Alas, the final episode to come out of my series in Andalucía is with Anne Manson, the woman who really made this whole series possible. If you follow me on social media you’re likely to have come across Anne’s name a fair few times. The simple reason for this is that Anne massively impacted my passion for cooking and learning of Spanish/North African flavours eversince the time I was a student at her cooking school in July 2015.
After learning the fascinating science behind sherry and how to pair it with food, sourcing all our ingredients from local suppliers and being escorted back in time with every recipe, I think Anne could tell her youngest student on that course was pretty excited about what he was seeing (me btw). I must have done something right because it wasn't long after that she invited me back to Spain to assist at her cookery school for 3 months, an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I will never forget the first day I arrived back to Vejer for this opportunity. This was the day I learnt that, apart from when cooking classes were being held, I had reign over the kitchen. Perhaps it was because Anne enjoyed the Spaghetti Vongole I prepared for lunch that very day with the fresh clams we bought from the market. The three months I spent with Anne and the other friends I had the honour of making out there was quite literally a dream for me. At Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen, I was a free spirit cook. There were really no limits, and I learnt so much.
If I saw something I wanted to try one morning, I would be testing it that very afternoon. One day Anne came across a photo posted by Moro restaurant in London of the Cuttlefish Koftas that were on the specials that day. Before I knew it I was on the phone to Sam Clark (joint owner with wife Sam) writing down the ingredients (I am still over the moon that he gave me his time). We later tested the recipe, which can be found here.
I owe a lot to Annie, and of course this final episode in Andalucía is in honour of her. Whether it was the random days we would venture into the town to sample new dishes for lunch (for ‘research’ purposes), allowing me to cook for her friends at dinner parties and of course the time she took me to Tangiers for my birthday, I was living a life where I was inspired everyday from a rightfully acclaimed ambassador of the local food and wine. It is for this reason that this 3 part episode is different from the other episodes in the series, with more live cooking and a more Moroccan inspired menu. In all the recipes below there is a Moorish accent in the flavours, especially in the use of certain spices like cumin and almonds in Ajo Blanco.
If you are looking to take part in a cooking programme, then it’s evident which one I would recommend…as does the Times….and the Daily Telegraph.
Part 1 - Moroccan Marinade
This episode begins at Carnicería Paco Melero, the local butcher in Vejer who has become a hero somewhat. The town really depends on his locaIly sourced Retinto Beef, chorizos, morcillas and corn-fed chickens. However Paco and his team are most famed for Lomo en Manteca (literally pork in its own fat). His pride and relationship with suppliers has attracted media from across Spain to his humble butchers.
We prepared this marinade for chicken, but it also compliments lamb and fish very well (especially salmon & monkfish)
Coriander Seeds - 1.5 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 3 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 cup
Red Wine Vinegar - 1/3 cup
Cinnamon - 3 tsp
Salt - 2 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 tsp (to taste)
Coriander/Cumin seeds - toast in a dry pan until you can smell their gentle aromas. Keep an eye out so as not to burn. Then grind both spices in a pestle & mortar (or coffee grinder as we did in the video)
All ingredients - add to a jar and shake (maybe do so boogying to a sick beat?)
Marinade your meat/fish and leave in the fridge for the spices to infuse (preferably overnight)
Part 2 - Ajo Blanco (Chilled White Garlic & Almond Gazpacho)
A staple of workers in the fields, Ajo Blanco not only cooled people from the heat of the sun but also gave them an energy boost from the goodness of the almonds
Great starter for a summer, Spanish themed dinner party. It’s quick and can be prepared in advance
Grapes - bunch
Apple - 1, cored and quartered
Stale Bread - couple of thick slices, soaked in water until soft
Garlic - 3-4 cloves, peeled
Blanched Almonds - 200g
Cold Water - 600ml
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 150ml
Sherry Vinegar - 8 tsp
Grapes - wash, halve, de-seed and freeze
Apple, Bread, Garlic, Almonds - blend until a paste has formed
Cold Water - add while the motor is running slowly
Olive Oil, Sherry Vinegar, Salt - add to the blender after the water
Turn the motor off after all ingredients are well blended and taste. Add further ingredients to taste
Transfer soup to a jug/bowl and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve with the frozen grapes on top