Here at The Urban Villa hotel, we love food and get a kick from preparing and serving delicious plates to our guests, not to mention indulging ourselves! This time of year, we look for special winter goodies which warm the heart as well as get the taste buds tingling and being based on the Costa del Sol we’re really spoilt for choice!
Two very traditional Spanish Christmas sweeties have hit the shops now that December is here and that’s turron and polverones. Turron comes in many shapes and sizes, but is essentially nougat packed with almonds. There’s hard turron, soft turron, it is covered in chocolate and much more –whatever the form it is super sweet and addictive. You can’t have a Spanish Christmas without turron, so pick yourself up a variety pack and find your favourite!
Polverones are little Spanish sweet biscuits which you will see piled high wrapped in waxed paper and looking like big sweeties. These are incredibly popular in Spain, but what I would call an acquired taste! The word Polverones comes from Polvo which means dust and refers to the very strange texture of these little biscuits. They have a slight shell, but as soon as you bite them they disintegrate into tiny pieces and it does feel like you have a mouthful of dust. They are very tasty and again come in many different varieties, but I haven’t found one I like yet, so approach with care!
Chestnuts are still everywhere and there’s something very festive about picking up a paper cone of hot roasted chestnuts from the street corner. Something else which the Spanish do very well all year round, but is particularly welcome in the colder months is their “chocolate caliente” (hot chocolate). Forget the milky British version, this is stand your spoon up in it thick, rich and very naughty and is perfect for sipping on a cold evening, or dunking churros in for a decadent brunch. It’s sure to warm the cockles and put a smile on your face! Plus there are lots of international favourites available such as mulled wine from the Swedish and German establishments and mince pies from the British shops and cafes.
At The Urban Villa we grow our own produce in our vegetable garden and whilst not much grows this time of year, we have just planted beetroot, broccoli, leeks, garlic, spring onions, sweet peas and broad beans alongside our lemon and lime trees and our wonderful selection of fruit and nut trees.
Our talented cook Suny works hard to create delicious, seasonal dishes which blend traditional Spanish and international flavours and the results are simply scrummy. Right now she’s loving cooking with a wide range of lovely mushrooms and here she’s shared her Great Grandmother’s recipe for the best Mushroom Croquettes imaginable, made with porcini mushrooms.
Porcini Mushroom Croquettes
This delicious family recipe is easy to make, but make sure that the mix is creamy and almost liquid for the best results.
- 1 litre of full fat milk
- 60g butter
- 100g flour
- 100g mushrooms – porcini mushrooms are the best
- 1 onion
- 2 fresh eggs
Slowly cook finely diced onions in the butter in a large pan. When the onions start to turn golden, add the finely diced mushrooms and increase the heat to cook for around 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir until the flour looks toasted, then add the milk a little by little, stirring constantly, until you have a creamy, smooth mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave the mixture to cool in a shallow bowl overnight.
Then beat the eggs and put in a shallow dish with the breadcrumbs in another. Make little balls with the mixture, then coat it first in the breadcrumbs, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs again. When they are all done, fry them in plenty of oil over a high heat until they are golden and enjoy! The perfect winter party snack or treat.
Come and join us for dinner on our stunning Mirador Terrace, with views over Marbella and out to the Mediterranean Sea and even to Africa! We’re open for dinner every night for individuals and groups, but prior booking is essential. There’s lots going on during Christmas at The Urban Villa, with our special group Christmas menus, our Christmas Day festivities and of course our New Year extravaganza. As always, all parties will have delicious food using local, seasonal ingredients and lots of flair! Book your table and celebrate with us this year.