Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spanish Flavours: Roasted Pumpkin & Mushroom Salad

Pumpkin Ham Salad (03) by MeetaK


Blogging does have so many positive sides to it. I've often said this - it's about the people you meet, the experiences you gather, the motivation and trying out things you would not have dared to before.

Blogging has been all these things for me and much more. There have been times when through blogging I have actually improved certain skills and learned new things, all of which have molded my character a little more. I want to cross boundaries, which normally I might have hesitated to do so. I want to see what happens if I try out new things.

From the very beginning though I knew one thing. I always want my blog to be a place where people have an experience for all their senses.


I want people when they come here to feel comfortable and homey. But I also want to share all the things I have learned or picked up along the way too. I'd like to inform people of what is out there, what is available, what is good and what is not.

In the past I have received a few mails asking me to review this or that. In the beginning I was hesitant. I was not sure how to handle something like that and how it would come across. So I declined. But I am an inquisitive person by nature and always hungry to make new experiences. I decided I would tell people that I would review their products but they would expect the honest truth from me in the reviews and I would only post about something that I thought my readers would benefit from. Some never wrote back and the fact that I have never had a food review on the blog to date tells you enough about what I thought about the other products.

A short while before I left for Dubai I got a mail from David Toro. He too inquired if I would like to do a review about the products they sell online. As I visited Spanishflavours.com I was quite pleasantly surprised. It was like visiting a wonderful Spanish delicatessen. I realized soon that this was the kind of thing people should know more about.

In Weimar we have a delicatessen that sells many products from around the world - at steep prices I might add. I am sure many of you have experienced the same thing or maybe even do not have the possibility to buy such products because you live a little out of town. This is where such websites come into the picture. It gives you a possibility to enjoy exclusive products like wine, cheese, hams etc. without even leaving the home.

I agreed to David and told him the same that he could expect a review if I liked the quality of the products and thought that they might be of interest to my readers.

David put together an impressive package for me and upon my arrival from Dubai I was greeted with a few scrumptious items. Ever since then we have slowly been going through the package.

The first thing I was interested in was how the items are packed. After all, depending where they are headed to, the food needs to be packaged and handled in such a way that they arrive fresh and in good condition. Here I have to say that the packaging was ideal. The hams and sausages were vacuumed sealed and the breakable bottles and jars were carefully bubble wrapped.

What caught my eye straight away, was of course the olive oil. A wonderful full bodied extra virgin olive oil from the Bajo Aragón region. I am the type of person who almost always has at least 2 to 3 different types of olive oil at home. Mostly the oils originate from Greece or Italy. I admit that I very rarely have one from Spain. Shameful actually as I soon realized that this oil had a lot to offer. Hand picked and preserved in a dark bottle to contain all of the flavor, I found the oil to be smooth and full bodied. Perfect for a salad or to dot over on top of a soup.

Last week I made a wonderful salad using some of the products I received. I decided to use the olive oil and some of the gorgeous Serrano ham. We were enjoying the ham on slices of fresh bread, but I thought serving it on the salad would really bring out the rustic flavor. The ham has a powerful taste and smell - unlike any other Serrano ham I have tasted and bought here. It has undergone a curation period of 16-20 months and comes in slices of 150 g, vacuumed packed to preserve that wonderful aroma.

Finally our dessert! And my joy. Gorgeous nougat. I am talking about the Arabic type of nougat made with honey, sugar and egg whites. This nougat was jam packed with whole almonds and wonderfully crunchy. David had also sent us a packet of the softer nougat - but we really took a passion for the crunchier version.

Spanish Flavours Nougat by MeetaK


There were a lot of other items in the package like (peaches in syrup, roasted peppers and mussels) and I hope to try them out as the next step. I will inform you about those in a future post.

I hope you enjoy my wonderfully rustic salad using a few Spanish flavors to add an excellent touch. Maybe you might want to drop over at Spanishflavours.com and browse through their incredible delicatessen items. They've also put together a few incredible Christmas hampers that are worth checking out.

Please Note: You will find the delivery conditions, payment methods and shipping costs here.




Ingredients
Printable version here.

Pumpkin Ham Salad (01) by MeetaK



200 g Hokaido pumpkin - sliced and cut into bite sized pieces
6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - Olive oil G.O.
150 g brown button mushrooms - sliced
1 medium red onion - finely chopped
Handful of parsley - finely chopped
200 - 300 g mixed green lettuce and greens - I used rucola, argula, raddichio, frisee etc.
2 tablespoons Crema di Balsamico
A few slices of Serrano ham - Serran Ham G.O. Teruel
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
Juice of half a lime
Salt and fresh black pepper




Method

Pumpkin Ham Salad (02) by MeetaK


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. In a mixing bowl place the pumpkin slices and then add the lime juice 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the pumpkin with the marinade. Place the pumpkin slices on a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes or until the pumpkin has become slightly softer and turned a wonderful golden color.

In the meantime sauté the onions and mushrooms in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare your salad greens by placing in a large salad bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the roasted pumpkin. Sprinkle some more olive oil on the salad and top off with the Crema di Balsamico. Toss well and place on individual plates.

Sprinkle each plate with some pumpkin seeds and place a few slices of the Serrano ham on top of the salad. Enjoy with a rustic bread and a glass of wine.




Verdict

It's a fantastic salad bursting with incredible flavors. Each ingredient adds it's own special note making it a perfect starter for any feast. I love the limey flavoring of the roasted pumpkin drizzled with the olive oil. The effect you get when paired with the Serrano ham in simply outrageous.

Here's a list of ingredients I used from Spanishflavours.com for this salad and a few other things I have tried and would like to recommend.
I'd also like to mention that I have not accepted any monetary payment from Spanishflavours.com and am doing this review as a means to inform my readers about the availability of products that might be of interest to them.

I am now packing up this salad and my party mood to visit Peabody who is having a Housewarming Party in her new home. Pea, thanks for the invitation and hope you have many grand baking, cooking and family moments in your new home.



Reminder!



Come join me for a Traditional Feast this month. Bring along your favorite dish to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanuka or Diwali.

Details can be found here.
Deadline: December 3rd.




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All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

22 comments :

  1. It's always great to learn about new online sources for good quality specialty foods that are hard to find even if you live in a big city. I'm glad that Spanish artisan foods are becoming much more available these days.

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  2. This salad looks amazing. It has some of my favorite flavors!

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  3. I hope they send you a Christmas hamper for such a great review! The salad looks infinitely inviting! I know very little about Spanish cuisine. How similar is it to Mexican cuisine?

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  4. I've recently discovered an excellent Italian online food company who do something very similar (San Lorenzo) but was wondering what other ones were out there...

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  5. I love the colours of that salad!!! And as I love mushrooms in any shape and form (especially picked by myself:), this recipe is a winner already!

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  6. Este ensalada es muy fantastico! Muchas gracias. That's about all you get for my Spanish. What a wonderful salad you have "brought" to me Housewarming Party. Thanks for coming!

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  7. that's a great review meeta, I have to check out the store. I have the same query as manisha... how similar is it to mexican flavors..
    Saw all your pictures of dubai too. Looks like you had a great time.

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  8. Your salad looks amazing...
    I love spanihs food! and tapas! I think i'll go to taste this spanish ham ...

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  9. The salad looks fantastic. I am always looking for interesting salads to try out. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Meeta! That looks wonderful..I want a salad now, but it is too cold..maybe I will do soup.

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  11. I'll have to check out that site.

    Your salad looks great too, in fact your picture is so good it's practically 3-D! Well done =)

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  12. salad lookssss colorfull and yummyyyyyy

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  13. Folks thanks for your response.

    Lydia, exactly my thoughts. Spanish artisan foods are not as commonly available and that is why I just loved what they have on offer here.

    Erin, glad you liked it - I really have to say the combination of flavors was really explosive.

    Manisha - LOL! Oh the stuff was sooo good - I would not mind one of those hampers. As for the Spanish cuisine - it's not like Mexican. Mexican is more spicy - not in the hot kind but like our Indian uses many Spices. Compare it a bit to Italian - but only because the Spanish too use fresh, hearty and wholesome foods and products. Think of the gorgeous Tapas or Paella etc.

    Sug - you do not need to know Spanish to enjoy eating Spanish LOL!

    AnneMarie - hope this review was helpful to you then.

    Pille - Thanks!

    Pea - Well with my Una cerveca por favor we'd get far LOL! Looking forward to the party.

    Mandira - thanks a bunch. Hope I was able to answer the question to your satisfaction too. If not mail me and I can give you a few links to more info on Spanish foods.

    AnneD - oh the ham was one of my faves in that package. You'll love it!

    Syrie - hope you'll let me know what you thought of it.

    Marye - that is the great thing about tis salad - it is a warm/cold combination that one can enjoy at this time of year too.

    Kelly-Jane thanks for the compliments on the picture. Hope you enjoy shopping at the site.

    Sagari - thanks!

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  14. I feel the same way - I learn so much from my fellow bloggers; and I too want my blog to be welcoming and "homey" - you're definitely succeeding with your blog, Meeta!! I love it!!

    wow!! this salad is such an innovative use for one of my favorite autumn ingredients - thank you for the new usage for pumpkin! :0)

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  15. The salad and ingredients look so good. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Paz

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  16. What a wonderful review. Very informative! The salad looks incredible!

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  17. Leave it to you Meeta, always beautiful! Lovely salad. The olive oil sounds heavenly!

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  18. Thanks for the comments hope you enjoy the salad and my recommendations.

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  19. Ooooh, that nougat!!! I love it! I wish I could reach through my screen and grab a piece ;-).

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  20. What a creative way to use pumpkin! The salad looks tasty!

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  21. hi

    Your salad is looking fantastic and delicious, great blog and post too, i love salad to eat and Spanish Foods and spanish salad i like most. MEETA i want more recipes of salads & food, which good one you recommend me....thx in advance

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta