not everything even in David hidalgo's world is drama and crime. and not everything about him finds its way into a novel. here's a taster of some david hidalgo trivia. Send us a suggestion if there's something else you'd like to know...

A David Hidalgo playlist

A Hacienda Recipe

In Chapter 12 of Benefit of the Doubt, Juan is experimenting with a new menu in Hacienda. The recipe he uses in fact comes from Spain on a Plate by María José Sevilla (BBC Books 1992) p. 146-7, the book of the excellent BBC TV series. This recipe uses lots of sherry and comes from Jerez.

  • 1 jointed corn fed chicken
  • 150 ml of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 kg of Spanish onions
  • 2 deseeded, sliced green peppers
  • 1/2 bottle of oloroso sherry
  • 350 ml of chicken stock
  • 50g pine kernels
  • 50g sultanas
  • salt and pepper

Brown the chicken in the olive oil with the garlic until golden then transfer to a flame proof casserole or pot. Sauté the onions and peppers in the oil until soft then add to the chicken with the remaining oil. Heat the chicken and vegetable mixture over a medium heat, season then add the sherry. Reduce by half. Add the stock and simmer for a further half hour. Remove the chicken. Strain the sauce and reduce further. When it’s at the desired consistency pour it over the chicken (cut into small filets), sprinkle with the pine nuts and sultanas and serve hot.

You can either serve this on a bed of rice or surrounded by mashed or duchess potatoes.

Spanish cook’s tip: to serve mashed potatoes in the Spanish style, first mash them with a little butter or milk as normal but then whip them briskly with a balloon whisk for a few minutes until they become a light puree. This doesn’t need the addition of any more liquid and transforms the consistency of the potatoes until they become much lighter and fluffier than in the normal British style. If you want you could pipe them onto a serving dish and brown them under the grill before adding the chicken, sauce and garnishes.

Grateful thanks to María José Sevilla for this mouthwatering Arab influenced Andalusian dish. Juan and the customers of Hacienda say thank you too.

Spanish Pronunciation

Throughout the novels characters use bits of Spanish when the need arises and of couse many names are Spanish in origin. Understanding Spanish is absolutely NOT required to enjoy the books but having an idea of how to pronounce the words and names might be helpful. For example David Hidalgo has the pronunciation you'd expect among his Scottish friends but for Spanish people his name is more like Davith Ee-dahl-go. Not a big difference but maybe worth knowing. 

Anyway, if you want to investigate, here are a couple of useful links.

Firstly a formal survey of the rules then a more personal take.

Hope these are helpful and gracias (gra - TH- ias in Spain - gra-SEE-as elsewhere) for the effort!