Coca de Trempo with Sobrasada, Mahon Cheese and a drizzle of Honey

A few weeks ago I did a post about Coca, which is a Catalan flat bread.  It was so good, that I decided to do another type of Coca, typical from the Island of Mallorca.  This Coca is one of my favorites.  It is very akin to an American Sausage and Peppers Pizza.

All the flavours are there, and more!  Trempo is a salad from Mallorca, that consists of peppers, onions and tomatoes.  And when you have left over, you put it on the coca and bake it.  My dish was by no means original, but it was my variation.  I have to say, though, that the night I made it, one of my guests and friends is from Mallorca, and he gave me the seal of approval.
Chock full of taste, I added three types of peppers, tomatoes, spring onions, black olives and some fennel fronds.  Then, topped it off with Sobrasada, a cured type of sausage from Mallorca as well, is like a very soft chorizo full of paprika, which gives it its distinctive red color.  It is so tasty, spread on bread, with some honey, or topped with cheese.  So I combined all these flavours to make this Coca.  And I had all my Spanish friends moaning in delight, and couple of calls for the recipe!  If you can’t get sobrasada sausage, you can substitute it with some crumbled cured paprika chorizo.
So here’s what you’re going to need:

Coca Dough Recipe

1 green pepper, finely diced

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 yellow pepper, finely diced

4 spring onions, white parts only, sliced thinly

Olive oil, for cooking

4 medium Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced

1 cup black or green olives, pitted and sliced in half

Fennel fronds from 4 fennel bulbs

Salt and Pepper to taste

200 g Sobrasada Sausage , crumbled

200 g Mahon Cheese, grated (or any type semi firm cheese, like light Cheddar, Jack or Gouda)

Honey, to drizzle over

Make and bake the coca, let cool.  In a large sauté pan, with just a drizzle of olive oil, over high heat, sauté your peppers for just 2 minutes.  Set aside in a bowl.  Add another drizzle of olive oil, and quickly sauté the spring onions for another minute or so.  You want the vegetables barely cooked.  Mix with the peppers.   Mix in the tomatoes, fennel fronds and black olives to your peppers, onion, salt and pepper.  Spread on top of the baked coca dough.

Top with the Sobrasada Sausage, grated Mahon Cheese, and drizzle with honey.  Broil in a 250 C oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Now for the next month, we will be travelling to Pamplona, Bilbao for a Russian/Basque Wedding and San Sebastián.  Then we are off to Naples, Italy for four days, to gorge ourselves with pizza and seafood, then heading home to Miami for 2 weeks to see the family!  I am so excited to post about all the places we eat while travelling and then all the goodies from the USA!  So, if I don’t reply or get in touch with you all in the next couple of weeks as quickly as I do, it’s only because of that.  Happy August Everybody!  Back in Barcelona on the 3rd of September!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Layered Crepe “Cake” with Nutella, Pastry Cream and Summer Berries

Again, my inspiration was from Girl in a Food Frenzy’s post on Crepes.  But this time, I decided to make them without the buckwheat flour.  I wanted them more sweet, less savoury, and have more of a cakey quality.  So I decided to look through my The Beautiful Cookbook: France, which had a recipe for Crepes Suzette.

I think someone somewhere has done the same thing that I’ve done, but I totally wanted a tasty, easy and ridiculously yummy cake to serve on Olympics Opening night…which just happened to be an impromptu celebration of another friends’ birthday.

So, I knew I wanted berries, I knew I wanted Nutella, and I knew I wanted Pastry Cream.  So, all three were combined.  And it was to die for my friends.  Truly, to die for.

Fairly easy to make, even better to eat, here’s the recipe for this simply exquisite “cake”:

For the crepes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

2 eggs

1 tsp sugar

3 drops vanilla extract

1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the pastry cream:

1 1/4 cups whole milk (or 2%)

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tbsp liqueur (grand marnier, kirsch etc)

1 cup Nutella or melted milk chocolate

3 cups mixed berries, such as strawberries (sliced), raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and currants

Powdered Sugar, for dusting

To make the crepes:

Mix all the ingredients and whisk vigorously, let rest for 30 minutes to an hour.

In the meantime, make the pastry cream.  In a medium, thick bottomed sauce pan, heat the milk and vanilla bean until just boiling.  In a large heat proof bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, flour and cornstarch.  When the milk is hot and just about to boil, pour into your egg mix and whisk continuously so that the eggs don’t curdle.  Pour all the milk in a slow stream and keep whisking until done.  Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat until it boils, always mixing, until it thickens.  When it has thickened, take off heat and keep whisking for another minute or so.  Add the liqueur.  Take out the vanilla pod and reserve covered with plastic wrap until using.

If you are using milk chocolate, melt in a double boiler.

Separate about 1/3 cup of pastry cream.

Mix the Nutella (or melted chocolate) into the large bowl of  pastry cream.

In a large sauté pan, heat a good knob of butter until it melts, then wipe away with some kitchen paper.  Add a ladle of crêpe batter, and swirl it around so it covers the whole pan.  Cook for about 40 seconds, and with a spatula lift off and cook the underside, 30 seconds more.  Continue to do this with all the batter.

To make the cake:

Layer nutella pastry cream and strawberries on a crêpe, top with another crêpe, and continue to do so until you don’t have any crepes left.  On the last crêpe, top with the 1/3 cup of pastry cream (without chocolate) top with the mixed berries and currants.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, and just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

 

 

Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin stuffed with Spinach, Mushrooms and Ricotta

When I was in college, I remember we had a friend over for dinner, well actually, he made dinner.  He said he was a professional chef, and he made something similar to this.  I remember thinking it was one of the most sophisticated things anyone my age had ever made for me.  And back then, I thought it was so complicated!  I was very, very impressed.  So, recently I purchased this gorgeous piece of pork loin that comes from Spanish Black Pigs, which apparently are juicier and tastier than their pink counterparts.
It definitely didn’t disappoint.  I decided to use some of my beautiful rosemary growing on my little balcony, and to stuff it with portobello mushrooms, spinach and ricotta.  It was divine, and super moist and delicious.  Easy too!

The hardest part is butterflying the loin, but I will add a link with detailed instructions!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6

1 kg pork loin

3 sprigs of Rosemary

3 tbsp butter, softened

3 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

400 g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and strained of all the water

100 g portobello mushrooms, finely diced

1 small package of ricotta cheese

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Preheat the oven to 190 C.  Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and the garlic, cook over medium heat until fragrant.  Add the spinach and mushrooms and raise the heat and cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes.  Take off heat and mix with the ricotta, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Now, butterfly your pork loin.  You can see the technique here.    Salt and pepper the loin, and spread a thin layer of the spinach mixture.  Don’t worry if you have left over, you can keep this in the fridge and re-use it for empanadas, lasagna, cannelloni etc.

Now tie your loin, and place in a baking dish fatty side up.  Rub generously with the butter, sprinkle on the salt, pepper and the rosemary.  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 F.  It will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven, so it will reach 150 F.

Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

My very first award!

Now, after my whole kitchen fiasco, I am so pleased and flattered that Acorn in the Kitchen has nominated me for

http://acorninmykitchen.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/images1.jpg?w=640

It just brightened up my whole day!  Ok, so I will have to abide by the rules, (which I didn’t know there were)

Here are seven things about myself:

1.  I talk to my dogs.  (And I think they understand me.)

2.  I actually majored in Art History and Theater before becoming a Chef.

3.  I secretly wish I could sing better, and belt out tunes whenever anyone will let me.

4. I am dreaming of opening up my own bakery.

5. I have never been to Asia.  (Unless you count the Asian side of Istanbul)

6. I don’t own a car.

7. I’m afraid of Ferris Wheels.  But I LOVE Roller Coasters.

Ok, so on to the next part, my nominations for versatile bloggers are as follows:

Colourvibes

Girl in a Food Frenzy

Kaboom

Travelling Foodies

Things My Belly Likes

Deux Chicago

Finger, Fork & Knife

Marinating Online

The Daily Norm

Chilli Marmalade

Ok, I apologize if I haven’t done this correctly, but congratulations to all my nominees!  Apparently I have to add a link to this page as well:

Versatile Blogger Award Rules

Woot woot!

Carla

 

 

Just one of THOSE days.

You know those days when you’re in the kitchen, and EVERYTHING goes wrong?  Well, today (and the better part of last night) was one of THOSE days.

You see, I had a massive craving for baked beans.  Not the British style baked beans, but Boston Baked Beans.  So, I grab a recipe book that I have, called The Boston Chef’s Kitchen.  It is a beautiful book, and it has recipes from Boston’s great restaurants.  So, obviously, it being Bean Town and all, I was pretty sure there was a recipe for baked beans.  There was.  But you know when you read a recipe, and you think….hmmm.  There is something missing here, and in this case, a totally incomplete recipe.

Ok, no problem, because, by this time, I am pretty much ready to rework most recipes anyway.  But, simple little things like, the recipe called for 1/2 an onion, but it didn’t specify if it was to be sliced, diced, chopped, grated etc.  No problem.  I diced it.  Then, it also called for 1lb of beans to a measly amount of sauce.  Ok, just add water, it will reduce.  Then it called for you to add the beans directly to the previously mentioned un-watered sauce….which is tomato based.

Now, here is where the real problems started.  I have been making beans since I can remember.  As my family is from Colombia, beans are practically served at every meal.  And we always soak, then boil the beans, THEN add the sofrito (base of tomatoes, onions and peppers).  Against my better judgement, I went ahead and did exactly as the recipe told me.  Place the soaked beans, sans boiling, into this tomato/molasses/onion concoction.  Red Flag number one should have flown, no SLAPPED, me in the face.  You never ever ever place beans with a citric in its raw form, because, alas, as most of you know, they will NEVER soften.  So…..I basically have been trying to make baked beans for the last 12 hours.

Ok, no problem again.  Life-lemons-lemonade adage, I hop down to my local and favorite sausage deli, and decide I was going to use this gorgeous bbq type sauce and make a braised bbq sausage.  This store, apart from amazing high quality sausages, makes a variety of them with different flavorings, such as with black truffle, chinese 5 spice, spinach and pine nuts, foie gras, etc.  But today, stupidly, I chose Coca Cola and Caramelized onion.

WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING??????  I mean, I am basically going to braise a sweet sausage in an already sweet sauce.  Duh!!!  But hey, that wasn’t it.  I brought the dang thing home, started to sear it, and I guess since Coca Cola can dissolve a freaking bolt, why would sausage casings hold up to it?  Well, they didn’t.  So, again, I thought, add the sauce and make some mock bbq chili.

Nope.  What turned out was this overly sweetened sausage ridiculousness that ended up in the garbage.  I don’t normally throw away food, but I was so frustrated at the whole fiasco, I just didn’t even want to see it anymore.  Please forgive me.

So, I am now having corn on the cob for lunch, and will leave you with some pretty pictures of my neighborhood and the awesome sausage shop.  Just don’t get the coca cola ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mosquito: Cheap and Cheerful in Barcelona’s Sant Pere District

I’ve been going to mosquito for years now.  It is a place I discovered through friends, and what a discovery.  It is possibly, hands down, the best dim sum and authentic Asian food I have tasted here in Barcelona.  It has been, at sometimes, a weekly tradition with a friend of mine, and every time I go, it always delivers the flavours that I am looking for.
It is a small, unassuming space, if you were walking down the road, you would probably pass by it without a thought.  Once inside, you know immediately that the food will be Asian.  Is it the little paintings on the wall?

Or maybe it’s the Chinese newspaper plastered along the wall of the bar?  Or just the smells emanating from the kitchen?  Anyway you realize, it always satisfies, and your wallet will be happy as well.  Never have I paid more than 35 euros, for two people, and that is a lot of food, wine and water included!

Today was like any other day, we ordered the same things as usual.  The only difference was I didn’t order the Peking Duck or the Sichuan Beef, because my friend is vegetarian.  But I did sneak in a tid bit just for myself!

Yup, the Pork Bun.  I have no idea if it is as authentic here as in China, but let me tell you, it’s delicious!  It’s soft and fluffy, yet dry and moist at the same time.  I love it.  It is a  new discovery, as of 2 years ago.  But, I am happy to have included it in my repertoire!  I love it.  But that is the only “meat” thing we had.  (Ok, I had.)  Can you tell that I love it?

Next up was our Shrimp Shiujiao.  Now, I have to order two of these, because I love eating all six of them on my own.  They are so good, it doesn’t matter how many times I come here and order them, I always, always end up moaning in delight.

They are always made as you order, never frozen, and don’t come from a package.  (As most dim sum here in Barcelona do.)

Of course we had to have our veggies.  We decided on steamed Bok Choy with Shiitake mushrooms, and an order of my absolute favorite….Kimchee.

 I can’t get enough of Kimchee.  I know it isn’t Chinese, it’s Korean.  But, one of my favorite things in the world.  I could eat it non-stop.  Really, I could.

Then, our last order was for Thai style Fish Cakes.  My friend Michelle loves these.  She could eat the whole basket, and then some.  And the dipping sauce….a sweet vinegar concoction with fresh sliced chilies…..heaven.

4 glasses of wine, and 2 large bottles of fizzy water….it all came down to an affordable 32 euros.  In Barcelona it is extremely difficult to find such amazing and affordable food!

So, if you’re in Barcelona, and you tire of tapas, try mosquito, you won’t be disappointed!

mosquito

Calle Carders 46

+34 93 268 7569

http://www.mosquitotapas.com