I’m unsure as to why, but I have been putting off writing this post all week. I think the profound success of the night, teamed with what I know will be an enormous post, started to become a daunting task in my head. Where do I even start?
Firstly, a huge, huge thank you to Matt from Inspired Food, Laura from Laura’s Mess, Alyssa, Aaron and Lexi for your amazing contributions to what is now becoming something I look forward to immensely every couple of months. A spread of food to be proud of and envied by all who didn’t get to experience it. (Sorry to my fabulous readers, I hope you can taste it through the screen!)
I am going to try and keep this a little more brief than last time. The Moroccan Table was an epic read…
I have to confess a cardinal sin… I went to Europe and didn’t go to Spain. In fairness to myself, this was before I would have considered myself a ‘foodie’ or as someone who is ‘on a food journey’ as I like to refer to it. I was more interested in croissants and Nutella crepes in Paris and Lasagne in Italy. I wonder if I even really knew what the term ‘tapas’ meant.
Google defines ‘tapas’ as ‘small Spanish savoury dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar.’ I think we hit the nail on the head…
We decided that Laura, Matt and myself would do do two dishes each, whilst the triple AAA’s would also do a dish. I set a beautiful table that was completely impractical for a share style dinner, but I thoroughly enjoyed bringing out my creative side!
As the dregs of summer ebbed away before our eyes with a cool day turning into a dreary, rainy evening, we embarked on a six hour culinary journey through Spain in the middle of Perth, Australia!
On tonight’s menu:
Matt & Alyssa:
Chorizo and Olives in a Cider Sauce
Churros and Chocolate Sauce
Paprika Chicken Wings
Laura and & Aaron:
Marinated Peppers with Fresh Herbs
Broad Beans with Chorizo and Lemon
Dulce de Lecce Ice-cream
Alexis and myself:
Twice Cooked Cider Braised Pork Belly with an Apple and Fennel Puree
Yoghurt Marinated Roasted Cauliflower with a Herb Sauce
Potato, Cheese and Chorizo Croquettes
“Snickers” Brownie with Choc-Chilli Sauce
First up for the night was Matt and his chunky Chorizo and Olives. Let me just explain my emotional state before I get started here. I had been doing Meat Free Week. I had gone seven whole days without ANY meat. As much as I have tried to cut down my meat intake quite a lot recently, I still struggle to go without it for more than a three or four days at a time, so a full week was quite an accomplishment for me. But you can imagine how I was feeling watching Matt taking care of each slice of chorizo in the pan, turning each piece over, making sure it had the right amount of crisp before reducing down his delicious cider juices. As if that wasn’t delectable enough, he then added olives and I LOVE olives. Plus, we all know what the smell of chorizo cooking is like. I almost had to wipe my drool off the kitchen bench. Waiting for this first dish was torturous for me, but absolutely worth the wait. What a spectacular start to the evening!
To accompany the chorizo, we had Laura’s marinated peppers – which were just perfect on some Lawley’s Bakery bread! Served with some subtle, delicate Spanish Walnut Oil and Brookfarm‘s delicious Chilli and Lime infused Macadamia Oil. These are such simple recipes, but they create a mouthwatering sensation that cannot be beaten. I strongly suggest you try them out at your next BBQ, gathering, pre-dinner drinks. They will get people talking and I guarantee the smell will have the neighbours wishing they were invited!
Next up: a bit of an experiment with Cauliflower – a very underrated vegetable in my books, though now seeming to get the credit it deserves in the form of creative cooking – cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash, cauliflower puree, and the list goes on.
The recipe I present to you tonight was a little bit of trial and error. I have to admit, I was pretty pleased with the outcome. I honestly believe that some of the best cooking comes from trusting your instincts. I also believe that a lot of recipes are better when you ‘go rogue’ and loosely follow instructions. (Baking is exempt from this comment though, that is an exact science. Don’t go rogue, please!) Particularly, when it comes to spices. For example; I love cinnamon, and the amount of cinnamon I would put in say, bircher muesli would be more than the average person by far. People’s tastes are different, I strongly urge you to trust me when I say trust yourself! Make this to suit your own taste. I’m not asking you to jump off a bridge here, I’m asking you to trust your taste buds. Make it to your liking. You can’t get this wrong, and if you do, it’s cauliflower, you haven’t refinanced the house to afford it. Though, please comment on how you get it wrong as I would really like to know!
Yoghurt Marinated Roasted Cauliflower with a Herb Sauce
Natural Greek Yoghurt
Salt and Pepper
Spanish Spice Mix (or any that you please, i.e. moroccan, raw el hanout) I used a Pulled Pork Blend from Your Inspiration at Home.
Break the Cauliflower into medium sized florets.
In a bowl, put enough Greek Yoghurt to coat all the cauliflower and mix through enough spice mix that when you taste them mixed together, you get a good hit of spice. Add some lime juice, enough that you get the lime flavour just cutting through the spice mix. You don’t want it to be particularly ‘limey’ just a hint of it cutting through to cleanse the palette. Add salt and pepper.
Coat the cauliflower in the yoghurt mix and marinate for an hour or two. Cook in a 180C oven until cauliflower is cooked through and yoghurt marinade is golden and crispy.
Herb and Yoghurt Sauce
Big handful of Coriander
Big handful of Mint
1 small Shallot (or you can use some Spring Onions)
1 clove Garlic
Red chilli to taste
1 tbs Lime Juice (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup of Greek Yoghurt
Flaked Almonds – toasted
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until relatively smooth, though it is nice to have some chunky bits of herbs.
Again, I am asking you to trust your taste buds here! Taste it, does it need more salt? Can you taste the lime coming through? Are you getting a hit of chilli?
Serve with some scattered herbs, some Brookfarm oil and toasted flaked almonds!
Whilst the cauliflower was in the oven, Laura was at the stove, continuing the assured neighbour jealousy with the smell of potatoes frying in oil and rosemary wafting in the air. Patatas Bravas, a staple at any tapas table! Crunchy, crispy, herby potatoes, served with a traditional tomato sauce and lots of herbs on top. The simplicity of traditional tapas dishes is astounding when you think about it and yet they just make your heart sing. Make sure you head over to Laura’s blog to grab the recipe! I adore watching her ‘plate up’. She is so delicate and caring about it and her dishes always look incredible as a result.
Round Three: Lexi’s Croquettes, Alyssa’s Chicken Wings and Laura’s Broadbean and Chorizo Salad.I can’t pick a favourite from this feast, I really can’t. I watched Lexi go through the steps of making these croquettes and whilst it might be a little time consuming, what a reward for effort! Served with a Lime and Avocado Aioli, they were amazingly good balls with crunchy deep fried outer goodness and soft centres full of chorizo and cheese; dangerously moorish. Is there anything better? You can check the recipe for these out HERE. Lexi added a big hit of smoked paprika and some chilli flakes for some extra kick.
Broadbean and chorizo salad was our token greens dish for the night. These were a bit of an eye opener for me, broad beans are not something I have cooked a lot with and I was very pleasantly surprised at the flavour infused into these little green jewels of joy! This salad was so fresh and I enjoyed every bite! Pop over to Laura’s Mess for the recipe.
Time to get our fingers dirty and tuck into Alyssa’s divine paprika chicken wings. The meat was falling off the bone and the wings were full of rich flavours! Food that is close to the heart is always eaten with the fingers. Fingers amongst friends can be a wonderful bonding experience! There is nowhere to hide and there is bound to be finger licking, food on faces and general etiquette is deemed unnecessary! You only eat with your fingers with true friends so whether it was intended or not, thank you to Alyssa for providing this ‘level up’ to our friendship!
Surely we’re at the end, right? Not even close! Our night of luxuriating with food was epic. I am so glad I didn’t have to drive home, let alone to the end of the earth like M and A, I couldn’t wait to crawl into bed and curl up in the foetal position, hoping that my food baby would stop feeling so uncomfortable. But I digress.
Cider Braised Pork Belly with an Apple and Fennel Puree. Oh me, oh my. You can check out the recipe over at BBC Good Food. When I next make it I will make the pieces smaller and easier to shallow fry at the end, but other than that I was very happy! Loved how the braising liquid reduced down to a yummy sauce, though I must admit I added a few extras like a dash of apple balsamic to enhance the flavour a little.
The apple and fennel puree was fantastic! So simple, yet a delicious addition to the dish! Check out the recipe HERE. I also served the pork belly with some fresh apple and fennel slaw, dressed with a little apple balsamic! What I love about these types of dishes is that they have all the elements; crunchy pork crackling, fresh crisp slaw, creamy puree, hot, cold, sweet, salty, a delight to the senses! Plork belly is just so wickedly indulgent, it’s hard not to feel so good about being so bad!
Sufficiently stuffed, that brings us to the dessert portion of the evening! I was thanking my lucky stars for dessert stomachs at this point! I could not fit another thing into my normal stomach!!
Matt was heating up the churros in the oven with the chocolate melting on the stove. Is it just me or is melted dark chocolate one of the greatest things in the world? I will forever be envious of Augustus falling into the chocolate river in Willy Wonka. When I die, I hope there is a special kind of afterlife to go to where chocolate contains no calories and is highly nutritious in exorbitant amounts… Churros recipe available over at Inspired Food!
Lex was warming her snickers brownies and chilli chocolate sauce whilst Laura was getting her incredible Dulce De Leche Ice-cream ready. Definitely one of those moments where your stomach is groaning and your mind is telling you it is way, way, way past time to stop eating and yet another churros is finding its way to your mouth. Stunning way to finish an incredible evening! Someone roll me to bed.
So what is on the next 3 foodies and a feast agenda? An Indian Table! Again, thank you to Eat Drink Blog for bringing these 3 foodies together. Another wonderful evening with fantastic food and company! What a joy to be part of! Stayed tuned for the next episode!