Recipes enjoyed in Spain
Having spent three weeks in Benahavis, a village full of gourmet restaurants just North of Marbella, I got to thinking about the food I used to cook in Spain, taking full advantage of the fresh produce available.
One of the favourites was the North African dish Ajja which can be adjusted according to what is available in the store cupboard. It was a favourite of the workmen who spent many long hours laying tiles around the garden. They started at 8 a.m. and stopped for a packed lunch of chorizo, cheese and tomato in a large baguette at 10.30 a.m. on the dot. This “snack” would be accompanied by a glass of red wine or a bottle of strong lager. Then they would work through until 2 p.m. Sometimes, I would make Ajja and give them a plate to enjoy with more wine on a table under the massive rubber tree, providing shade from the midday sun. Above is a photo of the shady area under the rubber tree.
Recipe for Ajja
4 coloured peppers (green and yellow perhaps, but any ones will do) sliced
half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
salt and pepper to your taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 chorizo sausage, sliced
2/3 crushed garlic cloves
2 chopped tomatoes (with skin removed if you can bother)
some cold water
6 beaten eggs
chopped onions (optional)
Pour the olive oil into a non-stick frying pan and add the chorizo sausage. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally and when the red coloured oil comes out of the sausage, it is time to add the cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper, garlic and fry for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, a dash of water, followed by the beaten eggs.
Now is the time to add the sliced peppers if you want them not overcooked. However if you prefer them a bit mushy, you could add them right at the beginning with some chopped onions.
Stir the eggs and mess it around…..it is more scrambled than omelette.
You can vary this according to taste…..swap the chorizo for minced meat, change the cayenne pepper for harissa paste (just a touch) or tabasco sauce, or if you like HOT food, use all three!