Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Spanish Fiesta, well kind of...


Summer (well what was supposed to be Summer) has come to end, which means back to uni. With that in mind I thought to end the summer with a bang! Which originally was supposed to be a BBQ, but due to the dreadful weather it turned out to be a somewhat Spanish themed dinner.

What's on the menu:

> Sundried tomato and olive bread (from Costco)
Chicken Paella
Feta and eggplant meat balls

> Patatas Bravas (Spanish styled potatoes)
> Spanish chorizo sausages (bought from Rodriguez's bros in Yagoona)
> Mango and tomato salsa
> Mixed leaf, beetroot and nectarine salad

Chicken Paella

When I made the chicken paella this time around it turned out quite different. I made the following changes:
> Used 1.4kg of cut thigh fillets
> 500g of aborio (which is about 2 and a bit cups)

Due to those 2 changes, it was a bit more dry, even though throughout some of the processes I added more chicken stock. The colour was also different. Either way the smell and taste of the dish was still there, just that second time (right) , it didn't turn out quite as flavoursome as the first time (left). 

Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas are Spanish styled potatoes, the reason they are Spanish is due to the sauces that the potatoes are eaten with. One sauce is a garlic aoili, and the other is similar to a spicy tomato salsa. The restaurant Encasa does these really well, which inspired me to give it a go.

Ingredients (recipe guided by how to cook perfect patatas bravas )

500g waxy potatoes (I used golden delight potatoes, and chose small ones that were roughly the same size which made them easier to cut and cook evenly)
Olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into 2-3cm chunks. 
3. Place in a roasting tray, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Bake for 50 minutes or until crisp and golden.

For the sauce (tomato based)

1. Place a splash of oil in a heavy bottom pan on a medium heat and cook the onion until golden and soft.
2.  Put in the chilli, and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, sugar, sale and smoked paprika and stir well.

4. Bring to the boil and turn down to a low heat so simmer for about 20 minutes until thick and dark.
5. Take off heat, add balsamic vinegar and stir.

I cheated and instead of making my own aoili (garlic mayonnaise) I bought some. Also I wasn't sure if my friends would have liked the sauces so I placed them in separate bowls. I also doubled the recipe, which means the potatoes took twice as long to cook, but turned out to be the best potatoes I have ever roasted! Crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside.

Mango and tomato salsa

Ingredients (4-6 people/sausages)
1 large mango
2 roma tomatoes, halved, deseeded
1/2 red onion
1 chilli, halved, deseeded
Lime juice
Olive oil


1. Peel the mango, and remove the cheeks and slice into 5mm pieces. (Practically a finely sliced consistency).
2. Slice the tomatoes to a similar size to the mangoes, and finely chop the red onion.
3. Finely slice the chilli.
4. Place it all in a bowl, drizzle a little bit of lime juice and olive oil and stir well.

I doubled the recipe when I made it. Furthermore, I purchased both normal and spicy chorizo sausages from the butcher and the salsa worked extremely well with both. The sweetness of the mango, with the hint of chilli, and the flavour filled chorizo was absolutely mouth watering. 

What a feast! This fed a party of 10, with some food still left over. I am pretty sure that everyone enjoyed all the food and it was a great way to celebrate a rainy night in with warm and cosy food. 

Good food, good times!


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