The flavours of Spain


For some reason Spanish food gets a bit of a bad rap. I do not now why this should be as it is the biggest holiday destination for people in the UK and the amount for Brits now living in Spain you would think that it would be better thought of. Or is it the fact that the places that most of the tourist actually go to are just full of British pubs and English food and beer. The actual real food of Spain is never really appreciated.

So for me what are the flavours of Spain well you have to have the following ingredients and I think you will have the right things in your store cupboard.

Olives and olive oil, about the most important ingredient in all.

Garlic, ajo, which goes with out saying.

Onions, cebollas, Spanish onions range from sweet and mild to strong and pungent.

Tomatoes, tomates, ripe and fresh in the sun.

Peppers or capsicums ,pimientos, green to yellow to red, all the same thing just the redder they get the ripper they are. Red ones have the sweetest flavour.

Now olives, garlic, onions, tomatoes and pepper are the vegetables of the Mediterranean so what do you put with them.

Serrano ham, jamón, jamón Serrano is best known Spanish ham and the best jamón Serrano comes from the black Iberian pig. Carved thinly with a little salad or some sausage

Chorizo, you have the fully dry-cured and can be eaten without cooking type and the raw one for stews and in bean and potato dishes. They are available either picante, hot or dulce mild and sweet. The best chorizos can contain up to 95% pork with the remainder being made up from pork fat, salt, garlic and paprika. It is the paprika that gives them their characteristic red colour.

Cheese queso, Manchego is the most well known and widely available of all of the cheeses. Manchego is made from sheep’s milk and can be anything from soft and mild to strong and hard. There are numerous other kinds of cheese as well.

Almonds almendras, used in many things as they are or ground down to thicken sauces.

Also beans in jars and pulses chickpeas and all sorts of thing like.

Now for your herbs and spices you will need

Chillies, there are many different varieties and strengths of chilli as a rule the larger green ones are generally milder. Then you have the fiery little red ones which will blow your head off.

Herbs: Parsley perejil is use a lot in Spanish cooking, normally the flat-leaved type. Along with that you will need oregano, basil, bay leaves, thyme and a bit of mint.

Paprika pimenton the ground dried red peppers. It is used in many Spanish dishes, giving loads of flavour and colour.

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