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Spanish Brunch

This Spanish-inspired brunch is bright and jammed with fab flavours.

I was thrilled the other day when I received a shout out from UK-based foodie Joana Reis of Yummy Food with an invitation to participate in a blogger contest sponsored by Spanish travel company Canarias. Not only was I honoured to be asked to highlight a recipe featuring Mediterranean cuisine, but I was thankful for the distraction to dream about the sunny warmth of Spain’s beaches, culture and people.

Source: Daily Mail

As we are still in hard-core winter, I mused that a Spanish-inspired brunch (a bit of a change from evening tapas) would be a bright and welcome delight. Mediterranean food, with a foundation of  olive oil, spices and vegetables is notably good for you and good eats. The best thing is that this carefree kind of cooking lends itself to using what is seasonal and what you have on hand. It’s casual and flexible. Perfect for my interpretation of some classic Spanish dishes served up late morning.

Even better, all of these recipes improve when made ahead of time, leaving you time to put on Spanish tunes and enjoy some cava.

 

Recipes

(should serve 4-6 adults)

Sangria

With wine and drunkened fruit as its base, how can you go wrong with this traditional Spanish libation? There are so many variations to this punch-like crowd-pleaser, there are really few guidelines to follow. The Spanish are known for their hospitality so make sure the Sangria is flowing as soon as your guests cross the threshold.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle of red wine (a Spanish Rioja would be nice)
  • 1 split of cava (or any other bubbly wine or soda)
  • 3 good pours of Cherry Brandy (or Triple Sec or Brandy)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4-5 citrus fruits for juicing (lemons, limes, oranges)
  • 2 cups of fruit (blueberries, diced apples, sliced oranges)
  • ice

Making it

  • Find a lovely pitcher or bowl (clear glass is best to show-off the pretty Sangria)
  • Mix all ingredients together (except ice)
  • Let sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight if you can wait
  • Add ice before serving

 

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 Gazpacho with Yoghurt

Another classic and use-what-you-have recipe is Gazpacho. A blended salad with tomatoes as its base, you can throw almost anything into the mix and as long as its fresh, it will be divine. My twist in honour of the sea is to use Clamato juice which combines the acid of tomatoes and salty clam brine.

Ingredients

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes and juice
  • 2 cups Clamato juice (tomato juice is fine)
  • 1-2 cups cocktail-sized tomatoes
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (Spanish if you have)
  • 1/2 olive oil (Spanish if you have)
  • 1 tablespoon each of spices (cumin, paprika, chili flakes)
  • bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • few gloves of garlic cloves (roasted to mellow the flavour if you have time)
  • few splashes of Worscestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Making it

  • Coarsely chop up  tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, parsley and garlic and place in a big bowl
  • Add canned tomatoes and Clamato juice
  • Mush with an immersion blender until you get a soupy consistency
  • Add oil, vinegar, spices
  • Season to taste
  • Serve in pretty clear glasses with a dollop of yoghurt, triangle of cumber and dusting of paprika

 

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Pipirrana (Spanish Potato Salad) with Chorizo

My version of this substantial salad replaces the tuna with spicy chorizo sausage. The oil and vinegar dressing is Mediterranean all the way.

Ingredients

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (peeled)
  • 6 potatoes (peeled, cubed, boiled, cooled)
  • 2 peppers (green or red)
  • small jar of marinated artichokes (drained)
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1/2 cup of your favourite olives (pitted and sliced)
  • bunch of green onions
  • bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2/3 cup olive oil (Spanish if you have)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (Spanish if you have)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chorizo sausage (best if you can grill it)

Making it

  • Coarsely chop eggs, pepper, artichokes, onions, parsley
  • Combine in a large bowl with potatoes, olives, capers
  • Drizzle over olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Gently toss and add sliced chorizo on top

 

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Crema Catalana

The Spanish version of crème brulée, this smooth custard with a crackly, sweet top is a gorgeous way to end the meal. I’ve adapted this recipe from About.com.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • few dashes of good vanilla
  • grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Making it

  • In a saucepan, beat together the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar until thoroughly blended and the mixture turns frothy
  • Add the cinnamon stick and grated lemon and orange rind
  • Stir the milk, cream and cornstarch together to amalgamate and pour into saucepan
  • Slowly heat the mixture, stirring constantly, just until thickened and then remove from heat immediately
  • Remove the cinnamon stick, stir in vanilla and pour the milk mixture into 4-6 ramekins
  • Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours
  • Divide remaining sugar on top and place under broiler or use a mini blow torch until golden brown

 

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 Photos: Ben Loughton

Live beautifully,

Cynthia

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