Saturday, April 07, 2012

Weekend Cooking: MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Last year I posted about going out to eat tapas at Movida Aqui - good weather, good food, good company, good times!

In that post I mentioned that there were a couple of Movida cookbooks. I had actually borrowed one of them from the library not long after going to eat there but it was when my oven wasn't working and as I looked through I didn't really find much to make. I suspected that I possibly hadn't given the book a fair go so I reborrowed it. This time, I had a lot more success in terms of finding recipes that had my mouth watering.

The book itself is a lovely object. The paper is thick with a matt finish - kind of rustic really - with lots of photos of not only some of the recipes but also artistic photos of various ingredients and the occasional photo of the original Movida restaurant.

One of the things that I love when I read a cookbook that features food from another culture is how the author connects with that particular food or regions. In this case, Frank Camorra is of Spanish descent and talks about growing up in Australia with Spanish parents who brought many of their Spanish traditions to life during his childhood. He also talks about travelling through Spain finding new recipes and ideas to bring back to the restaurant that he planned to open and how they have adapted some of these recipes for restaurant use.

There were quite a few recipes that I think I am going to have to try including Patatas a lo Pobre (Slow-Cooked Potatoes with Onion and Capsicums) and Pollo al Chilindron (Pyrenees Chicken with Paprika, Tomato and Capsicums). I am intending to borrow the next cookbook and see what is in that one too. I can see myself reborrowing this one again as well. Or heck, maybe even buying it! I was also thinking that it must be time for me to head back to the Movida tapas bars and try a few new tasty treats.

Today I thought I would share a recipe for Torrija. In the introduction to the dessert section, the authors say that this recipe is usually only eaten at Easter in Spain, "but here in Australia, untied from the bindings of tradition, we are free to make this and other festive desserts at any time of the year." In the introduction to this recipe, Frank Camorra calls this "extreme French toast - beautiful, golden slices of fried bread soaked in a cream and citrus infusion and slathered in honey and sherry syrup." He shares that his mother used to make a huge batch with the intention that they would last all Easter but they would be gone by the end of the day! Apparently they are also good with vanilla ice cream and a little glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry.

Torrijas (Fried Milk Pudding Dusted with Cinnamon and Honey)

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk
1 litre (35 fl oz/5 cups) pouring (whipping) cream
rind of 2 oranges, cut into large strips
rind of 2 lemons, cut into large strips
175g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
2 loaves 2-day-old pasta dura or other firm crusty bread, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick slices)
480g (1 lb 1 oz/1 and a third cups) honey
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) oloroso sherry
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
180 g (6 and a quarter oz/3 quarters cup) caster (superfine) sugar, extra
6 eggs
100g (3 and a half oz) unsalted butter

Put the milk, cream, orange and lemon rind, sugar and two of the cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan over low heat and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to lukewarm (this should take 30-45 minutes).

Strain the lukewarm milk mixture into a shallow bowl, large enough to hold all the bread. Soak the bread in the milk for 30 minutes.

In another saucepan make the jarabe by heating the honey, sherry, remaining cinnamon sticks and 250ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water over high heat. Just before boiling point, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. The syrup should still be quite runny, but thickened slightly.

Make cinnamon sugar by sifting the cinnamon and extra sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan over low-medium heat. Lift the bread from the milk and drain for a few seconds before placing it into the beaten egg. Cover the bread very well, as this will form a seal and keep the flavoured milk and cream in the bread when fried.

Cook the bread, in two batches, for 2 minutes each side, or until golden, adding more butter as needed. Remove the bread from the pan and briefly drain on paper towel. Dust the fried bread with cinnamon sugar. Place in a non-metallic tray in a single layer adn cover with the jarabe while still warm.

When ready to serve, pile the torrijas high on a serving plate and spoon over a little of the residual jarabe.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of torrija, but it is a traditional family dish - for a large family.

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38 comments:

  1. I too love cookbooks that give you a sense of place and are filled with beautiful photographs. I don't know much about Spanish cooking but have liked what I've tried.

    And holy cow! Torrijas sound unbelievably yummy. The citrus and spices and sherry. Wow. I just may have to buy a bottle of sherry so I can make this.

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    1. Torrijas do sound really, really good don't they!

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  2. I have never had the opportunity to try Spanish food! I would love to give it a try. But what are Capsicums? I am going over to my libraries website now and see if they have this book.

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    1. Peggy Ann, capsicums are called peppers elsewhere.

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  3. I have never heard of this dish before. I don't think it will suit a family of just two but it is always fun to encounter new dishes :)

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    1. I can't imagine it for just two people either, but it still sounds yummy!

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  4. What fascinating recipes, and such a lovely way to learn about a culture. The frying with egg makes me think of fried Matzoh, but the Patatas a lo Pobre--that was my favorite dish, I think, when my husband and I visited Madrid many years ago.

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    1. The Patatas a la Pobre was the first recipe I bookmarked for later!

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  5. I also love cookbooks...ok, maybe all books...that in themselves are attractive. that recipe sounds very good.

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    1. It certainly helps when you have an attractive package!

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  6. Oh yum, but where to get the 2 day old bread, the day before Easter Sunday?
    Solution: take the man's advice and make them some other time!

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  7. I'd love Spanish food, the book sounds delicious. So does the bread pudding, honey and sherry, super flavor combination!

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    1. It does sounds fabulous doesn't it!

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  8. Extreme French Toast!! The kids will love it :) Especially if I call it that with the "Extreme" in front. Thanks so much for the recipe.

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    1. Putting the word extreme in front of anything makes it sound .... extreme! lol.

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  9. The book looks fascinating -- haven't made many Spanish dishes so I'll have to check this one out. You had me at the title -- can't resist a "culinary adventure." The torrijas sound absolutely to die for.

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    1. I am hoping to go on some more culinary adventures soon too!

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  10. I have never heard of this before and I have to admit that "fried milk pudding" doesn't sound appetizing but the recipe sounds amazing!! I had to laugh at Libby's comment about "extreme french toast." Ha!

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    1. I know, right? Torrijas sounds exotic and amazing. Fried milk pudding...not quite so much!

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  11. Fried milk pudding sounds very unusual! I almost always borrow cookbooks from the library -it helps me decided whether or not to purchase.

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    1. Cookbooks tend to be very expensive here so I do like to borrow from the library before buying them, especially for lesser known chefs etc.

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  12. The book and the dish sound great! Isn't it strange how sometimes the time for a specific cookbook is not right and you can't find anything appealing and later you find tons? It must be just like with fiction, you must be in the mood for it.

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    1. I think you are right about sometimes needing the right book at the right time.

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  13. This recipe sounds lovely! I think I need to try it.

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    1. Let me know how you get on with it if you do try it Vasilly.

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  14. Very nice post. Have a nice day.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Carole.

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  15. This post on Spanish food is timely, since the International Association of Culinary Professionals just gave their annual cookbook awards, and the winner in the International category was The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden. I like the idea of more recipes based on olive oil, but the pudding looks good too.

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    1. Fay, thanks for mentioning that book. I have had a look at my library catalogue and they have it, so I have requested it to have a look at.

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  16. I love dessert, but never heard of this. It sounds exactly like something I could fall in love with.

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    1. It definitely sounds more-ish doesn't it Alex!

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  17. This one sounds really good. Hubby and I are off to Spain later this year. It would be fun to try out some tapas to get in the swing of things.

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    1. Tapas sounds like the perfect way to prepare for your trip! I am just a little bit jealous of your trip to Spain. I hope you are getting to Barcelona on your trip. It was my favourite European city when I visited years ago.

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  18. This sounds a great book. I love it when the recipe is set with a sense of time and culture. Added to the library list, although this would make a lovely gift for some Spanish friends that I have.

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    1. I am sure that your Spanish friends might find some familiar recipes there, but the author does warn that there are multiple ways of making many of the recipes.

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  19. So basically it's a Spanish-style bread pudding? It sounds delicious, but I don't think my family would eat it. :(

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    1. Kind of, Tasha. I think though rather than serving it as a pudding like bread pudding it is served as individual pieces, kind of like sticky covered cookies.

      My son wouldn't eat it either I am afraid.

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