Monthly Archives: July 2014

Morroccan Couscous with Chicken

Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Since Morocco is just few hundred kilometers from Málaga just across the Mediterranean sea, there are plenty of Moroccan influences in the local food.  Along with Moroccan people comes with their food and it’s widely available in Costa del Sol area. Two familiar components which are clearly part of Moroccan food culture are couscous and chicken.

We wanted to make chicken couscous last weekend and decided to do it Moroccan style. The flavor palette for this dish is little bit different than in traditional Spanish food, but with proper Morroccan spices it is wonderful. Only uncommon ingredient for this dish is a spice called ras el hanout. Just like Chinese have their five spice, Moroccans have ras el hanout, but it’s made of over 10 spices. It’s quite mild, so you can use it generously.

 Ingredients for Moroccan Chicken Couscous for 4 Servings

  • 1 whole chicken – un pollo
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ras el hanout – ras el hanout
  • 3 dl (1 1/2 cups) of couscous – couscous
  • 4 dl (2 cups) of chicken stock – caldo de pollo
  • 1 zucchini – calabacín
  • 1 eggplant – berenjena
  • 3 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 2 bell paprikas – pimientos rojos
  • 1 punch of spring onions – cebolletas
  • sea salt to taste – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • a splash of olive oil – aceite de oliva
  • juice of half a lemon – zumo de limón

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºC). Dry the chicken with paper towel and place it to an oven pan. Rub ras el hanout and salt all over the chicken. Make some cuts and rub the seasoning under the skin, too. Roast in the oven for 90 minutes.

Chop eggplant, zucchini and paprikas into cubes and place them in another oven pan. Let garlic be with the skin on. Splash some olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Put the pan in the oven for 45 minutes.

Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet.

When the chicken and vegetables are ready, pour cooked couscous to a large sauce pan. Chop the chicken and add vegetables. Remove garlic from the skin. Chop some spring onions and mix onions and garlic with the couscous. Squeeze juice of half a lemon to couscous. Season with salt and pepper. You can use coriander and mint for garnishing the plates, if you wish.

Yogurt Sauce for the Couscous

  • 2 dl (1 cup) Turkish yogurt – yogur turco
  • juice of half a lemon – zumo de limón
  • a punch of coriander – cilantro
  • a punch of mint – menta
  • honey to taste – miel
  • sea salt to taste – sal marina

Mix minced herbs and lemon juice with the yogurt. Season with salt and honey to taste.  Let the yogurt rest in the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving with the couscous.

¡Buen provecho!



White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Marinated Berries

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Marinated Berries
White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Marinated Berries

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert often served with berries, caramel, fruits or chocolate sauce. By adding white chocolate into the panna cotta mixture and the berries on top, you’ll get both: chocolate and berries.

Ingredients for Marinated Strawberries and Blueberries for 4 Servings

  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of water – agua
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of sugar – azucar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon liqueur (Limoncello for example) – licor de lemón
  • 100 g (4 oz) of strawberries – fresas
  • 100 g (4 oz) of blueberries – arándanos
  • 1 tablespoon of ground green peppercorn – pimienta verde

Measure the water and sugar to a sauce pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lemon liqueur and let the mixture cool. Add chopped strawberries and blueberries and put the pan in the fridge to marinate for a few hours.

Ingredients for White Chocolate Panna Cotta for 4 Servings

  • 3 gelatin leaves – hojas de gelatina
  • 100 g (4 oz) white chocolate – chocolate blanca
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of milk – leche
  • 3 dl (1 1/2 cups) of heavy cream – nata cocina
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar – azucar
  • 1 cinnamon stick – ramita de canela
  • 1 vanilla stick – ramita de vainilla
  • 6 of digestive biscuits – galleta digestive
  • 3 tablespoons of butter – mantequilla
  • A splash of lemon liqueur – licor de lemón
  • Mint leaves – hojas de menta

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Crush the digestive biscuits to crumbs. Pour melted butter on top of the crumbs and mix well. Press the crumbs lightly on the bottom of large wine glasses.

Put cream, milk, cinnamon stick and vanilla seeds to a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add chopped white chocolate and sugar, and stir until they are melted. Remove the cinnamon stick. Remove excess water from the gelatin leaves and add them into the hot cream. When the leaves have melted pour the mixture carefully (use a tablespoon, if necessary) to the wine glasses.

Place the glasses in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Add the marinated berries on top and season with a splash of lemon liqueur just before serving. Garnish with mint leaves.

¡Buen provecho!


Skirt Steak Fajitas with BBQ Bearnaise

Entraña tortilla with BBQ bearnaise
Entraña tortilla with BBQ bearnaise

When we first heard about entraña, skirt steak, we had now idea what part of beef we are talking about. In Finland this part is usually used for ground beef only and it’s not known to be used as is. In Argentina and España, however, it is a delicious grill meat and commonly used in making tortillas, for example. It’s marbled which makes it moist and full of flavor. All you need, basically, is sea salt and ground black pepper. There’s a membrane on one side of the steak. Genuine South American way of grilling is to leave the membrane on and grilling the steak only from one side, which leaves the membrane crispy. We have tried that, too, but we prefer removing the membrane and grilling it quickly from both sides.

Ingredients for Skirt Steak Fajitas with BBQ Bearnaise for 4 Servings

  • 1 skirt steak, about 1 g (2 lbs.) – entraña
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • 8 corn tortillas – tortillas de maiz
  • 1 onion – cebolla
  • 1 bell paprika – pimiento rojo
  • 1 zucchini – calabacín
  • 2 tomatoes – tomates
  • 0,5 dl (1/4 cups) extra virgin olive oil –  aceite olive virgen extra
  • 2 teaspoons of dried basil – albahaca
  • 1 lime – lima

Chop onion, paprika and zucchini roughly. Leave tomatoes whole. Pour olive oil on top and squeeze the lime. Season with salt, pepper and basil. Mix well and let them marinate for at least an hour.

Remove the membrane from the skirt steak and season with salt and pepper. Leave them on room temperature for an hour.

Make the BBQ bearnaise sauce using the recipe on our previous post!

Grill the steaks on high heat for about 3 minutes per side. If you have a charcoal grill, even better! The fat in the beef sucks in all those delicious grill flavors! Let the meat rest 15 minutes before cutting it for serving (see the pictures below).

Put the corn tortillas in the grill to warm up. Chop the vegetables into finer pieces (the reason why we are doing this at this point is that we preserve all the juices and flavors in the vegetables if we chop the in the very last minute).

Make the fajitas by combining vegetables, meat and BBQ bearnaise on top of tortillas. No cheese is required because of the rich bearnaise flavor, but if you wish, why not!

¡Buen provecho!