I know, the weather’s been terrible of late, and we all need a bit of sunshine in our lives. It looks as though we might now be in the market for some better weather…phew.

If you haven’t planned a trip abroad yet, do invest in this lovely new cookbook, Cocina de Andalucia, from Marie Jose Sevilla: it’s a veritable taste of Spain!  

It was published last month by Ryland, Peters & Small at £22 for a hardback, packed with mouthwatering recipes and beautiful photos that make you want to book your flight immediately. 

It takes you on a discovery journey of the cuisine from this fascinating region in Southern Spain. 

You’ll learn how to prepare mouthwatering tapas such as Chorocitos in Oloroso Sherry, Fried Aubergines with Molasses and Gambas al Ajillo.

Continue with Gazpacho Andaluz, Artichoke Flowers with Iberico Ham and Monkfish and Shellfish Salad, and Pinchitos Morunos,Oxtail or Pork Churrasco.

Finish with Soft Nougat Ice Cream, Classic Torrijas and Alfajores for those with a sweet tooth.

Each recipe is accompanied by a short history relating to the character of a chosen locality, a particular dish or, equally important, the people that grow and prepare the food.

About the Author

María José Sevilla is a Spanish cook and writer who is expert in Hispanic gastronomy and viticulture.

She has written a number of books and is a member of the Guild of Food Writers, and a member of the Grand Order of Wine Knights (the highest recognition of experts in the field).

She holds the Diploma of The Wine and Spirit Education Trust and is also a Glenfiddich award winner. 

Here are a few ‘taster’ recipes from this mouthwatering book to tempt you:

Aceitunas aliñadas  MARINATED GREEN OLIVES

“In Andalucía, where the olive has always taken centre stage at the table, marinating them at the beginning of winter was a job home cooks felt proud to do and they tended to follow their own family’s particular recipe.

“Today cured olives are easy to find in every local market, marinated in varying ways with many different aromatics; sometimes vinegar is added, but they are always tasty and very moreish.

“To make things easy for you here, I have used a jar of the Manzanilla olives so typical of the city of Sevilla.”

2 medium oranges

3 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

1 teaspoon freshly crushed black peppercorns

400 g manzanilla olives in a jar, drained and rinsed

a few small fresh mint leaves, washed and patted dry


Wash the oranges and grate and juice one of them. Set the other aside.

In a bowl, using a hand whisk, mix the orange juice and zest with the olive oil and the vinegar.

Peel the second orange, removing all the pith and use a small knife to cut it into segments.

In a small frying pan, toast the sesame seeds until they take on a little colour and release their nutty aroma.

In a serving bowl, mix the toasted sesame seeds, peppercorns, olives, orange segments and mint leaves before adding the flavoursome juice.

Blend well. These will keep in the fridge for several days.



“One of the great things about living in the middle of the Andalucían forest – the Dehesa – is to have access to fresh and cured Ibérico pork meat all year round.

“The Dehesa forest is the natural habitat of the Ibérico breed of pig. Here he roams free, searching for acorns, his favourite food.

“I think this dish tastes best if the cumin seeds and the peppercorns are pounded using a pestle and mortar but if you already have ground spices, use them instead. Remember to let the meat marinate overnight if possible.”

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

3 teaspoons cumin seeds

3 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

2 teaspoons pimentón dulce (Spanish sweet paprika)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

50 ml Spanish olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

750-g/1 lb.-10 oz. pork fillet, trimmed of excess fat

3 red peppers, left whole, rinsed and patted dry

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season


350 g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons Spanish olive oil

1 white onion, sliced

1 teaspoon salt


Pound together the garlic and salt using a mortar and pestle. Add the cumin, black peppercorns and pimentón and pound again. Add the oregano and the oil and mix together. Season the pork, rub the spice mixture all over and leave to marinate, covered, in the fridge overnight.

When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/350ºF/Gas 4.

Place the red peppers in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with some olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, turning once or twice. When the skin on the peppers has wrinkled, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Remove the seeds and skins, slice thinly and reserve on the oven dish, covered.

To make the potatoes, place the sliced potatoes and onion in an ovenproof tray, season and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the hot oven. When the potatoes have been cooking for about 20 minutes, heat a heavy frying pan – I use a cast-iron one, large enough to contain all the meat – over a high heat. Brown the pork turning every minute or so for about 5 minutes until it is well browned on all sides. Remove the pork from the pan. Place it on top of the potatoes and cook for a further 20 minutes or a little less if you prefer the meat a little pink at the centre.

Take the pork from the oven and leave it to rest for several minutes. You may need to increase the oven temperature and return the potatoes to the oven to let them take a lovely colour. Warm the red peppers and when ready, slice the pork.

I normally plate this dish with a layer of potatoes, the meat and then the red peppers on top, drizzled with a few drops of the pan juices.


“For those who like perfectly cooked fish, cooking ‘a la sal’ is an easy technique to master. It guarantees success as the salt surprisingly does not permeate into the fish meat, yet it allows the fish to remain perfectly moist in a unique way, truly a dream of a fish course.

It is like cooking ‘en papillote’ with salt instead of paper.

“In Malaga I have eaten delicious lubina (sea bass) cooked in salt then simply brushed with an emulsion of pounded garlic, extra virgin olive oil and a touch of lemon juice with parsley and a Pipirrana de Jaén-style salad.”

2 kg coarse sea salt, or a little more if needed

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Spanish olive oil, for brushing

1–1.5 kg sea bass or sea bream (see Note)


Preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan/375ºF/Gas 5.

Put the coarse sea salt in a bowl and blend with the beaten egg white.

Line an oven tray with baking paper and brush the paper lightly with olive oil. Place the fish on top and cover completely with the salt and egg mixture, tightening around with your hands. The fish should be completely covered, just leaving the tail uncovered. Using a knife, mark the fish outline and then the outline of the head – this will help remove the crust once cooked. Bake in the preheated oven for about 28–30 minutes. A good trick is to pull the tail and if it comes free easily, the fish is cooked.

Once ready, remove from the oven and using a knife, again mark even further the outline of the body and the head, which will make it easier for the removal of the crust. The fish will appear completely clean without the skin and scales. Then it will be easy to remove the fillets without any salt attached and serve onto individual plates.

NOTE I recommend you find a fishmonger who can get you a good-size sea bass or whole bream still with its head and scales (the scales will remain attached to the crust while cooking). Also note that the fish must be gutted by making only a very small incision in the belly.


“I have to dedicate this recipe to my dearest friend Carolina Mier, who spoke Spanish with the loveliest Andalucian accent. 

“In September every year she brought not only delicious jams to our home El Zauzal, but also several kilograms of the sweetest almonds from her own garden.

“She particularly loved this recipe.”

250 g ground almonds

250 g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

finely grated zest of ½ a lemon

1 teaspoon runny honey

3 medium egg whites, beaten to soft peaks

60 g chopped dried apricots (optional)

a baking sheet lined with baking paper


In a bowl, mix the almonds and icing sugar. Add the lemon zest, honey and beaten egg whites in three batches, blend well each time to obtain an almond dough. Leave it to rest, covered, for 1½ hours.

Divide the dough into 18 pieces and shape them with your hands into rounds. Coat each one with icing sugar and press a piece of chopped apricot on top, if using. Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and leave them to rest for another 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/400ºF/Gas 6 and bake for about 8 minutes or until they take some colour.

Be careful as they can burn easily. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.