I will be forever grateful to Christopher Columbus; his greatest deed for me personally, was initiating the spread of chilli peppers the world over.
As the story goes, during the 15th Century, black peppercorns were so valuable that the Catholic Kings of Spain sent Christopher Columbus off on a mission to find a new and quicker route to the pepper source in the Spice Islands, via the West. Of course, we all know that he didn’t make his way around and “founded” America instead.
He first landed in the Bahamas Archipelago and from there he ventured his way along the islands of the West Indies and came across an indigenous fruit that set his tongue on fire. Either he tried to deceive himself and in turn deceive the Kings waiting for him back home, or he was truly mistaken, we would never know…but he did duly named them pimiento which means pepper. These were in fact the red chillies we know of today, and not the pepper he was looking for.
Thanks to him, I now have a buffet of lip-smackingly spicy dishes from all over the world to sample from.
Some of you might omit chillies from recipes because of the uncomfortable burning sensation but here are a few reasons to start adding them into your dishes while being able to thoroughly relish its heat.
Pasta is one of the most satisfying dishes to whip up. Of course they can be as elaborate as you want them to be, but very often, with a few simple ingredients and a quick toss in the pan, a lip-smackingly wholesome meal is created.
While they are very versatile, purists on the other hand will insist on certain sauces going with certain pasta shapes. There are however, something like 350 types of dried pasta in Italy, so it can feel like marching straight into a labyrinth.
The general rule of the thumb is that delicate and lightly accented sauces are best with thin pasta, as sauces slide easily over smooth pasta surfaces. Whereas rich, buttery and cheese based sauces, go particularly well with pastas with flat and thick surfaces. Pasta with many folds and ridges serve to capture chunky and meaty bits in the sauce.
Here we have roughly grouped five categories with their relevant sauce pairings.
Migas is a delightfully dense Spanish dish that hits all the right spots on a cold rainy, wintery night. It is made by stirring stale bread crumbs in a pan of olive oil, sautéed garlic, chorizo, jamón and bacon rashers, and then served up with a fried egg and some grapes.
The other day I had mine served with sections of oranges instead and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the oranges featured, cutting through the rich flavours with its citrusy sweetness.
This triggered me think about recipes using oranges, as they are in their peak season from late winter to spring, and a whole bag load of them just costs a Euro. I’d love to do more with them besides having them as an out-of-hand snack or OJ.
Traditionally associated with marmalades, compotes and sorbets, orange and sugary treats go hand-in-hand. But what if you told yourself that Christmas is done and it’s about time to work on the beach body, to cut back on the sweet stuffs? Here are a few suggestions on how to incorporate oranges in your meals.
Scrambled eggs were the first thing I learnt how to cook, and I suppose this is true for many.
Eggs can be made into everything: the heart-warming concoction, the hearty brunch, the lazy meal, the simple snack…They have this incredible ability to alter, adding that magical touch to dishes – deep fry and then top it into a broth and you get a multi-textured meal; crack it onto a pizza before oven baking and it’s instantly gourmet.
They simultaneously produce, absorb and enhance flavours, and thus are one of the most common ingredients in the world’s kitchens. In Spain for example, the typical “can I make you something to eat?” greeting at home is “can I fry you an egg?” (¿Tienes hambre? ¿Te frio un huevo?)
Today, let’s leave the classics aside and contemplate on a list of more colourful and intriguing ways that eggs are being cooked and consumed.