Friday, September 23, 2016

Brandade de Morue (Cod Cream)

Brandade de Morue or Cod Cream is something I had never made before.  The Spanish and salted cod go back a long time and they still sell these everywhere.  If you're interested in this, I recommend Mark Kurlansky's "Cod" or "Salt - A World History".

However, instead of  making Bacalao a la Crema, I opted for Brandade de Morue, the French version of this.  They are quite similar, but the French version seemed more flavorful.  I also balked at using salted cod as there were warnings galore that my refrigerator would smell fishy.  I bought frozen Bacalao instead.

Anyhow, I started out by defrosting my Bacalao which were left in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I started cooking.

This is what goes into the cream:  5 garlic cloves, 6 cloves, 1/4 teaspoon thyme and 1 bay leaf:

 Then you add 1 cup cream and simmer it without letting it really boil for 6 - 8 minutes.  

In the mean time, you boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to mash.  I peeled mine, but you can also cook them in their skins and peel them later.
You can prepare everything else while the potatoes are boiling.   You simmer the cod, never letting the water come to a boil because this will render them useless for this execution.  Maybe 1 - 2 minutes. Remove the cod from the water and carefully remove the skin and any bones and put it into the cream mixture.
Then you use a hand blender and puree it and it's ready to serve!

I served mine of thinly sliced baguette, laced with garlic oil and toasted in the oven, and garnished them with sprigs of dill!

They're nothing earthshaking, but good nonetheless.  Enjoy!

Brandade de Morue - Easy Version


225 g Frozen Cod
2 Large Potatoes
1 Cup Fresh Cream
5 Garlic Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 Tsp Thyme
4 Whole Cloves
1/8 Tsp White Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
*Original Recipe

Step 1:  Thaw cod.

Step 2:  Simmer cream, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and cloves for 6 - 8 minutes.

Step 3:  Remove bay leaf and discard it.

Step 4:  Cover the cod in water and simmer gently.  Do not let it boil!  You will see bubbles rising gently. Do this for 1 - 2 minutes.

Step 5:  Remove the cod from the water.

Step 6:  Remove the skin and bones from the cod and add this to the cream mixture you made earlier.

Step 7:  Use a hand blender and make a puree!

Step 8:  Let it cool down a bit and then serve on garlic bread and garnish with dill and maybe boiled prawns.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup and Coxinha

There is a new fruteria near my apartment.  It has a few shops in central Torremolinos, but the one near my apartment is their wholesale outlet that also retails.  I can't complain.

Everywhere you look, you see butternut squash now.  It is in season and sweeter than when it is off season.  I bought one, choosing a heavy hard one, asking them to quarter it for me.  My grandmother instructed me to choose squash in this way.  It turned out to be pleasantly sweet.

The coxinha is another story.  I bought chicken carcasses that they sell for making broth, made a few liters of broth, and then picked off the meat from all the nooks and crannies, and made coxinha.  The original recipe is here, but I have made some modifications.

Butternut Squash Soup


3-4 Chicken Carcasses
1 Stick Celery
1 Onion
2 Small Carrots
2 Cloves Garlic

Butternut Squash - cut into chunks
1 Potato (I used a red skinned potato)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Small Onion
1 Stick Celery
1 Tsp Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp Cumin
2 Red Chilies 
Fresh Cream

The Broth

Step 1:  Simmer all the ingredients for the broth for 1.5 hours.

Step 2:  Transfer the carcasses into a large bowl.

Step 3:  Strain the broth to remove everything else.

While the broth is simmering you can prepare everything else.

Preparing the Spices

Toast the cumin and set aside. Then do the same with the coriander seeds, then chili.  Then put these through a mill so that it is in powder format.

The Soup

Step 1:  Peel and cut the butternut squash into chunks. This does not require precision.

Step 2:  Peel the potato and quarter it.

Step 3:  Chop the parsley, onion, celery and garlic and set aside.

Step 3:  Sautee the parsley, onion, celery and garlic until fragrant in the olive oil.

Step 4:  Add the chunks of butternut squash and potato and toss it around until it is all coated in olive oil.

Step 5:  Add the toasted cumin, coriander and red chili that you have milled into a powder.

Step 6:  Add the broth to cover it as well as 2-3 laurel leaves, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes or so until the potato is soft enough to puree.  Salt, pepper to taste.  Remove the laurel leaves before pureeing it.  Add cream and stir a bit.

Making the Coxinha

Unless you're crazy I would wait until the next day to make the coxinha.  This is where you'll be using the chicken you have removed from the carcasses.  I had just enough to make coxinha based on the Tabieats recipe.

My slightly modified recipe is as follows:

Coxinha (Modified from Tabieats)
Makes 12


A bowl full of chicken meat

1 Jalapeño (Seeded and Diced)

2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)

1/2 Red Onion (Minced)

2 Cups Flour

2 Cups Chicken Broth

120g Cream Cheese

A Bunch of Coriander Leaves

3/4 Cup Fine Bread Crumbs

2 Eggs



Step 1:   Make the dough first.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil and then turn off heat.  Add the flour and stir until it all comes together.  Set this aside.

Step 2:  Sautee the garlic and onion in the frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and then add the chicken and sautee some more.   Add seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Step 3:  Turn off heat and add cream cheese and cilantro. Mix.

Step 4:  Whisk the eggs in a bowl, and have bread crumbs ready on a plate.

Step 5:  Now take golf ball sized pieces of dough, flattening it and wrap the chicken mixture into them.  They should be cone shaped.

Step 6:  Dip the coxinha into the eggs and then coat them with bread crumbs.

Step 7:  Repeat the above until there is no more filling.

Step 8:  Deep fry the coxinha until they are golden brown and they're ready to go!

Now enjoy a spicy warm sweet bowl of butternut squash soup with your coxinha.  It was a lot of work but you're glad you labored and toiled in the kitchen for hours now!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hoi An Chicken Rice

The link to the original recipe was given to me by a friend who we call Chibura Hakkai.  This is a pseudonym and she has a proper name of course, but I'd have to ask her for permission before publishing it.  

There has been some discussion as to whether this is actually Hainanese Chicken or a derivative of it. However, a little research tells me that the Vietnamese do make Hainan Chicken (Com Ga Hai Nam), so let's assume that Hoi An Chicken is just a different recipe.

Hoi An Chicken
Serves 4 (?)  


1 Whole Chicken*
2 Cups Round Grain White Rice (I used Spanish round grain rice which is geared for making paella, which means it absorbs flavors and aroma well)
1 Red Onion 
1 Clove Garlic (Minced)
1 Lime
0.2 g Saffron (in powder format)

*Don't buy a chicken so big that you don't have a pot big enough for it to fit in. So go for small, rather than big.  You will also be sorry if there is too much chicken because how are you going to ever finish eating it?

Step 1: Buy a whole chicken and cover it with water and simmer it for 1.5 hours.  

Step 2:  While this is simmering, wash the rice for around 30 seconds, and set it aside.  I'm assuming you know how to wash rice, but you need to get rid of the first batch of water quickly so that the rice doesn't absorb any unpleasant smells or flavors.  Just keep using more water, drain and repeat.  The water should be pretty clear when you're finished.  It doesn't have to be crystal clear.  Set aside.

Step 3:  Make the sauces, if you can call them that.  There are 2 sauces:

Sauce 1.  Thinly slice a red onion and marinate this with 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp fish sauce and 1 tsp lime juice.

Sauce 2.  1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp fish sauce and 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 green or red chili chopped up unseeded.

The sauces should be made and chilled in the refrigerator.

Step 4:  When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the water and set aside.  Let it drain a bit over the broth as you don't want to waste any of it. 

Step 5:  Measure as much broth as the rice.  In this case you need 2 cups of broth. Add this to the rice in either your rice cooker or pot.  Add 1 tsp sea salt.

Step 6:  If you're cooking it in a pot, put the lid on and set your stove top to high heat and wait for steam.  At the first signs of steam, lower the heat mark from 7 (maximum) to 3 (low heat).  Set your timer to 17 minutes.  Never remove the lid to see how the rice is doing as it will ruin it.  

Step 7:  When the timer rings, your rice will be ready.  Remove the lid and place a towel or cloth in between the lid and pot to regulate moisture levels, among other things.

Step 8:  Shred the chicken with your hands or in whatever way you want to.  If you are one of those people excessively afraid of bacteria or just disgusted by people who touch food with their hands, then it in another way.  It's a free world.

Step 9:  Serve this on a dinner plate with rice on one side and the shredded chicken on the other.  The shredded chicken should be mixed with Sauce 1 and fresh mint leaves.  Then lace the chicken with the other sauce as well.