So it was a usual Monday afternoon when I received the telephone call from my husband advising me that he had been offered a job in Valencia in Spain….. and that he accepted……..and that he was leaving on Wednesday!!! Yes, he left with one suitcase and at that point apart from knowing what country Valencia was in, I actually had no idea where it was. Fast forward three weeks and I had closed up our house in the UK, shipped what belongings we needed plus cars, stored everything we did not need, found a new house, enrolled my children in an International school and had started life in Spain. Was it daunting? Absolutely! But this adventure turned out to be the most wonderful three years of our lives. We embraced a new language and culture, made some wonderful friends and experienced true Spanish food at its very best.

The Spanish put a lot of love into their food and their use of fresh local produce is like nothing I had ever experienced before. The Mediterranean diet has been proven to be one of the healthiest in the world, yet this does not detract from flavour. A typical Mediterranean diet is full of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and beans coupled with moderate amounts of meat, fish and dairy. Then there is an abundance of healthy fats in oils, nuts and seeds. Foods are only eaten when in season and so at the peak of their nutrient value.

This wonderful combination of foods has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, Parkinsons disease AND it increases longevity of life also.

I was immediately hooked and wanted to learn more and so my journey with Spanish gastronomy began. I spent over two years working in over 25 different Spanish restaurants from the Michellin Star to the back street café where the recipes have been passed down for generations. I learnt in depth about the importance of wines with meals and in Spain this is of great importance as well as some popular Spanish cocktails.

The result…….my new Authentic Spanish Cookbook which brings everything I have learnt to your own kitchen. You can create the most delicious freshly baked goods for breakfast (and yes there are churros) or a more elaborate dish worthy of any fine restaurant. You will use fresh fish and seafood in ways you have never experienced previously and meat dishes that are hearty and satisfying. You will combine flavours to create the most wonderful meals whether that be for yourself, your family or for entertaining. Plus I have included information on the health benefits of each dish and even given them a health rating!

I have chosen here for you a favourite starter and main course of my family just to give you an example of the types of dishes in the book:

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For more recipes, order your copy of Authentic Spanish Cooking in hardback or eBook edition from Pen and Sword Books.