How to make a Spanish Tortilla

La Tortilla is one of Spain’s most iconic foods. A fluffy omelette packed with potatoes and onions, it is one of those dishes that makes you wonder how something with such simple ingredients can be so delicious!

The exact origins of this traditional recipe is unclear, however some sources suggest that one of the first versions was created in País Vasco in 1817 by general Tomás de Zumalacárregui as a quick and simple meal to feed the Carlist army. It is said that Tomás discovered the recipe when he stumbled upon a farmhouse and demanded that the farmwife made him a meal. All she had was eggs, potatoes and onions in the cupboard so she made an omelette. Zumalacárregui was impressed and kept the idea for himself.

We met up with Susanna’s mum Conchi so she could show us all the secrets and tips behind making the perfect tortilla. Scroll down for our video!

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 eggs
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil

Method

1. Dice onion and peel and chop potatoes into thin slices.

2. Mix both ingredients together in a large bowl adding a large pinch of salt to season.

3. Preheat on a large frying pan with approx 1cm of olive oil covering the base. All the cooking is done on a medium heat.

4. Add your onion and potato mixture to the oil and stir occasionally until the potatoes are easy to break up with a fork. To get to this point you can alternate covering the pan with a lid and leaving it open. While this is happening, in a separate large bowl beat 8 eggs with a pinch of salt until light and fluffy.

5. With a slotted spoon, begin to drain to potatoes by pressing them to the side of the pan leaving the oil to one side. (tip: tilt the pan so that the oil gathers in the lower side, doing most of the work for you!)

6. Add the warm potatoes and onions into the egg, combine, add return to the pan.

7. Without stirring mixture while it’s cooking, when you see the edges tortilla begin to set, gently run a spatula around the side of the pan to make sure it’s not sticking.  When you can see the tortilla begin to go golden brown, it’s time to flip!

(This is the trickiest part of the recipe and don’t worry if it goes everywhere! As you’ll see in the video, this is totally normal!)

8. Find a plate that is larger than radius of the pan, place it on top and confidently flip the tortilla on to plate and slide it back into the pan. Continue to cook.

9. You will know the tortilla is ready when you can push a knife through the centre and no liquid comes out. Feel free to flip the tortilla once more if you feel there is uneven colouring.

10. Turn your tortilla out on to a plate and enjoy warm with salad or in a sandwich with lots of alioli!

Grapevine Properties

http://www.grapevine-properties.com

How to make paella?

Here’s a recipe for a really festive paella.
In Spain you would so often cook paella: this one is a really luxurious one though, with all the whistles and bells, for a very special occasion or a lovely afternoon with friends around the paella pan.

It’s the paella we make for the yearly ‘Office Paella Day‘. See the video and find the ingredients and explanation below.

The ingredients to prepare:

beforehand or while you are sitting around the fire – and to add in this order:

– Olive oil
– Onion
– Bay leaves
– Peppers
– Garlic
– Bacon
– Chorizo
– Spices: Safron & Paprika
– Tomatoes
– Rice
– Prawn stock
– Chicken stock
– Chicken thighs
– Prawns
– Mussels

The Method:

– Peel whole prawns and put the shells and heads to one side.
– Prepare chicken and prawn stock in advance by poaching the chicken thighs and prawns shells and heads in water to create a flavourful broth.
– Remove the chicken thighs from their stocks and gently break up the meat.
– Roughly dice the onions and peppers and thinly slice the garlic.
– Heat olive oil in a paella pan over a medium heat.
– Add peppers, onions, bay leaves and garlic to the pan and sauté until translucent.
– Add chorizo and fry until it cooks and release it’s colour into the vegetables.
– Add spices and cook them out. Then add rice and mix well.
– Pour in a glass of white wine and cook out the alcohol.
– Add a mixture of both stocks until the rice is nearly cooked.
– Stir in the chicken, mussels and prawns and when the rice is cooked, your shellfish should be aswel!
– Garnish with plenty of parsley and lemon. Enjoy!

With love from Málaga!

Grapevine Properties
Guaro, Málaga
www.grapevine-properties.com

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Seasonal Calendar of Fruits and Vegetables in Spain

When is the best time to buy the most delicious oranges or tomatoes in Spain?

¿Y cuándo es la mejor temporada para comprar fresas o judías verdes?

The Gobierno de España has released seasonal calendar of frutas y verduras in Spain so you can make sure you are buying the freshest produce every season of the year. This way, we can support our local seasonal produce and try to reduce importation in our region.

Check out www.alimentacion.es for more information.

Get involved and keep it seasonal!

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P.S Are you getting involved with our language challenge? Let us know!

Laura Wood

www.grapevine-properties.com

Confused about Manchego?

Are you confused about Queso Manchego?

You’re not alone.

Similar to Jamón, Manchego cheese is one of those daunting products where we’re never quite sure what we’re purchasing.

Probably the most popular and widely sold cheese in Spain, Manchego originates from the La Mancha region and is made from sheep’s milk. The type of cheese will indicate whether the milk is pasteurized or not. For example a farmhouse Manchego is only made from unpasteurized milk whereas the industrial version is made from pasteurized milk. The traditional use of grass moulds leaves a distinctive, characteristic zigzag pattern on the Manchego cheese. Like jamón, the varieties of Manchego are defined by their curing time.

There are four main types:

Queso Fresco 

A queso fresco is the youngest of the four varieties, aged for just two weeks. Its flavor is mild and, as it’s name would suggest, fresh. This particular type of cheese works great in salads.

Semi Curado

This type of Manchego is aged for around three months, it’s semi-firm and has a creamy yet slightly tangy taste.

Curado

Aged for six months, Manchego curado has a stronger, sweeter and nuttier flavor then it’s younger versions. Both the curado and semi-curado are great for grating and melting!

Queso Viejo

As it’s name may suggest, queso viejo (old cheese) is the variety that is cured for the longest time. Aged for a year, its distinctive sharp flavor makes this a great cheese for tapas.

Laura Wood

http://www.grapevine-properties.com

Arroz con Rafi

What’s the difference between paella and arroz? I was always lead to believe that they were completely different dishes. Whenever I go to a restaurant, the menu reads paella however in someone’s home, they would always prepare what they called an arroz. One of the first arroz’s I tried was made with more stock and contained potatoes, so I was lead to believe that arroz was more of a soupy rice dish. I decided I needed to ask a Spaniard, leading me to my good friend Rafi, who had invited us around to his house last Saturday for lunch.

After speaking to Rafi’s mum, it turns out there is actually no difference between the two dishes although every family cooks there own version using different meats and fish. The one we had on Saturday was made over a traditional wood fire. She started by adding olive oil, five or six cloves of chopped garlic and then the raw chicken to the pre-heated paella dish.

Once the chicken had browned, half an onion and two green peppers were added to the mixture, followed by two minced tomatoes.

A orange colorant is dusted over the top, giving the paella it’s distinct yellow tone. Rafi’s mum then added a cup of short-grain rice and three cups of water.

The mixture is left to cook for ten minutes and then taken of the heat so that the rice can absorb the remaining liquid. Serve with a wedge of lemon and some crusty bread, yum!

Laura Wood

http://www.grapevine-properties.com

Día de la Sopa Mondeña

Monda will host its 20th annual Dia de Sopa (Soup Day) this Sunday the 10th of April.

Starting at 12.00 the central square in Monda, la Plaza de la Constitución, the Town Hall will  prepare the official soup cooked in a giant wooden pot measuring over a meter and half in diameter and weighing a few hundred kilos. Crafted out of a single piece of wood, this pot is possibly one of the largest in the country.

Made with fresh, local ingredients such as green peppers, garlic, olive oil, pan de pueblo (village bread), tomatoes and eggs, the so-called “official soup” will not be the only soup on offer as other families will also set up around the square to prepare their own versions, creating a homely and energetic atmosphere.

There will also be an artisanal market and live music from 13.00 with performances from Los Carcianos, Lester y Rober and DJ Paco Cantos until nightfall.

This lively and colourful gastronomic event is attended by thousands of people every year and represents an important cultural tradition for the people of the village. See you there!?

Laura Wood

http://www.grapevine-properties.com

5 Tapas to try today

The majority of bars in inland Málaga have their own tapas selection, so knowing your way around these small tasters is essential if you want to call yourself a tapas connoisseur. Here are our top five tapas dishes that we feel are a must-try the next time you drop in for a caña or two.

Morcilla con huevos de codorniz

Morcilla is the Spanish version of black pudding. Even if you are not a fan of blood sausage, you soon will be when you try this amazing tapas. A slice of morcilla on the griddle under a fried quail egg is the absolute perfect combination. You can thank us later.

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Boquerones en vinagre

The Spanish boquerone is nothing like the anchovies we have in Britain. In Málaga you can order them fried or in vinegar as the locals prefer them. They arrive in a small dish with an olive oil and garlic dressing and are wonderful alternative for really appreciating their rich flavor.

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Croquetas caseras

Croquetas are balls of thick béchamel sauce enriched with meat, fish, vegetables or a mixture and then deep-fried until the outside turns a golden brown. The crunchy exterior and smooth, creamy inside make these the perfect bar snack.

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Ensalada de mariscos

 This delicious mix of seafood, peppers, tomatoes, onions and a light vinegar or mary-rose dressing makes a fabulous light lunch or side dish. One of the most popular tapas dishes in the area, most bars will serve their own variation of the dish.

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Queso Curado

If you can imagine a Spanish version of parmesan, you’re on your way to Queso Curado. It’s salty, tangy, and works incredibly with olive oil drizzled over the top. Personally, I love a tapas of this accompanied by a glass of cold vino tinto.

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What’s your favourite tapas dish at your local bar? Let us know!

Laura Wood

http://www.grapevine-properties.com