Sopa de Ajo – Spanish Garlic Soup

spanish garlic soup

Spanish garlic soup

Seeing as garlic soup is one of our all-time favourites and we are always happy when it’s included on the “menú del día”, I thought it was about time I learnt to cook it myself – especially as we’ve grown so much garlic this year and the chickens are still laying plenty of eggs.

I tried this recipe the other day and it came out well so am cooking it again tonight. Here is the recipe for 2 for a main meal or 4 for a starter. If there are four of you, I would probably double up on the bread and the ham. Some recipes use a ham bone instead of the diced ham but this is a quick alternative and can be rustled up in no time at all.

sopa5

INGREDIENTS:
8 cloves of garlic (or as many as you like), finely sliced
4 slices of French loaf
olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
25g chopped Serrano ham
salt
pepper
1.2 litres chicken stock
2-4 eggs

sopa3Heat the oven to 200ºC. Line a baking tray with foil. Slice the bread, arrange on the tray and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

sopa4Leave to cool for a while and then cut into cubes.

Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and gently sauté the garlic until soft but not coloured. Add the ham and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the paprika and chilli powder and stir well before adding the fried bread.

sopa2Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down to a low simmer and crack the eggs into the soup. Cover the pan and leave the eggs to poach for 2-3 minutes and then serve.

Huevos rancheros recipe

Huevos rancheros recipe

huevos ranchros recipe

Huevos rancheros

This huevos rancheros recipe is quick and easy to make. It uses pinto beans, red peppers and spices and the eggs are cracked into the pot to cook just before serving. For more recipe ideas for Mexican food, see Thomasina Miers’ book Mexican Food Made Simple.

INGREDIENTS:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g pinto beans or white beans
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato purée
400g chopped tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
4 eggs
tortillas

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a casserole and fry the onion until soft. Add the red pepper and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the garlic, chilli and spices. Fry for another minute or so to release all the flavours.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, beans, tomato purée, stock and bring to the boil. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or so until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Cut the flour tortillas into wedges and fry in a frying pan with a smidgeon of oil until crispy.

Make 4 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each one. Cover and cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the eggs have set.

Serve with the tortillas.

huevos ranchros recipe

Huevos rancheros

 

Tortilla de patatas

Tortilla de Patatas

Tortilla de patatas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This omelette will feed 3-4 people.

INGREDIENTS:
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
5 eggs
salt and pepper

Cut each potato lengthways into quarters. Thinly slice the potatoes crossways. Soak in water to get rid of the excess starch and then drain.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, add the potatoes and sprinkle over some salt. Mix well so that they are thoroughly coated in the oil and begin frying on a high heat. Fry for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 or so minutes. After you’ve turned the potatoes, turn the heat up for a minute or so and then cover and turn the heat down for another couple of minutes so that the potatoes get a bit of colour and cook in the steam at the same time.

After about 5 minutes, sprinkle over the onions and fry with the potatoes.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat. Season with salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool down before combining with the egg.

Heat some oil in the frying pan and pour in the egg/potato mixture when the oil is hot. Set the timer for 3 minutes and cook on a high heat. Turn down the heat, cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip the tortilla. Turn the heat up and cook again for 3 minute on high before covering and turning down the heat for 2 minutes. Check the tortilla is cooked in the middle and serve.

I’ve found the easiest way to flip the tortilla is by using a flat saucepan lid with a handle. Hold the handle with a cloth to protect your hand, cover the pan and flip the tortilla so that the saucepan lid is horizontal.

It takes a bit of confidence to flip the tortilla, but you just have to take the bull by the horns and turn it. When you’ve got the semi-cooked tortilla on the lid, gently slide it back into the pan. Turn up the heat and gently shake the pan with circular movements to tidy up the edges, using a spatula if necessary to tuck any edges back under.

Garlic mayonnaise goes really well with the tortilla and is so easy to make. For a recipe and video, see this post.

Egg update

seven eggs

A full house

On two days now the 7 hens have each laid an egg. The first time was 24th March 2014 and then they did it again on 26th March 2014.

7-eggs1

They adapted well to life in the new chicken coop. Although there were four eggs boxes attached to their sleeping quarters, they always laid their eggs in the same one diagonally opposite the door.

I was really pleased with the chicken coop I bought when we were back in the UK last November from EGGSHELL. The only modification I will make to it for next year is to attach some pieces of plastic to each section of the run. What’s been happening is that the hens kick out the straw and pigeons come and eat it. I’ve bought the plastic from IKEA (PRÖJS desk pad) and I’ll punch some holes in them and then attach them with cable ties to the inside.

7-eggs2

On 27th March, one of the older hens laid my first double yolker ever.

Alioli and Mayonnaise: stick blender method

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise

This is the recipe and method for making mayonnaise with a stick blender. The size of the egg is crucial. If the egg is not large enough, the mixture will split. In that case, just break in another egg and start the method again from the bottom of the container.

The best container to use is one with a lid so that you can easily store the mayonnaise in the coldest part of the fridge until needed. A transparent or see-through container is best and it is important that the base is only slightly larger than the blender head. 

Basically you add all the ingredients to the container, egg first. Then lower the stick blender over the egg yolk. Firmly hold the top of the container with one hand and use the other to hold the blender. It’s important to make sure that your blender hand is comfortable as you don’t stop once you start.

Using full power, blend for a couple of seconds. Then slowly tilt the head of the blender by about 5 mm and then down. Slowly lift the blender by about 5mm and then back, by 1cm and then back. You should see how the bottom of the container completely changes colour. When you get the hang of it, you use a circular motion with the blender to slowly lift it slightly above the lighter line of the mayonnaise at the bottom and then back down again. Keep going until all the oil has been incorporated. 

Here is a video on YouTube of me making mayonnaise with this method:

Here is the recipe.

ALIOLI or GARLIC MAYONNAISE
INGREDIENTS:
1 extra large egg
4 cloves of garlic, crushed (or less or more according to taste)
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
250ml sunflower oil
pinch of salt
squeeze lemon juice

METHOD

Using the plastic beaker that comes with the stick blender, add the egg or egg yolk and then all the other ingredients and finally the oil. It is important not to add the oil too violently. Allow a couple of minutes for the oil to float to the surface.

Gently lower the stick blender to the bottom of the beaker. Blend on the fastest setting for about a minute. Carefully lift up one side of the blender head to allow small amounts of oil to reach the blade and then slowly lift the blender upwards towards the top of the beaker.

Mix thoroughly and thin with either more oil or milk or yoghurt as preferred. Sometimes it’s nice to add a splash of good quality virgin olive oil to taste. Check for seasoning and serve.
mayonnaise2