In the end I had two tapas nights: one at my mum’s house, and one in our new place. There were so many things I wanted to try, but I have to say, I had mixed results.
The first night featured gazpacho, croquettes, salads, mini tortilla, stuffed mushrooms, tomatoes with sausages, and olives. Instead of setting things out on little plates I plated each thing up onto mixed plates, to save washing up and not overwhelm everyone 🙂
I followed a recipe for Tortilla which I can’t find now, which unlike the wrapping for burritos is actually a sort of thick fritter made of caramelised potato and onion. I had sort of success here. They were tasty, but looked nothing like they should have.
I made salads of fried sausage pieces and cherry tomatoes, and raw zucchini, cucumber and baby spinach. I stuffed the mushrooms with a mix of minced mushroom stalk, parsley, pine nuts, bread crumbs and walnuts, with a generous amount of nooch and sage mixed in, and baked them until squishy.
I used my own generic gazpacho recipe as well, blending tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red capsicum and a teensy bit of garlic and chilli, in deference to a table of chilli and garlic haters (other than me). I added some tinned tomatoes because the raw ones weren’t ripe enough.
Up until this point everything went pretty well. Tasty, warm, filling etc. There was of course, one exception to my success – the croquettes.
I should have known I was overreaching a little when I decided to make a vegan and gluten free version of something which is in effect just deep fried white sauce, without access to a deep fryer, the time to let the sauce sit overnight as required, good gf bread crumbs or a very detail-oriented personality.
I made my usual white sauce, but let it thicken past my usual end point, and let it sit and cool for about two hours. I use a mixture of rice flour, nooch and hand-made crumbs to coat it, and decided to bake half and fry half, to see what would work. In the end I baked the fried stuff as well, because it melted everywhere without crispying up.
Of course the shapes didn’t hold in either method, because of my refusal to follow a recipe and let the mix stand overnight, or to use egg (obviously). The fried method resulted in very tasty, melty, kind of gross oily white sauce mush, while the baked method resulted in less tasty (but still good), less oily, but still kinda gross white sauce mush. The fried-then-baked version melted all over the tray, but developed a better crunch than the just baked version.
Tapas 2 featured chilled almond soup, bravas in tomato sauce, tomato salad, cheese bread and garlic bread, marinated mushrooms, and olives.
I got the chilled almond soup recipe from the book, Mediterranean Food. It was good, but not my cup of tea. I threw some fried sausages, cherry tomatoes and herbs together for the salad, which was brilliant, and has become a recurring item here at chez Keira and Mr. The olives came from a jar (gasp!), and the bread was just chopped and toasted.
I marinated the mushrooms using my short-term method: cook mushrooms in and small saucepan with olive oil and water, add garlic, dried thyme, fresh parsley, and salt, until they are dark brown and squishy. Let cool.
The real star of the show were the bravas. I’ve never eaten authentic bravas, so I have nothing to compare these to, but they were fab, hot, spicy, crispy and served with tangy tomato sauce.
To make them I fried the chopped potatoes until crispy and cooked through in a non-stick pan (which took ages), and tossed them with garlic, garlic powder, pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin and olive oil. I served them up with a tomato sauce made of onion garlic, tinned tomatoes, sriracha chilli sauce, sugar, salt and a little vinegar.
I think the second night worked out better than the first, but this was probably because I didn’t reach as far, and was able to use gluten and garlic with abandon. The bravas and tomato salad will join the mushrooms and olives on my “make again” list, by I think I’ll be leaving the croquettes and tortillas and almond soup to the experts.