My Barcelona Kitchen

My Barcelona Kitchen
Sophie Ruggles, Murdoch Books, £20Discover a lively, diverse city and have an authentic Spanish experience in your own home kitchen with Sophie Ruggles’ My Barcelona Kitchen. Inspired by her life in the heart of vibrant Barcelona, cook and food writer Sophie Ruggles brings us her collection of more than 140 traditional and original Spanish recipes, each with her personal touch and her heart-warming, approachable style. Accompanying the recipes are tales of life in the colourful city and stunning location photography, giving amazing insight into modern Barcelonan life.

Australian cook and food writer Sophie Ruggles took a leap of faith in 2003 when she moved to Spain to work as a chef and polish her rather wanting language skills – and accidently opened EMU Bar, her own and Barcelona’s first Australian eatery.

Almost a decade on, Sophie has swapped the steamy bustle of EMU Bar for her chatty kitchen counter where she provides informal cooking classes for visitors to Barcelona looking for a hands-on food experience of the local cuisine.

Sophie has published two other recipe books: Eat GST Free! and Suddenly Cooking – Real Food Nade Easy.

As well as writing and teaching about food, her other passions are food photography, travel and long lunches.

A selection of mini open sandwiches

Montaditos variados

Enter any Basque pintxos bar and you’ll be visually delighted by row after row of beautifully prepared montaditos. Each of these little one- or two-bite wonders is held together by a toothpick, which you save and present to the bar staff to calculate the bill. The idea is to grab a plate and help yourself to as many as you like. The montadito ideas here use other recipes from My Barcelona Kitchen. Choose any type of crispy brown or white bread or biscuit base you like, or simply use a slice of baguette. Put together your montadito in the order the ingredients appear in each list.

El Boquerón

  • 1 sun-dried tomato, chopped
  • 2 whole fresh anchovy fillets (boquerones) 1 gherkin (cornichon), chopped
  • 1 green olive, pitted

La sardina

  • 1 strip roasted red capsicum/pepper 1 sardinas escabechadas
  • 1 teaspoon black olive tapenade
  • 1 guindilla (medium-hot) chilli

El paté

  • 1 tablespoon country-style pâté
  • 1 teaspoon caramelised onion (slowly sautéed in oil until very soft)
  • drizzle of sugarcane molasses

El atún

  • 2–3 slices avocado
  • 1 tablespoon tuna confit
  • 1 sun-dried tomato, chopped 1 teaspoon mayonnaise or
  • 1 teaspoon romesco sauce 1 tablespoon tuna confit curly endive lettuce

La anchoa

  • 1 piquillo pepper
  • 2 salted anchovy fillets
  • 1 gherkin (cornichon), chopped 1 green olive, pitted

Seafood paella
Paella de marisco

Curiously, everyone I’ve spoken to thinks their own mum’s recipe for paella is best, which can only mean there are a whole lot of great paella recipes out there! Here’s one of them.


  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 125ml (4 fl oz/1⁄2 cup) white wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 8–10 raw prawns (shrimp)
  • 100ml (31⁄2 fl oz) olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red capsicum (pepper), thinly sliced 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 360g (123⁄4 oz/12⁄3cups) short-grain white (calaspara or paella) rice
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) fish stock 12 black mussels, scrubbed, hairy beards pulled out
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) monkfish, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • A few handfuls fresh or frozen peas (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Put the saffron threads into the wine to soak. Set aside.
  2. Pound the garlic and salt to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  3. Peel the shells and heads off the prawns, reserving the heads. Heat half of the olive oil in a 30cm (12 inch) paella pan or deep, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Cook the prawn heads for 2 minutes, then discard, reserving the oil in the pan.
  4. To make the sofrito, add the remaining oil to the pan. Sauté the onion, capsicum and garlic paste for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the paprika and cook for 1 minute further.
  5. Add the saffron-infused wine and the rice, and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the stock and monkfish, stir to combine, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, without stirring.
  6. Put the prawns and mussels into the rice, making sure they are well submerged in the liquid. Scatter around the peas, if using, and cook for 8–10 minutes. The paella is ready when the rice is al dente and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then serve straight from the pan with lemon wedges.


  • 3 sheets gold strength gelatine (2g each)
  • Oil for greasing
  • 100 g (31⁄2 oz) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra
  • 500ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) thin (pouring/whipping) cream
  • Pulp and seeds from 6 passionfruit
  • 200g (7oz/3⁄4 cup) natural yoghurt
  • 6 strawberries
  • 2 kiwi fruit, diced
  1. Put the sheets of gelatine into a large bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
  2. Lightly grease six 150ml (5 fl oz) dariole moulds or ramekins with a neutral-tasting vegetable oil and set aside.
  3. Heat the sugar and cream gently in a saucepan over low heat, until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat, add the passionfruit pulp and seeds, and whisk to combine. Don’t worry if the cream curdles slightly, just whisk it for a few minutes.
  4. Squeeze all the water from the gelatine sheets and add them to the hot cream mixture. Whisk until completely dissolved. Add the yoghurt and mix to fully incorporate.
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly among the dariole moulds. Cover and leave in the fridge to set for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  6. Chop the strawberries roughly, sprinkle with the extra sugar and leave to macerate for 30 minutes. Mash with a fork.
  7. Stand the base of each mould in a hot water bath for a few minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of each one and invert onto a serving plate. Spoon over the kiwi fruit and decorate the plate with the strawberries.


Spanish red wine punch

Roughly chop 2 oranges, 1 lemon and 2–3 peaches and put into a large serving jug.
Add 500ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) Gaseosa (or half lemonade/half soda water), 750ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) inexpensive red wine and 60ml (2 fl oz/1⁄4 cup) brandy.
Stir and set aside in the fridge for 2 hours or so.
Serve chilled.

Valencian cava cocktail
Agua de Valencia

Combine the juice of 2 oranges and 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar in a large serving jug.
Add 30ml (1 fl oz/11⁄2 tablespoons) each of vodka and gin, and stir.
Add 750ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) Spanish cava (sparkling white wine).
Stir and serve immediately.

Summer red wine
Tinto de verano

In a glass, combine 100ml (31⁄2 fl oz) red wine, 100ml (31⁄2 fl oz) chilled Gaseosa (or half lemonade/half soda water), 30ml (1 fl oz/11⁄2 tablespoons) white rum and a slice of fresh lemon.
Serve immediately.

Liqueur coffee

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 large hot espresso coffee and add 30ml (1 fl oz/11⁄2 tablespoons) dark rum, cognac or whisky or use Baileys Irish Cream and leave out the sugar).
You can light the drink with a match to burn away the alcohol before serving, if desired.

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