Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Eating in Spanish - RIP 17 March 2008

Gazpacho: tomatoes, red and yellow bell pepper, Spanish onion, cucumber, garlic, basil, mint, chives, flavoured with orange, red wine vinegar, lemon and olive oil served with walnut and rosemary buckwheat flat bread.

Chef Notes
The colour just wasn’t quite right – too many green herbs and not enough tomato. The orange juice came through just but not sure whether it took away from the sharp onion and cool the cucumber. Flatbread was flat and decidedly dry – good flavour though.

Orange flavoured rocket topped with crispy prosciutto, sliced figs, roasted almonds and mint then topped with manchego cheese and nutmeg

Chef Notes
The mix of sweet figs, crunchy almonds and refreshing mint foiled the rich flavours of the prosciutto and manchego (puts cheddar to shame). The orange flavour worked better this time and combined with the rocket lifted this rich combination of ingredients.

Baked tortilla of kipfler potato, fresh peas, black olives, caramelised red onion, manchego cheese, paprika, lemon rind and basil cooked in a saffron aioli and served with cumquat segments.

Chef Notes
Such a rich dish – melting manchego and creamy saffron aioli. Didn’t want to serve this with any greenery – sometimes you just need to soak up the flavours. This dish tasted completely Spanish to me: the poor mans vegetable, olives, caramelised onion, paprika and bitey cheese crowned by the unique taste of saffron. Tangy cumquats continued the citrus theme.

Frozen orange shell filled with chilled cinnamon, lemon zest and pine nut ricotta and served with basil and honey baked figs.

Chef Notes
The orange shells provided an authentic if slightly tacky presentation. The cinnamon ricotta is a favourite and pine nuts gave it a great texture. While it was a warm night, the grilled figs, still bubbling with honey and basil ensured the dessert wasn’t just ‘a bowl of ice cream’.

I think Spain warrants another menu – maybe a Catalan focus. But I promise less cervezas and better photography.

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