Leche Frita (Spanish “Fried Milk”)

I don’t think there is any other country in the world that has as many festivals as in Spain. We are quite known for our party lifestyle and most wonder when we actually get down to business as it always seems that we are constantly having days off in honour of some random Saint or Virgin (every city, town, village has their own one). I’m pretty sure that on most days of the year there is a at least one festival going on somewhere around the country.

At the moment we are in Carnival mode. In Valencia, where I live, Carnival isn’t a public holiday as there isn’t as much of a tradition to celebrate it, probably because a few weeks later we blow all our budget on Las Fallas, Valencia’s main festival. It is however, big business in my dad’s area (Galicia) where it is known as “entroido”, Cadiz, Tenerife and countless other areas around Spain.

As with most festivals, we have many recipes associated to these days, particularly sweets such as this one. Leche Frita, literally means fried milk, and is very popular in Northern Spain (the exact origin is disputed) during this time of the year and also Easter, which follows. The only way I can describe it is as fried custard squares.

Ingredients

1 litre milk

70g plain flour

70g cornflour (or cornstarch in US)

40g white sugar

1 lemon rind

1 cinnamon stick

4 eggs

Extras

Cinnamon sugar (white sugar mixed with cinnamon powder)

1 egg, beaten

Melted butter, to grease

Method

1 Heat 800ml of milk with lemon rind and cinnamon. Once it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and combine the sugar til it dissolves. Leave for 20 minutes to become warm and then remove the lemon rind and cinnamon stick.

2 Meanwhile, in a bowl add 200ml of cold milk and gradually beat in the flour, cornflour and eggs. Beat well and make sure there are no bumps. Gradually whisk this cold milk mixture to the warm milk mixture.

3 Return the pan to the heat and whisk until the mixture becomes thick. If for some reason the mixture splits you can use a hand immersion blender to fix it.

4 Grease a square/rectangle container (the size depends on the thickness you want the final product) with melted butter and pour in the leche frita mixture. Spread and bang on a surface to get rid of any air bubbles. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge till it sets (at least 2 hours).

5 Run a knife around the edges of the container of leche frita mixture and turn it out. Cut into square or rectangles. Coat with flour, dip in beaten egg and fry in plenty hot oil.

6 Once fried, coat in cinnamon sugar.

1964811_10152357524964705_847908770_n_Fotor

Eat warm or cold. Personally, I prefer them cold especially if there is a bit of vanilla ice-cream thrown into the mix. 

Advertisements

No-Bake Chocolate Tofu Pie

I can imagine most people putting this recipe on the shelf after realising this dessert contains tofu. Ahh tofu, that misunderstood ingredient that seems to be only truly loved by vegans (and Orientals). It does have an acquired taste but it’s not that bad. In this pudding, however, it is completely transformed and if you serve it as a regular chocolate pie, people will be none the wise. In fact, I served this pie to a Cuban friend who despises anything soy-related (as in his native country dairy products were out of reach and were replaced by soy alternatives, you can understand his anger) and he enjoyed it, although he didn’t look too thrilled when he found out the secret ingredient…

The chocolate tofu part is apt for many different diets such as lactose-free, gluten-free and vegan. The case however can be easily adapted to suit your different requirements. Use whichever biscuit suits your diet and bind with water instead of using butter. You can even have it without any case at all or use a mixture of nuts and dates.

Ingredients

Filling:

2 boxes Silken Firm Tofu (349g each)

350g dark chocolate

1tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp. honey (adjust according to type of chocolate used and personal taste)

Case:

Packet of biscuits, crushed (whichever you prefer or fits into your diet)

Circa 85g. butter, melted (or any other binding agent to suit your diet)

Method

1 Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper, close and leave some of the paper hanging out of the pan to easily remove pie once finished.

2 Make the biscuit base by melting butter and adding to crushed biscuits; pour and press into pan. Use the bottom of a cup to press down and level it. Leave to harden in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3 Melt chocolate using the double boiler method.
DSC04664_Fotor_Collage
4 Meanwhile, blend the tofu until smooth. Once chocolate has melted add to the tofu and blend till smooth. Add honey and vanilla extract.
DSC04664_Fotor_Collage2
5 Pour chocolate tofu mixture into the pie base and spread evenly. If you like, you can use the back of a spoon to spike the mixture. Chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight.
DSC04675_Fotor
Chocolate Tofu Pie

Chocolate & Ginger Chia Pudding

Chia seeds have shot into fame in recent times despite being already hugely popular in its native Mexico and Guatemala where it has been cultivated since Pre-Columbian times. Over here it has turned into one of those “superfoods”; one of my pet peeves. I don’t really buy into the concept of superfood; I think it is just all clever marketing and a fad but the reason I decided to give these seeds a chance wasn’t because of it’s supposed health benefits, although it is a plus, but because of the transformation it provides whatever liquid you mix it with. The seeds absorb the liquid it comes into contact with and turns it into a gelatinous-like substance. This substance then resembles some form of pudding. Pudding, you say? I am on board!

This probably isn’t the healthiest Chocolate Chia Pudding out there but it must be better than one of those over-processed chocolate puddings you’d expect to find in your local supermarket. You can be less indulgent and use milk (cow, coconut, soy, almond etc) instead of yoghurt but I personally prefer it with yogurt.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. unsweetened raw cacao powder

1 ½ Tbsp. of stem ginger syrup (or honey)

A splash milk or water

2 pieces of stem ginger, diced

4 Tbsp. Greek yoghurt

3 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. cinnamon powder

Extra cacao, for dusting

Method

1 Mix cacao, ginger syrup and milk until smooth and silky.

2 Mix in yogurt, stem ginger and chia seeds. Combine well.
DSC01675_Fotor_Collage
3 Pour into desired pots and sprinkle with cinnamon and some extra cacao.

4 Refrigerate overnight.
DSC01693_Fotor
NB You can just as easily make this without the chia seeds; it won’t be a set pudding but the flavours work just as well.

Peanut Butter Praline Vegan “Ice-cream”

The easiest and fastest way to make ice-cream. This could actually be rather dangerous…

I never thought I would ever enjoy something vegan but on this occasion I am obliged to put my hands up and admit that I was wrong to judge. You would never guess that the base of this “creamy” ice-cream has absolutely no dairy in it! The trick to this ice-cream is frozen bananas + blender. I am afraid that it would be next to impossible to make this without a blender or food processor unless you are really strong and you can pound the bananas with your fists…

This is great way to use up overripe bananas; this takes full advantage of the saying: “Waste not, want not”. I always have a bag of overripe bananas and other fruits in the freezer to make into icecreams, smoothies or cakes. The darker the banana, the sweeter the end result will be and therefore you won’t need to add any other kind of sweetener.

The consistency of this ice-cream is akin to soft-serve but if frozen it also transform into traditional frozen ice-cream. Personally, I prefer to eat it fresh as even with “normal” ice-cream I mix it around and wait for it to melt slightly anyways…

The base of this “ice-cream” is solely frozen bananas so you can add what ever flavourings you like. Let your creativity go but to get you started here are a few of mine: tahini + cinnamon; chocolate + stem ginger; coffee + chocolate; baileys + cinnamon. You could also add texture with crushed biscuits or crushed nuts.

Ingredients

1-2 overripe bananas, frozen (see tips and techniques)

2 Tbsp. homemade peanut butter (or storebought)

2 drops praliné aroma

Method

1 Place bananas in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. At first it may seem that it will never turn into ice-cream but have a bit of patience; it will finally get there!
DSC01700_Fotor_Collage1
2 Add peanut butter and praline aroma and blitz one more time to incorporate everything fully.
DSC01718
Note: You can freeze the ice-cream in an airtight container; it won’t have the same consistency as freshly made but it is still good.

Clafoutis aux cerises

It’s cherry season, wooohooo! At least it is here…

I refuse to use whole cherries even though French tradition would dictate otherwise. Personally, I don’t want to sit down to the dessert and have the nuisance of spitting out every pit with every mouthful or heaven forbid break a tooth; I just want to devour the thing in the blink of an eye.

If you are fancy and have a cherry-pitting device go ahead and pit away but for everyone else all you need is a bit of patience and a paper-clip. I am afraid you are going to have to sacrifice a paper clip for the job, though. Bend it into a “S” shape and insert one of the ends into the top of a cherry, dig around a bit and pull the pit out.

Ingredients

300g cherries, pitted

50g flour

30g sugar

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 drop vanilla essence

100ml milk

20g butter, melted

Extra butter, to grease

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

2 Grease an ovenproof dish with butter and flour and put cherries in.

3 Mix all the dry ingredients and then beat in the eggs, milk, vanilla essence and melted
butter.

4 Pour batter over the cherries and oven bake for 20 – 25mins at 200ºC
Clafoutis aux cerises
The consistency should be like a set custard. It’s kinda weird but in a good way.

Carrot Cake Oats

I’m not a breakfast person, mainly because I am not a morning person. The last thing I think about when I manage to drag myself out of bed is breakfast. However, I’m in the process of changing my habits and forcing myself to have breakfast. This recipe is perfect because it is prepared before going to bed and is left overnight to work its magic in the fridge. Minimum effort involved. Perfect for the morning.

I love carrot cake so these oats are inspired by the flavours of a carrot cake but lets be honest it’s not the same as having a proper piece of carrot cake. They do, however, taste like the cake batter. Who doesn’t love licking all the utensils that have come into contact with cake batter? Even if they are sharp and you risk cutting yourself!

Unfortunately, I don’t think cake for breakfast would be the kind of change I am aiming for, so let’s stick to these overnight oats instead! You can play around with the flavours: the possibilities are endless.

Ingredients

200 ml. milk (I used skimmed but you can use any, even non dairy alternatives like oat/soya/almond milk)

130g rolled oats

1 banana, mashed

1 carrot, grated

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. allspice

1 Tbsp. honey

Few walnuts, crushed

Pinch of salt

Method

1 Mix all ingredients together and leave in the fridge overnight.

Carrot Cake Oats

Bocaíllos de Pozoseco

Hailing from Pozoseco, Cuenca (Spain), these little delights are made especially for Easter. In my family we have them on Good Friday and traditionally we would make two batches: one for a special Good Friday stew (recipe to follow one day) and another as a dessert. This is the recipe for the dessert and has been in the family since time immemorial.

Ingredients

Bocaíllos:

1 large stale loaf, use only the centre

4 eggs, beaten

¼ tsp. baking powder

Sunflower oil for frying

Syrup:

White sugar

Water

Lemon rind

2 cinnamon sticks

Method

1 Tear the bread into crumbs and add the beaten eggs and baking powder. Mix well. It should have the consistency of a thick batter.

2 Make the syrup by melting sugar into caramel and then adding cold water, lemon rind and cinnamon sticks. Stir until the caramel has dissolved. Keep on a very low heat.

3 Meanwhile, make the Bocaíllos by using two spoons to form the mixture into quenelles. Drop them into a frying pan and fry until golden brown on both sides. Add to the syrup, fry the next batch and repeat the process.
154584_10153206762954705_4153143591144834858_n_Fotor_Collage
4 Add all the bocaíllos to the syrup and leave them to soak up the syrup on a low heat for 10 minutes.

Traditionally they are eaten warm on their own but I prefer them cold served with some vanilla ice-cream or straight out of the fridge on their own.
bocaillos