Spanish Flavours

Rosa Jamon

** Update **

Rosa and Spanish Flavours have finally moved to their new location at the top end of Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn. They are no longer in the Wembley Food Court. The new premises has the deli section as before with chorizo, jamon, and cheeses, and then on the other side is a cafe where they’ll be serving coffee, churros and breakfasts.

New location is 413 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn (or close to it, look for the Spanish flag coloured building).

I’ve been telling everyone I know about Spanish Flavours since the first time I found about it myself. It is the only (to my knowledge) Spanish providore in Perth, and more importantly, the only one run by Rosa, the dynamo proprietor and doyen of all things Spanish.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a home cook or an award winning chef who’s been running restaurants for years. Rosa will tell you how it’s done. Her cheeky smile and attitude are what fills the humble little store with life and makes it something special. Just ask a few stupid questions (like I do every time), then sit back and wait to be educated.

Rosa’s chorizo is used all over Perth by the most discerning chefs. You’ll find it on the menu at Cantina with her name attached in homage. I really can’t quite say just how much I love it. There was a phase not so long ago where I think I lived on it for the better part of a few weeks. I’d put it in omelettes, paella, risotto, pasta, grilled, fried in red wine, fried in cider, fried in it’s own luscious fat and juices. Friends and late night visitors to my place will attest to just how satisfying it is to mop up a bowl of Roas’s fried chorizo with a thick piece of bread smothered in butter.

flaming chorizo

Aisde from chorizo, her’s is also the best place to find jamon iberico, jamon serrano, manchego cheese, a delicious goats cheese that the name of which escapes me, quince paste, guava paste, saffron, tortilla flour, smoked paprika, paella pans, cazuelas, paella rice (calasparra), and everything else you need to make your next Spanish dish as authentic as possible.

Also, *plug plug plug* if you’d like to know a little more about the delightful lady that is Rosa and her possible links to the world of gypsy magic and mind reading, check out my article in the latest edition of Spice Magazine, which aside from what I scribble down on napkins and throw at Anthony to print, is a rather quality publication with fantastic local content.

Rosa was kind enough to donate some of her time doing what she loves best (talking) so I could put together a little story about the shop, where she’s come from, and where she’s going.

Jabugo La Jabuguena JamonSpanish Flavours :: Guava pasteSpanish Flavours :: ChorizoSpanish Flavours :: PimentonSpanish Flavours :: Paella seasoningSpanish Flavours :: GuayaquilSpanish Flavours :: Papa CriollaCazuelaJamonJamonSlicing Jamon at Spanish FlavoursSlicing Jamon at Spanish FlavoursSlicing Jamon at Spanish FlavoursRosa from Spanish FlavoursRosa from Spanish FlavoursRosa from Spanish Flavours

Spanish Flavours
413 Oxford St
Mt Hawthorn
(08) 9284 1313 (unless it’s changed)


Chorizo Ragu with Polenta

Chorizo Ragu on Polenta

Just to prove that I can and do still cook on occasion, what with all these fancy schmancy restaurant reviews peppering the pages of late.

This dish is a highly unfaithful recreation of a dish I was fortunate enough to enjoy at a Slow Food Perth lunch in a what seems like a lifetime ago, making sausages at the home of Vincent Vitrelli. After wading our way through a good 100 kg or so of pig, we had time for a spot of lunch. The dish of the day for me was a delicious creamy polenta topped with Monte San Biagio sausage mixture, simmered in a little white wine.

This attempt had nowhere near the finesse of course, but I am happy to announce that my love of polenta is now assured, as is my ability to think of it as something other than the dry brick served at some Italian restaurants.

For the Ragu
Take a couple of good chorizo sausages (I had neither so I used some fairly ordinary chorizo and upped the paprika , chilli, and garlic levels myself) cut them up into chunks and set them to simmer in a glass or two of red wine. Add chopped garlic, onions, and tomatoes, and let it simmer until it starts to break down. At this point I added some chicken stock, salt, pepper, and passata, and then just let it all reduce down to a stewy consistency. A dash more paprika, and some fresh parsley finished off the dish, which was probably cooking for 30 mins or so.

For the Polenta
Despite what you may be thinking, there is no real trick to it. Aside from make sure your polenta is well lubricated with water, a little milk to finish, and I season mine with butter, salt, and cracked pepper. I’m not sure if this is heresy or not, it may well be, but it personally tastes like cardboard otherwise…
Whilst I’m happy for the polenta to be the starchy vehicle to drive the ragu home in a nice marriage of texture with flavour, I would prefer to be able to do something with it on it’s own.

I used a pretty standard brand, and initially used 3 cups of water to 1 cup of polenta. Set this on a medium heat and bring it to the boil… then reduce and let it simmer and bubble away until it gets thick. At this point I add more water, half a cup at a time, and continue stirring until it absorbs. Somewhere down the line, add some milk, a 100g of butter, and a good dose of salt and pepper, until the flavour is something in the realms of tastiness and the texture is soft and gooey. I like my polenta quite runny, and find it cool to watch the science experiment take place as it firms up on the plate when served.

I’ve been told its ready when the polenta starts to stick to the sides of the pan properly, but that seems an inexact method for me, so just let you conscience be your guide.

Serve it with a rioja or perhaps some fava beans and a nice chianti…

Butternut Pumpkin Risotto

Butternut Pumpkin Risotto with Chorizo flakes

So in lieu of actually writing a new post, I’m resorting to the quintessential one I prepared earlier… this was dinner from a few nights ago… however the recipe is a little ripper that I pulled together last year, formerly Double Pumpkin Risotto, but now refactored into single pumpkin (downsizing is inevitable these days).

Butternut Pumpkin Risotto

  • Risotto rice (Aborio, or even better Carnaroli)
  • Half a butternut pumpkin
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cream
  • Chicken stock
  • White wine (I used unwooded chardonnay, but i don’t think that’s significant, I just wanted to let you know)
  • fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

How I Made Mine

This one will again be pretty short on specifics because I’ve made so many risottos that writing out the specific technique in detail again is like running my nails down a black board.

So suffice to say you make a risotto like you normally would. Fry the onions/leek/garlic in some butter or olive oil and then add the rice. Coat the rice in the veges and then add the wine, maybe a cup or so. Once the wine has absorbed, start adding the chicken stock (which has been simmering on the stove nearby) a ladle full at a time.

The different thing about this dish though, is the pumpkin purée. I made mine by chopping up the pumpkin into little chunks and putting it into a pot of salted water to boil until soft but not falling apart. When the boiled pumpkin is done, drain it, and put it into a blender along with some thickened cream, salt and pepper, and purée until it’s a nice smooth texture throughout. Seasoning or adding more cream until you get the consistency you’re after… which should be a thick liquid.

So once the risotto is about half way cooked, add the pumpkin purée and stir it through well. The moisture in the purée will continue to be absorbed by the rice, so let it simmer for a while and soften up, before finishing off with a good handful of grated parmesan. I also sprinkled chopped chorizo flakes over the top, which had been quickly fried til slightly crispy.

A delicious winter warmer if ever there was one…

Chorizo and Chick Pea Stew

Chorizo and Chick pea stew

In a rare display of creative fervency, I’ve decided to post more than one thing in any given week… So I hope you’re all realising how lucky you are… and are basking in the happy glow that only my biting sarcasm can provide.

You may have just read my post on The Pony Club restaurant… a tapas restaurant Sharon and I went to visit recently. The other part of the story that I didn’t share was that we had a little encounter as we were leaving. As we were strolling out the door and down the steps, mumbling to ourselves at how much of a rip off it was, and how we could have made better at home quite easily, when suddenly we heard a “snap”, turned around, and there was a photographer standing on a ladder with her camera pointed directly at us.

“Can you do that again ?” she said…

“What? Walk out ?”

“Yeh… but a bit slower this time”

“Yeah sure, why not”

So Sharon and I spend the next 5 minutes walking up and down the stairs and looking at the menu on the door with introspective contemplation, while she continued to take shots of us, to be used somewhere down the track in a review of the Pony Club for the Qantas inflight magazine.

I thought it was all quite hilarious, and being an amateur photographer of increasing aplomb, I swiftly handed her my card and let her know I’d appreciate a copy of them. None have arrived yet, but that might just be because the review hasn’t turned up in the magazine yet. If their review was anything like mine I somehow doubt it will… but then I can’t see Qantas magazine putting a byline of “Overpriced Spanish Flavoured Crap” on any of their reviews in the near future.

So after wandering off feeling like C-grade celebrities, we headed straight for Fresh Provisions to pick up supplies for this very dish. With keen determination to make it better and significantly cheaper than we’d just experienced.

Chorizo and Chick Pea Stew

  • 1 Chorizo sausage (I use Mondo’s Hot Chorizo)
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes, or tomato puree
  • 2 whole tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • Splash of red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 chillis (leave them out if you don’t like it hot)
  • 1 lemon
  • Anything else you want to add ie: capsicum, whole paprika, olives, etc

How I made mine

So simple it’s not even funny. Fry your chorizo in a little olive oil and then add the splash of red wine to deglaze. Wait til it’s absorbed into the chorizo a little and then add the garlic and onion. When they’re starting to soften, add the tomatoes, tomato puree, and chickpeas, then stir through well. When it’s thickening up nicely, add the paprika, chilli, and any other spices you might find, stir it through well, turn down the heat, and walk away.

Come back in about 20 minutes or so and you should hopefully have a nice thick hearty, spicy concoction, worthy of any drunken Spaniard.

Serve with a few thick pieces of crusty bread smothered in butter, and a wedge or two of lemon for a continental tinge.

So easy and quick and tasty… and with the volume I made of it, possibly worth a small fortune in a trendy tapas restaurant. Fortunately I am a VIP in my own dining room, I don’t think I could afford to eat there otherwise…

Fancy Aglio Olio

Fancy Aglio Olio

Some days laziness pays off. It was late, I was tired, Sharon was tired, the fridge was basically empty except for a few slightly mouldy looking vegetables and the cupboard was bare ( and so the poor dog had none ).

So I starting my normal routine of sifting through the usable ingredients from those that would be best confined to a hazardous materials containment area. What I came up with was.


  • Pumpkin (over 75% of usableness)
  • Spices (lots of, to roast the pumpkin with)
  • Basil (wilting, but still flavoursome)
  • Pasta (dried :( )
  • Chorizo (didn’t know I had any, but cured, so should still be good)
  • Cherry tomatoes (the ones at the bottom were all smooshed, but the ones on top were still good)
  • Olive oil (I have lots of it now… which i’ll be writing about soon)
  • Garlic (enough to scare off a coven of persistent vampires, always handy)

I started by peeling and chopping the pumpkin, then covering it will all the spices I could find (ok, not all of them, but a few), which was coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, dried chilli, salt, pepper. Then drizziling them in olive oil and roasting them on a tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so.

I then chopped the cherry tomatoes, chopped some garlic, mixed the garlic and tomatoes together with lots of olive oil and the chopped basil, started frying to chopped up chorizo, and then added the tomato mixture. Let that all soften up a little and then threw in the pasta (which had been secretly boiling in a large pot with a little salt and olive oil the whole time). Stir it all around, add lots more olive oil, some crushed garlic, the roast pumpkin, and some more olive oil for good luck.

What you get is fancy aglio olio (garlic & oil) :)

Spiced Roast Pumpkin Pasta with Chorizo

Just the thing to hit the spot after a hard night of lying of the couch, playing video games, watching downloaded episodes of Little Britain (Computer says no…), and generally mooching about. Sharon gave it the thumbs up and so I have another quickie to throw into the repetoire.

5 things to always have in the cupboard for gourmet emergencies

  1. Dried Pasta
  2. Canned Tomatos
  3. Risotto Rice
  4. Sea Salt and Black Peppercorns
  5. Liquid chicken stock

5 things to always have in the fridge for gourmet emergencies

  1. Milk
  2. Fresh basil and spinach (if not in the garden)
  3. Chorizo (Or equivalent pork based sausage product)
  4. Onions & Garlic (my garlic actually lives on my bench)
  5. Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Let me know if you can think of anything to add to those lists.


Yes, I have been lazy… No real excuses either, other than the fact that I haven’t been cooking a lot of what I’d call gourmet quality food lately.

I did make quite a tasty meal for Dan and Mabes recently, but we were too busy talking and eating to take any photos.

I also promised to write up some of the new green coffee beans I received last week, but i’ve been more interested in roasting and drinking it… Misplaced priorities indeed.

For now, here’s a photo of tasty Saffron Chorizo Risotto i made recently. It’s basically the same recipe as my other risotto recipes, except that I add a few strands of saffron in along the way to give some nice colour and flavour. I think once you’ve got the risotto base down pat, you can really do whatever the hell you want with it.

eat me... it sang


P.s – i think i bought a house.

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.