Sarah Davison and Stephen Burgen Where from: Sarah – New Zealand
Stephen- Montreal, Canada/England
Profession: Sarah: actress/ Singer / voice artist Stephen: writer and journalist
Ingredients : 4 egg whites,( if they’re small up to 6 ) 1 and a half
cups of sugar ( ideally caster sugar but ordinary sugar is fine ),
one teaspoon of white vinegar, cornflour, vanilla essence and one
tablespoon of cold water.
Preheat oven to 180º C (350 F).
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and sugar for 10 – 15 minutes or
until thick and glossy. Add water and beat again.
Mix vinegar, vanilla and cornflour together in a small bowl, then add to the
meringue. Beat on high speed for a further 5 minutes
Line an oven tray with baking paper. Draw a 22cm (about 9 inches) circle
on the baking paper. Spread the pavlova to within 2cm (1 inch) of the edge of
the circle, keeping the shape as round and even as possible. Smooth top
surface. Place pavlova in preheated oven then immediately turn the
temperature down to 100º C (210 F). Bake pavlova for 1 hour.
Turn off oven and leave pavlova in the cooling oven until it is completely
cool. Carefully lift pavlova onto a serving plate. Decorate with whipped
Smoky, Roasted Red Peppers :
NB : if you don’t have access to an open fire or a bbc a gas flame from a
stove is fine – expose them to a flame !
As many peppers as there are people
Garlic cloves, finely sliced
Plenty of olive oil (extra virgin )
Place peppers on hot coals or Barbie or on the gas burner directly. If you
choose to put them directly on the flames watch them as they need to burn
black all over so the skins can be removed easily but if you leave them too
long you will burn the sweet pepper flesh as well. If you use a lower heat
(smouldering embers ) it will take a bit longer but they will need less time to
steam in the plastic bag afterwards.
Once the peppers are well burned place them in a closed plastic bag so they
steam and once cool take them out and peel them. This is messy and I prefer to
do it outside. Remove seeds and black, charred skin and slice them into strips.
Heat the garlic and chillies in a few tablespoons of olive oil and let them sizzle
only for a moment. When they begin to colour turn off the heat and pour them
over the peppers. Add capers and ripped basil leaves and serve.
1: Do you cook together on a regular basis? Yes, most days. The
usual pattern is Sarah does starters and puddings and Stephen the
mains but this is sometimes reversed. In our house sitting down at
the table with friends and our teenage sons is a daily ritual which
2.What do you think is the influence cooking has had on your
relationship over the years. We met at a 15-course meal in the
house of friends in London 28 years ago and have been cooking
and eating together ever since. It’s incredibly important and
probably one of the reasons we chose to live in Barcelona. We
spend a lot of time thinking and talking about food, ingredients
3: What are your main sources for recipes? Traditional Spanish and
Catalan ingredients and dishes, the cookbooks from Moro, Claudia
Roden, Ottolenghi, Martín Berastegui, Carme Ruscalleda and also
Ferran Adrià’s book of the dishes the staff ate in el Bulli, plus The
Edmonds Cookbook from New Zealand for baking. Often we just go
down to Santa Caterina market and see what’s in season.
4: Cooking has evolved from being a women’s chore to feed the
family to something that both men and women enjoy and are
passionate about.. what would you say has helped in the
transition? Most of our friends place huge importance on food as a
social focus point. In the Eighties in London people became
increasingly aware of Mediterranean food and explored recipes
from southern Europe. Among our social group we worked our way
through France, Italy and Spain, acquiring a delicious education in
the Mediterranean diet. We used to cook more French-style dishes
in London but those reduced and cream-heavy sauces don’t make
sense living here, though Stephen still goes back to Raymond
Blanc from time to time during winter. Nearly everything we cook
is Mediterranean, including North Africa and the Middle East,
especially Morocco. One thing we miss about England is curry
which we also cook ourselves as the curry in Barcelona is very
5: Can you tell us about the origins of the dishes you’ve prepared?
The pavlova is a famous pudding from NZ and Australia. There has
been a battle between NZ and Oz for years over the origins of this
famous pudding. Nzers like to think its theirs and was named after
a trip to the Antipodes by the famous Russian balerina, Anna
Pavlova . Its a bit like the paella in Spain in that everyone has
their version but it has nothing in common with the hard, over
sugared merengues of Spain. For us puddings are the one weak
link in Spanish cuisine. We tire of crema catalana and egg
puddings and flans and love the lightness of the pav with its
seasonal fruits on top (Aussies usually put passion fruit on top,
Kiwis (NZ strawberries, raspberries or kiwifruit )
The roasted pepper salad is very typical of Spain and Catalunya.
Its very simple and because of its smoky, barbecue flavour our
sons eat it when other vegetables fail. Peppers appear in many
dishes from Spain and the famous roasted piquillo peppers of the
Basque country are unbeatable for sweetness and flavour.