World Food Day

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It seemed a good idea to name the Saturday that Freesia’s friends brought an eclectic blend of national delicacies to the small table in our flat as World Food Day… Dishes from Sri Lanka, Tanzania and India combined together with British and Argentine tidbits to create a wonderful spread for all to enjoy. Looking back and writing this it’s not that I feel that the name was a bad idea but I’m hoping that I don’t interrupt a philanthropist’s search to help people of the world less fortunate than ourselves eat. It does sound in hindsight like a charity set on reducing the world’s hunger. I apologise if I have held you up on your quest.

Well, to make matters worse there was a LOT of food. Far more than 5 people could hope to eat. But I am grateful for a week of ready-to-go packed lunches as we head towards Easter. It was gluttonous-maximus in our flat that day and safe to say it’s a wonder how everyone managed to squeeze their heaving frames through the narrow corridors to the snowy outside world. Well, here’re some pictures of what went on!

The recipes for more of the dishes will appear shortly!

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News from us! with my Mum’s stuffed chicken recipe as a bonus!

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Hello everybody!

We are back! It’s been a while I know but we have been a bit busy… working, travelling, studying… Unfortunately something had to be sacrificed and it was the blog. However, things are settling down now so we hope to be regular blogstars once again. But, as we all know, blogging is not always easy…

The whole process starts with thinking what to cook. We always try to make classic  recipes with our own twist, or recipes from our own cultures (Welsh/Argentina). As we both work full-time sometimes it’s a bit difficult to find the time to go shopping, cook, take pictures while you are cooking, and finalise the process with an interesting text and some creative touched-up pictures.

Anyway, today I wanted to post something and tell you what we have been up to.

November and December were hectic. Tim’s working hours were increasing as Christmas was on the way and in December I went to Argentina to visit my family and friends for a month!

I had a lovely time! It is an amazing part of the year to go home not only because  it’s Christmas and New years time but also because it’s summer! and knowing how much of a summer we have here in the UK every year – almost none, it’s always good to spend a month at 30ºC average temperature.

I have to confess that I am a planner, I can’t help enjoying it, I guess it gives me the power of having things under control? not sure, so when I bought my tickets to Argentina back in April 2012 I started to plan the holidays I was going to have with my family down there in January, they got sick of me, so I didn’t plan anymore and I reluctantly left things up to them to arrange… but it worked! We rented a house in Cordoba (almost last-minute) and we had an amazing time enjoying the family, lakes, rivers and the mountains. (more of my Argentina trip to come).

That was an exception though because before going to Argentina I booked trains and a hotel to go to Paris in February – told you I can’t help it! so when I got back in January, within two weeks we were off to Paris! It was Tim’s first time in the City of light (I had no idea it was called that… Tim) and the second time for me. Another amazing trip -a bit wet and cold but we enjoyed it a lot! (Paris post to come).

Ok, for now I will leave you with this Photo-Recipe: a Delicious Stuffed Chicken my mum made for our New years day at the house in the mountains. Enjoy!

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A tale of last Halloween and Pumpkin soup.

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Another Halloween is coming soon, parties, costumes and treats everywhere. No matter your age, it is always fun to plan something to do. 
Last year’s Halloween was a bit different to this year one though, we were living in Watford in a shared house and I must admit that I got very excited with the idea of kids knocking the door with a sweet ‘trick or treat’.

The reason is I only have seen this in the films from the US and of course where I come from this never happened. So we bought some sweets and our housemate J. had the idea of decorating the front garden with some left over from past Halloween parties at the house so we put some graves outside to show that we had some sweets at the house. We also wore some capes and masks (also J.’s idea) and when they knocked the door there were 2 zombies waiting for them with a bag full of sweets.

This year will be different, first of all we now leave in a rooftop flat. So I don’t think kids will come and ring the 4 bells of the building for someone to go downstairs to give them sweets.

Our plan is to make a nice pumpkin soup and enjoy our evening, without scary films because either me or Tim can’t watch them -yes, we get very scared with them at the point of scream or cry.

(I don’t think that I have ever screamed or cried during a scary film… Tim)

So, Tim bought a huge pumpkin for £1.50 and made a lot of pumpkin soup so it is already in the freezer waiting for the 31st of October.

(Also, last year I made the same soup but added some curry powder, cumin and coriander… It tasted great from my point of view – unfortunately Freesia doesn’t like those sorts of flavours so I had to enjoy it by myself… I was not allowed to make the same mistake 2 years running though :) )

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Rice, lentils and chorizo stew.

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Hello everyone! Today’s dish is a perfect solution for those cold winter days. If you want to make it a bit healthier just don’t add chorizo and meat. Do not worry about the lack of protein because rice + lentils make a complete protein with all the amino acids.

I just love this dish, it reminds me of home, woolen clothes, warm house….

(Tim – It really was a lovely, warming dish with a lovely intense flavour created by the addition of chorizo. The texture of rice and lentils as well… just marvellous – one of Freesia’s best :o) )

Ingredients

To be honest I made a lot of it, like for 4 people but unfortunately I did not measure the ingredients so you will have to use your own instinct and if you make a lot just freeze it for later :)

  • Lentils
  • Rice
  • Meat (see pictures for the quantity)
  • Chorizo (just one chopped a round of 1 inch)
  • carrot
  • onion
  • garlic
  • runner beans
  • red pepper
  • butternut squash
  • salt, pepper, oil
  • red wine
  • 1 vegetable stock cube

Preparation

In a container put the lentils with some water before starting cooking this dish so they get softer and cook quicker. In a saucepan sauté the vegetables with some sunflower oil.

When the onion is transparent add the meat and chorizo and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add half of a glass of red wine, the rice and the lentils and cook it for 5 minutes. Then add the vegetable stock, two pints of water and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice and lentils are tender.

Serve with some bread and butter and enjoy warming yourself up with nutritious dish.

Sopa de puerro y patata.

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To see the English version of this dish click here.

El año pasado decidimos empezar la semana de la sopa e hicimos una diferente cada día. Ahora las estamos traduciendo para que puedas disfrutarlas con nosotros y te animes a hacer sopa por que es super fácil, son muy nutritivas y si eliges correctamente los ingredientes pueden ser muy saludables y bajas en calorías. Para esta sopa elegimos un clásico de la cocina Galesa (puerro) en honor a Tim y sus raíces. Espero que te guste!

Ingredientes para 4 personas

  • 1 puerro grande
  • 2 dientes de ajo
  • 4-5 ajos tiernos (cebolla de verdeo, cebolleta, cebolla verde, cebolla inglesa) Si aún nos estas seguro mira la foto.
  • 2 patatas grandes
  • 150 ml leche desnatada
  • aceite de oliva
  • 1 caldo vegetal
  • sal y pimienta.

Preparación

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Pasta con pesto y pollo.

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If you want to see the English version click here.

Pesto Ingredientes

Me encanta el pesto, es un condimento muy aromático que le da un sabor muy especial a tus comidas. En este plato lo usé con pasta y pollo, pero tenemos más recetas en blog en las que también puedes disfrutar el pesto acompañado con pescado como el bacalao, o una rica torre de berenjenas.

El aceite de oliva es rico en ácidos grados monoinsaturados y las nueces son ricas en Omega-3 y en ambos casos esto ayuda a prevenir la enfermedades cardiovasculares.

Ingredientes para dos personas

  • 6-8 hojas de albahaca
  • 6 cucharadas de aceite de oliva
  • 3 nueces
  • 3 dientes de ajo
  • 150-200g de pasta seca
  • 150g de pollo a la plancha

Preparación

Picar el ajo, las nueces y las hojas de albahaca. Ponerlos en el mortero y agregar un poco de sal para que el ajo no se resbale con el palo del mortero. Machacarlo bien y agregar la mitad del aceite de oliva hasta que se haga una pasta.
Hervir la pasta hasta el punto que más te guste, yo la prefiero ‘al dente’, colarla y ponerla en una fuente para servir. Agregar el resto del aceite de oliva a la pasta y luego agregar el pesto y mezclar bien. Mezclar también el pollo cortado en dados y previamente cocinado a la plancha.

Servir las porciones en los platos y decorar con algunas nueces picadas y disfruten de este rico plato.

Presentacion

No te olvides que nos puedes seguir en Twitter @2minicooks.

Breaded garlic mushrooms tapa and Swansea trip!

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I went home the other weekend. Even though I have lived in England for two-thirds of my life I still and always will refer to the valleys and coastline of Swansea, Wales as my home. The local football team has recently been promoted to (and survived the rigours of) the most prestigious football league in the world and as a result the media spotlight shines over the city.

Walking through the tube stations of London my eyes are drawn to the posters of The Gower peninsula. It seems that the Welsh tourist board is keen to cash in on the increased numbers of travelling football fans to the local area and so plasters pictures of what I feel is the area’s greatest asset; Worms Head.

And so the 2minicooks family set off on a warm July day. We came, we ate, we walked and played. A well deserved break for all those involved. I really am so fond of this small city hidden in the valleys.

It’s not all sun, sea and sandcastles, however…

Apparently every cloud has a silver lining. What a wonderful sentiment, but for this old  idiom to ring true then one must be able to see the edge of the cloud. I remember weeks in Wales when the rain didn’t stop. Rhod Gilbert, the Welsh comedian compares the tale of Noah’s Ark with its 40 days and nights of vertical wetness as the best summer that Wales ever had. Swansea is the wettest city in the UK according to some.

It’s a good job then that the wonderful market is Wales’ largest indoor market. Although we weren’t able to visit Swansea market on our recent trip I remember as a child the stench of fish, cheese and so forth… The sort of aromas that to a child’s dew-drop nose cause fake retching and pleas to grandma to visit Toys R Us instead. Nowadays these smells do a lot to remind me of some of my favourite things: food, Swansea and memories.

You can not go to Swansea without trying some of the local ice cream. I know every town within a gnat’s crotchet of a lapping shoreline likes to think that its icecream is the bees-knees but we really are spoilt for choice in Swansea. Generations of Calzaghe’s, Macronelli’s and so forth have settled in the towns of Wales creating some of the finest gelatos outside of Italy. If you ever get to try the variety at Verdis or the one and only flavour at Joe’s you will have led a good life.

However, I did manage to pick up a few things from a local café (and Asda) to bring back to London to make me feel that little closer to home after a bad day :) And what better cure for a day peeled straight from Jabba the Hutt’s armpit than a bottle of Tomos Watkin’s Magic Lagyr (lager in English). It really is a treat and never been found by me outside of the Swansea area. And from this very café we sampled the local delicacy of cockles with a mushroom pesto and I couldn’t wait to get home and create a little snack based on this wonderful dish…

OK, so, first of all create the Pesto (Find the recipe here) and set aside. Any small mushrooms will do for this but I used button ones as they were cheap in a local supermarket. I used a little technique to ensure even coverage of the pesto but when Freesia came home from work she felt my approach was too amateur and looked terrible in photos… So you have the abridged version.

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Calabacines redondos rellenos.

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To see the English version of this recipe, please clik here.

El fin de semana pasado, fuimos a Belsize Park. Nos encanta esta area de Londres, Primrose Hill tiene una de las mejores vistas de la ciudad y nos gusta pasear entre las tiendas de delicatessen y los cafés de la zona, especialmente nuestro café favorito: Euphorium.

Pasamos bastante tiempo en Primrose Hill durante nuestras primeras citas disfrutando de esta hermosa vista:

Belsize park quizás es un area un poco “posh” (hay desiadas maneras de decir esto en español de cada país, así busquen si todavía no saben qué quiero decir, por favor en un diccionario). Pero para los que nos gusta cocinar, aquí se pueden encontrar una amplia variedad de productos. Y así fue como encontramos estos calabacines redondos que -a paser de su precio- me recordaron a los calabcines rellenos de mi madres y no me pude resistir. Al otro día la llamé para pedirle la receta claro, y aquí van: Los calabacines rellenos de mi madre.

Ingredientes

  • 2 calabacines redondos
  • 1 cebolla
  • 300gr carne picada
  • ajo
  • queso (yo usé queso de cabra)
  • salsa de tomate
  • arroz
  • guisantes
  • aceite de oliva
  • sal y pimienta

Preparación

Corta la parte de arriba de los calabacines y saca la pulpa ayudándote con una cucharita. Usando una olla para cocinar al vapor, pon los calabacines boca abajo y cocínalos durante 10 minutos aproximadamente.

Mientras, en una sartén, saltea la cebolla, el ajo, la carne y la pulpa de los calabacines. Sazónalos y añade tomillo y chile si quieres para darle más sabor. Cuando la mezcla esté listo, rellena los calabacines, pon una rodaja de queso en la parte de arriba y hornéalos por 3-5 minutos hasta que el queso se derrita.

Para acompañarlos también hice algunas guarniciones como simple arroz con guisantes y una salsa de tomate.

Te van a encantar, anímate a probarlos!

To see the English version of this recipe, please clik here.

Dont forget to follow us on Twitter @2minicooks.

Stuffed ‘piquillo’ peppers.

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First of all, don’t forget that now you can follow us on Twitter, we will be posting the recipes as well as some behind the scenes shots ;) @2minicooks

On my last trip to Spain as you all know I brought back some delies. Well, ‘pimientos del piquillo’ have always been one of my favourite dishes as the are very easy to make and you can use any filling you like or make some tapas with them, why not? they are delicious.

These small red peppers are harvested during September to December. Then, they are roasted over embers, which gives them a distinct sweet, spicy flavour, more akin to bell peppers than chilli peppers, despite their small size. They are then peeled and de-seeded by hand, before being packed into jars or tins for sale.

Sorry the quantities are not precise but you really need to use your instincts for this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • milk
  • flour
  • 1 tuna tin
  • 1 piquillo pepper tin
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil
  • hard cheese

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De mi hermoso libro: Bacalao con patatas.

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To see the English verion of this recipe click here.

Follow us on Twitter @2minicooks.

He decidido empezar a usar mis hermosos libros de cocina para cocinar y no usar tanto Internet para buscar recetas. Internet está muy bien para buscar algo rápido pero a veces está bueno hacer algo un poco más original y personal de algunos de los autores de mis libros de cocina.

Así que voy a empezar por este que me regalaron para Navidad, La comida de la Familia, de Ferrán Adrià. (lo tengo en inglés pero aquí tenéis un enlace de Amazon con el libro en Español).

Ferrán Adrià es un cocinero español (de Caraluña) muy conocido por su famoso restaurante El Bulli que está en Gerona. En El Bulli investigan y desarrollan nuevas técnicas de cocina para crear originales y novedosos platos como calamares con callos, praliné de piñones y reducción de pxtrufa negra / castaña / chocolate o flor de mandarino en témpura.

Este libro, sin embargo, no tiene esas recetas (que pueden llegar a ser muy complicadas de realizar), de hecho, tiene las recetas que los trabajadores del restaurante comían cuando estaban trabajando. Entonces son mucho más simples y tradicionales y tienen muchísimas fotos del paso a paso de cómo prepararlas que las hacen más fáciles de seguir.

Esta vez, hice esta riquísima receta de Bacalao con patatas. A Tim le gustó mucho, espero que se animen y la preparen!

Ingredientes

  • 1 filete de bacalao fresco
  • 3 papatas medianas
  • 3-4 dientes de ajo
  • aceite de oliva
  • perejil fresco picado
  • 1 cucharada de pimentón
  • 1-2 cucharada de puré de tomate
  • 1 cucharada de harina de maiz
  • 400-500 ml de caldo de pescado

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