Sunday, 7 August 2011

Barcelona and Rosehips

Rosehips are weird. I never know if I like them or not, and from all I heard and read it was always too risky to pick myself. Under ripe and apparently the seeds have dangerous or unpleasant effects on your throat and digestive tract, over ripe and it's hard to prepare them.  I always avoided rosehips until recently when just a couple of days before my summer holiday to Barcelona my fiancée's mum gave a good bagful of the cheery red baubles. I won't lie, although I recognised them, I was at a complete loss as to what to do with them. Eaten alone (seeds and all), they tasted okay, kind of earthy with a twinge or what might be called sweet or berry like. Standing in my kicthen after a brief search through the web to see what I could do with them in a short space of time, I found a recipe for a quickbread and candied rosehips, both of which were delicious. The quickbread is citrusy and sweet, coupled with the fun crunch of poppy seeds. As can be seen, it goes perfectly with a good mug of tea.

Once again I felt let down by Spain. This time I went with my then boyfriend, and now amazing fiancée. We landed in Catalan and endured a brown and withered landscape drive to Barcelona where to my dismay at least we found the place not brightly coloured and vibrant with life as expected, but more overcrowded with slum-like dusty houses - one of which was our apartment for our stay. Within four days I had been robbed twice and totally dependent on my other half but despite that it wasn't all bad.

The whole holiday was wonderful in so many ways, and we saw some breathtaking works of art. Gaudi's Cathedral Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família was one of the highlights of our trip. As we stood in the main worship hall gazing around at the glory engulfing us, it felt like I had found a place so permeated with God, we spent most of the visit in awed silence, walking around wondering how one man managed to not just think up this grand design but also get a plan together enough to make it reality. The city was quite fun too in hindsight, we found an amazing little fondue restaurant called La Carassa tucked away in an alley with low lighting, embroidered drapes around the place with friendly and humorous waiters. We had an amazing fondue with crayfish and rustic bread; the night ending with a red carnation as we left the cosy nest to tipsily trundle through the night life of Barcelona.

Our flight home was uncomplicated and as we landed back in England, I heaved an internal sigh and I don't know about you but to me, it's good to be back home.

Rosehip Quickbread
(makes a 2Ib loaf)


Ingredients:
  • 4-5 Clementines, peeled and puréed plus water to make up to 1C/240ml
  • 0.5C/120ml Dried mixed fruit
  • 0.75C/180ml Rose hips, seeded and chopped
  •  2Tbsp/30ml Butter, melted
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1-1.5C/360ml Plain flour
  • Scant 1C/200g Sugar
  • 1tsp/5ml Baking Powder
  • 0.5tsp/2.5ml Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 0.5C/100g Mixed nuts and/or seeds
    • I used 1Tbsp of Linseed, 1Tbsp Wheatgerm and 2Tbsp Poppy seeds
Method:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together: orange juice, mixed fruit, rose hips, butter and egg.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and sugar.
  3. Add Dry mix to wet mix and stir until just combined. Fold in the seeds gently.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a greased loaf tin (8" x 5"/20cm x 12cm) with a lined base and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F/175C/GM3.5 for about an hour.