Hello lovely readers, I'm back! Valencia was lovely and sunny and full of delicious foodstuffs. There was, however, a little too much housework to be done for my liking. Yes, housework on holiday. Shocked? l was, I can tell you! The key lesson learnt here was that when the parents let you use one of their Valencian flats for 4 days, never assume they don't want anything in return. There were holidaymakers coming, you see. To both flats. So the flats had to be spotless and the holidaymakers had to be met and greeted and smiled at, to ensure a good write-up on the website. However, after that I did get to spend lots of quality time with some dear friends, which mostly included cooking much of my blog back catalogue and teaching their gorgeous wee daughter to say 'bum'. Oh, and being taught to knit. (Who knew you can take knitting needles on a plane?! A 150ml bottle of shampoo is unacceptable, but these long pointy things, no probs!)
Anyway, what about the food, you ask? Well, for me, Valencia's all about the market. And the aforementioned parental flat is just around the corner, so we ate very well. I used the opportunity to make a couple of delicious treats from a book called Cooking in Spain. I'm intending to attempt to recreate them at home, so keep your eyes peeled here, but here's a little taster:
Macarrones a la española - a really simple dish of penne with chorizo, jamón serrano, tomatoes, peppers and cheese. Yum yum yum.
Fideuá - this is like a pasta version of paella, in this case made with seafood - monkfish, prawns and clams. Sooo good.
Right, anyway, time for the round-up, I hear you cry. Well, in keeping with the fact that when September arrived, so did the autumnal weather, there has been a definite increase in the number of dishes which a bit more warming and filling. I think this is fantastic, as I'm a big fan of such foodstuffs. Take for example, the wonderful world of soups. I spotted four delicious ones: two of my all time favourites, lentil soup and minestrone, and two exciting new ones to add to my repertoire, kaffir and tamarind broth and sweetcorn and paprika soup. Just the ticket to keep me going through winter. And what could be better to go with a wintery soup than some buttermilk rolls fresh from the oven? And talking of bread, take a look at this Ethopian Honey-Spice bread - it makes your kitchen smell like Christmas! (I know it's far too early for the C-word, but Luisa started it.)
There were lots of other savoury treats out and about over the last week or so. For a start, check out these gnocchi alla romana - a 'quick easy meal that dazzles', not to mention these Mozzarella stuffed meatballs. And speaking of stuffedness, I really want to make this Meat and cheese stuffed yuca - yum! There were also a few chicken dishes that caught my eye: Chicken with mango chipotle sauce, Chicken Cacciatore and Chicken pie. And finally in the savoury section, some delicious potato dishes - Portuguese Fish and chips and BLT smashed potatoes. I'm a sucker for a spud and both of those look so tasty!
Now, moving onto the huge pile of sweet goodies from the last week or two. Firstly, old fashioned jam tarts - doesn't just the name make you happy? (Or is it just me?!) Perhaps I could try them with some low fat lemon curd (made with honey). Amongst the less familiar goodies were this Australian lemon slice and rugelach. There was also as fine a display of macarons as I think you'll ever see - these little beauties seem to be all over the blogs at the mo, but I must admit I've never even tasted one. I know - the shame! So I've better recitify that forthwith.
There were also some very warming autumnal puds. Take these for example: Apple oat slices aka Autumn in a nutshell, Mom's awesome cobbler, Melting middle chocolate fondants, Pear and chocolate fudge tartlets and Normandy apple tart. And then there were lots of delicious cakey bits for teaming up with a cup of a tea preferably next to a fire: Oatmeal cookies with golden raisins and chocolate chips, Lemon polenta cake, Lemon drizzle cake (with gin in the icing!), Cinnamon banana bread, Mini maple pancake muffins, Bank holiday madeleines and Cheesecake-marbled brownies. Doesn't it just make you glad to see those long nights and crunchy leaves?
But just in case you don't want to let go of summer just yet, go and have a look at this Victoria plum and blackberry frozen ice cream slices - summery food with autumnal ingredients!