>Spanish souvenirs

>There was a bit of rain while we were away, and our neighbour had done some watering for us, so the garden looked quite luxuriant when we got back – unfortunately a lot of the new growth was weeds! But we found peas and broad beans ready to pick, the last of the winter cabbages and the chard which just seems to go on and on.

We ate wonderful food in Spain and brought back lots of recipe ideas to make at home. Here are a couple of dishes weve made already with vegetables from our garden, the simplest first.

Peas in their pods

In a tapas bar in Murcia we found a bowl of peas in their pods for customers to help themselves to. At home we picked our first peas and ate them straight from the pods – a memory from my childhood when we used to do this in my grandmothers garden. Much better than cooking them.

Cured ham with broad beans

I simmered our first small broad beans for just a couple of minutes and lightly sautéed in a little olive oil some diced jambon de la montagne (bought in the local shop and the nearest equivalent to Serrano ham). I mixed the two together and added salt, ground black pepper and chopped thyme – it was as delicious as it was in Granada!

these broad bean flowers turned into 15-20 cm pods while we were away

Morcilla de verano – summer morcilla

I ordered this in the tapas bar in Murcia and was surprised to find it was a vegetable dish. It was chopped aubergine and onion simmered in olive oil until the two vegetables almost melted into each other, with herbs and pine nuts. At home I made it with oregano from the garden and currants (because Id run out of pine nuts – the currants gave a slightly sweeter flavour and worked well), served with lightly toasted bread. I used a bought aubergine, but Im looking forward to making it again with our own aubergines in the summer.

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