Tapas Night Wrap Up

Finally my site is back up, so sitting here thinking of ways i can unleash my fury onto the ISP who seems to care neither about customer service nor reliability, and secretly hating the fact that I am so dependant on an internet connection to supply myself with basic information… I’m just no good with phone books.

After Tapas

So anyway, last night we had a great little tapas party and invited a few people over. It started off as a wine and cheese night… but although I love both wine and cheese to a rather unhealthy level, they don’t make a meal. So the wine/cheese/tapas idea was born.

Sharon and I spent most of the day cleaning up and then headed to Herdsman Fresh (my new favourite place) to stock up on supplies. The funniest part of the trip was forgetting to take the “Easy Tapas” cookbook that we pulled a few recipes from out of the shopping trolley, and watching the check out chick try to scan it… well actually maybe it wasn’t that funny, but i did chuckle. I will give her credit though… She’s probably one of the few teenagers out there who can tell the difference between shallots and brown pickling onions and accurately identify witlof… although she did get mistake the galangal for ginger. But still a great effort and a great store for buying fresh quality food.

Sadly we didn’t take any photos of the food… Perhaps because there was more wine drinking than eating going on for the first part of the night… So it all slowly descended from there.

I can tell you what we made though. Which was:

  • Baked Mushrooms stuffed with ham/cheese/chives/garlic (Sharon)
  • Potato/Chorizo/Mint salad (which cost a bloody lot less than $14 to make a massive bowl of, see rant on Duende post)
  • Chilli Mussels
  • Bbq’ed witlof
  • Tuna cubes marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce, and onion chives.
  • Artichokes & Calamari in white wine.
  • Ham/Chicken/Cheese Croquets (Sharon)
  • Marinated Octopus (well this just came from the fish monger)
  • Bbq’ed Turkish bread (char grilled turkish bread tastes so good)

As with all our dinner parties, we were woefully unprepared, and it seemed like we were cooking all night… but for once it didn’t really seem to matter. The great thing about tapas is the relaxed and informal atmosphere it creates to just snack away on little morsels all night until you slowly realise you’re full. You don’t have the rigid structure of entree, main, dessert to worry about, so you just graze happily until you don’t feel like eating anymore. Having 5 or 6 bottles to drink (about a bottle each, but i think i drank most of it) also helps.
So all in all a great success. I’ll definitely be doing one again soon.
I should also note the photo above isn’t mine, but i know you all skim right by when there’s nothing pretty to look at :) There is by chance a stuffed mushroom on that plate though…which looks very similar to the ones Sharon made.

Red Wine Risotto with Beef & Bok Choy

I made this meal tonight. It’s the first heavily savoury risotto i’ve made, and a bloody ripper, even if i do say so myself.

– Good quality fillet steak (i used rib eye, something nice and juicy preferably)
– Carnaroli rice – higher starch content than arborio rice means creamier risotto.
– Red wine (mine was the 2002 Riverbank Estate Cabernets, my nana bought it for my birthday… what a great nana :) )
– Tomatos (both real and pureed)
– Quality beef stock
– Bok Choy (this is for a change in texture from the rest of the risotto to add some bite)
– Rosemary
– Risotto stuff ( ive made a lot of risotto lately, so i seem to be repeating the same ingredients and steps, basically this means, chopped onion, garlic, and leek, combined in either butter or olive oil, used to coat the rice before adding stock)

So basically you cook it like you’d cook any risotto, except that before you cook the rice, you cut the beef into strips (or chunks should you so desire) and braise it in a combination of red wine, rosemary, garlic and a little beef stock. Then set it aside just as its medium rare.

Continue with the rest of the risotto, creating the base stock out of beef stock, red wine, and rosemary.

When your rice is ready to go, begin adding the stock, stirring when you need to, and towards the end add in the chopped and pureed tomatoes (as many as you like depending on how ‘tomatoey’ you want it). Then when the rice is almost done, add your beef back in, stir it through, and then add the bok choy and let it soften slighty before serving.

What you get is big juicy pieces of steak combined beautifully with succulent and crisp bok choy and tender carnaroli rice.

And yes, my photography skills are not improving… but fortunately my cooking skills are… so whilst it looks kinda ugly, it tasted really good …