Sunday, December 23, 2012

Spanish Christmas Gravy

spanish christmas gravy in terracotta
Making your Christmas gravy a few days before the big day not only saves time, it also gives you less to do and save on the washing up. You can make your Christmas gravy a few days or even a week beforehand which also means you can spend a little extra time getting that all important gravy just right.

This year we made our gravy on Dec 19th and froze it ready to thaw out on Christmas morning, the only remaining ingredient to add will be the juices from the bird which we have pre ordered from our Spanish butcher. To make the gravy we used a large terracotta 'bandeja' or baking tray straight over the gas hob, the bandeja offers a nice depth because there will be some mashing involved later in this recipe!

Gravy Ingredients: (makes 2 litres)

8 Chicken wings
4 Sticks of celery, roughly chopped
5 Large Carrots, roughly chopped
2 Large onions, roughly chopped
2 Fresh bay leaves, torn in half
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped finely
100g cured pancetta, diced
2 Tbs plain flour
2 Liters water

How to make:

1. Crack the chicken wings using a large kitchen knife but do not cut all the way through.

2. Add the wings, herbs, pancetta and vegetables to the terracotta tray and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes until the chicken wings are cooked.

3. Remove the terracotta tray from the oven and place on the hob, bash all of the ingredients using a masher, part the chicken from the bone if you prefer.

4. Mix in the flour and slowly add the water stirring continuously.

5. Simmer on the hob for 30 minutes before putting through a seive.

6. Leave to cool then freeze.

There will be slightly more than 2 ltrs of gravy depending on how much of the turkey juice you decide to add on Christmas day, this recipe however is for all the juices from a 7kg bird. If using freezer bags try to keep them flat so that the gravy comes out as a slab and is easier to thaw on Christmas day.

Gravy done! That is us for this year but we hope you enjoyed discovering a little bit more about Spanish ceramics and terracotta cookware from Spain, there will of course be much more to come next year but for the meantime we hope you have a Merry Christmas and we wish you a prosperous new year.

Iain & Gayle

Orce Serrano Hams & Ceramics

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spanish Table-runners

spanish table cloth setSpanish table runners are the latest addition to your online Spanish shop. Having created a few new products alongside our Spanish textiles manufacturer such as ‘Arabe’ cushions and ‘Jarapa’ cushions Gayle thought it was about time we introduced something for the table… Everyone loves Spanish tapas and for a truly authentic Spanish experience we think that Spanish food should be served in real Spanish style! This of course also means what the tapas themselves are served in such terracotta cookware or hand painted ceramic items such as plates and sangria jugs etc.

These new table runner sets will complete your Spanish table and they also make a great gift. Custom made in Andalucia these sets are made in traditional ‘Arabe’ style typical of the Andalucian region and each piece is hand finished and also embroidered by our suppliers very own Mum who has a natural talent with Spanish material! Table runners and matching place mats come as a 7 – piece set with one runner and 6 table mats. This material is also washable on a cold cycle making it suitable for everyday use or simply those special Spanish occasions, one thing you can guarantee is that will be a great focal and talking point at the next tapas party.

Custom sizes available in any length. Find out more

Monday, December 10, 2012

Colourful Spanish Ceramics

ceramics from andalucia

New to the wholesale range of Spanish ceramics come two special designs from the ‘Jaen’ style. The hand painted patterns of these ceramics may at first look quite similar in appearance however there are some subtle differences… Essentially the same style using mainly the same colours it is the way in which these ceramics are painted which sets them apart.

The Jaen orange range can be seen here which offers a great indication of the types of pieces available in these two new designs from mini tapas bowls and servers to olive oil pourers and painted Spanish plates. Named Jaen ‘Rojo’ (red) and Jaen ‘Azul’ (blue) it is these to colours which stand more prominent to distinguish each piece. Boasting the bright, vibrant look these ceramics really are very Spanish indeed and offer all the colours of Spain including deep reds, stunning blues, sage greens and of course Spanish yellow.

orce spanish ceramicsThese two new colours are due to be introduced and will become available online in Spring 2013. Trade customers can however enjoy both of these and also the ever popular Jaen orange painted to order in any piece you choose – these options also include terracotta pots and planters from the wholesale garden range as well as other more unusual Andalucian ceramics.
To discover more about the existing colours and styles visit Orce Serrano Hams & Ceramics or keep in touch by bookmarking our monthly news and events page which details many new and up and coming products.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blue and White Ceramics from Andalucia

blue and white spanish ceramics

There is something about ‘Andalucian Blue’ which simply oozes southern Spain. Blue, white and a pale blend of sage green is typically from the Granada region, indeed if you walk into any Andalucian crafts or ceramics shop this design can be readily seen painted in these three traditional colours. Known as ‘Granadina’ which comes from the Spanish word for ‘pomigranite’ (where the city of Granada gets its name) ceramics from Granada typically detail the fruit itself but traditionally this has not always been the case with birds and animals also being popular in days gone by.

There are of course many other Spanish designs which feature the colour blue, the Alhambra for example influences the shapes and curvature of designs in many hand painted ceramic pieces – mostly painted in blue. Patterns vary between artists and artisans, some remaining with tradition while others adapt and create their own Andalucian blue designs – both are a joy and choosing is simply a matter of preference.

spanish ceramic sink design
One such Spanish ceramics producer who enjoys producing both traditional patterns and designs as well as exploring other variations is our supplier from the ceramics capital of Spain – Jaen. The blue designs featured here have a heavy Granada influence but offer a more flowing style on an antique white background instead of plain white. There are also no other colours in this ‘retro’ design but one thing it does have in common is the fact that it is hand painted… Skillfully finished by a team of experienced artists to see the strokes of this flowing blue pattern coming to formation on both large and small pieces really is an eye opener.

The retro blue design is currently available in several garden pot designs and also in a new range of Spanish ceramic sinks and basins. Currently only available wholesale we have scheduled these colours for availability through our main website in the coming year.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ceramic Chili Pots

spanish ceramic chili pot
Ceramic chili pots from Spain made an early addition to the chilli pepper range this December with an introductory selection of pots painted in the same Spanish yellow and red chili design as your tableware of the same chili pattern.

As a sample of what is to come in 2013 through a full on garden pot range these ceramic chili pots make a great gift idea or if your patio, terrace or window box arrangement needs a boost of Spanish colour then these little pots will certainly deliver! There are several Spanish chili pots to choose from, each suitable for growing chili plants from seed if required which also means they are colourful yet functional addition to the chili enthusiasts greenhouse or herb garden.

One other feature of these modest little pots is that they are also frost proof, made in the Jaen region of Andalucia from one of the most respected ceramic producers in Spain quality is guaranteed. To discover the increasing range of Spanish chili pots, tapas servers and other chili tableware pop into the website here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pots of Ceramics

spanish ceramics and smoked paprika Creating ‘Pots of Ceramics’ for you to choose from since the introduction of hand painted pottery back in 2011 has been a been an interesting trip into the Spanish ceramics industry, forging relationships with suppliers, organising client visits and gaining both knowledge and valuable advice has certainly been an interesting and productive experience over the past couple of years.

Looking forward to 2013 we will be introducing a whole bunch of new lines to your Spanish ceramics range including some very fresh ideas and colours. The current range of ceramics will also be expanding so if you have purchased something in the past and are looking for something to match then watch this space... or let us know and we will do our best to source what you are looking for. Exploring the designs and patterns of Spanish ceramics on this website really only represents the tip of the iceberg, indeed our chosen manufacturer only makes his ceramics to order as his list so extensive, this of course is particularly good news if you are in the trade as almost anything is available and you can also choose colours to perhaps suit your restaurant theme or establishment interior design.

First up for 2013 will be a brand new chilli pepper or ‘guindilla’ design boasting typically Spanish deep yellows, reds and greens. A simple design including tapas bowls, ceramic tableware and a garden pot range with plenty of character, ideal if you are in the chilli business to compliment your existing range of retail accessories or know someone who simply loves chilli peppers! 2013 will also be a year of helping you to extend the whole Spanish tapas experience from the table to surroundings, we believe that Spanish food is only part of your catering event, restaurant or tapas party which is why in the coming months you can discover a whole new range of unique ceramic lighting features made from reclaimed terracotta roof tiles and also a range of Spanish garden pottery which is available now. To help create a Spanish atmosphere we have also introduced a range of artisan textiles which vary from jarapa floor rugs in various sizes to the unique and highly popular ‘Arabe’ material which is available in lengths cut to your requirements. Your textiles range will also be increasing in 2013 as similarly with pottery and ceramics colours and designs are so extensive it is impossible to detail them all!

Summer is the time for outdoor eating so whether you have a barbeque or pizza oven the coming year will offer up some unique terracotta cookware. Artisan ‘Juan Manuel’ who’s workshop lies in the back streets of Guadix town in Granada is already working on some specialist pieces of high heat terracotta, suitable for various purposes Juan’s ceramics will become available in Spring 2013.

terracotta tiles from spainMade by hand each piece will be different and his earthenware collection will consist of terracotta chorizo burners, chicken roasters, chestnut jars and baking trays suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Such is the quality of Juan Manuels clay which comes in various grades (including refractory) artists will also be able to purchase this clay for moulding sculpting and making their own terracotta cookware and ceramic pieces. Clay can be fired to temperatures up to 1200 degrees and with a shrinkage rate of only 1.5% from soft this Spanish clay really is some of the best available.

There is of course much more to Spanish ceramics than tapas bowls and plates which is why we are introducing a new range of terracotta wall tiles and house numbers, if you are looking to make your house as unique as you are then why not consider a made to order hand painted ceramic plaque as for name or number signage? The sizes of these ceramics will vary from the small to the very large and special commissions are even available should you require something specific.

Spanish Delicatessen
Some of you may have noticed that the Spanish food selection on your online deli has been reduced and although this is true we are still concentrating on the very finest artisan products, all of which are still available. Instead of competing to establish the largest or most varied range of Spanish produce Orce Serrano hams has gone back to basics in concentrating solely on the very best from local Andalucian butchers – we do not buy mass produced stock from Cash and Carry’s only direct from the producers themselves which includes a comprehensive selection of sausages including hand made chorizos as well as cured pork tenderloins and of course Spanish hams.

gourmet pork loin from Orce AndaluciaWebsite prices on all hand made cured meats including artisan Spanish hams have been frozen since 2011 and will remain unchanged during 2013 despite Spanish IVA increases and other current economic price rises – in other words there has never been a better time to buy genuine produce from southern Spain! The process of choosing your Serrano ham also remains unchanged, simply place your order through our website and your ham will be chosen within 24 hours by us, ensuring the best examples available. Hams are also tested for maturity before being wrapped in muslin and packaged securely ready for transportation.