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
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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