It’s early, the morning sun has just peaked its head above the horizon, glowing through the clouds. I sit, coffee in hand, reminiscing on the latest feast with Jemima (Feed Your Soul Perth), Lexi, Laura (Laura’s Mess), Aaron and myself. The last time we got together we were all transported to the wonderful world of Morocco. We each decided on a number of dishes to make, shared good food, booze and amazing company. We decided after the last one that we must make this a regular occurrence. It was decided that the next feast should be a Spanish Tapas inspired dinner. Well folks, it has happened.
Again not having done much traveling outside of Australia, my thoughts on Spanish Tapas were preconceived through books, TV and the Australian attempt at Spanish Tapas restaurants. The idea behind tapas is simple, a wide variety of entree sized dishes that can be shared, eaten over a long period and served throughout the night. It was designed in order to encourage conversation without having to focus on eating a large meal all at once. Throw in some spanish flavours, have a few cold beers, maybe some wine and there you have it, your very own tapas night.
Jemima volunteered to play hostess again, and after the amazing job she did with the Moroccan table, how could we refuse? We decided on a 3.30 start time to make the most of the Autumn light, however after leaving the house without the serving bowls, Alyssa and I had to make a mad dash back to pick them up, we arrived a little closer to 4pm. When we arrived Laura and Aaron were already there (well Aaron was making a quick trip for more beer, you can never have too much beer!). Outside we spotted another beautifully set table, along with some very dark clouds over head, but there was no way those clouds were going to stop our feast from taking place.
Laura and myself were up for round one, after cracking open a few beers, wine and ciders we proceeded to prepare our dishes. Laura made an amazing dish that consisted of marinated peppers with fresh herbs and of course, bread (with two massive bread lovers present it would be dangerous not to serve at least one loaf of bread!). The combination of the fresh herbs and peppers were to die for, this meal instantly transported you to Spain (well at least it did in my head!). I decided to make Chorizo and olives in an apple cider sauce. It wouldn’t be a tapas night without fried chorizo and warm olives. These two dishes went down a treat and was the perfect way to kick start feast number two.
After pretty much demolishing the first two dishes, we then headed inside to do a quick clean up, ready for round two. Laura and Jemima were in charge of the next two dishes. Laura opted for Patatas Braves (again wouldn’t be a tapas feast without them!). They were delicious, crunchy and fluffy just the way they should be. Accompanied with a beautiful spicy tomato sauce, these were divine. With three meals down we were yet to see some veggies, but Jemima came to our rescue when she served up roast cauliflower with a spiced yogurt. This was a welcomed addition to the mix, light and tasty with an amazing yogurt sauce with a small kick of chilli… Yum.
Two rounds into the night, a quick break and some more washing up, we were ready for the next round to begin. It was great to see some of the non-food nerd bloggers of the group have a crack at making some dishes. Round three was Lexi’s, Alyssa’s and Laura’s turn to shine. This was the first time the group got to enjoy Lexi’s and Alyssa’s cooking (of course I’m lucky enough to eat Alyssa’s food on a regular basis 🙂 ) Lexi made some potato, cheese and chorizo croquettes, these were up there with my favourite dish of the night, soft, crunchy, yummy goodness that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Alyssa made paprika chicken wings. What can I say? The combination of paprika and chicken was divine, but the sauce it was cooked in…yum! Hints of lemon, pancetta, sherry and olives, even at this stage I was thinking there needs to be more bread. By this stage we had a lot of bold, rich, delicious flavours but when I saw the bowl of green broad beans in Laura’s hands I got excited. Laura had made a beautiful broad bean, chorizo and lemon salad. Perfect to refresh the pallet ready for the next round.
As the evening progressed and we all became slightly more food crazed, the conversation soon turned to gherkins in a can (apparently this is a common snack overseas?). There were many (many) laughs. At some point throughout the night Aaron had drawn a Mr Potato head picture on some paper that was laying around. It was decided that Mr Potato head was lonely and needed a friend, and thats how Gherkin Girl was conceived. This conversation probably lasted longer than any conversation involving a Gherkin should, but it was highly entertaining and the adventure of Gherkin girl will live on.
By this stage our breaks between rounds were getting longer, everyone seemed to stay slumped in their seats working up the energy to get up and prepare the next round. Jemima was flying solo for this round. Cider braised pork belly with apple and fennel puree, thats all I really need to say about this round. Who doesn’t love pork belly? The melt in your mouth texture, followed by the crunch of the crackling, the richness counteracted by the apple and fennel puree, ah so very good!
It was getting later, we survived the rain and were surviving the chill of the breeze. It was time for dessert. Lexi, Laura and myself had decided to make dessert. Yes that’s right me and dessert, it’s definitely not a common combination, but I’ll get to that. Lexi made an amazing Snickers brownie with a chocolate and chilli sauce. This was a perfect start to the dessert round. Normally the sweetness of brownies is a little to much for my non sweet tooth, but this brownie has the perfect balance. Laura had made Dulce de Leche ice cream and was the perfect addition to Lexi’s and my dessert. Laura also made ice cream for the Moroccan table which was just as amazing, it’s clearly a skill she has mastered! As for me, I made Churros, I have a slight addiction to these spanish donuts and is usually fuelled by walking past any San Churros store. When it was decided we were having a spanish night, I couldn’t show up without these bad boys!
Foodies make the best friends, five courses of amazing homemade tapas style food served over five and a bit hours. There were plenty of laughs, just the right amount of beer and enough food to feed an army. I’m so glad to call these amazing cooks my friends, not only are they great cooks, they are genuinely great people. The next two dinners have been decided, Indian followed by Mexican…I can not wait. “YUM”