Archive | Spain

Recipe | Seville Marmalade

A pot worth Orange

Obviously I bought the Seville oranges pretty much as soon as they came into season back in January.  I got out and washed my eclectic mix of pots and lids to store the marmalade in once made and then….I kind of ignored them all.

Distracted by trotting up to London and doing some serious catching up on restaurants that had recently opened, the beautiful, tangy, tasty fruit just sat there in a bowl.

As anyone following me on Instagram will be aware of I have been methodically going round London , mainly eating at places that have opened in the last 12 months.   Amusingly a follower from the States contacted me after I had failed to post anything new for 3 days to enquire if I was alright, had I “shut my bolt” or had London run out of food ?  “All fine this side of the pond ”! I assured them, ”Just had to slink back off to the West country for a few days to deal with the fruit bowl”.

As it was code red in the cupboard (only one pot of 2015 marmalade left)* the oranges in the bowl weren’t going to get any better and I had just heard that we should be eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day not 5, it was now or never to get making this years marmalade. I haven’t found anyone willing to say that orange marmalade spread onto thick buttery piece of toast counts towards your recommended daily dose of fruit and veg but I also haven’t read convincing arguments to say it doesn’t ( on purpose).

* So much was made in this batch that we skipped doing any in 2016.

According to recent studies at Imperial College London we should be eating around 800g of fruit and veg a day, that’s about 10 portions, if we want them to be beneficial. Beneficial translating as reducing the risk of chronic diseases (like cancer) and premature death. Have to say my non scientific/ life loving mind translates that as essential rather than beneficial but there we go.  I was interested to read that it didn’t make a difference if they were eaten cooked or raw as I know many people get overly anxious if they should be steaming and not boiling vegetables or worrying if they should even cook them at all.

The study also mentioned that taking supplements did not have the same results, as you needed the whole package that eating fresh fruit ad vegetables gives.  It was noted however that one of the factors that the study did not take into account was if the people eating more fruit and veg and suffering less from chronic diseases also made other lifestyle choices like exercising more which probably also helps to reduce the risk.

In the spirit of better late than never and on the off chance I am not the only one who didn’t made their marmalade in January this postcard’s recipe gives you my favourite way to do it. And if I am the only one who came late to the party, heres how I think you should have done it! This method is simple and well worth the effort of all that chopping and juicing so you can spend the rest of the year enjoying it and if you’re feeling generous even give it away as presents.

They are just about to go out of season though so you best get your skates on! Though have checked in the local grocers, Waitrose and Borough Market and they still had some boxes.

This week

Restaurants eaten at : 12

Marmalade made : 7 lbs

Daily Fruit and veg targets reached : er…


Seville Marmalade

Clearly if I was a more earnest food blogger all my pots would be stylishly the same size but I’m happy to report the house is fairly chaotic and jam jar discipline very slack so the mongrel assortment below is what we had to use.  

Makes about 5 kilos or 9 jars

4 litres water

2 kilo Seville oranges

2 lemons juice and pith only

3 kilo preserving sugar

Wash the oranges, slice in half and juice.

Keeping all the pips in a bowl.

Using a spoon scrape the pith from each of the juiced skin halves and add to the pips.

Thinly slice (or thickly if you like thick cut marmalade… but I disagree ) and place in a large heavy based pan.

Add all the orange juice , lemon juice and the 4 litres of water.

Using a muslin tie up all the pips and pith from the oranges and lemon and place in the pot.

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours or the skin has softened and liquid reduced by half.

Remove the bag , leave to cool then squeeze out as much of the juice from the bag with its  pectin as possible and scoop this into the pot, discard the pith / pips ect. .Wash the muslin and dry for its next adventure. 

Add the sugar to the pot and slowly heat until all the sugar has melted then bring up to a gentle rolling boil and cook for 15 mins and start checking for setting point.

You know you have reached setting point when a spoonful of the marmalade placed on a cold saucer and left for 4 mins forms a skin and wrinkles when you run your finger through it.

Once setting point has been reached you can pot your marmalade into clean sterilised jars and seal.

Once cool wipe the pots and label. Keep in a cool dark cupboard.

I am not sure how long the shelf life is of marmalade but we have happily kept and eaten ours from over two years ago. 

Next stop…Hereford.


Recipe | Almond, cherry, lime and tequila cake

The girl who played with a wood fired oven

I felt like a real party pooper as I sat soberly on the plane heading from Edinburgh to Ibiza. It was around midday and the rest of passengers were clearly well on their way to tipsy land. Amusingly as soon as the seatbelt sign went off the entire plane (minus me and a chap who had already passed out) got up to use the ‘facilities’ then once that kerfuffle was over the drinks trolley became like a moving god down the isle . Ibiza is of course known for its excellent clubbing scene and fun nightlife however for those who have discovered it there is also an island of great beauty, food, secluded alcoves and paradise like beaches.


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Recipe | Romesco sauce


Nobody expected the Spanish expadition  …

I double read the last minute email from my client, just in case I had misread it,

“ By the way, did we mention we are off to Ibiza? Have sorted your flights, hope that’s fine.”

‘Super fine! I thought, who doesn’t like an unexpected trip to Spain?


For those not in the know or who have preconceived ideas about Ibiza let me tell you it is an island packed full of beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants, swarms of super yachts, prides of cool people and of course a club or two.


If you have ever bought an item of clothing, got it back home and then thought OMG what have I done, I’m never going to wear that!? (but then kept it lurking in your wardrobe, just in case), fear not, I have the solution.Take it for a spin in Ibiza because there, pretty much anything goes.

Ibiza has to be one of the best places for people watching. Day or night the streets, bars, clubs and cafes are filled with an extraordinary mix of beautiful, wild, daring, ostentatious,  cool, those trying to be cool and those who really don’t care sort of people.

Sequins, string gold bikini (no top just the bottom) birthday suits, lace, glitter, tight pants, non existent skirts, dresses that stop mid buttock can all be successfully pulled off here, so to speak, by the guys as well as girls.


My weeks work started pretty much straight off the plane when I was handed over the reins of the BBQ at the villa we were renting for the week (that is how chilled people get here as generally I have to pry the males off the spot next to the coals).


There were long lazy breakfasts of fresh fruit, yogurts and various patisserie, followed by long lazy lunches often consisting of grilled fish, summer salads, fruit granitas and Ibiza Rosé then finally the day was rounded of by long lazy late dinners starting with various tapas and ending in cigars. All very idyllic.


Early on in the week I managed to pretty much scour the entire island and check out which markets, specialist food shops and areas were best for provisions. Unromantically their Mercado supermarket came out on top as it had a good butchers, excellent fishmongers and vegetable supplies. Though strangely totally lacked in other areas like fresh milk and vanilla pods, but all was forgiven as there were sardines a plenty.  Though this did mean that shopping meant ping ponging myself around the island to get the best of everything and as everyone here is so super chilled even when driving/ shopping  / queueing , it  always took rather longer than expected.


I totally enjoyed my week focusing on Spanish food and it was a delight to be able to easily get hold of their delicious cured hams like the Jamón Ibérico , use the super tasty local sun drenched figs and watermelon and be a bit more liberal than usual with my sprinkles of paprika.


For this weeks postcard recipe I am going to share with you an excellent sauce to have as part of your Spanish repertoire, Romesco.

This week

Every villa should have: a view of the Mediterranean

I’m listening to: Ibiza chill out in the am and trance in the pm

We are drinking: Ibiza Rosé

Super yacht spotting is the new train spotting

We learnt : It is not cool to eat dinner before 9:30pm


 Romesco Sauce

This toasted nut with tomato, paprika and nora pepper sauce is great to have in your repertoire. It works well with grilled red meats, white fish, and vegetables.


Serves 6 as a sauce

3 nora peppers (specialist Spanish store will stock these, they are dried so you can buy in bulk and use as needed).

1 head of garlic

150g roasted and peeled hazelnuts

1- 2 tbs sherry vinegar

3 tbs olive oil


Tomato sauce

2 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

400g tinned tomatoes

1 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp sweet paprika


Soak the nora peppers in just boiled water for 30 mins (they will bob to the surface so place a saucer on top to fully immerse them.


Make the tomato sauce by gently frying the 2 cloves of garlic in the olive oil, when they start to colour add the tinned tomatoes and then the paprika, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 mins or until thickened,


Pre heat oven too 180 °c , slice the garlic head in half horizontally and sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1 tbs olive oil. Place on a dish and roast for 10 – 15 mins or until soft and lightly golden.


In a food processor blitz the nuts so there are still a few small chunks but most of it is a course meal texture. Place in a bowl. Don’t wash the food processor bowl.


Drain the nora peppers, keeping the water, and split open. Remove the seeds and green top. Roughly chop then place in food processor and start to blitz, add the tomato sauce, vinegar, olive oil and garlic and blitz till smooth.


Add the tomato/nora mix to the ground hazelnuts and stir – the sauce should be a little loose so add a couple of tbs of the nora water until you have a slightly loose constituency. Check for seasoning (you may feel you want to add a little extra paprika or vinegar to give it more of a kick).

 Serve at room temperature with grilled fish, meat or vegetables.


Next stop, Marseille …





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