Castilla La Mancha

La Mancha is sparsley populated. You can drive vast distances without seeing anyone. But you will find the locals in their kitchens, cafes, bars and restaurants. And they will be enjoying Spanish meals that go back centuries. Using ingredients that have served them well long before the name Don Quixote appeared on the page.Saffron is grown here in vast quantities. So much so that each October the locals celebrate the Saffron Rose Festival or Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán. Mushrooms also have their day in the sun when it comes to a fiesta. And some of the most flavoursome mushrooms grown anywhere, are grown in Castilla La Mancha.Hunting is big in this area. Wild boar, stag, rabbit and a range of birds are killed for food. The partridge is used in much family cooking, marinated and served in hearty stews with beans, vegetables and spices such as the ubiquitous saffron. The stew or Estofada is what will greet you should you enter a village home in La Mancha. You will not go hungry here. And, of course, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a local Manchego cheese to enjoy. The basis for genuine Manchego cheese is the pure milk of the sheep of La Mancha. When cooking food ot eating out in La Mancha, you would do well to recall the words of Don Quixote himsmelf: “The stomach carries the heart, and not the heart the stomach.”

Rick Stein’s Spanish Christmas Part 2

The English chef Rick Stein got some Spanish friends together in London to discuss Spanish food and serve them his own take on what he understands to be traditional dishes at Christmas time.

Read more ›

Pisto

Pisto is one of those simple but very tasty dishes with a main base of peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. Here’s a simple recipe.

Read more ›

La Mancha Shepherd’s Stew

A shepherd’s stew containing some of the best ingredients of La Mancha. And this stew has to be served including bread.

Read more ›

Mushrooms with Garlic

This dish celebrates two of the finest ingredients grown in Spain, mushrooms and garlic.

Read more ›

The food of Castilla La Mancha

In my continuing culinary journey around the vast expanse of the country that is Spain, I look next at Castilla La Mancha. A region more famous for Don Quixote than for food. But, while the former may be the figment of a lively imagination, the latter is very much real. Saffron, Manchego Cheese, Garlic, Vegetables – they are all signature […]

Read more ›

Honey, Honey

Having just had a delightful plate of Berejenas con Miel (aubergines with honey), my mind turned to the wide array of honey on offer across Spain. And why I like honey produced in Spain when I never previously ate anything involving honey. It is sold in vast glass jars at outlets near me, between the mountains of La Alpujarra and […]

Read more ›

Garlic Breath

Now those of you who dislike being within a hundred miles of garlic had better turn away now. For I am going to give you chapter and verse on why adding garlic is a must when cooking Spanish food. When it comes to garlic, Spain produces some of the very best to be purchased anywhere in the world. Historically it […]

Read more ›

Spanish Saffron

There is controversy this week over the authenticity of some Spanish saffron (azafrán). A food investigation says that some of the saffron being exported from Spain as being Spanish grown was, in fact, imported into Spain from other countries. It seems some companies have been labelling saffron they have purchased abroad as though it were home grown in Spain. This […]

Read more ›

Roasted Peppers & Onions

Here’s a recipe for Mojete – a derivation of the word to dip. Roasted peppers and onions is a popular dish in La Mancha.

Read more ›

Mushrooms Grilled with Garlic and Parsley

Mushrooms make for ideal light meals. Here’s a recipe for setas a la parilla (mushrooms grilled with garlic and parsley.

Read more ›