Friday, March 30, 2012

London/Barcelona: Spanish Poor Man Stew

With all my traveling and busiest over here in Londontown, I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile. Lately I have been making a good amount of my chicken broccoli fried rice, just with quinoa. RECOMMEND! But since I’ve already posted that recipe I would like to share something I made in Barcelona. The food in Spain is soooooo good and it definitely inspired me to try some of my own. Now I really hope you are not like some of my travel partners who thought Spanish foods is “just like Mexican.” Because they are nothing alike. You will not find burritos, quesadillas, and tacos in Spain. Instead you will find a lot of fresh veggies and seafood, a lot of potatoes made in different ways, and more chickpeas and grilled peppers than you have ever had in your life…in a good way.

The last night we were in Calatuyna, we were are “restauranted” out and since there are limited options available on Sundays in Spain, we decided to hop over to the little market and make dinner ourselves.
Well, let’s be realistic. I made dinner, the boys ate it. But, hey to their credit they did do the dishes…after I told them they had to.
I was inspired by the food we had in Barcelona and a dish some of the staff at our hostel made the first night we were there.

We wanted to make some kind of stew over rice so I basically went around the store and picked up what I thought would be good.

My ingredients:
Packets of bacon
Can of whole tomatoes
Chicken bouillon cubes
Jar of chickpeas
One pimento (pepper, they love them)
One zucchini (or courgette for my UK readers)
Two carrots
Chili powder
Bottle of rioja (red table wine)

And yes I got this all at the little grocerette for 10 Euros for 3-4 people.

So I went to work, making it up as I went along, which honestly is how I make every recipe. I know a lot of the more professional bloggers do “test recipes” and make them several times before posting. For me, as a college student, my posts are my real dinners so I don’t have the luxury of cooking just for “testing,” mine’s for eating!

But if I don’t really like the way a recipe turns out, I don’t post it, so I swear you are in safe hands.

Most of this ingredients you can find in your own kitchen pretty easily. For me growing up, my mother always had two or three cans of chickpeas in the pantry. I don’t know if that’s normal, but that’s what I’m used to. As for my Spanish “Poor man” stew as the hostel workers refer to it, there are lots of ways you could make this your own:

·         Sautéed some mushrooms along with the veggies

·         Add diced chicken (the market didn’t have any, so I’d recommend it if you have it)

·         Put over a different kind of grain such has quinoa, or lentils

·         Cook down the sauce more for a Spanish ratatouille

·         Eat with crusty bread and top the stew with cheese

·         For vegetarians: you can easily take away the bacon and replace to chicken bouillon cubes for oil and veggie broth

Make it your own and let me know how it turns out!

Spanish “Poor Man” Stew: 4-5 Servings


1 Packets of bacon- 4 large slices chopped, (about half of an American size pack)

2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped or minced

1 Onion medium sized, chopped

 Can of whole tomatoes (24 ounces roughly)

 2 Chicken bouillon cubes, crushed

 Jar of chickpeas-12-16oz.

 One pimento pepper, sliced thinly into small strips

 One zucchini, sliced thinly into small pieces

 Two carrots, sliced very thinly

 Dash of Chili powder to taste

 Rioja wine, half bottle

 Dash of Salt



Begin cooking desired amount of rice or grain according to package instructions

In a medium large pot over medium-low heat, add chopped bacon and gently sweat the meat until the fat begins to separate but not enough to fry the bacon or absorb the fat

Once fat is in the pot, scoop out the bacon pieces and set aside

Turn up the heat and add the garlic and a little bit of butter
Add the chopped onion and gently sautéed
Then add the sliced zucchini, carrots, and pepper and begin to sautéed

Once the vegetables begin to soften and fry a little bit, add 1/4 bottle of wine and turn up the heat to medium-hot. Add a little more butter if needed.
Allow the vegetable to absorb the wine and add a little bit of salt and chili powder
Once wine is mostly absorbed, add another ¼ bottle of wine, and the crushed bouillon cubes.
Allow the sauce to thicken for 5-10 minutes. Add bacon and spices to taste.
Once the sauce is at a good thickness, add chickpeas and only allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.

Then turn off heat, and serve over rice or grain.
Drink the rest of the wine and eat!

I like a lot of sauce so I can dip bread but if you want a thicker stew, just keep it on heat a bitt longer.

Enjoy my version of Spanish cooking!


The College Cuisiner

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIAW #18: Greenwich and getting in my Greens

When thinking about how to incorporate more “green" into my week it felt like the perfect time to tell you all about my trip to Greenwich just outside London. It definitely goes with the WIAW Green theme.

I’ve definitely been consciously considering how many greens and vegetables I pack into every meal and been doing pretty well with it even though I do love vegetables already!

In addition I am just not eating meals like this:

But back to Greenwich.
This is just on the edge of the city but feels forever away. It has trees and a park! Yes, I currently live 5 minutes from Kensington Park but this is different, so nice.

It has a village feel with a proper town center and a great line of shops that seem like it’s from another area: butcher, cheese shop, vegetable monger, and flower store all in a row. I’m not sure if it is technically “outside” London but it definitely acts and feels that way. Lovely!
We met some lovely people and took a walk around in celebration of Mary Kate’s 21st birthday. We briefly went inside the National Maritime Museum and around walked outside of the Royal Observatory.

It was just too beautiful a day to be in doors.

I’ve realized that sometimes I tend to oversimplify my travel and let the photos do the talking. Because of that I thought it might be a good idea to give you something to fill in the gaps. My roommate Mary Kate has her own blog that is dedicated to her time abroad. Since we are normally together, she tends to write more and just as much about what I do. If you what some more info and just a generally good read, check out her blog at Living London.
Funny enough we’ve been celebrating this girl’sbirthday all weekend but hey you only turn 21 once, and she got to do it here. If you do stop by please wish her a happy 21st, and tell her I sent you!

After working up an appetite we went to a little teashop called Royal Teas because the street is was on was called Royal Hill. Clever tea people.
They had a “Cream tea” for only £6.95 but strangely it looked more like a full tea trolley to me, tea, two salmon, cucumber, and cream sandwiches, large fruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a piece of homemade cake at the end! Can’t get better than that! Everything here was decent price but I suppose that is what happens when you get a little outside London, things are so not so ridiculously overpriced here. This was lunch and we were so full we had to order the cake takeaway. When I told the people from my program they couldn’t believe we found a full tea this cheap. Winning!

For a good review on this adorable place check out a blog post from the Greenwich Phantom.
I want to show you our lovely tea and my other green meals from yesterday and today so I will start in order.

Two pots of Loose leaf Earl Gray

Salmon, Cucumber, and Cream cheese tea sandwiches (full sized to me) with lemon and salad garnish, which I put in my sandwiches

Large fruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam
One piece of Coffee Walnut cake (saved for later)

Late Dinner after the theatre:

Linguini with sautéed fresh  mushrooms, asparagus, banana shallot, wild garlic, garlic sage chicken sausage, and cherry tomatoes in white wine and mushroom tomato sauce topped with a little parmesan. Darn, I’m good.

Lunch today just because I was so “green” in the square park, (which has wifi!)

Mixed greens salad with cucumbers, chickpeas, grain salad (lentils, quinoa etc.) roasted  red peppers, beet straws, cherry tomatoes, hummous and roasted seeds in a low fat dressing with a tortilla for the hummous.
Apple from the market
Sparkling organic orange juice

Sea salt crisps. (all from Pret except for the apple.)

I feel so green. Lots of green and other colored veggies!
I had such a good weekend in London. It was record-breakingly beautiful and I spent it between markets, reading outside, and eating of course. Not to mention the Pimm’s I’ve had at three separate places. I love Spring and jugs of Pimm’s split between friends! I’ll have to post a recipe for it. Monday we went to see One Man, Two Guvnors for our theatre class. It was so funny and definitely a crowd pleaser. I love that they brought up members of the audience and interacted, it was so brilliant. It’s coming to Broadway so try to see it if you can!

p.s. it’s pronounce as “Gren itch” not “Green wich” which if not from the Village in NYC, I probably would have referred to it as the latter. Strange English words.

How was your weekend? Have you seen the Hunger Games yet?


The College Cuisiner

Friday, March 23, 2012

Travel: Prague Catch Up

It’s time we look back at my trip to Prague going on three or more weeks ago. I loved this city so much I can’t wait to go back one day with Aaron. (hint.hint.) But not really, he wants to go to after all the hype I gave it. The food is ridiculously cheap and we spent only $100 (not pounds,) the entire weekend. It was great!

I have talked about this trip a little bit already but I wanted to make sure you got to see my pictures.

S láskou,
The College Cuisiner