Archive | June, 2012

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Aioli

27 Jun

Alice’s tortilla looked delicious! It would be wonderful with a side salad for dinner. I like this tapas run that we have going and I’m not quite ready to quit it yet.

So here’s another tapas recipe.

I was at the farmers market this past weekend and spotted these fingerling potatoes which inspired this dish.

Usually in the winter time I roast vegetables on a regular basis. It’s a great comfort food and serves the purpose of heating my kitchen as well as making my house smell really good. It’s summer time here and a bit warm, so using the oven is not the very best idea, but was worth it for these delicious little potatoes.

I washed the little guys

Tossed them with some olive oil, cumin powder, paprika and salt.

I use a small plastic bag and put the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients in it and toss. This allows me to use less oil and completely cover all the spuds with the spices.

I placed them on a lightly oiled baking sheet

Added some sliced smoked aged chorizo

and fresh thyme and baked them at 350 F for 40 minutes.

When the potatoes are soft enough to spear with a fork, pull the pan out of the oven and serve.

This can be served hot on its own, as a side dish with roast chicken, or room temperature with a dipping sauce. I served it at room temperature with an aioli dipping sauce.

To make an aioli, you can either add garlic and a little lemon juice to store bought mayonnaise or you can make it from scratch. I attempted to make my own for this dish, but was disappointed with the result, so I’ll continue to experiment and bring you my successful attempt in the future.

I added some chili sauce to some of the aioli for a spicier version. It was delicious!

OK Alice, have we tapped out the tapas?!

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
½ pound of potatoes
1 chorizo link, sliced
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Toss potatoes with oil, thyme, cumin, paprika and salt until well covered. Pour onto lightly oiled baking sheet. Add sliced chorizo and place into heated oven for 40 minutes.

Serve hot or room temperature.

Aioli w/ store bought mayonnaise
½ cup of mayonnaise
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Mix together until smooth.

As a variation, you can also add one tablespoon of garlic chili sauce to the  aioli.

Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Potato Tortilla)

23 Jun

More tapas! 

A tasty share plate that I discovered in Trinidad, is similar to this tortilla, and I thought it would work in our imaginary party here.

This one is a traditional version, that has a only little smoked paprika for extra flavouring. After you have made it once this way, you could experiment with other flavours… maybe add some chorizo to the onions as they cook, layer some olives through the potatoes in the final cooking phase.

I started with these ingredients…

Some potatoes… I selected Nicola because I thought waxy potatoes would hold together well… onion, eggs, olive oil, some salt and smoked paprika.

I sliced up the onion and cooked it in a liberal amount of oil in a small non-stick frypan. Then I drained the onions over a bowl, and put the oil back in the pan.

I peeled and then sliced up the potatoes in this rough-hewn style…


In batches I cooked the potato in the oil on a low heat, I took my time, it is best that they cook without browning. I cooked pretty much a single layer of potatoes at a time. When each batch was tender, drained them on top of the onions, and re-used the oil for the next batch.

When the potatoes were all cooked, I beat the egg a little, and added some salt and smoked paprika. Then I mixed through the well drained cooked potato and onions.

They all went back in to the same, lightly oiled fry pan and back on to the low heat.

I cooked the tortilla until it was nice and crispy around the edge, and the egg on top was a little set. I then turned it upside down on a plate. I lifted the pan off, and slid the tortilla back in to the pan to cook the other side. Then it was browned on the other side, and I was happy the egg was not toooooooo firm, I slid it from the pan on to a plate to slice it up, ready serve.


It doesn’t need to be served hot, you could serve it at room temperature happily. I sprinkled more sea salt and paprika on to the served pieces. Slice just before you serve.

What do you make of that B? Will you break the tapas spell I am under?


Tortilla de Patatas
based on this recipe

1 brown onion, sliced
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped by hand in to rough hewn chips (see above)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt + extra to sprinkle
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika + extra to sprinkle
Olive oil (around 100ml or 3oz)
Using a small non stick fry pan, cook the onion over a low heat, with enough oil to cover the onion generously. You want to flavour this oil with the onion and then use the same oil to cook the potato.When the onion is transparent, drain in a sieve over a bowl, and pour the oil back in to the pan.Cook the potatoes in batches in the oil, when they are tender drain them in the sieve with the onions. Re-use the same oil for each batch of potatoes.Beat the eggs with the salt and paprika, and then mix the well drained onion and potatoes through the egg mixture. Pour in to the small oiled pan and cook over a low heat until the edges are browned, like and omelette would be. Carefully flip the tortilla on to a plate, and then slide back in to the pan to cook the other side. When it is browned on the other side, slide from the pan to a plate or chopping board.Slice in to cubes to serve and sprinkle with some sea salt and a little smoked paprika.

Chevre-stuffed Peppadew

18 Jun

I love the direction of our last few posts. Tapas are my favorite meals, small flavourful bites that seem more like a snack than a full meal. It allows you to taste quite a few small dishes, rather than having to commit to one full dish. I’m dying to try Alice’s croquetas soon. It might just be a good excuse for a party!

My friend Kate, a wonderful cook, introduced me to these beauties. Peppadew peppers stuffed with herbed goat cheese.

They are a little zingy, but not too spicy and are great as a little nibble.

This really takes just a few ingredients and only a couple of minutes.

Peppadew peppers, which can usually be found in the olive aisle or in the olive bar at the grocery store, chevre – a fresh, mild goat cheese, fresh herbs, fresh cracked pepper and some milk or cream to thin out the cheese.

Chop the herbs and add them to the chevre along with a couple of grinds of pepper and a splash of cream. I used thyme and rosemary, but you could use chives, oregano or even some lavender for a different flavor.

Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Then spoon the chevre mixture into a small ziplock bag. Zip the top and cut off a little corner to make a piping bag.

This is my trick for piping and filling things quickly and neatly. You can use fancy pastry bags, but this is my preferred short cut.

Squeeze the filling into the peppadew.

Fill all the peppers

Serve with a nice glass of Spanish red wine and other assorted nibbles.

Perfect for a nice summer night with friends.

Chevre-stuffed Peppadew

20 peppadew peppers
4 oz chevre (fresh goat cheese)
1 teaspoon of fresh herbs, chopped finely
1 tablespoon of cream or milk
2-3 grinds of fresh pepper

Mix the chevre, herbs, cream and pepper together. Spoon into piping bag or just a small zip top bag and cut off the corner to make a piping bag.

Squeeze the cheese mixture into the peppers. Serve.

Alright Alice, where’s the party going from here?!

Croquetas de Jamón (Ham Croquettes)

11 Jun

Sangria, sangria, so many happy memories, so many headaches the next day. It is such a glorious way to enjoy a summer evening though!

I was thrilled that B took us to Spain in the last post. One of my absolute favourite places to eat, is MoVida, in Melbourne. Since I have been back here I have been there three times. It is a tapas and racion style of eating. I love the delicate mixes of flavour, and the dishes that pack a punch. We still reminisce about the smoked eel croquetas we had the first few times we ate there. I have always wondered if these morsels are hard to make, so I did a bit of google research, and found a recipe for ham croquetas that looked pretty bloody good. From what I understand, the inside, no matter what the flavouring you decide on adding, is a thick roux. You then cool the roux, make balls and crumb them, preferably with Panko bread crumbs, and deep fry. When they are fresh out of the oil, they are unctuous inside with that crispy outer layer, and basically… delicious.

Here is what I used…

Plain flour, Panko bread crumbs, olive oil, milk, nutmeg, butter, a leek, eggs, Manchego cheese, and cured spanish ham. I used slices of Monte Nevado Serrano which is cured for at least 12 months.

I started by chopping up the leek, then melting the butter and cooking the leek in the butter over a medium-low heat for a few minutes. While that was cooking I piled the ham up and sliced it up as fine as I could. I then added 3/4 of the ham to the leeks and allowed to cook until the fat is rendered (melted).


Then I added the flour, mixed it through the buttery mix to make a roux, and let it cook further, while stirring well. I then put some milk in a pan to heat it.

When I was convinced the flour was cooked through (it had been a good ten minutes) I ladled the hot milk in to the roux gradually, stirring well between each ladleful. I kept cooking and thickening the sauce until it had a consistency similar to mashed potato.

Then I seasoned with black pepper and nutmeg, and added in the last 1/4 of the ham.

When that was all mixed through I put the mix in a bowl and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours with some cling film pressed on to the surface to prevent a skin forming. You could even make it the day before.

When the mix was chilled, good and proper, I grated up a bit of Manchego cheese using a Microplane to make it super fine, and mixed it though some Panko breadcrumbs.

I spooned out some of the mixture from the bowl and rolled it in to a ball, then dipped it in the egg, and rolled it in the breadcrumb mix. I ended up making them a little smaller than the picture below, as I wanted to make sure the insides were warmed in the time it took to deep fry them.

And lined them up on a plate, ready to fry.

I chose a small saucepan to reduce the amount of oil I would need, and filled it to around the height of the croquetas. I heated the oil and tested if it was hot enough by dropping in a small bit of crumb and waiting until it sizzled happily. The picture below shows my careful attempt with only a couple of croquetas, by the end I was much more confident and was frying about eight at a time.

I used a slotted spoon to scoop them out, and then let them rest on paper towel for a minute before serving them. Do serve them right away, they are best hot.

I served them alongside some Manchego cheese and some olives with anchovies as a pre dinner snack. I wish we had had sangria too.

I would love to work out how the smoked eel ones are made now.

So B, I know you are busy this week, but I am looking forward to where your next post takes us. Over to you…


Croquetas de Jamón
Based on this recipe from The Guardian.
Makes around two dozen.


100g (3 1/3 oz) cured Spanish ham, chopped as fine as possible.
60g (2oz) butter
1/4 medium sized leek, chopped
60g (2oz) plain flour
2 cups whole milk, heated
Grated nutmeg, to taste
2 free-range eggs, beaten
90g (3oz) panko breadcrumbs
30g (1oz) Manchego, finely grated
Around 2 cups of olive oil for frying

Melt the butter over a medium-low heat and gently cook the leeks, add in 3/4 of the ham after a few minutes, and cook until the fat of the ham has melted. Add in the flour and mix through well, continue to stir over medium heat for around eight minutes, and then add in the hot milk, gradually. Continue to stir.

Stir the mixture until the texture is like mashed potato, then season to taste with black pepper and nutmeg. Add in the rest of the ham, and mix well.

Put the mix in a bowl and cover with cling film pressed on to the surface, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Grate the Manchego cheese and mix in with the Panko breadcrumbs.

Scoop out walnut sized pieces of the mix, and roll into a ball. Coat with egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan and when oil is hot enough to sizzle breadcrumbs with vigour, add the croquetas in batches. Turn as they cook, and when they are golden in colour, remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate covered with paper towel.

Serve straight away.


1 Jun

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has been salivating ever since Alice posted those gorgeous photos of Karen’s super secret panna cotta recipe. Where to go from there? How about a nice refreshing beverage? Maybe with some of the same bright citrus flavors?

I do love red wine, but when it’s hot outside like it has been here these days, red wine is a bit heavy. Here’s a beverage for the hot days – sangria. It’s a refreshing punch-type drink that includes wine, sparkling water, fruit and ice.

You can make this beverage by the pitcher for parties or just by the glass if you want something refreshing to drink with dinner.

Like most things that I make, this recipe is meant as a guideline, a mere starting point. Feel free to adjust it to your own tastes.

I use inexpensive wine for sangria.

The Two Buck Chuck  wine works perfectly fine for these purposes.

Chop up the fruit

I prefer oranges, apples and lemons or limes.You can also add cherries, grapes and strawberries. You can also adapt this recipe for white sangria and use peaches, nectarines, pears and apricots with a bottle of white wine.

Mix the wine, sugar, sparkling water and triple sec, then add the fruit.

Let the fruit soak in the wine mixture for a while, as especially the apples taste great with the lingering wine flavor.

Add ice and pour.

Garnish with additional fruit slices and serve.


1 bottle of red wine, cabernet sauvignon or merlot
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of triple sec (orange liquor)
½ cup of brandy (optional)
½ cup of orange juice (optional)
2 cups of sparkling water
½ orange, chopped
½ lemon, chopped
½ apple, chopped

Pour the wine into a large pitcher, add the sugar, triple sec and sparkling water. Add chopped fruit and ice. Serve.

Alice? Are you thirsty? Where are you taking us next??

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