Culinary Connections | France Spain Sicily Britain

 

Almonds

Croissants de Provence

The forgotten crescent of Europe, these delightful little almond pastries are a traditional treat in the south of France.

150g almonds, ground
150g sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp apricot jam, sieved
Vanilla water
25g almonds, shredded

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Whisk the egg whites into ground almonds, sugar and jam to make a soft paste.

Divide into walnut-sized balls, roll into 10cm long sausages.

Beat egg yolks, brush each sausage and roll in shredded almonds.

Place on greaseproof paper, bent into crescents, on a warmed baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Galllina en Pepitoria

The traditional savoury almond dish of the Spanish regions.

1.8 kg chicken, divided into breast, 
leg, thigh pieces
500 ml fish stock
225 ml sherry
150 ml olive oil
125 g onions, chopped
100 g almonds, roasted, ground
1 egg, hard-boiled yolk
15 g flour
2 garlic cloves, chopped
10 g parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp saffron, ground
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper, pinch
Oil, for frying

Heat oil in a large frying pan, brown chicken pieces, set aside.

Sauté garlic and onion in the same oil over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, add wine and incorporate for five minutes.

Replace chicken pieces, add bay leaf, pepper and parsley, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove lid, cook for 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, take out chicken pieces and keep warm.

Mix egg yolk into almonds, stir into frying pan, heat for five minutes.

Season with salt, garnish with saffron.

Serve chicken with sauce.

Gelato alla Mandorla

Almond ice cream is reknown throughout Italy, found in gelateria nationwide, nowhere more so than in Sicily where the almond crop rivals that of Mallorca.

250 ml cream
250 ml milk
125 g almonds, ground
50 g sugar

Bring milk to a low boil, add sugar, stir and cook gently for 20 minutes. Pour into a food processor, add almonds and cream, blend.

Pour into metal moulds, seal and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Rogan Josh

This spicy hot curry from the northern regions of the Indian sub-continent has become one of the most popular dishes in Britain.

1.5 kg lamb shoulder, 3 cm pieces
550g plum tomatoes, skinned, 
chopped (or 2 x 400g tins)
250 g onions, chopped small
150 ml water, for blending
100 g root ginger, fresh, chopped small
100 ml sunflower oil 
75 g almonds
75 g yoghurt
30 g coriander seeds
15 g cumin seeds
25 peppercorns
10 cardamom pods
5 cloves garlic, crushed
5 chillies, whole round red Indian
10 cloves
Turmeric, large pinch
Nutmeg, pinch
Salt, pinch

Roast almonds, coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for 30 seconds, remove to a bowl.

Fry cardamons, chillies, cloves and peppercorns in hot oil, reduce heat and brown the meat in batches, setting each batch aside.

Remove fried spices with a slotted spoon to a blender with the roasted almonds and roasted spices, garlic and ginger, nutmeg and turmeric, and water. Blend into a smooth paste, adding more water if necessary, about five minutes.

Fry onions over a high heat in the pan used to brown the meat, about five minutes stirring constantly.

Stir in the paste, lower heat and cook for five minutes.

Gradually stir the yoghurt into the paste, followed by the tomatoes.

Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened.

Add meat and salt, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for two hours.

Turrón

500 g almonds, blanched, roasted
250 g sugar
125 ml honey
Rice paper

Pound almonds and sugar together, spoon into a saucepan with the honey amd cook over a medium heat until the mixture browns and thickens.

Pour onto a baking tray lined with rice paper, leave to harden.

Cut into squares.


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