Cubiletes de Amalia - Foods from Asturias

Behind every family recipe there is love. Pure, simple love. And fond memories. Cubiletes have been a long tradition at ours and it is one of the most coveted recipes I have. Every year, on December 23rd, Amalia and my mum would make cubiletes and casadielles for Christmas Eve. The roles in the kitchen were always the same: Amalia led, my mum followed and I observed.

Amalia was generous enough to share her family recipe with my family some +30 years ago. She started giving some of these treats to my dad –back then her neighbour- on Christmas and when he got married, she taught my mum how to make them. She was one of the most loving, caring, humble and respectful people I have ever met. She wasn’t my grandmother, but I love her as if she was. It breaks my heart that today we will be doing the cubiletes without her, that we don’t have her warm smile, her loving words, her advice and experience leading the baking session. But the thing about family recipes is that they keep the essence of the person who passes it on long after they are gone. She isn’t here, but somehow she is.

Los cubiletes de Amalia

Merce, Amalia’s daughter, has been kind enough to let me share her mum’s recipe with the world and I will always be grateful for that. You are a lucky bunch, trust me.


Cubiletes, a step by step recipe

Yield: 24
You will need cup-shape moulds

Ingredients for filling
250g ground almonds –if you can toast and ground them on the same day much better-
250g sugar
2 eggs, beaten
8 tbsp white wine
powdered sugar to decorate

Ingredients for the pastry
500g flour
2 tsp baking powder
160g sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
250g unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tbsp white wine

Cubiletes

We will prepare the filling first as we need to let it rest while we make the pastry.

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients gently until well incorporated. Once you have a soft paste let it rest while you make the pastry.

In a medium bowl, add flour and baking powder. In a big mixing bowl, mix sugar and egg until well incorporated. When you have a yellow paste then add unsalted butter, white wine and olive oil. Once all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly add slowly the flour and baking powder mix and stir with a wooden spoon. You will know that the dough is ready when it isn’t sticky and you can handle it with your hands.

Cubiletes

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Take a little ball of dough and place it into a cup-style mould. With your hands, shape the ball of dough into a thin layer, stick to the mould. The thinner the better. Then add the almond filling with a spoon. The filling will expand while baking so leave some space on top.

Cubiletes

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes keeping an eye on them to avoid burning.

Let them cool and then dust with powdered sugar.

Cubiletes
 
 

It is all about the tomatoes

The guys behind Con Raíz, a young organic farm in the heart of Asturias, know a thing or two about growing healthy organic tomatoes

Leer en castellano


The young couple behind Con Raíz, Lorena Veiga and David Puertas, believe in chemical-free agriculture. They both have Agricultural Engineer degrees and ethics is probably one of the main reasons why they are willing to share their tips to grow healthy organic tomatoes here on Foods from Asturias. 

As it often happens, Lorena decided to go for the farm life dream when she had had enough of unchallenging, non-motivational jobs. She admits that now she works harder than ever, being her role one that requires physical power. In return, she has never been happier at work. 

Lorena's eyes sparkle when she speaks about her tomatoes. People at her local farmers market, where she has a stall every Saturday (La Felguera, Langreo), didn't believe her at first when she assured them that she doesn't use any chemical pesticide or fertilizer. Two years on, the unique flavour and soft texture of her tomatoes have won her a well-deserved reputation, hers are likely the best tomatoes in the valley and at this point no one questions her organic approach.  

Lorena has agreed to share her tricks to grow her impressive tomatoes.  

One of the most reliable organic fertilizers she uses is nettle extract. She recommends using it "as soon as you plant the tomatoes, ideally around March/April" and adds "it really does make a difference". 

When the plant is around 40 centimeters tall, Lorena prunes the suckers. She does this to achieve nutrient-dense tomatoes. By pruning the suckers she allows the rest of the plant to get more sunlight, what makes more energy for the plant, which eventually means bigger, healthier tomatoes.

Another important point to consider is to stake the tomato plants so that they have a guide to grow. Lorena uses a plastic clamp to attach the plants to the cords that lead the tomatoes' way up. The clamps leave the plant some breathing space and are consistent enough to deal with the weight. 

When the plant has eight to ten tomato bunches, they cut the top of the main branch of the plant, so that the energy and nutrients go to the fruits instead of to growing the plant ad infinitum.

To fight the aphid they use another animal to kill it, an insect from the swaps family that basically eats the aphid. To fight the fungus they have tried two ways, one using bicarbonate, and the second, which they favour, using a mixture of milk and water. The proportion is two parts of milk for eight of water. The milk must be whole. Once it is well mixed, they spray it on the tomato plants, always during the day as these plants don't like to get wet and the sun dries them quickly. 

"Lately I have been using homeopathy" says Lorena, "it is very complicated, you need to know in which stage is the plant, the environmental factors..." She admits that her first try didn't work as she would have liked, she thinks because of the doses, "I need to understand it better, it takes time".  

Con Raíz deliver their nutrient-packed veggie boxes every Tuesday, which you can order online, or you can find them at the farmers market in La Felguera every Saturday. If you hurry you might catch the last tomatoes of the season! 

Con Raíz

Cuturrasu, Langreo