Friday, January 27, 2012

Tapas Cazuelas

Tapas - a Spanish tradition dating back decades and still only 'really' free in the Granada province. Spanish tapas have, without doubt gained significant popularity within Europe and also worldwide as far away as Australia and Japan and of course across the pond in the US.

Having lived in Spain since 2004 we are lucky enough to still enjoy free tapas in our local village, somehow, no matter how hard we try to get our heads around it charging for tapas just seems to defeat the whole object of the tradition, however it would be fair to say that a gastronomic historical tradition such as tapas was always fairly ripe for exploitation and even the beginnings of a few restaurant chains elsewhere in Europe.

No matter what your view is on Spanish tapas, how they are cooked, served, charged for or otherwise there does remain the issue of serving... The Spanish cazuela remains as popular as ever so we have introduced a couple of new lines to the terracotta range. Named 'Tapas Cazuelas' these clay dishes are exactly that - a dish, with no handles, straight sides and a half glazed rustic finish these 12cm cazuelas are just the job for serving a whole host of tapas, salsas and anything else you can make, they also look great on the table and can be introduced to heat and cooked in just like the standard terracotta 'cazuela'

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spanish Tapas Recipes

If you are interested in Spanish tapas and Spanish cooking then why not take a peek at the new downloadable book 'Mouth-Watering Spanish Recipes'?

This book, written by our very own Gayle and acclaimed author Victoria Twead is packed full of Spanish recipes. You will find everything from the usual suspects such as paella, gambas al pil pil and serrano ham croquettes to some of the more unusual and innovative tapas recipe ideas like spicy broad bean and serrano ham fritters and baked allioli mussels...

Mouth-Watering Spanish Recipes has over 100 genuine Spanish recipe ideas, all cooked in typical Andalucian rustic style which means that many of the dishes in this book are best cooked or served in terracotta such as the earthenware 'cazuela' - there is even a handy section on how best to care for and season your terracotta cookware from Spain.

We hope you enjoy the new book and look forward to your comments either through our website or via Amazon where the book is also available.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Terracotta Frying Pans

Terracotta frying pans, otherwise known as 'Sartenes' are a wonderful piece of cooking equipment. Made in the same way as the famous Spanish cazuela the sarten is distinguished by its handle - cleverly designed with a hollow cavity running through its length so it doesn't become too hot.

The sarten is in fact exactly the same as the cazuela, the same finish, same thickness, same insulating properties etc etc so is ideal for cooking with. The only real difference is that the sarten is not made quite as large, the largest is around 18cm in diameter which plus the handle and full of gambas as pil pil makes it heavy enough given the weight of the terracotta. Cazuelas are great for serving tapas - sartenes are even better, easier to handle, very unusual but still with that rustic terracotta warmth and appearance making them great for laying over the tapas table. The sarten is at home serving hot dishes such as the afore mentioned 'gambas al pil' (chili garlic prawns' or simple a selection of your cold meats, olives or sliced ham, even salsa's.

As always terracotta needs a good soak in water before its first use and the sarten is no different. Soak in water for 2 - 3 hours or overnight and your terracotta will become 'seasoned' ready for heat, put it on the gas hob without a soaking and may just be too fresh and brittle to cope. Seasoning only needs to be done once because once it has been cooked in then the seasoning toughens the terracotta even more ready for the next use.

Tapas in Terracotta: (King prawns in garlic butter)

You will need
6 - 8 King prawns per 12cm cazuela or sarten
3 - 4 Garlic cloves, chopped
80g Butter
Parsley, chopped

Method
  • Start by shelling the prawns but leave the tails on.
  • Run your thumb down the length of the back and remove the black gritty string.
  • Rinse the prawns then, using a small sharp knife slice the prawns down their backs but not all the way through. Open the prawns and arrange in their terracotta dish.
  • In a bowl mix the butter together with the chopped garlic and parsley then add a good spoonful to each cazuela or sarten covering the prawns.
  • Cook over the gas hob or in a hot oven for 5 – 6 minutes until the prawns are done.
  • Serve sizzling hot with fresh crusty bread.