Another day, another feast.
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.
Round One – EAT!
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.
Round Two – EAT…some more!
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.
Round Three – EAT…even more!
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.
Round Four – That’s right we’re still eating!
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!
Round Five – You can do it…EAT!
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”
Chorizo and Olives in an Apple Cider Sauce
(makes enough for six)
What you’ll need:
- 2x chorizo sausages, 1/2 cm slices
- 1x red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1/2 cup of apple cider (sweet works well, but dry will also work)
- 70ml veggie stock
- large handful of pitted olives
- 2 teaspoons balsamic glaze
- small bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon to serve.
- Place a large flying pan over a medium heat, when hot add the chorizo and fry for 1-2 minutes each side until nicely coloured. Remove from pan and set aside. (do this in batches if you need too)
- Keep as much of the chorizo oil in the pan as possible, then add the onion for 3-4 minutes until soft and lightly coloured.
- Add the paprika and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Increase the heat to high, then add the apple cider and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the chorizo back to the pan along with the olives and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
- When you are ready to serve add the balsamic glaze, parcel and a good squeeze of lemon.
What you’ll need:
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 good handful of black olives, pitted
- 1 lemon, zested
- 12 chicken wings
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 100 dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 150g pancetta, diced
- lemon to serve
- Combine the onion, olives, lemon zest, chicken wings, garlic, oregano, oil, sherry and balsamic vinegar into a large bowl. Mix well and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Once the chicken has marinated, preheat your oven to 200’c
- Place frying pan over a medium heat, when hot add the pancetta and fry until nicely coloured on both sides, remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the pancetta and all the oil from the pan to the chicken, mix well then place into a roasting dish.
- roast for 45-60 minutes (depends on the size of your chicken wings) until nicely colour and the chicken in cooked through.
- Serve with a squeeze of lemon and some crusty bread.
What you’ll need:
- 250ml water
- 85g unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup self raising flour
- 3 large eggs
- veggie oil to fry
- 1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 heaped tablespoons sugar
For the hot chocolate
- 1 block cooking chocolate (i used milk chocolate, you can use dark)
- 3 tablespoons cream
- Combine the water, butter, salt and sugar into a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil
- Once boiling add the flour, reduce the heat to low and stir really well until the mixture comes together and no longer sticks to the side of the saucepan.
- remove from the heat and let cool for about 4-5 minutes, string occasionally.
- once cool, add the eggs one at a time and mix really well after each egg is added. (good arm work out! or use an electric mixer)
- Place mixture in a piping bag and select a nozzle that you like, I used a star.
- Heat about the veggie oil in a deep frying pan or wok (you want about 4 cm of oil) and heat so the oil is 180’c.
- Carefully pipe churros into the oil (use scissors or a knife to cut free from the piping bag) and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until golden turning occasionally. The should be crisp on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.
- Once the churros is cooked, combine the cinnamon and sugar and mix well, then coat the churros with the mixture.
For the chocolate
- Add the chocolate and cream to a saucepan, heat over a low heat stirring regularly until melted and combined.
- Serve and be amazed