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Courgette Fritters With Fiery Onion Jam

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In 2013, Jo and I took our two girls for a one month vacation to beautiful Madrid. Ostensibly this was meant to be a little “educational trip” for Bianca to look at fashion (she is now a qualified Fashion Designer) and for Andrea to look at Architecture; she too has since qualified and is working as well.

One of the Studios/Salons Bianca and I visited was to this very beautiful Store of “Adolfo Domínguez“ (for more details look at my blog entry of 23.06.2013 – Fashion for comfort & love!). After our “work” we always made our way to the top floor where, to put it simply, we felt a bit like inside the world of “The Devil Wears Prada”. Sometimes it seemed to us, that every woman there nibbling on a lettuce leaf and/or having their glass of delicious wine, had walked straight out of pages of VOGUE. In retrospect I would have liked to eat (and photograph!) my way through Chef’s small but very delicious looking menu.

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(Pic. Above: Inside the top-floor Cafeteria at “Adolfo Domínguez” – a little heaven amidst the noise and hectic of Madrid.)

But one item from his blackboard I really loved and in the end he very kindly shared the recipe with me.

I have altered it a little bit – in order to suit our own pallet giving it a little bit more ‘kick’ especially re the spices -.

This is lovely for Snacky food served on a bed of beautifully crisp green salad with the Onion Jam as an accompaniment and when made smaller and a bit thicker also as cocktail party food.

So, why not give those little Fritters a try – maybe you too end up liking them as we do in my own little family.

Little Courgette Fritters with fiery onion jam

Recuerdos de Madrid – Memories of Madrid

Right at the beginning a little word of advice, when you make the onion jam, make double or even treble the amount you want for your fritters, this thick chutney like jam is so Moorish, it keeps well in your fridge up to a week – you also might want to have it with your favourite cheese!!!

I used the following:

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Appr. 1 lb courgettes (yellow or green), top and tailed, coarsely grated and kept aside in a bowl
A small chunk of hard cheese (either freshly! grated Parmesan or Cheddar), kept aside

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2 eggs, slightly beaten with a fork
App. 4 Tbsp of Besan (yellow) flour also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour (or plain)
Salt and pepper (you will need a bit more salt here than usual)
¾ Tbsp of Kashmiri Chilli powder
½ tsp of fennel powder
½ tsp of cumin powder
Small bunch of Spring onions (use the green part only!)
Vegetable Oil for frying
1 very clean cheese clothes
A few sheets of kitchen paper towel

To make the onion jam I used the following:

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4 large onion, thinly sliced
½ Tbsp Oil
3 green chillies
5 small garlic pods
1 Tbsp (maximum) soft brown sugar
½ tsp of dry red chilli flakes
Heat oil in a wide pan, add your onions and the garlic, stir and on low heat and cook this for the next 20 minutes, approx.. or until onions are very soft.

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When done let this cool down quickly and transfer to your Blender with the chillies, sugar and the chilli flakes and “blitz” until everything is very smooth.
Return to the pan and once again on very low flame cook for an additional 10 minutes. Done! And ready to be used with the fritters.

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Tip the grated Courgettes onto the cheesecloth and wring out as much of the liquid, which will have appeared, and move to a large mixing bowl. Now add the eggs, cheese, flour and all the spices and the spring onion greens and mix well. Check seasoning.

Take your pan, add just enough oil to cover the pan and heat on medium flame. When hot add dollops of your fritter mixture with a big spoon carefully into the oil, flatten the fritters slightly and gently fry for 3-4 minutes on either side. A word of warning: do not take your eyes off them for a second – they can turn dark very quickly (see my own disastrous first attempt: delicious but near cinder top and bottom!!)

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Remove and keep on the sheets of kitchen paper to lose some of the oil (do not cover). If you make a large batch, keep them on a baking sheet inside your oven on very low heat to keep warm.

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When you finished making all your fritters, bring them to your table with the beautiful jam in a separate bowl and enjoy!!

Carina

Notes: You can of course also use half/half (yellow/green) courgettes.
The amount of chillies used is suited for our own pallet; tone it down if you want, but……you do want ‘the kick
’!

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Culinary Memories of Madrid

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The Festivities are over – children have gone back to school and our two daughters also came and went for an only too brief a visit to Cochin. Bianca went back to her job as a Fashion Designer
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with her company in Bangalore and Andrea, having after 5 years graduated as an Architect now started her first full time job on the 1st of January.

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Like all parents we too kept looking at them surreptitiously occasionally and wondered “…where has time gone, only yesterday they were still little girls with white bows in their hair and wearing their school uniform and now they are all grown up, gaining more and more self confidence by the day and proofing their own worth in their chosen profession”. Seeing them leave is still very much a pull on our heart strings and yes, I do admit, a tear or two always escapes from my eyes once the door is closed behind them.

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Having the girls here only for such a short time we were not really able to do all the things we hoped to do, like learning yet another House-recipe to take along to their own places. Kerala cooking of course from their father, who is a brilliant cook and has taught me nearly everything I know about his kind of food, The-rest-of-the-world, especially German and Italian cuisine from yours truly, but of course, there is always the next holiday, like Easter, just around the corner.

But as soon as Bianca reached Bangalore a request for one of her favourite soup recipes arrived. Favourite because it is Spanish (and we all have very fond memories of our family holiday in Madrid), its cold (the heat here right now is getting to all of us) the main ingredients are fresh tomatoes and best of all, no actual cooking in a hot kitchen after her long day at work.
The following recipe was given to me by a friend in Madrid whose roots are in Andalusia. And so, yes, you guessed it, what this daughter wanted was GAZPACHO .

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And finding myself with a slight glutton of fresh tomatoes in the kitchen I decided to make this deliciously refreshing soup for our lunch as well.
I do not always work using exact and detailed measurements – so, just follow me and use your own judgement here according to your own taste buds.

G A Z P A C H O (partly rooted in Andalusia!)

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5 x large ripe tomatoes, skin removed and ‘blitzed’ a couple of times in your blender
1 x onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 x fat garlic cloves, peeled
1 x Capsicum (l/2 green and l/2 red), deseeded and roughly chopped
1 x large cucumber, washed and de-seeded
Pinch of ground cumin
3 x Tbsp of red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to your taste
1/4 cup of good virgin olive oil
4-6 drops of Tabasco (optional – gives your soup that ‘kick’)
2 x slices of bread (or more, if you like soup to be thicker)

Method:
Soak your bread in some water until soft. Squeeze out and keep aside
‘Blitz’ your tomatoes briefly and keep aside.
‘Blitz’ garlic, capsicum and cucumber briefly and keep aside.

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Add all the above into a large bowl and add vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and if you wish also the Tabasco, stir. Now add the previously soaked bread and mix gently. Cover and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours or longer. If you find the soup a bit too thick for your liking, just add some iced water and stir. Decorate with some finely chopped Coriander or Parsley (whatever you have in your fridge) and for a little Dinner-Party-Edition serve separately with one or all of the following: chopped almonds, some orange segments, small selection of finely chopped red, green and yellow capsicums, some finely chopped spring onions and some fresh mint and cumin crushed. Delicious.

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Variation:
Depending on our mood at the time I might just add all the above into the blender and puree this until smooth. And if you do not have time to cool it in your fridge, just add a few icecubes to your soup just before serving.

രുചിയോടെ ഭക്ഷണം ആസ്വദിക്കാന് കഴിയട്ടേ
(ruchiyode bhakshanam aaswadikkan kazhiyatte) this is in our local Malayalam language meaning:
Guten Appetit – Enjoy! – Buen apetito!

Carina
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Meine FREIE Uebersetzung:

Kulinarische Erinnerungen an Madrid.

Die Feierlichkeiten sind vorrueber – die Kinder sind wieder zurueck in die Schule und unsere zwei Toechter kamen and gingen wieder, leider nur fuer einen kurzen Besuch nach Cochin. Bianca ging wieder zu ihrem Job als Modeschoepferin mit ihren Firma in Bangalore zurueck und Andrea, die nach 5 Jahren ihr Studium als Architektin absolvierte fing auch ihren ersten Job am 1. Januar an. Wie alle Eltern schauten wir sie beide hin und wieder Heimlich and und wunderten uns ….”wo ist die Zeit geblieben, nur gestern waren sie noch kleine Maedchen mit weissen Schleifen in ihren Haaren und trugen ihre Schulkleidung, und jetzt sind sie alle erwachsen, gewinnen mehr und mehr Selbstbewusstsein tagtaeglich und beweisen ihren eigenen Wert in ihrem gewaehlten Beruf”. Aber wenn wir sie weggehen sehen, tut das Herz doch etwas weh und ich gebe zu, das seine oder zwei Traenen aus meinen Augen kullern, aber erst wenn die Tuere hinten ihnen geschlossen ist.

Da wir die Maedchen hier hatten, besonders fuer eine solche kurze Zeit, wir konnten nicht all’ die Dinge unternehmen die wir vorhatten, wie z.B. wieder mal ein anderes Haus-Rezept fuer ihre eigenes Leben zu erlernen. Kerala Kueche selbstverstaendlich von ihrem Vater, de rein brillianter Koch ist und mir uebrigens fast alles beigebracht hat bezueglich Kerala Cuisine; und ‘den rest der welt’ speciell Deutsche und Italienische Cuisine von mir aber dann ist natuerlich immer noch der naechste Urlaub, wie z.B. Ostern, das ja nicht mehr weit we gist.

Aber sobald Bianca wieder in Bangalore ankam erhielt ich eine Anfrage bezueglich eines ihrer Lieblingssuppen Rexepte. Lieblings Rexet weil es Spanisch it (und wir alle haben noch sehr schoene Erinnerungen an unseren Familienurlaub in Madrid), sie ist kalt (die Hitze here macht allen sehr zu schaffen) die Hauptzutaten sind frische Tomaten und das allerbeste ist, dass man nicht zu kochen braucht nach einem langen Arbeitstag.

Das folgende Rezept wurde mir von einer Freundin in Madrid gegeben deren Wurzeln bis nach Andalusien gehen. Und so, ja, Ihr habt es erraten, was diese Tochter wollte war Gazpacho.

Und da ich selbst einen kleinen Ueberfluss von frischen Tomaten in meiner Kueche hatte, entschloss ich mich diese leckere und erfrischende Suppe auch fuer unser Mittagessen zu machen.

Ich arbeite nicht immer mit exakten und detailierten Messungen – so, folgt einfach meinem Rezept und folgt Eurem eigenen Urteil bezueglich Euren eigenen Geschmackes.

GASPACHO – verwurzelt in Andalusien.

5 x grosse reife Tomaten, Haus abgezogen und 1x, 2x oder 3x ganz kurz nu rim Mixer ‘blitzen
1 x Zwiebel, geschaelt und grob geschnitten
4 x dicke Knoblauchzehen, geschaelt
1 x Paprika (1/2 gruen und ½ red) entkernt und grob gehackt
1 x grosse Salatgurke, gewaschen und entkernt und grob gehackt
Prise gemahlener Kreuzkuemmel
4 x Essloeffel Rot-Wein-Essig
Salz und Pfeffer nach eigenem Geschmack
¼ cup gutes Olivenoil
6-8 – Tropfen Tabasco (gibt der Suppe den “Kick”)
2 x Scheiben Brot (oder mehr, wenn Ihr die Suppe etwas dicker haben moechtet)

Anleitung:

Tauche das Brot in etwas Wasser bis es weich ist. Druecke es aus und halte bereit.
“Blitz” die Tomaten ganz kurz und halte bereit
“Blitz” Knoblauch, Paprika und Gurke ganz kurz und halte bereit.
Alle Zutaten und nun auch Essig, Oil, Salz und Pfeffer und wenn gewuenscht den Tabasco in eine Schuessel und umruehren. Jetzt kommt noch das eingeweichte und ausgedrueckte Brot hinzu, wieder umruehren. Klingfilm ueber Schuessel und ab in den Kuehlschrank fuer mindestens 2 Stunden, besser laenger. Wenn Euch die Suppe fuer den eigenen Geschmack etwas zu dick ist, dann fuegt einfach etwas Eiswasser hinzu. Dekorieren mit etwas feingehacktem Koriander oder Petersilie (je nachdem was im Kuehlschrank vorhanden ist). Und fuer eine kleine Dinner-Party serviert doch entweder das eine oder alle in kleinen Schaelchen, gehackte Mandeln, feingeschnittene Orangenscheiben, fein gehackte rot, green und gelbe Paprika, ein paar feingehackte Fruehlingszwiebeln und etwas frische Minze mit Kreuzkuemmel zerdrueckt. Hm Lecker.

Variante:
Je nach Lust und Laune kommt es auch schon mal vor, dass ich einfach alle Zutaten in dem Mixer zusammen puriere bis die Suppe ganz fein ist. Und wenn dann auch noch keine Zeit vorhanden ist die Suppe im Kuehlschrank zu kuehlen, kann man ein paar Eiswuerfel kurz vor dem servieren in die Suppe tun.

Fashion for comfort & love!

This is Bianca’s second guest post here, introducing one of her favourite fashion designers from Spain. So come and let her show you around this amazing store in Madrid.

Hii everybody and welcome back!

I know it’s been really long since any of you have heard from me and I’m truely sorry about my disappearing act. So here I am with a new article yet again. This one is about one of Spain’s most famous designers ‘Adolfo Dominguez’. So here’s a small brief about Mr. Adolfo Dominguez.

Adolfo Domínguez, born Adolfo Domínguez Fernández, is a Spanish fashion designer. He took over his father’s fashion boutique in Ourense in the early 1970s. Afterwards which he spent the following years developing his own designs, and finally made the big jump with a presentation of his work in Madrid in 1981. He also became the first Spanish designer to open his own brand-name store in Madrid, which soon mushroomed into a chain with outlets across Spain and abroad, including New Delhi here in India and in Bangkok/Thailand. The company went public in 1997.

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Store at Central World Plaza, Bangkok, Thailand

The people at the store were most welcoming to say the least. Here we met the manager of the store Kristian Nesic, a wonderful and charming man who was absolutely helpful and informative. And if I even start to talk about the store, it was amazing, to say the least. Absolutely brilliant architecture and interior! It was set up to look like the interior of a house, each floor like different rooms with wood panelling, brick walls and nice lighting.

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That is the coffee shop on the topmost floor of the store. With a wide variety of choices it was quite a perfect place to sit after an exhausting shopping session and enjoy your coffee or choose from a small but most delicious selection of wonderful salads, for example. It was here that we met with Mr. Kristian. He told us all about the company, their different lines, their history and how they are planning to expand the company etc. He also told us about their latest butterfly themed and eco friendly collections mainly designed by Adolfo’s daughter Tiziana Dominguez who is the creative director of the company.

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And that’s him handing me his card.

Looking at the work table set up they have in their store. It looks cosy, homely and like your own personal studio with small sewing machines, ironing table, places to hold threads and all.

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Now to talk more about the brand, they have their own women swear, menswear, accessories, wedding gowns and even dog wear! Yes! You heard me right, they have specialised clothing for dogs!! And I have to tell you, it’s pretty amazing and really cute!! Here are some pictures clicked at the store, maybe this will give you an idea. These are some of the garments on display at the store.

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I thought that was brilliant use of tie and dye on the shirt

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Looking through some of the t-shirts on display.

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Checking out this really pretty dress at the store. It was a really pretty flouncy and summery party dress in white with paint splatter kind of print on it.

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This really classy dress on display at the store. This one also happened to be a favourite of mine.

Now for the OMG! Oh so cute section, the dog section, I don’t think I have ever come across anything as cute as this!

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They had personalised dog outfits of different varieties, toys for them, accessories etc. It was one of the cutest things I had ever come across.

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Now isn’t that a cute outfit?!

Now for my favourite section…the ‘bridal wear’ one!! It happens to be my favourite section among everything. And the dresses out here were absolutely mind blowing!! Each one of those dresses was soo pretty in itself and done up with such beautiful detailing. I guarantee you that you would definitely feel like a princess in them on your special day.

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Haha! Crowning Glory!!

16aKristian showing me more of their lovely garments on display at the store.

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Isn’t that such a fun dress?!

Believe me! If I had the money I would have been having a wardrobe hanging with more than one Adolfo piece in it!

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So that’s all for now all you lovely people, until I come up with yet another catchy topic to interest you all, this is me Bianca signing off over here. Ciao!! Baci Baci!

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My thanks goes to Kristian and his colleagues for their kind help and before I really sign off for today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kristian from all of us –  have a wonderful Sunday

(Photographs: Bianca and Carina/Manningtree Archive)