Tuesday 27 February 2024

Madam Arcati Cooks the Books #4; Claudia Roden CBE

 Welcome back to the kitchen me dears. Today's delve into the Delargo Foundation Library's cookery book archive: 

Claudia Roden CBE (née Douek; born 1936)  - the Food of Spain; 1st edition 2011; my book is 2012 

Claudia was born to a Syrian-Jewish family in Cairo; she studied in London to become a painter before she became engrossed by the stories and recipes of Britain’s expatriate Egyptian community. She then began researching the first of the dozens of award-winning books for which she is famous.

Her family descended from Jews who had been expelled from Spain in 1492 and her grandmother, Eugénie Alphandary, spoke an old Judeo-Spanish language called Ladino with her friends and relatives when Claudia lived in Egypt.

Claudia Roden was already one of our foremost authorities on Mediterranean, North African, and Italian cooking but in this book she gives us the definitive cookbook on the Spanish cuisine.
It is a huge book covering every region of Spain in detail. It took her years to research and to write and that shows on the page. Her focus is very much on traditional regional dishes and how much do I love that? If, me dears, you would like to know more about the book you can find it here in her own words 


This is what Claudia says they should look like. My attempt is below this.

Ingredients correct

Filling and dough correct.

I halved the recipe but had forgotten this. I tried to divide the dough into the 4 or 6 pieces as the original recipe and roll them out to 10 cm rounds. I do not have any pastry cutters and did it freehand. I started to run out of dough rather quickly and this is why you see a shoddy mixture of large and small misshapen embarrassments.

They all went into the oven anyway, and they did taste lovely. (Not sure about the egg yolk glaze though)

I had wanted this book for ages and bought it at not a cheap price on Amazon, only to find the last few pages had obviously had a glass of wine spilt over them.
I could have been annoyed, but instead I enjoy knowing that the owner of the book takes the same pleasure in 'Cooking the Books' as I.

I love Claudia Roden because she gives context to her recipes: food and cultural history, geography, genealogy, poetry and jokes in all her books.

This photo of her by Vogue magazine with a goat is one of my favourites! Why they did that I have no idea, but knowing her work it captures a spark and a spirit most wonderful.



  1. They were indeed delicious! Never mind the odd sizes - we all like to cross-sample, dear... Jx

    1. Thank you dear. I will smarten them up next time.

  2. Ein gutes Kochbuch enthält Geschichte sowie Fotos und Anekdoten des Autors wie Claudia Roden. Die besten Empanadas kommen aus Argentinien, deine sehen gut aus. Mir ist die lustige Keramik Phallus aus Amsterdam aufgefallen, Sprechen Sie über Spaß in der Küche. :)

    1. Hello dear, lovely to see you in the kitchen
      The history of the empanada is interesting. It originated in The Galicia region of Spain and is a large square pie. They are first mentioned in a cookery book dating 1520 in Medieval Iberia during the time of the Moorish invasions. There is a smaller version of them called empanadillas from the Catalan region. this was the type taken to Latin America by the Spanish where the recipe has evolved further and I would like to try one.
      am glad that you like our memento of Amsterdam. It appeared in the first post by accident and is now a regular feature