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).
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.
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).
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.
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
- 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.
Thanks 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.