering it. This steak recipe is for sirloin steak, which is more reasonably priced than the other cuts. It can be had any day, no need to hold back. You can eat it with potatoes or since it has Asian flavours, with rice or on top of cooked noodles. You can even have it in a buttered baguette with salad greens. No cheese, please.

Ingredients:

400 gms.(approx.) sirloin steak, 2 pieces
2 tbsps. sesame seeds
2 tbsps. Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp. sherry
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsps. spring onions, cut in rings
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsps. water
2 tbsps. butter or butter flavoured spread

Method:

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan until golden and fragrant. Save 1/2 tsp. of the toasted seeds for garnish. Grind the rest in a mortar and pestle. Mix the rest of the ingredients except for the butter and water. 


Marinate the steaks in the mixture for at least 10 minutes but not longer than half an hour. Heat up a grill pan (may also be grilled in the oven or pan-fried). Scrape most of the marinade off the steaks and reserve for the sauce. Brush steaks with oil and grill on medium high heat for about 4 minutes on each side (or to your preference). Remove and place on a chopping board to rest. 


Meanwhile, put the reserved marinade, butter and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Check for seasoning. Slice the steaks crosswise, at a slant, thinly. Arrange on a platter or plates (for individual servings). Drizzle with sauce and sprinke with more spring onion rings and the toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy.

Monday, 11 October 2010

AUBERGINE WITH PORK AND BASIL SAUCE


Eggplants are the humble Asian counterpart of aubergines. It is long and light purple on the outside but the inside looks the same as an aubergine. Eggplants are sweeter with no hint of bitterness at all. Aubergines are more available here in the UK and we use it as a substitute for eggplant.

I love both aubergines and eggplants and have made this fusion dish using aubergines and basil but cooking it with an Asian style and flavour. The basil leaves perk up the sweet, salty and spicy flavour of the stir-fried pork sauce. Together with the grilled aubergines, it packs a punch when eaten with rice.  It is very easy and doesn't take long to cook. Make sure to make extra servings of rice.



Ingredients:

1 big aubergine, sliced lengthwise
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 red finger chilli, sliced diagonally
200 gms. (about 1 cup) minced pork
1/2 c. roughly torn basil leaves
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. corn flour
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 stalks of spring onions, cut into rounds
olive oil for brushing on aubergine
2 tbsps. cooking oil for stir frying

Method:

Brush the aubergine liberally with olive oil and grill on a pre-heated grill for about 10 minutes on each side or when the inside is cooked and the surface nicely browned. Set aside. Heat up a wok and add the cooking oil. Stir fry the chopped garlic and chilli for a few seconds. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the minced pork, brown sugar and fish sauce until the mixture is dry and golden in color. Add the spring onions. Disperse the corn flour in the water. Add to the pork mixture while stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the basil. Pour over the grilled aubergines and serve.




All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011. 

Please support Adora's Box by making your Amazon.com and mymemories.com (use the code STMMMS55174) purchases from this site. Click on their respective banners to proceed to their websites. It will not cost you a single cent more but will help sustain this blog. Thank you.

You might also like

Steamed Pork with Anchovies and Ginger
Pork with Lemon Grass and Fine Beans
Chilli Garlic Pork
Thanks for dropping by. It would be nice if we could meet up on FACEBOOK or TWITTER