Sunday, 12 August 2012

Cooking with Friends a la España

For me, cooking is very nice and enjoyable, but it is even greater to cook together with friends. We used to do this more often, when I was still younger. I even went several kilometres by bike to cook together with friends. Nowadays, everyone seems to be more busy and such events have become seldom. Well, another thing might be, that I live in another area than back then and it now would take a several 100 km to travel to do the same with them.
Whatsoever, it is good to have friends and even more important is to have time for each other and do things together. Finally then, we managed again. OK, the idea was to cook and eat together. Last time we did it, we just mixed a few recipes together to have a small menu.
This time we (well, I had the idea) wanted to have it themed, like maybe French, Italian, Turkish, Thai, Spanish or something else. We settled for Spanish. After going shopping for a few things then, in the evening we were ready.

Here is the menu a la España:

Jamon serrano
Olivas verde
Almedras al pimiento
Queso con miel y tomillo
Chorizo al ajo y miel
Champiñón al ajo
Aioli y pan
Dátil frito
Brochetas de pollo y tomate

Chuletas de cerdo al estilo de Aragón

Churros con chocolate con naranja

Well, it might be all Spanish to you, but the first section were tapas, then the main course and of course finally the dessert.
As to the tapas, a few things were very simple ... only putting things on plates like with the jamon Serrano and the Lomo or transferring the olives from the glass to a bowl.
The cheese with the honey and thyme was only a tiny bit more effort, but with great effect.

Originally we would have used manchego cheese here, but unfortunately the shop we selected was poorly stocked. Instead we decided for Gouda, in fact in this case a so-called May Gouda. We didn't pay any thought as to what that would mean. Anyway, we ended up with a very very strong smelling cheese. After touching it with your fingers, it would take several thorough washings of your hand to get rid of that smell again.
Whatsoever, the taste and especially in that combination was totally delicious and for a cheese lover such as me, it was addictive.
So far to the simple things. The paprika almonds called for blanched almonds, which we didn't get. Consequently we went for blanching them ourselves. Just put them for a minute or so in hot water and then you can remove the skin easily. Really!

This was the beginning. It didn't go so well as expected ...

... about one hour later. Hm, not exactly, but it took quite some time. After putting them again in hot water and ... here comes my brave friend, which we will call Mr S, into play. He took the almonds directly from the hot water and removed the skin ... ouch, but a lot quicker.
Before we went into the other tapas it was time to get the main course, the pork chops a la Aragón, ready for the oven.

Slices of potato in an oven proof dish. Maybe a few slices too many, but ... whatever!

The seasoned pork chops go on top after some white wine was poured over the potatoes.

After that a mixture with parsley, garlic and almonds on top and it's ready for the oven. 
That gives us the opportunity to go back to the tapas.

Here we have the garlic mushrooms. From this point on everything went in quick succession.
After the mushrooms had left the pan, the chorizo came in. Obviously I didn't bother to take a photo. The chorizo slices were fried with garlic and finished with honey and sherry vinegar.

Out of the pan into a bowl they went to make room for the dates filled with chorizo and wrapped in bacon to be fried. Strange, for that I have a picture again.
Once they were finished and the chicken tomato skewers as well, the main course went to the oven at 200°C to be left there for 45 minutes - at least.
After about two hours of preparation and cooking, it was time to eat. If you have a look again at the menu at the tapas section, you maybe can imagine what followed.
Well, somehow, we were already quite filled, once the pork chops came back from the oven.

That's what they looked like. Somehow the potatoes didn't soak up the white wine as promised in the recipe, but ... anyway. No one was willing anymore to have a proper main course.

So we did some 'fine dining' portions.
Strangely, though, there still was the call to have the dessert, which would take a while to prepare anyway. After that most probably there would be the slight possibility that more food will fit in. 
As to making churros. Making the dough is fairly easy. You have 500 ml of lightly salted boiling water and sift some 300 g of flour into it and then combine it with an electrical hand mixer. Leave it to rest for let's say ten minutes.
After that you have the churros dough or a self-made paste for wall papers as well. If you don't want to use it to hang wallpaper you put it into a piping bag and pipe it into screaming hot oil and fry it. What shall I say ... that stuff killed my piping bag. I need to get a better one.

Despite that they go well with melted chocolate and if you add some orange zest to the chocolate it tastes divine ... if you still can take it. The recipe book gave some extra information about churros. It's popular to have them with chocolate after you have danced through the whole night, which we didn't do, or you can have them for breakfast with coffee, which I did the next day.

At the end we had a wonderful evening and on top of that we have created a bit of leftovers ... I still have to deal with some potatoes and pork chops.

Why not come together with friends and have a great evening together with cookin. Do you like to do something like this as well? What have you done? Leave a comment and let us know ...


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! It was and it was really a lot of food ...

  2. beautiful menu. I love everything what's spanish!!


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