Workshop 6 – Spice design

In this workshop Lola and Leo took us on a journey to create our our tailor made spice mixes for our own celebration. We arrived at choice fragrances and layers of flavours that came about through imagining our ideal event to celebrate. Zesty notes from sumac and floral smells from rose, base notes from cumin and coriander filled the air as we measured and mixed. Lola introduced us to the method of baking veggies wrapped in baking parchment – this allows the veg to absorb all the flavours without drying out – genius, and it look so good too.

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First we chose and chopped our veg…… carrot, mushroom, peppers, courgette, tomato …..

Then we added 2 tbsp oil to our dishes, we added the chopped veg and with our hands we ensured the veg was covered in the oil.

Now for the spice mix, we added quantities of our pre-prepared spice mix to taste, wrapped the veg up in baking parchment and into the oven for 20 mins.

 

… and to go with this delicious veg,  Leo taught us how to make Salsa Brava, very good to dip your roast potatoes! Moorish! Perfect quick recipe for guests. Details from Leo below:

Ingredients
Half a medium onion (I prefer red, but any colour would do)
1 and half to 2 tablespoons paprika – you can use whichever one you’d like – I usually use equal proportions of “sweet” “spicy” and smoked (dulce, picante and ahumado if you’re lucky enough to buy them from a Spanish shop!)
2 tablespoons plain flower
half a pint of stock (tradition would likely recommend chicken, but I always use vegetable stock)
ca. 4 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
Method
Very finely chop/dice the onion
Gently heat the oil on low/medium heat and cook the onion until it is soft but not browning yet
Then add the paprika and mix together with the oil and onion, taking care not to create  any lumps
Add the flour and mix to form a kind of ‘roux’ leave to cook for a minute or two to take the ‘raw’ edge of the flour and the paprika
Gradually mix the stock in, again taking care of not creating any lumps (though if you do happen to create a lumpy sauce, you should be able to easily whisk it away with a fork)
Leave to thicken on low heat until it reaches the desired consistency; as I do not know your hob or your pan, it is challenging to say how long it will take – but if you’d like an estimate, I would guess it would take around 10 mins
Remember that the sauce will thicken a little more as it begins to cool.
If it is too thick, add in some stock – if it isn’t thick enough, add in some flour.
You may add salt, pepper and finely chopped parsley to taste
Serving and experiments
 
Traditionally salsa brava is served warm with fried potato wedges or cubes.
Try it with other vegetables, or make it with a little bit of starchy cooking water from pasta before mixing it in with your noodles for an alternative take on a pasta sauce!
This technique can also create various gravies using other spices; experiment away!

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