Australian Gourmet Traveller October 2009, Spring table
I bought this magazine in November 2009 and I cooked at least two things from it as evidenced in an earlier blog post. While the magazine is titled “spring table” and is definitely seasonal, the recipes are also distinctly Spanish.
We started on soup Monday with pea and sherry soup with chorizo oil, p119. I love pea soup and this did not disappoint. Peas, chorizo, sherry. Can’t go wrong. We’d had a sourdough loaf that wasn’t perfect but was perfect for croutons, so everything came together to make this a delicious meal. This may be my favourite meal from the magazine, I finished the soup with a drizzle of Olivo chilli infused olive oil which made a great soup even better. I would have used the smoked paprika oil if I had had it. Perhaps I should get some.
Next up was baked eggs with chickpeas and spinach p126. I had made a mental note to soak the chickpeas the night before, however it might have been better to stick an actual note on the fridge because I forgot. I did remember to quick soak them in the morning, so all was well. I substituted chard for spinach and had just made a fresh sourdough loaf. I would advise baking the eggs for a little less time. They definitely didn’t need 15 minutes in our oven.
Roast potato chorizo and olives p114, was presented as a side dish and I decided it needed something on the side so I got a chicken breast from the butcher. I wanted skin on so he jointed a chicken for me and because they usually sell the breasts with skin off he left the skin from both breasts on my single one. I roasted the chicken in the pan with the potatoes wrapped in its delicious crispy skin. Potatoes, chorizo, sherry. Another winning combination.
I had planned chorizo, salt cod and broad bean salad, p116 for Thursday. We can’t easily source salt cod so I had planned to use asparagus. The broad beans were coming on beautifully and I had assumed I would get the 150g I needed for this meal. If you saw my Instagram on the Saturday before you would have seen that we had in fact eaten what was on the plants for aperitivo with Pecorino cheese. And no more were forthcoming. So all I had for a chorizo, salt cod and broad bean salad was a chorizo, a bunch of asparagus, and a bag of watercress I had forgotten about. Luckily I have a recipe tool called Eat Your Books. Some brave soul has indexed all (or at least quite a few) of the cooking books and magazines in the world and all you need to do is add your own books to your “bookshelf”. It is free to use the public bookshelf or you can pay a small subscription and customise your own. I typed in watercress and asparagus and there was only one book on my shelves with a recipe containing both ingredients. Ottolenghi’s Plenty. Problem solved and delicious dinner planned. I will make the broad bean salad when a few more appear on the plant.
On omelette night we made chorizo Manchego tortilla p119. This uses chat potatoes which I’ve never heard of, but which are apparently just very small potatoes, probably waxy are best. I love to make a tortilla to use up things in the fridge for a Friday night supper or Saturday lunch and this is a pretty good version. Eggs, potatoes, chorizo, sherry. Nothing more need be said.
I revisited the rice w chorizo and chicken p116 that I made for the earlier blog post. There were several issues with this recipe, not least that there seems to be a nationwide shortage of calasparra rice, and I had to use arborio which was ok but not the best for a paella style dish. As I had mentioned in the earlier post the chicken took longer to cook as did the rice. While I am not suggesting that the recipe creator is wrong, if I was doing this again, I would use boneless thighs, and just make it as I would a traditional paella.
I was going to stop there but I have been inspired by Spain and I kept going. We had clams with cider and chorizo, p48. No sherry this time but chorizo and cider. I learned a few years ago that in the late 1980s gin and tonic became a popular drink in Spain, particularly in the Basque region. This is known as gin tonica and served in a large balloon shaped glass with large ice cubes (keeps the drink cold without melting into the gin) and an aromatic garnish. It seemed only right to have a gin tonica for our aperitivo with jamón and Spanish roasted almonds.
I got carried away and made chocolate and cinnamon suspiros, p148 for pudding. Who could resist a dish named “sighs”? These had chocolate and cinnamon (obviously), so I served them with strawberries and cream whipped with a soupçon of cinnamon. My mother had a rule in our family that we did not eat strawberries before my birthday and I think I may have just broken it. These may have been the highlight of the magazine.
Next I was inspired by the delightfully named albóndigas with rice and flat beans, also p48. Not quite the season for flat beans so I added frozen peas which worked a treat. Albóndigas is just Spanish for meatballs but a much more delicious sounding word. Sherry but no chorizo in this one. And again the issue of the hard to find calasparra. Arborio sufficed again.
I had fully intended to revisit the alfajores payes, p144, and I’m sure I will very soon. I plan to revisit the suspiros even sooner, on my birthday in a couple of weeks.
I have very much enjoyed our sojourn in Spain with chorizo and sherry and am in two minds whether to return the magazine to the shelves or just use the recipes from the website. I suspect I’ll keep it a while longer. One complaint. It is practically impossible to find the recipes following the page numbers in the index. There are no page numbers on the pages with illustrations. The recipe for the suspiros is on p148. The closest page numbers are 140 and 154. Why would you do that?