Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Spicy food for hot weather

When the temperatures rise over 37 degrees Celcius, we get unconfortably warm. The body can't lose the heat that is building up and this makes us feel tired, listless and with some people even get unwell. Preparing and eating big hot meals do not appeal to most of us in this time of year. However, in Tropical countries, temperatures rise often higher and people have to eat. It seems that the hotter and more humid the country, the hotter and spicier the food. My experience in Sri Lanka and Nigeria is that spicy hot food is perfect in these climates. Also Asian noodle soups are great food, and it repletes the moisture in our bodies at the same time. Below are a few recipes, which are easy and fast to prepare, and nevertheless very healthy and nourishing.

Singapore Noodle soup

Ingredients:


2 tbsp sunflower oil
3-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cm of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 white onion or 3 spring onions, chopped or in rings
piece of lemon grass, the marrow finely chopped, or 1 tsp grated lemon rind
vegetables, like courgette, carrot, green beans, bean sprouts, (chinese) cabbage, broccoli, clean and chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 can of coconut milk
2 packets of 2-minute noodles
2-4 eggs

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large anti-stick pan. Add the garlic, ginger and onions. Stir fry until the onion is glazy.
  2. Add the lemon grass (if available)
  3. Add the vegetables, the harder types like carrot and broccoli first, stir frying all the time, the softer ones later, beansprouts last, until they get slightly soft
  4. Add the curry powder and mix well.
  5. Add the coconut milk and lemon rind if not using the lemon grass. Add water until the vegetables are well under.
  6. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles, the stock powder, that comes with it, to taste. Stir until the noodles start to loosen up.
  7. Add the eggs, letting them slide slowly into the soup. Use a laddle or spoon to spoon a little of the broth over the eggs. Cook the eggs to the hardness you like (runny or cooked through). 
  8. Serve the soup immediately with chop sticks and chinese porcelain spoons (or just with spoons). As side dishes you can offer: soy sauce, fish sauce, chopped coriander, sweet chili sauce, sambol, fried onion etc.
Variations
  1. Marinate chicken filet in soy sauce, garlic and ginger for 30 min. Take out of the marinade and grill on BBQ or grill plate. Serve in thin slices on top of the soup, instead of the eggs.
  2. Same as above but use any type of pork. Pork belly is very good, but pork choppes are good as well.
  3. Grill or stir fry some prawns and serve on top of the soup.
  4. Any type of white fish can be substituted for the eggs and poached in the broth of the soup. You can marinate the fish first or use it pure.



Indian dahl, fast recipe

Ingredients:

2 knobs unsalted butter
1 small fresh onion, finely chopped
4 gloves galic, sliced
1 cm ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
2 jars of lentils (best are the red lentils, but any lentils will do)
2-3 red or green hot chillies, according to your taste. If fresh chilli is not available, use the small dried birds eye chili peppers
2 tomatoes, chopped

Method:
  1. Melt the butter in a deep non stick pan. Do not let it brown!
  2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the onion gets soft.
  3. Add the coriander, garam masala and cumin, stir.
  4. Add tumeric, lentils, chili and tomatoes.
  5. Add water if necessary (All ingredients should be just under)
  6. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve with rice or naan bread.
Note: You can easily make your own mixture of garam masala: Mix 1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 1/2 tsp ground corander, 1 1/2 tsp gound cardamon, 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg. Keep the mixture in a well seeled jar and you can use it when needed. The taste is even better when you use the whole seeds and grind them together in a coffee grinder.


Lassi, Indian yoghurt drink
There are many variations of Lassi yoghurt, but this one is my favourite. A treat at any time of the day.

Ingredients:
250 g (Greek) yoghurt
50 ml tepid water
200 ml cold water
2 tbsp sugar
the juice of 1 small lemon or lime
ice cubes
some mint leaves

Method:
  1. Dissolve the sugar in the tepid water.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the mint. Mix well with hand mixer or blender.
  3. Put ice cubes in four tall glasses and pour in the Lassi.
  4. Sprinkle with mint leaves and serve.


Bami (Indonesian fried noodles)

Ingredients:

3 packets of 2-minute noodles
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4 gloves of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cm ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 pork belly chops, cut in cubes
3 large carrots, in thin strips
1/2 chinese cabbage, cut in strips
100 g bean sprouts
Soy sauce
sambal or minced chili peppers to taste
salt and ground white pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Cook the noodles according to instructions on the package, ommiting the seasoning. Drain.
  2. In a blender or mortar, mince the garlic, ginger and onion.
  3. Heat oil in a wok, stir fry the minced garlic mixture for a few minutes without letting it brown.
  4. Add the pork belly and fry until slightly brown.
  5. Add the carrots, Stir fry until the carrots begin to soften, then add the cabbage. 
  6. Add a little water if the mixture gets to dry and starts to brown to quickly.
  7. Add bean sprouts, a splash of soy sauce, sambol (or minced red hit chili) to taste. 
  8. Add the noodles, mixing everuthing well together. Add salt and ground white pepper to taste, or use one or two of the noodle seasoning packages.
  9. Serve the Bami with all or some of the following:
  • gurkins
  • fried onions
  • extra soy sauce
  • extra minced or finely chopped hot chili peppers
  • fried eggs
  • omelet
  • ham slices
  • peanut butter sauce
  • chopped spring onions




Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Broad bean recipes

May and June are the months that there is fresh broad bean available. The Spanish prefer the beans very young and eat them as mange-tout. They cook them, dip them in batter, fry them and then marinate them in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, sugar and saffron. However, in Northern Europe we like to eat the grains of the broad beans. There are many recipes for these broad beans and I like to share a few with you on this blog.






Broad bean dip

Ingredients
300 g broad beans, podded
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp fresh dill
bread, bread sticks or vegetables to dip

Method
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the broad beans and cook until tender. Drain and refresh in iced water. 
  • Puree the broad beans, yoghurt and a little seasoning together in a food processor or with a blender. 
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice. Finely chop the dill and spoon through the mixure.


Ful medames

Ingredients
2 cups podded broad beans
Olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped minced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
small piece of ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of chili powder (or to taste)
salt and pepper
lemon juice (optional)

Method
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic. Stir fry for 5 minutes until onion is soft.
  • Add cumin and chili powder, then add the broad beans.
  • Add a bit of water until the beans are almost under. Cook until the beans are tender.
  • Add salt and lemon juice to taste.
  • Mash or blend the mixture to a semi-smooth texture.
  • Serve in a bowl with olive oil dribbled over it.
  • Serve with fresh (warm) bread

To make the dish more nourishing you can top it with:
  • diced tomato
  • hard boiled eggs
  • scrambled egg
  • chili flakes
  • diced sweet paprika
  • onion rings
  • a dollop of greek yoghurt
  • parsley or coriander
Note: this is a recipe I got from Ethiopia, but it is also very popular in the Middle East and prepared more or less the same way. In Ethiopia it is made with older fresh beans or dried beans (soaked overnight and boiled for 1 to 2 hours), and is a favourite breakfast, served with strong sweet coffee, scrambled eggs and bread.

 Broad beans with bacon, onion and white wine

                                                      Ingredients
300 g broad beans, podded
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 rashers of bacon, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, minced
100 ml white wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves 
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Fry the onion, bacon and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil until onion is soft and bacon slightly browned.
  • Add the broad beans and stir through the mixture.
  • Add the wine, herbs and pepper (do not add salt yet, because it makes the beans tough)
  • Cook until the beans are tender and the wine almost evaporated (if it becomes too dry, add some water).
  • Season to taste. Serve as a side dish.

To make this a vegetarian dish you can replace the bacon with mushrooms.

Broad beans with anjovy

300g of young broad beans, podded
Olive oil
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 white onion, chopped
1 can of anjovy fillets, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley or marjoram


  • Cook the beans for 3 minutes in boiling water. Drain and refresh with cold water.
  • In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the onion and tomatoes. Stir fry until the onion and tomatoes turn slightly brown.
  • Add the broad beans and anjovy.
  • Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or marjoram.

Paella with broad beans

Ingredients:
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 chirozo picante, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 can of tomate troceado
1 cup rice (arroz redondo)
2 cups stock (chicken or fish), simmering
1 red sweet pepper, diced
1 cup fresh broad beans (podded)
2 sprigs rosemary

Method:
Use a pealla pan or a flat frying pan. Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in the pan. Add the onion and fry until glazy. Add chorizo and garlic. Fry for 5 minutes.
Mix in the tomato and the rice. Keep stirring until the rice is glazy. Add the stock. Stir well.
Top the dish with sweet pepper, broad beans and rosemary and press a bit into the rice mixture. From now on, do not stir but let the dish cook gently for 20 minutes. If it becomes to dry, add some more stock.
Check if the rice is tender by removing a grain and feel it is soft.
Remove the rosemary and stir the paella.



Tips for preparing and preserving broad beans

1. To avoid discolouring after podding, keep the beans in cold water with a few drops of lemon.
2. Do not add salt before of during cooking the beans. Salt will make the skins tough and the cooking time will be considerably longer. Season the prepared dish after cooking.
3. The whole pods you can keep in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Podded beans, will discolour after 1 day, cooked beans you kan keep in a closed container for about 3-4 days.
4. Freezing broad beans: Pod the beans. Blanch them for 1-2 minutes in boiling water, drain and refresh under cold water. Spread the beans on a clean towel and let them dry. Freeze the beans in layers on trays. After freezing, keep them in plastic containers or freezing bags.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Spring time

The seasons in the Extremadura seem to be different every year. I have been living in Alcuéscar since 2011 and every season is a surprise. Having a vegetable garden, I am always very aware of the weather and the weather patterns. Everything I do in the garden is dependent on the weather that was and the weather that has to come. When to plant, what to plant and how to plant, it all hangs together with the rainfall, the temperatures, the day length etc.

celandine
This year the winter was quite mild, in comparison with the last 4 that I have seen here. There was hardly any frost in the morning, and the day temperatures were mostly around 10 centigrades. Spring started therefore early, The first spring flowers appeared already in the beginning of January, like the celandine. Celandine is usually the first spring flower to appear. But soon other flowers followed and now, the beginning of March nature is at its best and there are flowers everywhere. The grass is green again and it is hard to imagine that the landscape will be brown and dry again in a few months.

white broom
jara (rockrose)
The evergreen bush of the Cistus or Rockrose (Jara in Spanish) is endemic to the Mediterranean region and grows abundantly in the Extremadura. The flowers appear normally in March, although this year a few bushes started flowering in early February. Many of the flowers show little chocolate or dark red spots on the petals. The bush itself is a bit sticky and when the sun warms the leaves, they spread a lovely spicy scent, so typical for the hot summer months in the Extremadura.

wild radish and common fumitory
wild crocus

camomile



























In the garden the wild flowers are also abundantly present. Although we always leave the borders of the finca and strips in the middle, we have to cut the gras and herbs regularly. The flowers that we leave are to attract bees. There are very little bees in our area and especially when there are so many flowers everywhere, it is hard to attract enough to our garden. In this season we need the bees to pollinate the broad beans. Many legumes are self pollinating, like peas and beans, but not the broad bean. The flowers of the broad beans spread a rich honey like scent. On a warm sunny afternoon the broad bean plants can be buzzing with bees. 


dehesa with Los Gredos in the back ground

Thursday, 1 October 2015







Traditional  Extremadura recipes with legumes


White beans with chorizo
Alubias con chorizo


Ingredients
500g dried white beans (preferably the type ''planchada")
1 whole head of garlic
1 medium onion
1 green Italian pepper
1 ts de Pimenton de la Vera Dulce
1/2 cup olive oil
3 fresh chorizo sausages, without skin, diced


Method
1. Soak the beans with lots of water at least overnight.
2. The next day, bring the beans with the water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, take from the fire and remove the water.
3. Add new cold water to the beans and add the garlic head, the whole onion, the whole Italian pepper, the olive oil, pimenton and chorizo. Make sure the beans are under water and bring everything to boil. Cook until the beans are tender (this depends on the age of the beans, the older they are, the longer the cooking time).
4. Take from the fire, stir the dish well and season with salt and pepper is desired.
5. Serve the dish hot with bread on the side.




Lentils de Extremadura
Lentejas Extremeñas

Ingredients
500 g lentils (brown)
1 head garlic
1-2 bay leaves
12 black pepper grains
1 onion, diced
1 chorizo picante, cut in slices of 1/2 cm
3 carrots, sliced
6 tblsp olive oil
1 can of "tomate troceado"
1/2 ts pimenton de la vera, dulce
1 glass white wine

Method
1. Cover the lentils with water and leave to soak overnight.
2. Remove the water and add fresh water, together with the garlic, bay leaves, pepper and carrots. Cook for 45 min, until lentils are soft and tender.
3. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and add onion and chorizo. Fry until the onion is tender. Add the tomate troceado and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pimenton and the wine, and stir well.
4. Add the tomato mixture to the lentils and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes.
5. Season with pepper and salt if desired and serve with fresh local bread.



Black-eyed beans with bacon and sausage
Potaje de Alubias Carillas

Ingredients
350g dried black-eyed beans
4 spring onions
3-4 cloves of garlic
a piece of pumpkin, diced
1 small leek, in rings
1/4 red Italian pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp tomato frito (brick)
2 small sausage Morcilla Iberica, each cut in half
4 thick slices of salted pancetta
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
olive oil
salt

Method
1. Soak the beans overnight in sufficient water. The next day, drain the beans and set aside.
2. In a deep frying pan, heat some olive oil and add the garlic (whole cloves), onions, Italian pepper and bay leaf. After approx. 7 minutes, add the leek and the bacon. Stir fry until the bacon browns a bit and add the tomato frito. Stir fry again for a few minutes.
3. Add the beans and enough water to cover the beans and other ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook 45 min. or until the beans are soft and tender.
4. Add the pumpkin and potato and simmer another 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the morcilla and simmer for 5 minutes more.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
6. Serve with fresh bread.

Resultado de imagen de Potaje de Alubias Carillas

Monday, 20 April 2015

Nostalgic vegetables


Our eating habits changed a lot the last 100 years. The old fashioned cooking, with potatoes, meat and vegetable is replaced for a more adventurous way of cooking. Influences of other countries changed our daily diet. Mexican, Asian, Italian cooking is now a part of our eating pattern. Moreover, vegetables are nowadays available the whole year round and we eat winter dishes in summer and visa versa.

This is great. Cooking and eating are much more fun when you can try out different tastes and different ingredients. The other side of the coin however, is that some traditional food is used a lot less, or not at all. This is especially the case with greens. Turnip tops (or turnip greens), rocket, Swiss chard and purslane are the typical spring greens that are hardly available and remembered. In times before especially these greens were very important. After the long winters in the North of Europe, these greens were the first fresh vegetables that people ate.

I have a number of those 'nostalgic' vegetables growing in the garden. In this article I will give information about these veggies and some recipes to inspire your imagination.

Turnip tops

Often called turnip green, turnip leaves or spring leaves.
As the name suggests, this vegetable are the young leaves of the turnip. The turnip is a close relative to radish, but also to rocket and several Chinese cabbage types (cruciferos vegetables or Brassica). The leaves are rich in Vitamins A, C and K and in Calcium and Iron. They can be eaten crude in salads, or cooked, stir fried or mashed with potatoes. For a Mediterranean dish, try the following pasta recipe:

Pasta with Turnip greens


Ingredients:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs 
500g pasta
Bunch of  turnip greens
   cut into manageable pieces
6 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 tbsp jar garlic)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
6 flat anchovy
3 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)

Method:
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the breadcrumbs and stir gently with a wooden spoon until golden brown. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, drop the pasta and turnip greens and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet saute the garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies in the remaining olive oil until the garlic is lightly browned. Drain the pasta and turnip greens, add to the skillet and sauté for a couple of minutes. Mix well, top with breadcrumbs and cheese and serve.


Swiss Chard


Although Swiss Chard is still very popular in South Europe, in the Northern part we seem to have forgotten this great vegetable. Nowadays we see it sometimes back in salad mixtures in the supermarkets. In Mediterranean countries, Swiss Chard is just as popular as spinach. The most known type is the one with the thick white stems and dark green curly leaves. There are however more types of Swiss Chard, my favorite being the many coloured stems. All types of Swiss Chard can be prepared in the same way as spinach, cooked, sauteed, stir fried, in soups, with eggs etc. 

Swiss chard quiche

Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 large eggs
¼ cup milk
salt and black pepper
ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Cheddar, grated 1 
prebaked 9-inch pie-crust

Method
Heat oven to 350° F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard and onion and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk; season with 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and nutmeg to taste. Add the Cheddar and chard mixture and mix to combine. Pour into the prebaked 9-inch pie-crust and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes.

Purslane

This might be one of the most forgotten greens of the lot. Purslane contains surprisingly more omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant and even more than most fish. Besides this it is rich in Vitamins A, C and B-complex and in Iron, Magnesium, Calcium and potassium. It can be used in salads, soups, curries or cooked on itself. It is very good in combination with spinach or Swiss Chard.

Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad Recipe

Especially good served with grilled seafood.

INGREDIENTS

·         1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded, then chopped
·         1 medium tomato, chopped
·         1 bunch purslane, thick stems removed, leaves chopped, resulting in about 1/2 cup chopped purslane
·         1 minced seeded jalapeno chili pepper
·         2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
·         Salt to taste

METHOD

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl. Salt to taste.








Sunday, 1 March 2015

A lot of change

The biggest advantage of living in the Extremadura is that it can be real spring on the first of March. Already the last two weeks, the change in the weather was noticeable. The birds are very active, the moles are moving around, the celandine is starting to flower, as are the fruit trees. Even the frogs are waking up and croaking in the charco. About time because we had some pretty cold days and nights.


















This winter a lot has changed in the garden of La Tierra Verde. With the idea to extend the vegetable garden a tractor was bought. After a lot of research and comparison, we decided to buy a new Kubota B1620 from Cial. Lianos, Don Benito. The service was excelent. All registration and paper work was done in a short time, and 3 weeks after buying the tractor it was delivered on our doorstep.

 The tractor came with a rear loader and harrow, but the last was on our request modified to ridger. A rotary tiller was purchased from an Italian agricultural firm, Deleks, and delivered to Cial. Llanos to adjust the implement to the tractor. The Kubota has 16 hp, 4 wheel drive, three point hydraulic lift, etc. In short all the systems and gadgets of a large tractor, although this one measures only 90cm width and 220cm long. A real mini tractor, perfect for garden and orchard work.


In order to protect the tractor, implements and other garden tools from the harsh elements like sun, rain and wind, we set up a large army tent.

Now that we are mechanized, more land can be prepared for production. However, there were still a number of dead and dying olive trees in the field. With the help of an excavator those trees are now removed. On their places other fruit trees will be planted. At the same time the excavator removed the two large mountains of bramble and other rubbish. These rubbish mountains were a result of the original clearing of the field, now more than 2 years ago. Although the larger wooden bits and pieces were not completely rotten away, most of the ruble is now a reasonable compost. This compost was spread on the still barren parts of the field. A part of this area will be used for flowers, both wild and cultivated, to attract bees, and part will be used for vegetables and herbs.

In the coming weeks a lot of overdue work will be done. Planting and sowing is a bit delayed this year, but with the tractor, we will soon be up to date again. Shortly there will be a larger range of vegetables and herbs on offer again. In the garden peas, snow peas, broad beans, broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, leek and onion are growing fast. From the tunnel greenhouse you can expect spinach, Asian salad leaves, spring salad leaves, rucola, turnip tops and coriander during early spring. Furthermore, bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts are always available.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Vegetables in May

Since La Tierra Verde is a small scale market garden, I grow seasonal crops. Although some vegetables are available all year round, most vegetables have their own growing season. Because of the climate in the Extremadura the crops are mainly grown in open ground. A few plastic tunnels protect some vegetables from the cold weather in spring. When the sun starts to get stronger, the plastic is removed from the tunnels, and if necessary replaced by shade cloth. The plastic and shade cloth tunnels are mainly used for seedlings. As is mentioned elsewhere, vegetables are now also grown in a tunnel greenhouse. This tunnel covers an area of only 60m² and is more like an extra to the garden.

The list below is a prediction of what will be available in May. Due to weather conditions it is hard to guarantee when a crop is ready, or if it is available at all.

Vegetables in May
v  Snow peas (mange tout)
v  Peas
v  Broad beans
v  Lettuce
v  Spring onions
v  Leek
v  Spinach
v  Swiss chard
v  Radish
v  Turnip tops
v  Rucola


Like last year in Spring, I have a range of different types of lettuce in the garden. This year these are:
·         Oreja de mula, the Roman type lettuce that is also used for Caesar Salad
·         Little gems (Gogollo), also a Roman type lettuce, but more sweet and delicate than the Oreja de Mula.
·         Iceberg, a fresh and crisp lettuce type that goes very well with a dressing of Greek yogurt and fried bacon bits. It keeps well in the fridge for several days.
·         Batavia, a sub variety if the Iceberg lettuce. Batavia however is delicate and the leaves are a bit crinkled.
·         Oak leaf (Hoja de Roble), an open type lettuce with a beautiful colouring from dark red on the outside, to fresh green to the inside. A lettuce type of many uses.
·         Red Salad Ball, often also referred to as Hoja de Roble, because of the similarity in colouring but it is a different type. Salad Ball forms a head and the leaves are a bit stronger than the oak leaf.
·         Butterhead (Reina de Mayo) is a very tasteful soft and old-fashioned type of lettuce.
·         Maravilla de verano is growing very well at the moment, due to the higher temperatures. It is a strong open type of lettuce with a nice colouring of green and soft red.

Except for an abundance of lettuces, there is at the moment also an abundance of broad beans. The time to eat fresh broad beans is only during spring time. To enjoy broad beans the rest of the year, you can easily freeze them. Just take the beans out of the pods and freeze them raw in a single layer upon trays. If you have a good freezer, it takes only 2 or 3 hours to freeze them. Keep them in plastic bags or large containers.



A great and nutritious meal is the following (I call it Haba con chili):

Ingredients:
1 ts olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
250g minced beef
1 ts hot paprika powder, or more if you like it hot
1 ts dried oregano
1 can diced tomato
½ cup tomato frito
1 bay leaf
250g broad beans (podded)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley and/or coriander leaves, chopped

1.      Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the minced beef and stir fry until the meet begins to brown. Add paprika and oregano.
2.      Add the diced tomato, the tomato frito, bay leaf and beans to the meat and stir well. Stew for 10-15 minutes. Taste the chili and season to taste. Remove the bay leaf and add the parsley and/or coriander.
3.      Serve with fresh bread or rice.

Broad beans and peas can be used in many dishes, like risottos, paellas, soups, stews, fried rice, salads, and pastas or as accompaniment with meet and (new) potatoes.

Some people have problems with fresh peas and broad beans due to intestinal gas. This is not only a nuisance, but can be embarrassing as well. To reduce the gas forming and also possible cramps you can try the following:
1.      Remove the skins of the beans, this is called double-podding. After normal podding, cook the beans for a few minutes in boiling water until just tender. Rinse under cold water and remove the light green skin from the beans. This reduces bowel irritation in general.
2.      After the meal is completely prepared, sprinkle a little bit of ground cumin over it. This reduces the gas to form.


                                        I wish you all a beautiful and warm spring 2014.