Tortas de Mosto

“Tortas de Mosto” is a typical sweet from “La Mancha” region in Spain. And it is one of my favourite sweets from my hometown. When I was there last December, taking a look at the process of baking “tortas” was one of my (many) goals. I didnt get the recipe but noticed ingredients that I wasnt aware like using bread starter.

Another thing, in my hometown, didnt use Mosto, I think they do it only in Summer. So they used good orange juice instead.

Although I could remember nearly all ingredients, I wasn’t very confident, so I searched for some video without many expectations but lucky me I found this! Thanks to Cristina!

To be honest, I have tried twice. The first attempt wasnt really good. I over fermented the dough…. and I forgot to add sugar!!!! Somehow I didnt notice that “step”. It makes sense, mosto is very sweet and orange juice is not that sweet.

Ingredients Bread Starter

  • 100ml water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 7gr dry yeast
  • (need to try to add 1 tsp of sugar next time)

Process Bread Starter

  • In a small bowl, mix the yeast with water, then add the flour.
  • Be sure everything is well incorporated, make a ball with the dough. You dont have to knead it.
  • If you are going to make “tortas” next day, cover it and put it in the fridge. If using during the day, let it rest for 2h or until it doubles up in volume

Tortas Ingredients

  • Bread Starter
  • 250ml good orange juice
  • 250ml good virgin olive oil
  • 14gr dry yeat
  • 50gr sugar (maybe 75or or 100g next time)
  • 1 egg (maybe two next time)
  • 600gr plain flour (maybe strong flour next time) – You dont have to use all flour.
  • Finish touch: 1 mixed egg + sugar

Tortas Process:

  • In a bowl, mix the orange juice, olive oil and sugar. Then add the yeast. Combine everything well.
  • Add half of the flour or so, mix a bit. Add the egg. Mix and keep adding more flour. Try not to use all flour.
  • Pour the dough into the table and knead for 10 minutes or so until the dough is smooth and doesnt break when trying to make a window. Add a bit of flour if need but it should stick much as the dough has olive oil.
  • Leave the dough to rest for 1 hour or so until it doubles up in size.
  • Knock off the air of the dough, make a ball again.
  • Prepare to baking trays. You can spread a bit of flour or use baking paper on them.
  • Pre-heat oven at 180C
  • Now make small balls of 170g each (using an scale) from the main dough. So you have similar size tortas. I managed to put four balls per tray. Leave as much space as possible between them.
  • Once you have all balls in the tray, you need to flat them using your fingers going by the sides of the ball. Until you have a kind of big disc.
  • Cover the trays and leave them to rest again around 30-40 minutes. They should raise again.
  • Whisk one egg, wash the top of the tortas that are going to go to the oven now (just one try). Then add plenty of sugar on top of each torta.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or so. They need to be dark golden! Let it cool down and repeat the process with the second tray.

Before baking

After baking

To be honest, they were great compared with my first attempt and they are not like the one from my hometown but they are really good enough. I enjoyed a warm torta for dinner last night, heaven!

I think I can improve it like adding a bit more sugar or another egg, etc.

Let’s see for the next attempt!

Tahini

After watching this video, I decided to make my own tahini as I used it for Baba Ganoush and Humus. So I bought a 1kg bag of sesame seeds and got with it. To be honest I made a couple of mistake. Firstly my blender is not very powerful so I should have used less sesame seeds and secondly, I got confused and I added water too. At the end I improvised a bit, adding water, olive oil and a bit of tumeric. I didnt get the super liquid tahini from the video but still my paste was eatable. I used for baba ganush and it was tasty!

And…. is better my homemade tahini than the store one? To be honest, they are so different, yeah, flavour is similar, maybe more “sesamy” in the homemade. I am not a tahini expert at the end of day but I prefer the homemade, I just know it has two ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (or less) of sesame seeds
  • olive oil
  • optional: 1 tsp tumeric

Process:

  • Toast the sesame seeds in a pan for 4-5 minutes, until the start to sweat and get a bit brown.
  • Put the hot sesame seeds in the blender and start to mix until it forms a paste and the blender can’t do anything else. Add olive oil bit by bit. In my case, I had to add much more liquid and I added spoons of water too to get to a creamy state. Optionally, add the tumeric.
  • Pour the tahini into a clean (with boiling water) crystal jar.
  • Add some olive oil on top to avoid oxidation. Keep it in the fridge.

Second attempt. Much better! Don’t add water!!!! Tumeric is still quite optional.

Seitan

For NYE dinner, I planned a vegan menu for a couple of friends. I found this video about vegan chicken based on wheat gluten or seitan. I didnt know that product but checking online it was esay to find. I liked the recipe because it was quite complete with the mushroom sauce and creamy potatoes. All the efforts go to the author in the videos.

Vegan Sausage Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy milk
  • 1/2 cup of mixed dry mushrooms
  • 2 tsp dried onion
  • 2 gloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 150g firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (+ 2tbsp for frying)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp dried sage (*I am not keen of dry thyme)
  • 300g wheat gluten / seitan.

Vegan Sausage Process:

  • In a blender mix all ingredients but the seitan.
  • Then add the liquid mix to the seitan.
  • Knead for 15 minutes. I was surprised how spongy was the dough! It wasnt very sticky so it was ok to deal with.
  • Make a roll from the dough, like a big sausage, then cut in three pieces, or more depending how big is your pans.
  • Wrap each piece with oven-proof baking paper, like a sweet. Then wrap it again with foil.
  • Depending on your pan, put two or three pieces, cover well with water the sausages, heat up the water and let it simmer for 90 minutes.
  • Let is cool down. Remove the foil. At this point, you can keep them in the fridge. For using a different day or carry on.
  • In a hot saucepan, put 2 tbsp of maple syrup and fried a couple of sausages until the surface is caramelized.
  • Then put in a pre-heat oven at 220C for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, let it cool down a bit and ready to eat!

Mushroom Sauce Ingredients

  • 250g sliced chesnut mushtooms
  • 2 red onion
  • Splash of red wine
  • Salt + pepper
  • 120ml soy cream

Mushroom Sauce process:

  • In a hot saucepan, add a bit of olive oil, mushrooms and onion. Add salt and pepper.
  • Once the mushrooms start taking a golden color, add the alcohol. Wait a little bit until it vaporizes.
  • Add the soy cream. Mix clean for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and serve with the sausages.

Creamy Potatoes Ingredients:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of soy milk (use the coconut can)
  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp say sauce (or nutritional yeast)
  • salt + pepper
  • 5 potatoes

Creamy Potatoes process:

  • Put all ingredients apart from the potatoes in a pan, heat up at medium heat. Let it simmer.
  • Pre-heat oven at 180C
  • Slice the potatoes as much thin as possible.
  • Add the potatoes to the sauce. The sauce should cover all potatoes.
  • Let it cook them for 5 minutes or more so the sauce starts to thick a bit.
  • Pour the potatoes mix in a ovenproof dish. Cover with a bit of baking paper. Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Then remove the paper and let the top to caramelize (I had to change the oven setting to grill).
  • Remove from oven and sever with your mushroom sauce and sausage!

Although the picture doesnt look great, I have to say the sausage was tasty (it didnt taste like chicken) and the potatoes very creamy. I didnt like much the mushroom sauce because the thyme (so I have removed it from the ingredients 馃檪

Torta de Laranja

I received as a gift this book for Christmas and I was told his torta de laranja was very famous in Portugal. I have never cooked this cake before so for NYE dessert I changed my mind and decided to try this cake. I have tasted it in Portugal before, and to be honest it was never my favourite. I prefer the “algarroba” (carob), almonds, etc cakes. But, I wanted to see if all the hype was worth it.

One of the things that strike the most is how simple is the recipe in the book, few ingredients and steps. Still I didn’t feel confident and tried to find a video. This one was longer but made me doubt as it was using a bit of butter. As well, I wasn’t clear about how to do bain marie in the oven. This video was shorter and could see some other details regarding the bain marie (I was overthinking it) and spreading some sugar after taking out the cake from the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 500g sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 15g dry yeast
  • 2 big good oranges (zest and juice)
  • 12 eggs
  • Knob of melted butter

Process:

  • Pre-heat oven at 220C
  • Use a bit of butter and spread in the baking tray. This helps the baking paper to keep flat. Then add oven-proof baking paper. Spread a bit of butter on top of the baking paper. This avoids the cake to get stuck to the paper and it easier to remove after baking.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl: sugar, flour and yeast.
  • Add orange zest and juice, mix
  • Add the 12 eggs. Mix well.
  • Add the rest of melted butter. Mix well.
  • Poor the mix into a baking tray.
  • In another tray, add water and get the tray in the bottom of the oven. This will make the bain marie.
  • Put the cake tray above the water tray in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Till the top is golden.
  • Remove the cake from the oven. Spread some sugar on top while hot.
  • Get another piece of baking-proof paper. Turn the cake into that piece of paper.
  • Remove carefully the paper from the cake.
  • The cake is very hot, and in theory you should try to roll it now using the baking paper you have. Like in the videos, bend one side, and roll.
  • Cut a slice from each side to make look nice. Then let it cool down.
  • Enjoy!

Mine was a bit too long in the oven and cracked in the middle. And as well, when rolling, it was superhot and a bit too thick and broke it even more during the process.

As well, I have always heard that orange and chocolate mix very well. So as I had a bit of home made chocolate spread, I decided to cover half of the torta with it. Maybe this is heresy 馃槢

And to be honest, my friends like it!

It is a very calorific cake: 500g of sugar! But was nice. Another thing, I had issues with the oranges. I couldn’t find proper oranges so I used “good” orange pressed juice with one orange I brought from Portugal. Still tasted good.

Tapenade – Olive spread

Once a month I buy two big containers of olives: blacks (small) and greens (big). Just with stone. I found them with much more flavor that anything you buy without stone. It is like sunflower seeds… the ones you have to peel feel tastier!

Yesterday I noticed the green olives were getting moulds…. They were not the typical ones I buy, they had some kind of cut sideways… that makes the meat to be in contact with the air… and get spoiled much faster…. The black olives were fine. So I decided to clean the olives, remove the stones, put them in a container with water and next day cook something with them.

So I remember some kind of paste you could do with olives and that is tapenade. So I found this super quick recipe and gave it a go.

Ingredients

  • 300gr olives without stone
  • 1/2 lemon juice (or less)
  • 1/2 glass olive oil ( or less)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 4-5 slices of sundried tomatoes.

Process

  • In a blender, add all ingredients and blitz for a couple of seconds and give it a test. more lemon? more olive oil?
  • Transfer to a clean crystal jar and keep in the fridge.

In my case, I made a mistake of putting too much lemon (full lemon juice) and I had to add more olive oil and olives to compensate. Will learn for the next time. I hope It last for a bit in the fridge. It will be very nice with a toast…

Atun Escabechado

I am allergic to fish. But I love tuna… if comes from a can. When I was in Madrid, I tried homemade marinade tuna a.k.a “atun en escabeche”. It was amazing. So I decided to try myself (and hope to not end in a hospital like when I was a kid)

So searching I decided to try this recipe. I was planning to make a big batch like in the video but when I managed to find a fishmonger with fresh tuna… I was amazed how expensive it was. I only could get the leftovers, a 600gr slice, already cleaned. That gave me at the end for one 600ml jar (plus a small one for the confited onions)

Ingredients:

  • 600gr fresh tuna, cleaned.
  • 2 onios sliced
  • 2 glasses of mild olive oil
  • 1 glass of vinegar
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5gr salt
  • pepper
  • several cloves of garlic

Process:

  • In a high pan, put the sliced onions in the bottom, then garlic, bay leaves, cloves, pepper.
  • Then add the tuna and salt on top of it. Then add the olive oil and vinegar
  • Heat the pan until boil. Then lower to mid heat and leave it for 20 minutes.
  • Let it cool down. Then take the tuna out and leave in another tray.
  • Filter the liquid and keep the onions. We will add it into another jar.
  • In a crystal jar (that has been previously cleaned with boiling water) put the tuna. Try to fill it as much as you can. Leaving as few air pockets as possible.
  • Then add the liquid you filtered before. Fill the jar till the top.
  • Add the onions to another jar and add the liquid to the top.
  • Let the jars open, and leave it overnight.
  • Next day, close the jar with their lids.
  • Put the jars (vertical if you can) in a high pan. Fill with water, hopefully water will be one finger than the jars, if not, you will have to be sure the jars are properly closed and then put in horizontal.
  • Boil the water, then let it simmer at mid heat for 1h 30m or so. This is the critical step to allow the tuna last for months.
  • Let the jars to cold down in the water.
  • Label the jars with a label with the date of preparation. You can eat the tuna in three months!!

So I will have to wait for a bit until I try it. So very likely I will make another batch next month.

Turron Blando

I dont really like Christmas but the few things I enjoy it is the typical sweets like turr贸n. It is something I wanted to try for some time so watching a video I decided to try one of them, turr贸n blando, based on this video.

The thing I like from turron, it is a simple recipe and super tasty. It is very common for Christmas but I have seen posh version of turr贸n that I think kill the idea of it.

Ingredients:

  • 300gr ground almonds
  • 200gr honey
  • 100gr sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lemon zest

Process:

  • In a frying pan, heat up the honey and sugar.
  • whisk the egg white to stiff peaks
  • Add the lemon zest the sugar/honey mix.
  • Once the honey mix is boiling, remove from the heat and add the egg whites bit a bit. Mix until no lumps. Do this at low heat. The more time you spend mixing with heat, the harder will get the turron.
  • Then add the cinnamon and the almonds bit a bit until all combined.
  • Add the mix to a container and let it cool down at room temperature.

To be honest, the result from the first video looked more like the real thing. My result is still tasty but looks more like a fudge that the typical turr贸n blando. So I will try the first video recipe next time.

But the thing that most surprised from the video I followed is, it has been the easiest time I had done stiff peaks with egg whites. By hand. Normally, it is hard work, I got tired and sweaty but I was surprised how easy he did it in the video. I follow the same process. Egg at room temperature, use a crystal bowl (plus a bit of salt) and then use the whisker left to right. No circles. I was shocked how fast it was.

And as well, I have never done mazap谩n, but it is something I want to try at some point too. It looks even easier than turr贸n.

Magdalenas

When I was a kid, around this time of the year (December), I used to go with my mother to the bakery (horno) of her hometown to make magdalenas and biscuits that we brought back to Madrid.

I have tried to make magdalenas at home several times but never got near the ones from my hometown. So this year, I added into my to-do list “go back to the bakery and see the process again”.

And finally, I decided to contact a fried who his mother used to manage the bakery and he told me that it was fine, I could go! So I was super happy!.

So it was very nice to go back, I had flash backs getting my hands dirty and doing something naughty as a kid… And the smell…. oh god, unique!

It was impressive, the process was the same, the same ingredients. And the same core people working there after 30y.

Women were the master bakers. At least two generations working there. And housewives. And it is a hard job. You have to wake up very early, bread making starts at 4am… But I think it is a joyful job. Or it is just me being romantic/naive.

The typical sweets from my hometown are magdalenas, galletas, rosquillos, tortas, calandrajos, mantecados, etc. All ingredients are simple, nothing fancy. The taste is amazing.

I made some notes about the different sweets and tried not to annoy the people working there. At the end I gave a hand packing the sweets and I liked it.

As well, I could taste the sweets… warm… after being baked…. no words…

So I left the bakery very happy. It was totally worth it, the trip, wake up early, etc. And decided to give it another go to the magdalenas and other sweets.

I dont have the recipes from the bakery, as I didnt feel comfortable asking. Sweets and girls, some thing 馃槢

I hope my friend’s cousin who runs the bakery gives me some guidelines.

So for the magdalenas.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 190g sugar
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 125 ml virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 200gr (cake) flour
  • 8gr bicarbonate of soda
  • 8gr tartaric acid

Process:

  • Mix eggs and sugar
  • Add milk, olive oil and lemon zest. Keep mixing.
  • Add bicarbonate and tartaric, shifted. Keep mixing.
  • Add flour, shifted.
  • Be sure everything is mixed. Leave it rest 10-15 minutes.
  • In the main time, pre-heat the oven at 220C
  • Fill the magdalenas cups in a baking tray.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
  • Let it cool down.

In summary the process is not difficult. But, again, I dont have similar results.

Before baking:

After baking:

And this is the real deal 馃檪

So obviously, still far from the good ones.

Things I think I need to change. I need to use “cake” flour and “tartaric acid” as I used “plain” flour and citric acid. They taste good though. I need something like this.

I will try again!

BTW, these are tortas! I must try them too!

Almendras Saladas

When I visit Madrid, I try to buy fried almonds as it reminds me of a common “tapa” you had many years ago in most bars in Spain. Nowadays, it is kind of a luxury.

So checking a book of Spanish tapas at home, I found a recipe for salty almonds. I noticed they are not fried… but still went ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 300g of whole almonds (with or without skin)
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tsp of sea salt

Process

  • Grill for 5-10 minutes the almonds in the oven. Just be sure they got toasted a bit.
  • Heat up a frying pan, add the almonds. Toast just a bit.
  • Add the salt to the water and mix.
  • Add the salty water to the hot frying pan. Keep stirring. The water should evaporate quickly and leave a salty coating in the almonds.
  • Once the pan is dried. Remove from the heat. Leave the almonds to cool down and store in a jar. Enjoy!

For next batch, I need to find the recipe of fried almonds (that are salty too)

Munich – Kaiserschmarrn

Last weekend I was in Munich visiting a good friend. We had good weather and enjoyed to be outdoors, mainly in the “English Garden” and the “Olympic Park”. I tried local cuisine like currywurst (sausage with a ketchup/curry sauce), kaiserschmarrn (broken up pancake with raising) and beer (with lemonade) in the famous Bavarian beer halls.

So this weekend I decided to try the kaiserschmarrn as it was something quite new for me. I followed this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 3 tbsp of rum
  • 3 large eggs, separate whites from yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • some almond flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Process:

1- In a cup, soak the raisins with the rum. Let is rest

2- In a crystal bowl, put the egg whites and try to beat them until form stiff peaks (no big deal it you dont get that far). I did it by hand. It takes time so be patience. See this 馃檪

3- In another bowl, mix the egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla paste, sugar and salt. Be sure everything is combined.

4- In the yolks bowl, start adding bit a bit the flour and milk, and keep mixing until everything is combined

5- Take the egg whites and fold them in the yolks bowl slowly until everything is combined

6- Heat up an anti-adherent pan (mine is around 26cm diameter) using a bit of butter or coconut oil at medium heat. Pour all butter mix in the pan.

7- After 3-4 minutes, add the raisins. Keep checking the bottom of the pancake until is golden brown. Very likely less than 10 minutes in total.

8- Once the bottom is golden brown, sprinkle a bit of sugar in the top. Using a knike or similar, divide the pancake in 4 quarters. Then turn each piece at each time. Add a bit of butter to the pan while turning to avoid burning the new side.

9- Keep cooking until the bottom is again golden brown.

10- Tear the pancake into small pieces using forks or similar.

11- Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sugar over the pancake pieces. Toss the pieces while the butter and sugar caramelize.

12- Ready to serve! You can add a bit of sugar powder on top and add some mermelade in the side.

Something I forgot, you can add almond flakes too!

Anyway, very happy with the result. It amazes me how tasty are the raising in some dishes… they are super juicy and it makes the difference in this one.