Friday, August 8, 2014

Em takes Spain...and a cooking class

So we'll admit it. We've been off the web for quite some time now...more than 8 months?! But much has happened since then. Between the two of us we've moved into two different apartments, moved to two new cities, had 2 graduations, and explored a good part of Europe!

Having been abroad for the first 5 months of this year, I felt it fitting to write a post about what I'd been up to. Being severely affected by the travel bug (not an actual disease, no worries, just a love for travel) I finally thought it was time to sit down and make an update. There's nothing like traveling to give you greater perspective. Spending the better part of these months in Sevilla, Spain and studying abroad, I was luckily able to take two cooking classes along with a flamenco and music history class.


But where does one even begin when living in the land of famed jamón, sinfully wonderful churros con chocolate, and ice cold tinto verano and sangria? I readily admit I'm no expert in Spanish cuisine, but I can't help but write down and try to share some of my favorite recipes I was lucky to have learned.



Torrijas
Ingredients

Pan (White English Bread, preferably day old)
1 Litre Leche (1 liter milk)
Huevos (eggs)
Azúcar (sugar)
Piel de un limón (peel of a lemon, no juice)
Canela (cinnamon)

This dessert is typical of Semana Santa, or Holy Week in Andalucía. Rich foods such as torrijas or pestiños are eaten to break the fasting at the end of Lent.

In a pot, add 1 liter of milk (semidesnatada is fine), skins of one lemon, and a stick of cinnamon. You want to avoid adding juice of the lemon to the milk because this will cause curds to form.
Add as much white sugar as you want, to taste. Place on stove and heat. Cut the day old bread into approximate fourths. Then coat each piece of bread in milk, then the egg (beaten mixture). Then fry in olive oil until golden brown. 
Place fried pieces in a large bowl, and add in the warmed milk and cinnamon mixture. Set it down and then place another large plate or bowl on top to create a weight that will allow the bread to soak up the milk mixture. More sugar or cinnamon may be added to taste.

Pestiños
Ingredients

anis y matla uva ~100 ml
aceite de oliva (olive oil) ~100 ml 
limón y naranja zest (lemon and orange zest)
harina (flour) ~3/4 of a kilo
azúcar (sugar)
sesame

This is a common postre consumed in Andalucía during Christmas or during Holy Week. Because it is so rich, it is usually eaten to end the fasting during Lent as well.

Cut off the peel of the lemon and orange. Then pour about a cup of the olive oil in the pan, and throw in the citrus peels. Pour a cup of anis into a bowl. When the peels have a bit of golden color and are fried, put the peels into a separate bowl. Pour some dried anis and sesame seeds into the oil now (you don't have to add more heat to the pan, the oil should be hot enough now). Pour this into the bowl of wine after a little frying.
Taking the flour, sift it into the bowl containing the white liquor of anis and mix. Then with hands, knead the dough until it doesn't stick to your hands. Cover the dough and wait about 30 min to 1 hour to let the dough rest. Remember, you can also make this postre using honey or cinnamon to coat. Taking the rested dough, pinch some off and roll into a ball and using a rolling pin roll it out into a thin layer. Using the cookie cutter, cut a circle and taking the two sides of the circle, fold into the center. Fry in olive oil until golden brown and then coat in cinnamon sugar.

Sultanas de coco
Ingredients

250 grams coconut powder
250 grams sugar
3 to 4 eggs (depending on the ratio)

Beat the eggs, then add in coconut powder about 1/4 of a kilo. Next add in the sugar to the mixture. Chill this in fridge for as long as possible as it is easier to shape when cold. Taking the mixture, form a ball, and create a sort of pyramid or whatever shape pleases you so long as it has a flat bottom. Bake at 180˚C for about 10 minutes or until the sultanas are starting to be light brown in color. 



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