On the final leg of Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure, the bikers are travelling through southern Spain in the footsteps of the Moors, heading for Costa del Sol and the midsummer festival of San Juan.
They begin their exploration of the Moorish influence on the culture and cuisine of Spain in Valencia. Renowned as one of Spain’s most fertile areas, crops have been cultivated here since Roman times, but it was the Moors who perfected the irrigation systems that allowed farming to flourish and, to this day, Valencia is a destination for those seeking out world-class produce.
The bikers head straight for the market to taste a local speciality, horchata, a non-alcoholic drink made from tiger nuts. They meet food enthusiast and amateur historian Anton, who shows them how horchata is made and fills them in on the basics of local history. Inspired by the Moorish influence they are beginning to discover, they cook ajo blanco (a white gazpacho) and pataquetas (crescent-shaped bread rolls).
Back on the road, the bikers head inland to a secret valley where the Moors cultivated crops on dramatic hillside terraces before they were evicted in the 15th century and replaced by Christian families. They meet the descendants of those families to cook a local twist on paella – a rice dish with rabbit and cherries.
Hairy Bikers Mediterranean Adventure ep.6 dishes:
1. Garlic mushrooms with sherry vinegar
This is really a kind of mushroom escabeche. It can be made just with white, button or crimini mushrooms. But is more interesting if a selection is used, such as chestnuts, portobellini and others.
2. Moorish meatballs
Certainly more-ish, these Spanish meatballs are made with lots of spices and served with crunchy patatas bravas.
3. Padron peppers
Use a good-quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling here if you can – the oil used for frying can just be a basic, light olive oil or even vegetable oil.
4. Garlic and chilli prawns
Serve this as a main (for 4 people) or for up to 6–8 people as part of tapas, starter or part of a salad.
This crescent moon-shaped traditional Spanish bread is made with a ferment, so you need at least 48 hours to get it going before you make the recipe.
6. Ajo blanco
This white gazpacho soup should be creamy with a mild hit of garlic. You don’t have to peel the grapes, but it’s so much better if you do – it means there is no hint of tannin, just a bright, crisp sweetness.