the spanish table


Last weekend, I traveled to the coast of Andalucia. Well, at least in a culinary sense. The air was crisp and cool, the table strewn with colourful plates, glasses and embroidered fabric. I feasted on unctuous pork belly, spicy chorizo, smoky chicken wings, crisp broad beans and fried potatoes in spicy tomato sauce… tapas plates, all in aid of the second installment of what’s becoming a bi-monthly ‘feast’ tradition between myself, Jemima (Feed Your Soul, Perth) and Matt (Inspired Food).

chorizp chorizoolives

If you missed the first installment of the series, take a look at our Moroccan Table feast here. It was a night of giant proportions; incredible food, delicate cocktails, compulsive photo taking and great conversation. We had so much fun that we and our significant others (Aaron, Jemima’s sister Lexi and Matt’s girlfriend Alyssa) decided that we just had to do it all again. So last Saturday, we arrived at the same venue, readily equipped for a second round of cooking and feasting. That brings me back to my introductory point, tapas plates.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, tapas is the Spanish term for small, snack-style grazing plates that are served alongside beverages with ample conversation. I can’t quite remember how we decided on the the tapas theme. It was most likely the joint realization of three ambitious cooks who had just produced enough food to feed an army.


Back to last Saturday afternoon. We arrived at Jemima and Lexi’s house in the late afternoon with ingredients, enthusiasm and multiple glazed dishes (presentation is everything, right?). We started eating at around 4.30pm and finished up about five hours later. Yes, five hours of eating. But to be fair, there was a lot of cooking, drinking and conversation in-between.

mattalyssa lexcroquettes fysp

Here’s the menu:

Chorizo and olives in cider sauce
Marinated peppers with fresh herbs and goats cheese

Spiced cauliflower with chilli yoghurt dressing
Patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce)
Broad beans with chorizo and lemon
Paprika chicken wings
Cider braised pork belly with apple and fennel puree
Cheese and chorizo croquettes
Churros with warm chocolate sauce
Snickers brownie with chilli chocolate sauce
Dulce de leche ice cream

Yes, there were only six of us, and by the end of the night we were in literal food comas. That brought on a fair whack of delirium… and the byproduct, a mini-series pitch for ‘The Adventures of Gherkin Girl’. By the end of the night, we had decided on 1) Aaron as lead animator and 2) Mr Suave Potato Head as a love interest. Both neither agreed nor disagreed. Watch this space.


Anyway, we’ve decided that the second and third installments of our ‘feast’ series will be Indian and Mexican respectively, so get ready for more epic posts over the next few months. But in the meantime, please scroll down for three of my four recipes from our Spanish Table. The fourth recipe, marinated bell peppers with herbs and goats cheese, is available here (for reasons which may become obvious as you keep scrolling).


Patatas Bravas

Adapted from this recipe by Mary Cadogan, BBC Good Food

Serves 8 as a tapas dish

For the spiced tomato sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red (Spanish) onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you’d like less heat)
  • 1 pinch raw sugar
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh Italian parsley and finely grated lemon zest, to serve
  • Manchego Viejo (aged Spanish sheep milk cheese), to serve (optional; substitute Parmesan)

For the potatoes:

  • 900g blue or red potatoes (I used Royal Blue)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed slightly (leave skins on)
  • fresh herbs (optional as this is non-traditional, I used sage, rosemary and thyme)
  • smoked sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, for frying

For the spiced tomato sauce: Heat the oil in a large pan or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic and chopped chilli, fry for another minute before adding the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, smoked paprika, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until reduced and fragrant. Season to taste. Set aside for up to 24 hours for the flavours to develop.

For the potatoes: Fill a large saucepan with water, then place over high heat. Cut the potatoes into 2x2cm cubes, add to the water with a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Drain well in a colander for 10-15 minutes (or until still warm but dry on the outside).
Heat the 2 tbsp of oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium-high heat with the garlic and herbs. When sizzling, toss in the potatoes and sprinkle with smoked sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Fry, turning regularly until the potatoes are crisp and golden on all sides. Drain on paper towels before tipping the potatoes into a serving dish.

Reheat your tomato sauce if necessary. Serve, either atop the potatoes or in a separate serving dish, sprinkled with the parsley, cheese (if using) and lemon rind.



Broad Beans with Chorizo and Lemon

Serves 8 as a tapas dish
  • 250g frozen or fresh double podded broad beans
  • 1 chorizo sausage, skinned and roughly chopped (I like to crumble mine into rough chunks by hand)
  • 1/2 long red chilli, finely sliced (remove seeds if you wish)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • a dash of sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of fresh parsley, washed, leaves picked
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil starts to separate and the meat starts to crisp up. Add in the crushed garlic, chilli and broad beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broad beans are slightly golden and crisp.

Pour over a little sherry vinegar and sprinkle over the parsley leaves and lemon zest. Mix well and season to taste.

Transfer into a serving dish and top with the lemon wedges. I like to eat these broad beans with a squeeze of lemon juice to cut through the rich oil of the chorizo.



Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Adapted from this recipe by Mariana Crespo, Epicurious

Makes 1.5 litres

  • 2 cups full-cream milk
  • 1 cup pure cream (not whipping cream)
  • 350g dulce de leche (Argentinean caramel, I used El Asador brand)
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add the milk and cream to a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Allow to boil, then immediately remove from the heat. Add the dulce de leche and whisk continuously until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla. Taste and add a little salt if desired. Transfer into a bowl or airtight container, then refrigerate for 3 hours or preferably overnight.

When completely chilled, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to directions. Transfer into an airtight container and place in the freezer until ready to serve.

We served this ice cream alongside warm churros, brownies, plentiful chocolate sauce and peanut praline. Absolute bliss.

brownies dipThanks again to Jemima, Lexi, Matt, Alyssa and Aaron for being wonderful cooking, drinking, cleaning, inventing and dancing buddies over the past two feast nights. It’s been grand.

Check out Matt’s photos from the feast night and his and Alyssa’s recipes for chorizo and olives in cider, paprika chicken wings and churros with chocolate sauce here.

Follow this link to see Jemima’s post and her and Lexi’s recipes for spiced cauliflower, cider-braised pork belly, croquettes and snickers brownies with chilli chocolate sauce.

porkbelly pbdone2cookingpbgiving

74 responses

    • Thanks Jess, they’re delicious aren’t they! We had a fantastic night of eating in great company. Definitely recommend doing a tapas night if you can organise one! x

  1. Oh goodness! My mouth is watering!! All I know is that I’d have no problem polishing all of it off too! Don’t mind a food coma every now and then! Everything looks fantastic and it must be so nice to cook with friends ….who know how to cook :)

    • Hahaha, thanks Nazneen! Yes, the food coma was entirely worth it (once every two months isn’t so bad!). And it’s such a privilege being able to meet up with people who are just as passionate about food as you are! x

  2. I just love that you and friends/fellow bloggers get together for these gorgeous meals. Exploring the food from other countries and cultures is such a great idea and the food is beyond amazing.Everything looks incredible and I adore tapas, small plates is my favorite way to eat.

    • Me too Suzanne, I love being able to try a bit of everything. So much fun meeting up with likeminded food bloggers (who have now become friends!) too. Hope that you get an opportunity to do the same thing where you are? xx

  3. Fantastic post Laura! Your photos are amazing as always! :) I hope Aaron has been working hard on the Adventures of Gherkin Girl :) It was wonderful to catch up and cook/eat plenty of food again. Looking forward to the next one!

    • Hahaha! Yep, he’s got two months to get episode one together for the Indian feast! :) Was so much fun to meet and eat with you guys… you and Alyssa did an incredible job with your dishes. Seriously impressed! Can’t wait to get our Indian on ;)

  4. I was just telling Matt how good this feast looked and I’ll go again for you. You guys are off the freaking hook!!! Damn fine looking food and artwork. And kudos on having enough smarts to get more beer early! I wish I was there!

  5. Haha. I nearly choked on my cookie when you opened with “Last weekend, I traveled to the coast of Andalucia”. I was so jealous… and still am with all this wonderful, glorious food. I don’t ever want to see or hear about that dulce de leche ice cream ever, ever, again unless I’m sitting in your kitchen eating it. Kay?

    • Oh, how I wish the Andalusian trip was reality Jen! Would’ve been so wonderful. But hey, the feast was an almighty second option! You know you’re welcome in my kitchen at any time, right? That darn Nullarbor is getting in the way though! x

    • It was actually heaps of fun cooking together! We did a few of the steps at home prior to arriving (the more time consuming, messy tasks) so the rest of the prep was a breeze. The added bonus was being able to witness our different cooking styles. I enjoyed every bit! x

  6. oh my goodness!! A night of giant proportions; incredible food, delicate cocktails, compulsive photo taking and great conversation, indeed!!!! Now this is a dinner party! How fun to get together with other foodies and bloggers. . I can’t believe you guys made all of this delicious food and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. This is like the ultimate dinner party menu. Bravo!

    • The feast was absolutely ridiculous Alice! Food comas indeed! Wish you could’ve been here also. Your husband would’ve been in ‘carnivore heaven’! x

  7. Oh I love this! My husband and I love doing tapa nights! Patatas bravas and chorizo with honey are our favourites! Last summer in Spain I kept taking pictures of different tapas whenever we were out eating so I could get home and hunt down the recipes but it’s harder than it seems! Yours look wonderful. :-)

    • Oh I’ve never tried chorizo with honey! That sounds delicious Julia! I know what you mean about tracking down recipes… a lot of the ones available online are rather westernised. I’d like to buy a proper Spanish tapas book one day :) Thanks for the kind words! x

  8. Five hours of eating!!!!! I am so impressed. I am almost finished with this book, French Kids Eat Everything, which is an amazingly fascinating account (to me) of how an American mom moved her family to rural Paris and their trials in assimilating into the food culture (Americans are huge snackers, fast-eaters, and eaters of a lot of empty carbs)–her kids had a lot of issues in school in the beginning and learning about how they adapted is so interesting. In any case, the book talks a lot about how the French are slow eaters and how meals can be drawn out over hours and hours. It makes me long for a lesiurely meal like this one!

    The food all sounds AMAZING, particularly the potatoes, cauliflower and CHURROS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the peppers. And the dulce de leche ice cream. And the brownies. Ahhh. I so wished we lived closer so we could do this!! I love the tapas theme! You and your friends are AWESOME.

    • That book definitely sounds like a worthy read Erika. I’ll have to try and track it down! And yes, slow eating was definitely the name of the day. We definitely overcatered but as a bi-monthly thing it wasn’t so bad. Wish you could’ve been here too… with Erik, of course. You could’ve helped us with our Gherkin girl storyline! x

  9. Food induced delirium is the BEST sort of delirium. I don’t know how you could have ended the evening any other way with such DELICIOUS and plentiful quantities of food around – I am exceedingly jealous (particularly of that chorizo, and those brownies. And the ice cream. And the croquettes. And churros. Everything. I’m jealous of EVERYTHING.)

    And Gherkin Girl? I reckon we need to have Snr Patata Brava in there somewhere – some sexy and (slightly smarmy) Spaniard always getting in the way of Mr Suave Potato Head … Oh dear. You know what this means? I’m joining in with your crazed creativities and I don’t have food delirium as an excuse for my madness. Best put a sock in it before I officially sign my own papers for mental sectioning.

    • Hahaha, you definitely should’ve been here to help with the Gherkin girl storyline. Snr Patata Brava sounds like the perfect addition!!! He could have some sort of flamenco costume… or failing that, he could be a potato version of Zorro who completely outshines the boring but charming Potato Head. Oh yes, I could go on with this all day…! MsTrixie Pin, you need to move to Australia so we can be mad together! x

      • I reckon turning myself upside down would be a very bad thing indeed. All that blood rushing to my head – who knows what I might do … (Australia is upside down, right?)

    • Thanks so much Caeli! It was definitely a lot of fun. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know some of my fellow bloggers online, but it’s an extra bonus when they live close enough for regular catch ups! Wish you could make the next one… fancy a trip across the Nullarbor? x

  10. Spending the day with friends is always a great way to pass the time. Splitting the time between cooking and eating is probably the best way possible. You guys really did it right and the food looks delicious!

  11. So much fun, so much beautiful food! I love that you brought your ingredients and all cooked together instead of just bringing the finished dishes. That prolongs the event and, I am sure you agree, it’s so great to cook with other people! I have a really good girlfriend, a Scotswoman who lives in Kuala Lumpur, who I love to bake and decorate cakes with. We don’t stop laughing and, yet, produce some awesome cakes! Looking forward to both Indian and Mexican night!

    • Thanks so much Stacy! I’m glad that you have a friend with a similar passion for food, albeit a little bit further away! Do you visit Kuala Lumpur often? I’ve loved these foodie feast nights. It’s been heaps of fun to cook with other talented foodies who don’t take life too seriously ;) x

    • Oh, it definitely is Ruby! So is Mexican food, I can’t wait to try our Mexican feast… though you could probably teach us some things if you were here! Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  12. Excellent! I’m in Andalucia, as I’m visiting my parents, they live there. The place where they live is known for its fried seafood. The problem is that anywhere you go to eat, you just get fried seafood – which even though they make it delicious, so you get tired of mainly only that. I like your Andalucian version better (this is more of a Seville version of tapas :) ). Lucky when I’m here my mum also makes Indonesian food too :)

    • Ohh, what a shame I’m not really in Andalucia :( We could’ve had a grand time… eating fried seafood, I suppose! It’s nice to have a snapshot from someone who actually lives in Spain. I’ve only been once but I adored every part of my visit, particularly the tapas. I guess I don’t know enough about the regional nature of tapas to comment on specifics but everywhere I went I found patatas bravas! I tried ceviche (delicious!) but not any type of fried seafood. Over here in Australia most restaurants serve ‘hybrid’ or ‘fusion’ styles of tapas incorporating all sorts of things (hence Lex’s addition of the brownies!). I must get to the real Andalucia one day and experience some of what you’ve described :) Oh, and yay for Indonesian food! x

  13. Your broad beans with lemon and chorizo sounds divine – what an awesome combination of flavours – think I could eat an entire bowl of just this! But then again when there is all that other amazing sounding food on the menu I’m sure that I could find room on the plate for it as well. I can see why you where all sent into food comas by the end of the night. Love that you are making this a regular occurrence and sharing it with us so that we can join in the international feasts! xx

  14. Laura – as you know from my recent post on tapas, we love the concept and the ones you have here are stunning. I want to try the pork belly so much, and the dulce de leche ice cream? I can’t wait for that! Thanks for sharing you intimate evening of conversation, food, imbibing and fun!

    • Yes! If I had seen your stuffed date post before the tapas night I would have definitely made some for the troops! Shared food makes for such a good eating experience. Plus, you get to try so many different, delicious things. Thanks for the lovely comment my friend. I appreciate it!

  15. Oh wow! This all looks so good! I fell in love with Spanish food in Barcelona last year! Late night patatas bravas are pretty much the best! I’ll have to try making more Spanish cuisine at home.

    • Thanks so much lovely. Yes, I agree completely… late night tapas in Barcelona is one of the most beautiful experiences ever. So delicious! Definitely give this recipe a try, it turned out really well. Thanks for the comment x

  16. I think this is my favorite way, above all, to eat. Even at restaurants, I’m more likely to order a couple of appetizers or small plates instead of an entree. Our kitchen is nearly done (just waiting for the table, chairs, and the last of the cabinets) and we’ll be ready to entertain in our new home at long last. Just in time for Spring and Summer. These tapas ideas are going on the menu !

    • I completely agree with you Susan, small plates are such a fun way to eat. I love variety ;) So, so glad that the kitchen is almost done! Woop! You are going to have so much fun cooking and photographing in your new environment :) Thanks for the comment xx

  17. What an awesome spread Laura! I love how your get-togethers are themed around different cuisines. The food looks delicious…hard to pick a favourite. I adore pork belly and equally love broad beans but then desserts look amazing too.

    • Thank you Sonali! Haha, I know your sweet tooth (and your dessert skills!) very well! I’m looking forward to the Indian and Mexican get-togethers. Will be lots of fun xx

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