Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala - #ActiFryDay Challenge in the Tefal Actifry

I've been aware of the existence of the Tefal ActiFry for some time. A magical machine that cooks chips with very little oil. That's pretty much all that I knew. However as intrigued as I was by the concept I didn't think it would be worth the cost or worktop space purely for cooking chips. This was until Tefal got in touch and asked me if I'd like to take part in their #ActiFryDay challenge and replace a Friday night takeaway with a healthier ActiFried alternative. I was surprised to learn that in addition to chips I'd be able to cook up a whole range of takeaway favourites. Sweet and Sour Pork, Lamb Kebab, Chicken Tikka and Beef and Vegetable Stir-fry were among the surprising variety of ActiFry recipes at my disposal.

The Tefal Actifry Express XL duly arrived (rrp £249.99). It's a bit of a monster and looks somewhat like an alien spaceship. The first couple of times I used it I diligently put it back in its box, however this has now been binned and it sits on a shelf in the utility room. Much too big to have out on the worktop at all times in my opinion. Of course the first thing I had to make was chips. I used Scottish Rooster potatoes as that's what was under the sink. I excitedly tweeted a photo of them cooking only to be told that they were no good. I'd normally take such a disparaging comment with a pinch of salt (and lots of vinegar) but it came from Calum Richardson, owner of the award winning The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven. He explained that unfortunately Scottish tatties don't make good chips as they have too high starch and sugar content. He also advised me to thoroughly wash them once chopped and that the varieties to look out for were English Maris Piper or Markies. Armed with this insider information I went shopping and tracked down some Maris Pipers. 

With the right variety of potatoes my next batch were much more successful and I've since experimented with chips, wedges, sweet potato wedges and patatas bravas. My first impressions of the ActiFry were as follows: 
  • not as quick for chips as I thought. Time taken is comparable to cooking in an oven as opposed to a deep fat fryer 
  • noisy and bulky 
  • constantly stirs so nothing sticks to the bottom, however the constant stirring can break up some foods 
  • only requires one spoonful of oil to cook 1kg of perfect crispy chips
  • very easy to clean - removable parts can go in the dishwasher
  • can be opened and closed throughout the cooking cycle 
  • easy to operate 
  • no preheating required
  • hands free cooking
  • transparent lid lets you see whats going on
  • doesn't keep cooked food hot so you need to watch your timings to ensure your whole meal ready at same time 
  • for best results you need the right variety of potatoes 

Having mastered the basics it was time to push the potatoes aside, take up the #ActiFryDay challenge and create a healthier takeaway. A survey by Tefal revealed that Brits are consuming well over half a billion takeaways a year. Based on the nations favourite takeaway dishes, this suggests we could collectively be eating up to 12,400 tonnes of saturated fat. 1 in 7 of us are eating 2,900 calories per takeaway at least once a week. Scary statistics! By cooking Chicken Tikka Masala in a Tefal Actifry the saturated fat content is reduced from 17.4g in a typical takeaway portion to just 1g per serving.


500g boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 2cm pieces
100g Tikka Masala curry paste
2 pots (150g size) natural low fat yoghurt
1 ActiFry spoon of vegetable Oil
1 Large finely chopped onion
390g canned premium chopped tomatoes
150ml of water
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons on lemon juice

1. In a large bowl mix the Tikka Masala paste with 4 tablespoons of yougurt. Add the chicken in the coat then cover. Leave the marinate in the fridge for two hour or overnight.
2.Heat oil in ActiFry for 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the marinated Chicken and cook for a another 10 minutes.
3.Add the chopped tomatoes and water cook for another 10 minutes. Add the yogurt, sugar and lemon juice. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

I was really impressed with how my curry turned out. The hot air and oil combination gives some delicious charring on the edges of the chicken and being able to get on with other things in the kitchen whilst the curry took care of itself was a real bonus. I used rapeseed oil which worked really well and added in half a bag of spinach that was lurking at the bottom of the fridge for the final couple of minutes. Completely forgot about the sugar and lemon juice! Photo here is from before the yoghurt was added so that's why it's so dark in colour. I've still got lots of experimenting to do and from a quick Google search it seems that I can cook pretty much anything in an ActiFry. Still to be tried are sausages, frozen oven chips, risotto, stir fry and on the menu for later this week are these Parmesan Crusted Chicken bites from Sarah at Taming Twins. This will be my first attempt at making something without the paddle. If you are an ActiFry aficionado please do leave any hints, tips or meal suggestions in the comments as I'd love to try them. Happy FryDay!

Disclosure - I was provided with a Tefal Actifry Express XL for the purpose of this post. I was not obliged to review positively in return. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Gingerbread Biscotti for a Great British Bake Off get together

Bake Off is back along with all the gossip, scandal, soggy bottoms and inuendo that goes with it. I've been a fan of the programme from the very start and its always exciting to see a new series come to air and get to know the contestants. Don't think I've got a favourite baker as yet. Still too many of them for me to remember who's who at the moment! During the last series a group of Aberdeen based fans of the show started meeting up on a weekly basis at each others houses to watch the programme and indulge in a cuppa, a bit of baking chat and lots of cake. Much fun was had and friendships formed. Then we did it all over again for Comic Relief (I made Rainbow Cakes and Stamped Biscuits). Series 6 has once more given us a valid excuse to get together on a Wednesday night for hilarity and cake. This week it was my turn to be the hostess with the mostess.

Week 2 had been biscuit week so I decided to tackle the signature bake of Biscotti. With week 3 being Bread I opted for Cheese & Chilli Monkey Bread and for my final bake I went for Series 4 contestant Beca Lyne-Pirkis Banoffee Bread. I drew Beca from the hat in the Pinnies & Petticoats GBBO Sweepstake and I've followed her on Twitter ever since (and she now follows me as does last years winner Nancy Birtwhistle!). When Beca tweeted her recipe for Banoffee Bread I just knew I had to try it. Banana combined with butterscotch pieces is pure genius. Why didn't I think of that?! 

Alas after trying 3 supermarkets I couldn't track down the required butterscotch pieces so I substituted with chopped up fudge. Even as I was doing it I kinda knew that it wouldn't work as well. I was proved right when the fudge chunks on the top melted and left craters in the surface. I'd spotted the slices of banana on top of a banana bread on Pinterest and they worked really well. The reason that there's only a before picture is that the after didn't look nearly so good. After 45 minutes I reckoned my loaf still needed another couple of minutes. Made the schoolgirl error of not setting a timer. Ten minutes later... a somewhat overdone bake! Still tasted amazing and I tracked down some butterscotch pieces at the fourth supermarket so I'll be making it again very soon with correct ingredients and timer set. 

Back to the Biscotti and I made a batch of a recipe that I developed two years ago for a piece on BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe. The subject was Edible Gifts for Christmas and over a period of three weeks pre-records of me making Candy Cane Bark, Christmas Pudding Vodka and Gingerbread Biscotti were broadcast. I reckon Gingerbread is for life not just for Christmas. Not sure Mr Hollywood would have agreed. 


300g Plain Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
250g Golden Caster Sugar
2 Tablespoons Ginger
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 a Nutmeg freshly ground
1 Tablespoon Treacle
3 Free Range Eggs
200g Hazelnuts
100g Sultanas

To Decorate
250g Royal Icing Sugar
50ml water
Gingerbread Men Sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 150C
Sieve together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and sugar into a bowl. 
Add the eggs and treacle to make a dough.
Mix through the sultanas and chopped Hazelnuts
Knead the mixture gently and divide into thirds. 
Roll into a flattened sausage shape, place on a lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool slightly and cut into 1-2cm thick slices.
Lay the biscotti flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, turn over and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes on the second side.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Dip or pipe one end of each biscotti in Icing and decorate with gingerbread man sprinkles

For my bread I opted to make Cheese & Chilli Monkey Bread. I'd previously made this for a cake club fromage feast where it went down a storm. I decided that it would be a good idea to be taking my bread out of the oven just as my guests arrived. Big Mistake. It was still far too warm to come out of the tin and started to disintegrate as I attempted to dislodge it with a knife. In retrospect I should have wafted it. Or tried not to be clever and just put it in the oven earlier. Thankfully I managed to hold my emotions together and resist throwing it in the bin. 

Once it had cooled down I managed to slice the end that hadn't disintegrated and it tasted great. Perfect topped with a slice of cheese and some chilli jam. Recipe comes from The Great British Bake Off How To Bake book from series 2. Was really inspired by watching bread week and have dug out James Morton's (Series 3 Finalist - Fairisle Jumpers/Gingerbread Barn ) Brilliant Bread book and bookmarked some recipes to try. Final GGBO namedrop for this post. Check out what happened when Foodie Quine met Baking James. Now if only I could get Aberdeenshire Loon Norman to follow me on twitter my GBBO ambitions would be complete. 

For further biscotti inspiration here are a selection of recipes from fellow food bloggers.

Orange Biscotti with Cardamom & Walnuts - Little Sunny Kitchen
Kale & Almond Biscotti - Veggie Deserts
Almond Biscotti with Chocolate Orange Drizzle - Emily's Recipes & Reviews
Biscotti - Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
Hazelnut Mocha Biscotti - Penne For Your Thoughts
Chocolate Orange Almond and Macadamia Nut Biscotti - Made With Pink
Chocolate, Hazelnut & Orange Biscotti - Tin & Thyme
Mango, Lime & Pistachio Biscotti - Baking Queen 74
Hazelnut & Sour Cherry Biscotti - Foodie Quine

Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Food Year Linkup
Link up your recipe of the week
Casa Costello

Sunday, 16 August 2015

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

A guest post on the blog today from my friend Michelle Russell, owner of Snow Marketing and organiser of North Hop. Over to you Michelle... but don't forget to save me a bottle of North Hop Strawberry & Rhubarb Festival Gin. It sounds amazing! 

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness
End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

As North Hop 2015 draws closer we thought we’d give all you Foodie Quine followers a short guide to what it’s all about, what’s on offer, and what not to miss…

What is North Hop 2015?
North Hop 2015, the Highlands and Islands’ largest craft beer festival offers festival go’ers some of the finest Scottish produce and best music acts the country has to offer. With over 60 craft beers and ciders, a selection of artisan gins and creative cocktails, as well as an abundance of street food from all over the region, and to top it all off, 24 live music acts, the festival has something for everyone.

When is it happening?
It is taking place on the 21st & 22nd August 2015, at Eden Court Inverness across three festival sessions. Tickets (individual sessions or weekend passes) are on sale via the Eden Court Box Office. More information can be found at

What makes North Hop different?
With so many festivals and events taking place across Scotland these days we wanted to create something that not only appealed to everyone, but also gave people the chance to meet the actual brewers behind the beers and ciders, distillers behind the gins, and the opportunity to discover new products and businesses.

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

North Hop is all about creating an outdoor festival vibe without the need for ponchos, wellies and midge repellent, as all the festival venues are predominately indoors, something which has proved to be a complete bonus this ‘summer’ in Scotland!  We love festival go’ers to have fun so photo booths, selfie stations, market traders and live art are just some of the extra activities on offer at the festivals. North Hop does a pretty nifty job of combining a traditional ‘Beer Hall’ set up, and a ‘Cocktail Lounge’ with cosmopolitan vibes into one awesome festival.

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

Food/Drink Highlights not to be missed…

Limited Edition Festival Brew and Festival Gin
For North Hop 2015 collaboration is key and we have teamed up with two fantastic Highland businesses to bring something a little bit different to this years festival! First up we have our Festival Brew in the form of a fruity, session IPA with raspberries from Cromarty Brewing Co, with unique artwork designed by Rebel Tattoo. And then, a new concept to this year’s festival, our Festival Gin, which has been hand crafted by Dunnet Bay Distillers (Rock Rose Gin), an exquisite strawberry and rhubarb creation, which will be available to sample and buy at the festival. Both products are limited edition though so make sure you get in there quick!

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

• Introducing the oldest brewery in the world…
The oldest brewery in the world will be the festival’s official first guest brewery. Weihenstephan, a German brewery, which is just under 1000 years old, will be offering festivalgoers a real taste of German beer, and will be the only exhibitor at the festival who isn’t Scottish.

• Creative Brewing…
Glasgow’s very own creative craft beer enthusiasts, Drygate Brewing Co, the UK’s first experimental craft brewery, will be at the festival for the first time this year, as well as all female brewery, WooHa Brewing Company with their exciting new range of bottle conditioned ales and lagers. Go visit their bars, chat to the brewers, and most importantly sample their excellent beers!

• Cider Galore
Thistly Cross Cider will be once again returning to North Hop with some of the freshest, flavoursome ciders Scotland has ever seen. Their exciting flavours include elderflower, strawberry, jaggy thistle, whisky cask and ginger. Cairn O Mohr will also be joining us this year from their winery in Perthshire with their fruity range of wines, sparkling wines and ciders.

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

• Crafty Cocktails
If you like your cocktails made with craft spirits and a bit of flair then be sure to pay the guys at 10 Dollar Shake a visit. These guys have pushed the boundaries in the industry, and will be offering up some interesting new cocktails, gins and craft spirits at North Hop 2015.

• Scotland’s very first Limoncello…available at North Hop 2015!
Caithness Scottish fruit infused spirits business, Berry Good, has created Scotland’s very first Limoncello. This exclusive product, which is brand new to the drinks market, will be available for festival go’ers to get their hands on, along with a fantastic selection of their Scottish fruit infused spirits served with mixers or as prosecco cocktails at their colourful bar in the Cocktail Lounge.

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

• For those with a sweet tooth…
Fancy indulging in something sweet? Well this craft beer festival has got you covered with a few delights that simply can’t be missed. Chocolatier Stacy Hannah will have a delicious selection of handmade chocolates and marshmallows, don’t miss Poporopo gourmet popcorn with their weird and wonderful flavours, and visit Highland baker Bad Girl Bakery for some gourmet brownies and cocktail cupcakes.

• No dirty dishes with this dirty cooking!
If you don’t already know about these guys then you’ll definitely want to check out Adelphi Kitchen and their unique style of cooking, dirty cooking at North Hop 2015! Teaming up with AK are hot sauce demons, Angus and Oink, and we can guarantee you’ll be dying to sample these seriously hot street food delights!

• Giant Paella
La Tortilla Asesina, one of Scotland’s oldest tapas bars, will be serving up some monstrously delicious paella on the festivals outside terrace bringing the spirit of Spain to festival goers. This tapas bar is one of Inverness’ most popular restaurants to date and is passionate about bringing the very best of the Spanish tapas culture to the area. 

• Delightfully Artisan
How about some fresh, artisan coffee from Ovenbird Artisan Coffee Roasters, or maybe some rare breed, free-range Scotch eggs from Aye Love Real Food? Or perhaps you fancy taking some artisan gins home with you from our friends at The Storehouse at their pop-up bottle shop. Or if that wasn’t enough how about cocktails to your door from the craft cocktail box legends Tipple Box? We love artisan producers and think you should too!

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

So now that you’ve seen what will be on offer at North Hop 2015 what you waiting for? Go grab those tickets and get ready to end your summer in style…

See you there!
Michelle Russell, Festival Organiser

End Summer 2015 in Style at North Hop Festival Inverness

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake

Disclosure - I have received product and payment from Oreo for this post. It is an entry to the Foodies100 Wonderfilled recipe challenge sponsored by Oreo, which marks the launch of two exciting new flavours: Peanut Butter and Golden. The delicious new flavours are available in all major supermarkets at an RRP of £1.08. To find out more, visit

Foodie Quine - Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake

If truth be know my kids are bigger fans of the whole Oreo phenomenon than me, however when I heard they were launching a limited edition Peanut Butter flavour my ears pricked up in excitement. Regular blog readers will know that I absolutely love all things Peanut Butter. The PB Oreo combines the iconic chocolate cookie with a smooth peanut butter cream filling whilst a second new flavour - Golden Oreo - keeps the original white creme but swaps chocolate cookie for vanilla.

Foodie Quine - Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake

Tastewise the Peanut Butter Flavour is absolutely spot on although it would be even better as a double stuffed variant. The Golden Oreo are almost Custard Cream like in flavour but with a much crunchier biscuit. To celebrate the new product launches, Foodies 100 and Oreo commissioned me to come up with a wonderfilled recipe with either of both of the variants. There was no contest as to which one I'd choose to use. Taking inspiration from the classic Milk & Cookies combo I opted to create a quick and easy Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake. You just know this is going to taste as good as it looks and will be loved by little and big kids alike. Guaranteed to bring all the boys to the yard. 

Foodie Quine - Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake

Serves 2

6 Peanut Butter Oreo
4 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
4 Tbsp Peanut Butter
300ml Milk
Whipped or Squirty Cream
Smashed Peanut Butter Oreo
Chopped Salted Peanuts

To keep your milkshake from melting too quickly pre-chill the serving glasses in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Blitz the Peanut Butter Oreo's in a blender until they turn to crumbs.
Add the Ice Cream, Peanut Butter and Milk and whiz until combined. (use less milk if you prefer a thicker shake)
Pour into two glasses and top with cream, crumbled Oreo and chopped peanuts.

Foodie Quine - Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake

Plenty more Oreo recipe inspiration from fellow food bloggers

Peanut Butter & Golden Oreo Pudding + a Peanut Butter & Jelly Oreo S’more - Fab Food 4 All
Oreo Nutella Ice Cream Cake – Kerry Cooks
Peanut Butter Oreo Crumble Cake – Anne’s Kitchen
Oreo Chocolate Tiffin - Tinned Tomatoes
Slow Cooker White Chocolate Oreo Blondies – BakingQueen74
Hidden Oreo Cupcakes – Sophie Loves Food
White Chocolate Oreo Blondie Brownie – Ellie Bee Bakes
Peanut Butter Oreo Moon Rocks – Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
Oreo & Caramel Cheesecake - Tinned Tomatoes

Oreo Brownies - Little Sunny Kitchen

Foodie Quine - Peanut Butter Oreo Milkshake

Link up your recipe of the week

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Food Playground Cookery School, Singapore

Apologies for the radio silence on the blog. I've been off gallivanting in Singapore. The idea was that rather than schedule posts for when I was away I'd keep up my blogging from overseas, but best laid plans and all that meant it simply didn't happen. I had the most amazing time in Singapore and felt very privileged to be there as they celebrated their 50th Anniversary as an independent nation. One of the main things I was excited about for my trip was the food. For me travel and food absolutely goes hand in hand. I did a wee bit of research online to track down a cookery class to attend and signed up for a morning at Food Playground

Located in a heritage shophouse in Chinatown cooking at Food Playground provided a brilliant cultural introduction for my first full day in Singapore. The class for the morning was small but perfectly formed. Emily and Marie from Australia and me from Scotland. We started by learning useful snippets about Singapore’s food culture and heritage and how food has played such a huge part in bringing together a multi-racial society. Our tutor Lesley explained all about the local street food and hawker centre culture and gave us top tips on how to reserve a seat with a packet of tissues or a whole table with an umbrella. She shared her knowledge and expertise about what typical Singaporean foods we should try during our stay and which markets and particular dishes to look out for. There is no such thing as the western dish "Singapore Noodles".

Time to get hands on and start the cooking with Lesley leading and Auntie (Singaporean term of affection and respect for an OAP) keeping on top of the prep and clean up operation. Our menu for the day was - Nyonya Laksa (Peranakan style curry based noodles), Deep Fried Spring Rolls and Kueh Dadar – (Pandan coconut crepe with palm sugar coconut filling) First we had to make our laksa paste. No grinding allowed with the pestle & mortar. Only pounding to turn chilli, candlenuts, shallots, gangal (Asian ginger), shrimps and spices into a smooth paste. A great workout for the arm muscles. This was fried off and combined with prawn stock and coconut milk to make an aromatic broth. Salt and sugar to season before it was poured over laksa noodles and topped with prawns, sliced fish cake, tau pok (tofu puff) and shredded cucumber.

For the spring rolls we made a filling from finely shredded carrots, turnip (yam bean) and cabbage. This was fried in sesame oil and seasoned with garlic, sugar, soy and oyster sauce. The mixture was left to drain before we made our rolls using ready made spring roll skins. A wee bit fiddly to begin with and important to make sure they are tight and there are no bursts. A cornflower and water mixture was used to seal the rolls before they were deep fried in a wok until golden brown.

Last dish was Kueh Dadar – pandan pancakes with a coconut filling. These are bright green crepes with the colour coming from the juice of pandan leaves. The flavour of pandan is reminiscent to vanilla and the batter is made with egg, flour and coconut milk. The filling is an irresistible sticky brown mixture of coconut and palm sugar. The tricky bit was trying to get each roll the same shape and size. 

Time to sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labour. All three dishes looked and tasted fantastic but the laska was probably my favourite. I'm definitely going to try and recreate them all at home although I may have to substitute some ingredients if I can't track them all down in the UK. The recipes arrived by email following the class along with a link to an album of photos on the Food Playground Facebook Page

The social mission behind Food Playground is to create meaningful and dignified employment opportunities for seniors and stay-home mothers by hiring them as cooking instructors and helpers. By doing this, we effectively help them monetize their knowledge and passion in cooking for sustainable income and better social engagement which is becoming increasingly relevant given our rapidly ageing population and challenges in getting mothers back into the workforce.

If you are ever in Singapore I would highly recommend signing up for a class at Food Playground. If I'm lucky enough to visit again it will absolutely be the first thing I book. Educational, fun, hands on, total cultural immersion and a fantastic ethos.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Roast Spanish Suckling Pig with Basque Cider and a day in Barcelona

Good timing, serindipity, fate - call it what you will. We'd just returned from a fortnights holiday in Spain, the post holiday blues had kicked in, the pile of laundry was endless and my inbox was overflowing. But in amongst the spam and junk emails was one offering Spanish and Basque food for review. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy day. Grey's Fine Foods import the very best traditional Spanish foods and wines for you to buy online. I pondered over Iberico Pork cheeks and Milk-fed lamb Leg but plumped for Boneless Suckling Pig washed down with Bereziartua Natural Basque Cider. 

Our fortnights holiday took us to the Costa Dorada, well placed for sunny beaches, Port Aventura theme and water parks and a day trip to Barcelona. The cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia is one of my favourite cities. We took the train into the city centre and hopped onto one of the tour buses and headed first to Montjuic home of the 1992 Olympic Stadium (cue much Freddie Mercury style singing of Barcelona) and a trip on a cablecar.

At the bottom of La Ramblas we finally managed to fulfil Foodie Loon's desire to visit the top of the Columbus Monument. This had been closed on the two previous occasions he tried. A tiny lift takes you to spectacular views from the top. For lunch we headed to La Boqueria, this amazing market is filled with wonderful sights, sounds and smells of fabulous fresh food. We grazed our way round enjoying seafood, fruit, meats and colourful pastries.  

Next stop was Gaudi's Sagrada Familia where we were very disappointed to discover that all the the slots for the day had already been booked and it would have been 8pm before we could have visited. Somewhat downhearted we had a wander around the perimeter and jumped back on the Bus Touristic to head to Park Guell. Alas no luck their either as unlike on our previous visits you now have to pay for entry to the central area of the park and once again all times slots for the day were already fully booked. Lots of disappointed and upset people at both attractions so a heads up for anyone heading to Barcelona and wishing to visit either of these to be sure to book ahead. I'm still kicking myself for not having checked beforehand.

There will no doubt be more tales to tell of our Spanish holiday in blog posts to come but for now back to the suckling pig. To my knowledge we never came across it on the menu on our travels but apparently its a speciality of the region. The piglets have only been breast feed for 21 days as a maximum which gives their meat great flavour and taste. The quantity of food eaten by this tiny animal is very small which gives the nickname of cochinillo (small suckling pig). The finished dish was indeed wonderful and the crackling was absolutely divine. Here's how I cooked my little cochinillo.

Roast Spanish Suckling Pig with Basque Cider
Serves 12
Recipe adapted from Grey's Fine Foods website and reproduced with permission.

2.5 Kg Boneless Suckling Pig
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
1 Large Bulb of Garlic
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Stick of celery, roughly chopped
1 Leek, roughly chopped
1 bottle Bereziartua Natural Basque Cider or 300ml chicken stock

Pre-heat your oven to 250°C
Cut the garlic bulb in half round its diameter and lightly rub the skin of the suckling pig. Place the suckling pig in a large roasting tin (I had to cut mine in half to fit!) with the garlic and chopped vegetables.
Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt.
Roast the joint for 20 minutes at 250°C top get the skin of the piglet going.
Turn the heat down to 200°C and roast for a further 50 minutes, after 25 mins remove the garlic and add a good splash of the Cider into the roasting tin.
Increase the oven temperature to 250°C once again and roast for a final 25 to 30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.
Remove the piglet from the oven and take it out of the roasting tin onto a serving platter.
Squeeze the roasted garlic into the vegetable mixture and scrape it all into a saucepan.
Add the remaining cider and bring to gravy to the boil and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
Pass the gravy through a fine sieve and serve it with the roast suckling pig.

For further Spanish recipe inspiration have a look at these fab recipes from fellow food bloggers. No Tapas this time but I'll be focusing on that in an upcoming post.

Paella de Carne from Farmersgirl Kitchen
Spanish Chorizo and Rabbit Stew from Natural Kitchen Adventures
Pa amb tomàquet, Potaje and Sobao Pasiego from It's Not Easy Being Greedy
Spanish Tortilla with Jersey Royals & Spring Greens from The Veg Space

Spanish Omelette - Tortilla de Patatas from Little Sunny Kitchen

Grey's Fine Foods have provided two bottles of Berenziartua Basque Cider (Regular rrp £9.25 and Gourmet rrp £10.75) as a giveaway for readers of Foodie Quine. Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below. To enter, let me know in a comment "What's your favourite Spanish food or drink?" For additional bonus entries you can follow me on Twitter, Tweet about the Giveaway or like me on Facebook. Giveaway ends 17th August 2015 12:00am. Good Luck!

Disclosure - Greys Fine Foods provided pork and cider for the recipe and the prize for the giveaway. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post.