All Posts By

Daniela

Vegan Gnocchi Made of Tofu

Not your conventional traditional Italian gnocchi recipe. Still these flavourful dumplings have the right consistency of gnocchi and a hint of tofu taste that makes the dish stand apart from any other gnocchi.

When it comes to gnocchi it is all about consistency, not too chewy, not too gummy nor dry. To avert a disaster, tofu must be as firm as possible otherwise you will end up adding too much flour and alter the consistency. I used the Organic original Cauldron tofu, free from genetically modified ingredients and easy to find here in the UK.

It’s the same old gnocchi story, except that it is easier to make because there are no potatoes to boil but just tofu to blend in a food processor together with flour.

Why tofu gnocchi? I love potatoes – how could I not love them? – but I wanted to make a less explored recipe (I could not find online any “convincing” one) and less carb heavy. Honestly, I was far from sure the tofu would blend in as well as potatoes and I’m happy to report the outcome totally exceeded my expectations!

Gnocchi made of Tofu

Yield: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 396 g block firm tofu (2 cups of crumbed tofu)
  • 30 g (1/4 cup)nutritional yeast
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) plain flour. Add more if necessary.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 cup Fresh tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons basil Pesto

Instructions

  1. Drain and press the tofu to give it extra firmness. In a food processor, add tofu and plus until it is is at a fine consistency. Add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper. Next, add the flour and blend together until a ball is formed.
  2. Shape small portions of the dough into long ropes. With a knife dipped in flour, cut ropes into 3/4 inch pieces.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop your gnocchi into the simmering water and allow to cook until gnocchi has risen to the top (3-4 minutes); drain well and top with your favorite sauce. I quickly stir fried cherry tomatoes and added to the gnocchi stirring with pesto.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/vegan-gnocchi-made-tofu/

Cavolo Nero and Ricotta Patties

Cavolo nero is a a loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany. Even though it is believed that it originates in my country, Italy, I am not very familiar with its intense flavour and wouldn’t be able to prepare any cavolo nero-based Italian traditional dish. I found it in my fridge (bf is very much into healthy stuff) and had to come up with a recipe that was not a Tuscan soup (as you might already know Italians do not eat soup when it’s hot)

I had a few doubts in mixing cavolo nero and ricotta, not knowing how the two ingredients stick together. I added an egg to play safe, although I have to say the very firm Cypriot ricotta I bought in Waitrose did a great job in binding and keeping everything together.  After a few seconds in the food processor, the mixture reached already the perfect consistency to make patties without effort. Depending on the type of ricotta you use, you may need to add more breadcrumbs.

I had no doubts on why I “had” to eat cavolo nero. First, it happened to be already in my fridge, second this brassica vegetable is among the most antioxidant-rich foods on Earth. The antioxidants in Tuscan black kale destroy free radicals, which are better known as the enemy number one in this battle against aging we are all in.

And the taste?

Intense, a bit on the bitter side. Cavolo nero does not play marginal roles. If you are not a fan of kale-like and dark leaf green taste, I would recommend reducing the amount of cavolo in favour of more ricotta (which should not be soft or runny!).

Have you ever had cavolo nero? What recipes have you made with it?

Cavolo Nero and Ricotta Patties

Yield: 12 medium sized patties

Ingredients

  • 6-8 leaves of cavolo nero
  • 250 g firm full-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 50 g breadcrumbs
  • olive oil, to fry in

Instructions

  1. Blanch the cavolo nero leaves in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain well squeezing the leaves to remove the excess liquid. Pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Place the ricotta, kale, parmesan and lemon zest into a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the egg, the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly to combine. Season with the salt and pepper. Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is still too soft/liquid.
  4. Form into 12 patties.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a clean frying pan over medium heat. Fry the patties in two or three batches for 2-3 minutes per side.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/cavolo-nero-ricotta-patties/

Italian Freselle Salad

I’m excited to show you a simple dish that is very popular in the Italian region where I was born and raised, Campania.

Freselle, a rough, dried, whole-grain handmade bread baked twice. You should be able to find in all good Italian grocery shops outside of Italy and in most Italian “panetterie” and supermarkets in Italy – especially in the south.

They are typically made of white flour but the ones I enjoy the most and you see in these pics are made of whole wheat flour. They are shaped like a large disk with a hole for a practical reason: in the past they were tucked in a rope that was then knotted to form a necklace. Easy to hang, transport and store. A “traveling bread” that fishermen used to bathe in seawater and consume during their long fishing trips.

I love freselle because they are incredibly tasty, especially when seasoned with extra virgin olive oil. Also they make a quick, healthy, low fat meal. In Naples we use it as a “base” for salads, here I’m showing you a freselle recipe that is very popular in my family (especially in summer time): freselle with beef tomato and cannellini bean salad.

If you manage to find freselle please give them a try and do not forget to soften them in cold water. They deliver the taste of southern Italy, where simplicity and freshness is key to any meal.  Also feel free to enrich the salad with whatever veggies you have on hand. My variant includes red bell peppers. I did not ask for permission in Italy before adding the peppers but I am confident my mum would approve it :).

Freselle

Yield: 1 person

Ingredients

  • 1-2 disks, depending on how hungry you are
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 large beef tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, cut
  • 50g fresh oregano
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • if you’re feeling adventurous, add 1-2 teaspoons capers
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pass the freselle under running water for 1 minute to soften them, then shake off the excess water. Add a spoon of olive oil on the freselle.
  2. To prepare the salad: in a bowl, mix the sliced tomatoes and pepper with drained beans and a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
  3. Mix well and place on top of the freselle.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/italian-freselle-salad/

 

Tom Kha with Baby Eggplant

Something happened today that reminded me of my blog. Something told me “you’ve got a blog, girl!”. I don’t know precisely what but I have the feeling that has something to do with me feeling relaxed again. With having time to cultivate and hobby, with not feeling stressed.

Since I wrote my last blog post where I declared to the world that I was (kind of) back to blogging I changed job, city, home… I almost changed everything (not my love for thai soups, obviously)  but it still feels like I need some “more change”, more challenge, more drive to become a healthier and active person. Changing job and city is really nothing when compared to what I would really like to change in my life (like this couch potato and lazy status where I hardly ever cook during the working days).

Let’s start from a soup, the most flavourful of the soups. The Queen Soup. Because I had to prepare this myself, leave the bed to go grocery shopping, this soup it’s a good starting point in my journey to a more active lifestyle. Even more so if you consider that I wiped the beads of sweat while slurping eating it. So hot and spicy and flavourful.

Whatever it reminded me of my blog today, it’s a pleasure to be back and, because homemade food is almost always better than store bought or restaurant food, the perfect step towards a better diet and healthier food.

Tom Kha with Baby Eggplant

Yield: 4-6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup mixed mushrooms
  • 6-8 small eggplants
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 2 handfuls of fresh cilantro
  • 1 inch fresh ginger thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh red chilies

Instructions

  1. Cut the eggplants and carrot into pieces. Then slice the mushrooms into half size pieces. On high heat bring the veggie broth to a boil.
  2. Add in the coconut milk, eggplant, carrots, chilies and ginger slices. Now with a sharp knife trim the base of the lemongrass stalks.
  3. Press the stem with the flat side of a knife to bruise and release the flavour. Cut into inch pieces and add it to the broth.
  4. After 10 minutes, toss in the mushrooms, lime juice, and pinch of salt, and let this simmer for about 10 minutes. Once finished, stir in the cilantro and enjoy hot.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/tom-kha-baby-eggplant/

Soba and back to blogging

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I’m not even sure that I’m back, back for real. I’m here, now, after a long pause and it feels right. At last. Moving to a new country to start a full time job made me a even lazier person at the beginning.

I’m adjusting to new rhythms and new seasons (which is winter all year long. I live in Ireland, folks!), I’m trying to defeat indolence by attending fitness classes and now even writing my blog again. One step at a time, as wise people say.

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I never wondered why I had to keep this blog running, never questioned the reasons beyond any post. It had to be done, it had to be written, as a sort of practise for more discipline and sense of achievement.

Despite this lack of purpose, I was demanding too much from it and, more specifically, from my never-good-enough food photography. I was going after numbers to see if I could reach that pool of visitors many bloggers claim to attract.

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Let me say, I’m done with this. If I come up with something good that’s worth sharing I’ll be happy to bring it to life here. Stress-free blogging.

Ladies and gentlemen, veggies+Soba is “clean eating” par excellence! So I’m starting from soba, real 100% buckwheat soba. I make a very simple and elegant dish with these very peculiar Japanese noodles. It’s quick, healthy, fulfilling and makes me feel “clean”. Maybe it also symbolises my new blogging life. No fancy claims.

p.s. In less than a month I’ll be in Japan for a couple of weeks of much needed holidays. I plan to eat everything local and weird. Any recommendations?

Soba and back to blogging

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 package Soba noodles
  • 1 cup organic broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2-1 cup organic mushrooms, sliced.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pepper, shredded
  • 1 tsp organic Mirin (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp organic raw, wild-harvested honey
  • 1/2 tsp organic lime zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh, organic lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp organic ginger, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or Sriracha hot chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Stir fry the veggies for about 10 minutes in a pan with olive oil. Don’t over cook them, you want them slightly soft.
  2. Prepare zest, lime juice and other sauce ingredients. When your large pot full of water is boiling. place in the buckwheat noodles and cook according to instructions on the package. Rinse noodles well and toss with sauce and stir fried veggies. Enjoy!
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/soba-and-back-to-blogging/

Oat and Chia Seeds Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Agave

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Now that I have a full time job I have to make sure I get all the nutrients and vitamins the my body and mind need to function at the best. Didn’t I need these things before? Yes, but now it’s “different”. On a standard day I have to survive quite a few (read MANY, TOO MANY) meetings and if I eat the wrong meal (the one that my body doesn’t process easily such as everything prepared in the canteen of the company I work for) I make myself fall into sleep mode. I still haven’t figured out how to answer complicated questions while I am secretly in standby. Meh.

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Any tip on how to get enough energy and strength to go through a meeting straight after lunch? Chia Seed could make the trick. Wouldn’t this be an excellent meeting energizer? I think so.

I already tested the ability of this seed to provide sustainable energy by replacing my boring oatmeal with the delicious and light “Chia seed and oat porridge” pictured here.

Just so you know, 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.

Healthy stuff and hopefully a solution to my daytime somnolence at work. We’ll see…

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Oat and Chia Seeds Oatmeal

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 5 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 3/4 cup almond milk (or milk alternative of choice)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp agave
  • toppings as desired

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, chia seeds, yogurt, agave and milk. Fold to combine until ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to allow chia and oats to absorb liquids.
  2. Transfer to desired serving containers. Add toppings as desired (I love it with blueberries!). You can store in fridge for up to 3 days.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/oat-and-chia-seeds-oatmeal-with-greek-yogurt-and-agave/

My favorite pancakes: Gluten-Free Oat and Chia Seeds Pancakes

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What a strange thing it is that my favorite pancakes are gluten free. Strange because I have nothing against gluten. Quite the contrary. I don’t like trends on nutrition: I don’t understand why people without a real intolerance to gluten turn to gluten-free as a solution to their nutrition issues.  A good point about this has been made by Howie in his post “Does a Gluten Free diet help you lose weight?“.

My opinion is that going gluten free is only necessary if you are intolerant or sensitive to gluten and should not be confused to a low carb diet.  Sure, eliminating gluten may cut out lots of carbs from your diet, but: 1) you don’t need to go gluten-free to reduce the amount of carbs and 2) if you switch to “gluten-free” foods like pasta and bread you will not control weight or carbohydrate intake since these products are often packed with a similar amount of carbohydrates as the wheat based products.

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Take for example these extra delicious pancakes embedding Chia seeds, soaked in agave and topped with natural yogurt, coconut, grapes. They are a gluten free treat in my non-gluten free diet and they can be considered “healthier” only because they are more nutritious that the ones made with wheat flour. Sadly enough, their are not going to make me slimmer.

p.s. To make oat flour you need to use a grinder. Bear in mind that the consistency of the batter is likely to change while you are cooking the pancakes (oat and chia seeds will absorbs the liquid making the batter denser), hence add some water when needed.

My favorite pancakes: Oat and Chia Seeds Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats, grind to flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • water

Instructions

  1. Add chia seeds in 1/4 cup of water and keep aside. Prepare the oat flour by grinding the oat to a fine powder.
  2. Place oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk and egg in bowl. Add the chia seeds with water and mix well with a spoon to obtain a batter with a dense consistency (if too dense add some more water).
  3. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat.
  4. Pour the batter onto the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.You might need to add some water to the batter from one pancakes to another since both the oat flour and chia seeds absorbs the liquid quickly changing the consistency of the batter. Brown on both sides and serve hot with your favorite topping (they are delicious with yogurt and agave!).
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/oats-chia-pancakes-gluten-free/

 

Cauliflower Rice Quiche with Zucchini, Pepper and Feta

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Long time no see. I’m still in Ireland, friends, and I am aware that I must share a recipe with you before you start forgetting about me.

Or before the effect of this crazy coffee I just sipped ends, leaving me again incapable of writing. Have you tried it yet? Have you given in to the new drinkable hype from trendy Cali? Hot buttered coffee, I am speaking about.

Now, because I unpretentiously threw in the blender butter and freshly brewed coffee I feel like raising again my blogging voice and bringing back to life this recipe I prepared two weeks ago or so.

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The time to discuss the coffee+butter matter has not arrived yet. This quiche I made with wholewheat homemade pastry and cauliflower rice, zucchini, pepper and feta deserves a few words. It’s super good, can’t you see it? I had never made cauliflower rice before this quiche. True story: I didn’t have the right kitchen tool for it.

You probably know already this magic of cauliflower turning into grains as big as rice cannot happen without a food processor. Surely the making of this pie crust would not be as easy and quick either. What you don’t know is that since I bought a food processor I feel I have reached peak comfort levels in my life.

I got a job and bought a food processor and if you cannot see the link between the two events I’m happy for you because this means you have never been a penniless PhD student owing a blender that can only give you soups and smoothies.

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But that’s a different story…

Time to concentrate on reading those unbelievable blog posts my fellow bloggers have published while I was off. I’ve got something like 90 posts in the archive and, hopefully, enough buttered coffee in my veins to go through them all.

Have you ever tried buttered coffee? If so, how did you make it though the night? Do you know what it means being a blender owner when all the recipes you want to make call for a food processor, instead?

Cauliflower Rice Quiche with Zucchini, Roasted Pepper and Feta

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 1/4 butter
  • 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cauliflower
  • 1 leek, cut
  • For the filling
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 feta, crumbled
  • 1 red pepper, cut
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix flour with salt in a food processor. Add cold butter and start pulsing. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a ball. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  2. Meantime prepare cauliflower rice by breaking apart the cauliflower into large florets with your hands. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and process in 1-second pulses until it breaks down into grains.
  3. Stir fry the sliced zucchini, pepper and "cauliflower rice "(you have just made) in a pan with little olive oil to prevent sticking (about 7-8 minutes). Add salt and turn off the heat. Set aside.
  4. Crumble the feta with hands and in a separate bowl beat the eggs. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Take the dough put of the fridge, roll it out on a floured surface into a 10-inch circle. Carefully place dough in pie plate, fit loosely and then press into place. Crimp for a decorative crust. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
  6. Lightly prick the base of the pastry with a fork then fill with baking beans. Blind-bake the pastry for 10 mins, remove the paper and beans. At this point take it out of the oven, add some feta cheese over the base, scatter over 1/2 of the veggies/cauliflower mixture, pour over the egg, then finally scatter over the rest of the cheese, leek and veggies. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool down for at least 15 minutes, scatter with your favorite herb and serve in slices.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/cauliflower-rice-quiche-with-zucchini-roasted-pepper-and-feta/

Honeyed Marmalade Steel Cut Oatmeal

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Has spring arrived in your town already? Is spring embracing you with its warmth and colors?

Here things are pretty green all year long, I must say, but also rather wet and dull in the winter so it is just great to be finally able to soak up the sun. Some sun.

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Speaking of spring, what fresh ingredients is this lovely season bringing to you? I must admit I have no idea of what is in season now.

I surely know oranges belong to the winter. Maybe, as a food blogger, I should not admit my ignorance so openly. I have an excuse though: the lack of local markets in the city where I just moved in, makes it impossible to keep track of seasonal foods. There is so much land and green around me but no farmers to offer their fresh produce. Meh.

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So off I go to Sainsbury’s where almost everything is perpetually in season. Reminiscent of my recent holiday in Spain where I tasted the most delicious orange ever, I bought a Hartleys Orange Ma Made Thin Cut Homemade marmalade, which contains Seville Bitter Oranges (75%), Water, Citric Acid and Pectin.

Citric acid is used to prevent bacterial colonization of foods and sometimes as a flavoring agent, Pectin is a thickening agent that also occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. While citric acid is neither good or bad for you, pectin provides a soluble dietary fiber that can be beneficial. For all this reasons I decided to give this sugar-free product a go and made a marmalade according to my sweet tooth needs.  It’s my first honeyed marmalade in my new super cute Denby breakfast bowl :).

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I am cherishing the idea of riding a bicycle, hence burning fat rather than oil (I already ordered a mountain bike on Amazon). I am not sure how far my two wheels will take me, hopefully far enough to discover markets :).

Are you a bicycle lover? I could definitely use some beginner riding tips!

Honeyed Marmalade Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp Hartleys Orange Mamade Thin Cut Orange Marmalade Mix
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cups steel cut oats
  • 3 cups soy milk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 raspberry

Instructions

  1. Pour the Ma Made marmalade mix in a pot, add the water and cook until it jells (about 20 minutes). Cool down for at least half an hour. Add the honey, stir well and set aside.
  2. Prepare the oatmeal by cooking the oats on the stove with soy milk. Add cinnamon and cook for about 10 minutes or so, until you get the desired consistency.
  3. Remove it from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of marmalade. Pour the oatmeal into bowl and topped it off the remaining marmalade and your favorite fresh fruit.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/honey-orange-porridge/

Classic Spanish Omelette: The Tortilla

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Hello folks, I’m back! Did you realize I disappeared? I missed blogging and cooking quite a lot but since I was in the middle of a big-ass relocation I could not help but focus on finding a new home and settle down in Northern Ireland. After more than a week spent in the hotel I finally found a beautiful flat with lovely views on the river and large windows. I am now trying to get used to it (a tad too big for me, I have to walk from the kitchen to the bedroom which is uncommon if you rent in London).

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On top of the relocation, I had to start a new job. Am I excused now for not being a prolific blogger?

I arrived here the day before St. Patrick’s day which is, you might agree, a very good timing. My first impression is that the atmosphere is significantly warmer than in the mainland. In the streets, I heard quite a few people wishing me “good morning” (What?!? Do I know you? I was incredulous). People are generally more relaxed than in London (after all Londoners are always busy and in rush, they don’t have time to be straightforward and kind).

But the local accent? “Could you please repeat it once more?”.  “I know it’s the tenth time you repeat this intelligible word but I am about to get it“. And the food? “Vegetables of the Day means frozen veggies, seriously?!. Ah”.

Yep, I still have to come to terms with the language and the cuisine. Aye.

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During my comfortable hotel stay I had to eat out every day. I tortured my delicate stomach on a few occasions (fries, weird extra sweet Indian food, fries). Now that I finally have a kitchen again I can cook something healthier and possibly Mediterranean, according to the type of cuisine/diet that I like the most.

Tortilla is a Spanish recipe my Spanish best friend introduced me to a few years ago when I moved to London. We were in Paddington, West London, when she cooked this heartwarming omelette as appetizer for an abundant portion of Paella Valenciana. I am kind of nostalgic of those days, when I had nothing but curiosity and a sense of adventure.

It was an about-face moment: for the first time I was leaving my parent’s house, my friends, my country. This recipe is impressed so strongly in my memories for this reason. And this might be also the reason why now that I am moving to a new city again, the Tortilla Espagnola comes up vividly to my mind. Maybe I can call this “my life changing recipe”.

p.s. I already blogged about tortilla here. This time, inspired by my recent trip to Malaga, I sliced the potatoes thinly using a mandolin slicer. This made the recipe a lot quicker and the potatoes easier to cook. I served the omelette with a broccoli and chickpeas quickly marinated in extra virgin olive oil.

Now tell me:

Do you have a life changing recipe, a dish that has important memories associated with? 

Have you ever moved to a new city?

Have you ever struggled to get to grips with a local accent? 

Classic Spanish Omelette: The Tortilla

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized potatoes (700-800 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 big onion, finely sliced
  • rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes, then sliced them using a mandolin for thinner slices or a sharp knife for thicker ones. Finely chop the onion (I sliced it).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook potatoes and onion, continuously stirring, until potatoes are cooked but not too tender.
  3. Remove the excess oil and keep aside.
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer the cooled down potatoes in this bowl. Mix well add rosemary.
  5. Warm a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan and cook the mixture potatoes/eggs for 5-8 minutes or until golden. Do not stir. Then with the help of a flat plate flip the tortilla of potatoes and cook the other side.
  6. Serve warm or cold, cut into slices or cubes, together with a salad.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/spanish-tortilla-potatoes/