Who could fault the humble bean - providing us with a rich source of protein when combined with rice or bread and fulfilling a satisfying visual need for all things radical and red during these calamitous times.
Here, as election fever grips the peninsula, the gazpachomOnk presents another radical red dish - popular amongst certain latin American and Caribbean countries, favoured for its colour, availability and of course its spiciness. The whole meal takes no more than about 10 mins to make, or the same time it takes to chant something accusatory outside your local Casta headquarters: Read on for the complete radical recipe:
Radical Recipes presents one of the most purple (Si Se Puede) dishes to ever arrive on your plate: Spicy Cabbage. Now this recipe, may not look so appetising when it's finished, but believe me when I tell you that in the last 17 years I've been cooking this dish, it's been one of the most scrumptious and requested dishes from relatives, friends, enemies and even customers. People just seem to love it.
Is it for the political connotations of the colour? Maybe...or maybe because of the story behind the dish... read on for a history and cooking instructions.
The History of Spicy Cabbage and the Walk-a-about
Today’s special purple dish comes from the very heart of Spain.
And when I say heart, I mean the old Visigoth capital itself - Toledo. I was living there back in 97 when I met a guy called Cecilio who had spent much of his youth - as have so many youngsters today - outside the country in search of work.
Cecilo and family emigrated to Australia in the 50’s and it was there that he grew up. As an adult though, he returned to the family home town of Toledo, but he brought with him some of his most interesting recipes.
One day, he took me out to his patch of land on the outskirts of Toledo - a spot reminiscent of films I'd seen of aborigines on their walkabout - bleak and featureless with little protection from wind or sun.
Out there, in the middle of our walk-a-about, Cecilio heaved a few rocks together and lit a fire. Then placing an old grill across the stones he started cooking...and this was what he taught me:
Purple Instructions and Ingredients: Yes You Can!
Finally, a word of warning.
Don't make too little of it! Cook it in abundance, because I guarantee that if its not all eaten up immediately, by the following day when the spices have been absorbed in more, it will disappear even quicker.
Secondly, as much as people may turn up their nose when they first see it, ( bah, they'll say, thats rabbit food) - they'll be asking for a second plate once they've tried it. I promise you.
Read more below for the 7 Basic Foods to Throw in Your Stove, plus , Pies and Bakes, Soups and liquids and finally: 4 Fire-Side Tips for ending that perfect evening with Orange Peel Candles, herbs and a warm something to round it off.
Want Yet More Spice in Your Life? Watch the video:
Actually, I think I might have mis-translated number four.
Now,pay attention to the next step as it's rather complicated: Stick all the above in a big pan and whizz it around with a blender.
And - "Roberto es tu tio". There you have it. Stick it in the fridge for a bit, and enjoy an alternative to the red variety. Now, if you should make too much of it, or not enjoy the alternative flavour - I have a suggestion for you. Freeze it as small ice-lolly sticks and take them round to your neighbours. Tell them its a lime flavoured lolly and sit back, get out the mobile and send up the video of their faces to your YouTube channel. I'm sure it will go viral.
Want more absurd recipes from the Gazpachomonk? Check out the recipe - come - travel adventure: Inside the tortilla here.
This recipe has been provided by a friend who is known locally as Don Chilli, as he is an aficionado of everything picante (Spicy). Each year he grows crops of cayenne or Jalopeña peppers to add to almost every meal he consumes. He knows about every variety, their strength and where best to obtain the seeds
One dish in particular of Don Chilli´s caught my attention the other day and that was the stuffed Jalopeña pepper with cream cheese, wrapped in jamon or salmon and then deep fried in batter.
Although its not easy finding fresh peppers here in Spain, he grows them each year on a very small plot of land. If you do no want to consume up to 30 plus chillis a week - as Don Chilli does - then you can always grow a single plant or two in a pot on your terrace and reap a small, but fruitful crop each year.
"DE GAZPACHO NO HAY EMPACHO"
"You can't get enough of a good thing" explains this popular saying and certainly during the summer months I'm not sure I could "AGUANTAR" the heat of this peninsula without a glass of Gazpacho at my side, so much that I have come to believe that is the DNA of Iberian cuisine.
Unfortunately, ask 100 people how best to make the dish and you will get 100 different replies. There are so many variations in quantities and even ingredients that it is almost impossible to provide the definitive gazpacho recipe. Luckily for you, the Gazpachomonk has been investigating.....
The origin of the word gazpacho is uncertain; some say it may be derived from the Mozarab word 'caspa', meaning 'residue' or 'fragments', possibly referring to the chopped vegetables or small chunks of bread that are added to the soup. Others have suggested it comes from the Hebrew word 'gazaz,' meaning again, to break into pieces.
One story about the origins of gazpacho was that it was introduced by Roman road builders who used a basic version consisting of bread, water, oil and garlic to not only keep cool, but also nourish themselves during the hot and demanding work. Obviously, this basic version did not contain the tomatoes or peppers that were to be added later. This would come after the conquest of the Americas.
Gazpacho can include: Old bread soaked in water beforehand, lots of good olive oil, vinegar, garlic and of course, mature red tomatoes, green peppers and a few peeled small Spanish cucumbers.
There are a lot of recommendations about peeling tomatoes before-hand, de-seeding, and sieving the vegetables, but it's all down to personal taste. If you have the time and patience to do all the above then you will produce a smoother and more palatable gazpacho. I tend to leave the tomato skins and pips in and blend the lot. This is because I do not like to to spend all day preparing the dish and I enjoy the rougher texture of the blended vegetables. However, everyone must discover his or her own preferences.
Provided you use the same basic ingredients of mature tomatoes and good olive oil, then you will produce a marvellous liquid salad for those sweltering times of the year when solid foods become far less appetising.
Gazpacho is one of those raw food dishes that seemingly offer little when broken up into its separate parts, but combine them together in the correct proportions and you create something very special: A revitalising, isotonic drink, low in calories which is considered (quite rightly) to be liquid gold in the mid heat of an Andalusian summer.
Normally, gazpacho is only available during the months in which the vegetables are in season: From approximately May to October. The cold soup is best enjoyed during the hottest part of the day - around lunchtime. You will begin to notice your body flagging a little about this time, the summer heat has this effect on you, and so you will begin to think about somewhere shady to go and something cool to drink. This is the Gazpacho Moment: You can ask for it in a bowl with a spoon, with toppings of chopped vegetables and croutons, or it can be drunk in a tall glass with ice.
This recipe is an abridged version of the original that appears in the book Inside the Tortilla.