At the beginning of the year I bought Pep a moon diary. He’s often commenting on how his dad and grandfather used to plant or sow seeds depending on the moon and also practices this himself most of the time. I saw the book on one of the sites I buy eco products from and thought I’d buy it for him as a surprise. On occasions I have regretted my decision!!
Pep’s idea this year is that he will do everything when and where the book says to see what happens (as well as not planting on where magnetic fields cross!). As you can imagine, sometimes this can be a bit tricky, getting up at 4 in the morning to defoliate the pumpkin plants isn’t my idea of fun (that’s a slight exaggeration but you get the gist).
The book is actually quite interesting. It even tells you the best time of each month to dye your hair or cut your toenails. I try not to read it too much though, I don’t really want to be governed to that extent, cutting my toenails is something I like to do when I feel the urge!
One of the things the book tells you is the best time of the month and time of day that you should pick certain vegetables if you want to store them, yesterday morning was supposedly the perfect time to pick potatoes. Seeing as our potato plants had now dried up quite a lot we set out to see what little treasures they’d left buried for us. And we were pleasantly surprised. Because of all the rain we’d had this spring the potato plants had flourished, we took this to be a good sign but you never know until you dig them up.
Pep had already dug some up a couple of weeks ago. With the ones he dug up yesterday morning we’ve had a total of 110 kilos!! That’s not bad going seeing as some years, if the weather hasn’t been favourable for them, we get about 30-40 kilos. This year they’re beauts too, they’re all really healthy, except the ones you accidentally put the “hazada” (hoe in English I believe) through, and some of them are huge, for our standards at least.
Thankfully we just had enough cardboard boxes to store them all, from our experience it’s best to keep them covered in cardboard or wood, preferably in a dark place. We stored them in “capazos” one year and they didn’t keep as long, I should think the rubber made them sweat more.
So now they’re all stored away it’s time to start using them. I love potatoes, one of the most versatile veggies in the world. I mentioned to my dad not long ago that if I run out of potatoes it feels like my kitchen is only half stocked. I love doing all sorts with them and on days I have no idea what to cook I can always rely on turning the trustworthy tuber into some sort of tasty concoction.
Today I thought I’d do one of the recipes I love making. It’s so easy and versatile. It’s based on a meal I had when we stayed in Ávila a couple of years ago. Ávila is a lovely little city and, even though there is a lot of meat on the menus (the “chuletón” is very well known) I managed to eat very well without having to eat any. One of Ávila’s well known dishes is “Patatas Revolconas”. These are a type of mashed potato flavoured with “Pimentón de la Vera dulce” (a well known smoked paprika), garlic and olive oil. It’s normally served with “torreznos” which are very similar to pork scratchings, not my scene at all so I just used to ask for it without them.
Another meal I had while we were there was “brandada de bacalao con crema de garbanzos”. The brandada de bacalao is also a mashed potato dish with garlic and salt cod mixed in (I do sometimes eat fish). The crema de garbanzos is a chickpea puree. It was absolutely delicious. When we returned home I set out to combine the two dishes together, omitting the salt cod and, at the same time making it vegan.
This morning, as well as potatoes we also picked some turnips (nabos) and some “cúdols”, a Valenciano word. I’ve googled “cúdols” to see what they are in English and the translation is garlic scape. These are shoots that come up in the centre of the garlic plant when the garlic is almost ready to pick. They flower if you leave them on the plant but we never give them chance to! We use them just as you would garlic, they are also delicious in an omelette.
So, with my ingredients freshly picked from our “huerta” I proceeded to make my version of the dish from Ávila.
Fry off some onion, courgette, turnip, garlic and whatever takes your fancy in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some salt. I’ve used carrots before, as well as swiss chard, peppers, etc. You can get creative here.
Boil about 500 grams of potatoes, reserve the liquid, a smallish amount for mashing them and about 5 small ladles full for cooking the veg.
Slowly fry 6-7 cúdols (you can use garlic instead) in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon or so of salt. Once they are cooked add in 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika (pimentón de la vera) and cook for no more than 40-50 seconds otherwise the paprika will burn. Remove from the heat.
Once the onions, garlic, turnips, etc are golden and pretty much cooked through, add in about 300 grams of cooked chickpeas, 5 ladles of the potato cooking water (enough to almost cover them) and about a tablespoon and a half of fresh oregano.
Simmer over a medium heat until the liquid is reduced by at least half and the veggies are nicely cooked (forgot to take a picture of this step. Silly me)
Mix the cooked garlic and paprika in with the mashed potatoes along with all the oil. You can add more oil if you like. Test for salt and add more if needed.
Place the cooked veggies and chickpeas in a largeish metal or glass bowl and puree with a hand blender until you get a nice consistency without too many lumps.
Then all you need to do is assemble it in 2 bowls. I like to use glass bowls so you can see the contrasting colours
Serve hot or allow to cool slightly if you prefer. This time of year I find it’s better if it’s not too hot as it’s quite a warming dish. And that’s about it. I have put that the recipe is for 2 people although I only manage to eat about half. Pep has a healthier appetite and this serving is just right for him.
As usual, if you have any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks for stopping by. See you soon. Love Georgie and Pep xxx
Stuffed Potatoes with Chickpea Cream
A vegan dish made with spiced mashed potatoes and chickpea puree
Chickpea Cream (chickpea puree)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic, (chopped finely)
- 3 medium turnips, (chopped)
- 1/2 courgette, (chopped)
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano, (chopped)
- 4-5 ladels potato cooking water
- salt (to taste)
Patatas Revolconas (Spiced Mashed Potatoes With Garlic Scape)
- 500 grams potatoes, (peeled and cut into chunks)
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 6-7 “cúdols” (garlic scape), chopped, (or use 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped finely)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp sweet paprika (smoked paprika)
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the veg and continue to cook until golden and more or less cooked through
- Add chopped oregano and the potato cooking water and simmer until liquid has reduced by at least half, you don’t want the chickpea puree to be too runny.
- Tip the veg, chickpeas and cooking water in to a glass, metal or ceramic bowl (not plastic) and puree with a hand blender until there aren’t any lumps left (one or two won’t matter but you want it to be relatively smooth)
- While you are preparing the chickpea puree, boil the potatoes until tender. Strain and reserve cooking water.
- At the same time, slowly fry the “cúdols” or garlic in the olive oil until cooked (this won’t take long, especially if using garlic. Be careful not to burn). When they are ready, add the salt and pimentón de la vera and cook for no more than a 40-50 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- Add a small amount (around 75 ml) of the cooking water to the potatoes to mash them, they shouldn’t be too thick and stodgy so you may need to adjust the water depending on the type of potatoes.
- Mix the “cúdols” or garlic and all the oil and spice in with the mashed potatoes until they have turned a nice orange colour. Taste and add more salt if needed (I never measure out my salt so I’m not too sure of the amount I add. Always best to use less and add more as needed).
- Divide the spiced mashed potato between two bowls. Top with the chickpea puree and serve.