A bowl of comforting hot soup is always a winner on a cold day. The chilli gives it a bit of a kick and the chorizo imparts a delicious smoky flavour combined with the aubergine.
Serves 2 Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes
1 large aubergine
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 shallots (chopped)
1/2 red chilli (de-seeded and chopped)
2 thsp olive oil
500mi chicken stock
2 thsp double cream
25g chorizo (chopped)
4 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, Gas mark 4 or 350°F
2. Chop the aubergine into 2cm cubes and transfer to a roasting tray with the chopped garlic, shallots and chilli. Drizzle with the olive oil, season well and roast for 20 minutes.
3. Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large saucepan and add the roasted vegetables to it. Simmer for 20 minutes before adding the cream.
4. Transfer the soup to a blender and liquidise until smooth. If you want a really velvety texture, pass the mixture through a sieve before re-heating gently in the original saucepan. Season to taste.
5. To serve, place half the chopped chorizo in the bottom of each bowl and pour the hot
soup on top.
6. Swirl an extra tablespoon of cream into each serving for added richness and sprinkle a couple of basil leaves on top for decoration.
Roast Shoulder Of Saffron Lamb
The chilli gives this traditional roast a bit of a kick, while the saffron adds colour.
Serves 6-8 Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 3½ hours
Pinch of saffron
3 thsp hot water
1 red chilli (halved and de-seeded)
50ml Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 oranges (grated zest and juice)
2 tsp thyme, fresh (finely chopped) or dried
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 boneless lamb shoulders (approximately 700g each)
4 shallots (finely chopped)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, Gas mark 3 or 325°F.
2. Soak the saffron in the hot water for 2 minutes. Mix the halved chilli, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, orange zest and juice, thyme, garlic and saffron water together in a bowl.
3. Place the shoulders of lamb (laid out fiat) in a large roasting tray and pour the saffron mixture over them. Cover with aluminium foil and cook in the oven for approximately 3 hours. Baste with the juices every 20 minutes or so, adding the shallots to the tin after 2½ hours.
4. After 3 hours, the lamb should have a wonderful dark glaze. Take out of the oven and place on a serving dish, covering the lamb with the foil to keep it warm. Pour out as much surplus fat from the roasting fray as possible without losing too much of the juice from the lamb.
5. Add 200ml water to the leftover juice to form gravy and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to mix in any tasty residue stuck to the base. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a saucepan and let the mixture simmer on a moderate heat so that it reduces in volume by half. It should be dark and rich in colour.
6. Serve the shoulders of lamb with the sauce and any vegetable \of \choice. Roast squash is recommended as its vibrant colour contrasts nicely with the lamb.
Prune Crema Catalana
This Catalan specialty is similar to crème brulee. The sweetness of the cream contrasts with the acidity of the fruit, and with the crispy topping it tastes sublime.
Serves 2 Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
150ml red wine
50g stoned ‘ready to eat’ dried prunes
30g caster sugar
200ml double cream
2 egg yolks
1. Simmer the red wine with the prunes and log of the sugar in a small pan until the wine has become syrupy and the prunes are completely soft. This should take 15-20 minutes.
2. Divide the mixture between two small soufflé dishes or ramekins or use one medium-sized dish
3. Bring the double cream to the boil with 5g of the sugar, remove from the heat
and then quickly whisk in the egg yolks. Return to a very gentle heat and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
4. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the cream mixture over the prunes until you reach the rim of each dish. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, which will allow the cream to thicken.
5. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top of each pot. Caramelise the sugar with a cook’s blow torch or by placing the dishes under a very hot grill for
2 minutes until it begins to bubble and turn golden. Leave to cool before serving to allow the sugar to harden.
These lovely turnovers of puff pastry stuffed with buttery anis-flavoured walnuts, are a speciality of the northern region of Asturias, and are particularly popular at Christmas time
Grind the walnuts to a powder and mix in with the sugar, anis liqueur and melted butter.
Roll the pastry out into a rectangle, approximately 3mm thick. Cut into 16 rectangles measuring 11cm x 6cm.
Place a ball of the walnut stuffing at one end of each rectangle. Brush the edges with egg white, fold over the pastry and seal with the prongs of a fork.
Place the pastries on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for approximately 30 minutes in a preheated 220°C1425°F/gas 7 oven. The pastries should be well puffed and golden. Dust the casadielles with icing sugar. Serve while still warm.
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