Cherry Clafoutis

Cherry clafoutis

cherry clafoutisCherry clafoutis is a traditional French cake from the Limousin region of France. The classic recipe is made with a pancake or flan batter. You can either use self-raising flour or plain flour and baking powder. Traditionally, black cherries are used in the clafoutis but you can also make it with most other fruits. It also works well with red cherries, plums, pears or soft summer fruits (e.g. raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.).

The word clafoutis comes from the Occitan verb clafir which means to fill.  If fruit other than cherries are used then the clafoutis becomes a flaugnarde. Flaugnarde comes from the Occitan word flaunhard which means “soft” or “downy”. In the traditional French dish, the cherry stones are not removed as they contain an element called amygdalin which is found in almonds and they therefore add an almond flavour to the cake. It is your choice entirely whether you leave the stones in or not. Personally I prefer to take them out.

The cherries are softened for 5 minutes in the oven before the batter is poured over and the cake is baked.

It would also to be possible to cook this cake on the stove if you don’t have an oven. For a gluten-free version, see this gluten-free pear cake.

BATTER INGREDIENTS:
300ml milk
3 eggs
60g plain flour + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder OR 60g self-raising flour
60g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHERRIES:
300 cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon sugar
icing sugar for dusting the cake with
butter or oil for greasing the cake tin

METHOD:
Heat the oven to 180ºC – 200ºC.
Beat the eggs with a whisk. Beat in the milk and then add the flour (and baking powder if using), sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.

Grease a cake tin and then arrange the cherries on the bottom of the tin. Cook the cherries in the oven for 5 minutes to soften.

Pour over the batter mix and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Check the cake after 15 minutes and turn the tin through 180º so that it cooks evenly.

Take out of the oven once the cake has cooked and leave to cool slightly. Dust the top with icing sugar. The cake is best served warm with cream if you like.

 

Home-made chorizo

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Home-made chorizo

Home-made chorizo

Even though we didn’t have our own pork this year, I decided to make some chorizo. That way I would know exactly what goes into it and how much fat it contains. The recipe basically calls for 80% meat and 20% fat but as the pork belly I bought was very lean, the fat percentage was considerably higher. It is possible to make chorizo completely from scratch, adding your own spices and flavourings to the meat and fat mixture. However, as the climate on the coast is warmer and more humid than in the mountains, and not ideal for drying and curing meats, I wanted to be completely sure that there wouldn’t be a problem and we wouldn’t all be poisoned so used a ready-made chorizo mix call “Chorizol”. I then added more oregano, chilli pepper and chopped garlic.

INGREDIENTS:
4kg shoulder of pork
1kg belly pork, derinded
1 sachet chorizol
2 1/2 teaspoons chilli pepper
8 cloves garlic
handful oregano
hog casings

PROCEDURE:
Mince the meat and fat together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Leave to mature in the fridge or a cool place for 24 hours.

Put the mixture into the casings. Shape into individual sausages.

Making chorizo sausage

Making chorizo sausage

Hang up to dry in a cool, airy place. The ideal temperature is between 10ºC and 13ºC. Leave to dry for 7 days. If the temperature is cool enough, you can store the chorizo outside the fridge but I decided to freeze it and take out use as needed. I also saved some of the fresh chorizo back and froze it without drying.

chorizo2

Migas

Making migas with stale bread

Making migas with stale bread

Migas are fried stale breadcrumbs and while they do not sound particularly appetising they are in fact delicious and are served in many bars and restaurants in Southern Spain generally as a tapa. This is peasant food at its best: cheap, simple and tasty, using up left-overs and store cupboard inrgedients.

While most of the bread is fried as migas, some pieces are kept back and fried in oil as croutons. These can then be combined with the final dish to add a bit of texture.

There are several different ways of cooking migas and you can either use stale breadcrumbs from yesterday’s loaf or semolina.

Normal ingredients to add are garlic, chorizo or longaniza sausage (a thinner version of chorizo), green peppers, sardines, etc.). They can then be served with chunks of cold melon.

INGREDIENTS:
2 stale loaves of bread
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 long green peppers, cut into strips
chorizo or longaniza sausage, cut into small pieces

Cut or tear the bread into fairly small pieces. Put in large bowl and sprinkle over some water.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. First fry the larger chunks of bread as croutons. When they are crispy, transfer to a plate.

Fry the chopped garlic in the same oil, removing the pan when softened.

Add the pieces of chorizo or longaniza and fry until cooked. Remove.

Fry the green pepper in the same oil and then transfer to the plate.

Recipe for migas

Ingredients for migas

Add a bit more oil if necessary to the pan and add the bread. With a wooden spatula, turn the breadcrumbs, breaking them up into smaller pieces as they are fried. The finished dish will resemble breadcrumbs.

frying spanish migs

Frying Spanish migas

Combine all the ingredients and serve.

Gazpacho: cold, Andalusian tomato soup

Recipe for gazpacho: cold, Andalusian tomato soup

tomato gazpacho recipe

Tomatos are now ready: let the tomatofest begin

One of the highlights of my year is when we get the first tomatoes and I can start making gazpacho. I first tasted gazpacho on my year abroad in Sevilla. In the oppressive Sevilla heat, gazpacho was a refreshing interlude and we would go to a bar where you could order it by the glass. Bars serve a slightly watered down version in long glasses with ice cubes that you can drink. Restaurants, on the other hand, serve a thicker version in a bowl and served with finely diced garnishes (hard-boiled egg, cucumber, green pepper, onion, tomato, croutons). When I first saw gazpacho being made by a woman in Seville, I was sure she cracked an egg into the mix before blending. Later at another person’s house, she admitted to adding a spoonful of mayonnaise to the mixture.

There are literally hundreds of ways of preparing gazpacho and each person has their own recipe. Here is mine. You can make it as fine or as chunky as you like. If you prefer, you can sieve it after to remove the seeds and skins. If you would like to serve it as a drink, then add more water. I like to add a spoon of mayonnaise as well as I think that this improves the texture and taste but it’s entirely up to you.

The quantities are approximate and really depend on how many people you are preparing it for. The important thing is that the tomatoes must be red and ripe as the flavour really does depend on the ingredients you put in.

For more facts and information about tomatoes check out this page.

INGREDIENTS:
1-2kg ripe tomatoes
1 Spanish cucumber (or about 15cm of a long cucumber)
1 large Spanish green pepper or 1/2 Italian green pepper
5 cloves garlic
salt
pepper
2 capfuls of balsamic vinegar
a good slug of olive oil
1 dessertspoon mayonnaise

Blend all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Add as much water as you like.

Taste and add more salt, vinegar, garlic, etc. if necessary.