Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tapas Dinner At Home

I was so excited when I informed YB that one of these days, we'll be having tapas for dinner. I drafted out the menu while we were in Perth about 3 weeks ago (ideas kept swimming in my head so I needed to get them out and on to paper!) and boy, I realised that some shopping was required for tapas dishes/plates and plenty of ingredients which we do not stock up at home.

It's too easy to spend money in a jiffy. Hmmfh!

If you're new to this like I was, and before you head off the supermarket and buy whatever you need in excitement, please do the following:

First - browse the Internet for ideas and dishes you may like to try.
Second - choose your recipes and list down the ingredients to buy.
Third - decide which day of the week to execute the plan.
Fourth - tableware is not important, unless they're really cheap! (E.g. Daiso)

I had initially jotted down 7-8 dishes (and one fake Sangria) for the menu but after careful Internet browsing, the menu was planned for:
Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Prawns)
Calamares a la Romana (Fried Squid Rings)
Patatas Bravas (Potatoes in tomato sauce)
Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Omelette)
Vegetarian Albóndigas (Spanish Chickpea balls)
Champiñones, Pimentos y Ajo (Mushroom, Peppers and Garlic)
Well, we can always do it the Chinese way by stir-frying everything and just presenting them in tapas dishes and voila, you have your tapas! :D

Spanish feast for the night from top left and clockwise:
couscous (additional), calamari rings with aioli sauce, chickpea balls,
plate of four: potato in tomato sauce, smoked paprika prawns, garlic & pepper mushrooms
and a non-Spanish omelette.

Anyway, this was dinner on 25th September (Wednesday) and boy, it was tough!

It was tough as there were so many mini dishes to prepare and I couldn't keep everything warm while cooking another dish! By the time it was served on the table, everything was cold.

So the recipes for the above dishes were adapted from:
Calamares a la Romana
Patatas Bravas
Vegetarian Albóndigas
Champiñones, Pimentos y Ajo
Gambas al Ajillo
Since we we running late, we skipped the Spanish omelette and made a normal omelette. It was almost 8pm and we were starving!

Our favourite dish that night, yums!

I loved the calamari rings the most because we cleaned up the squid and cut the rings ourselves so we knew it was fresh and not the store bought frozen ones. It was springy!

The prawns with smoked paprika was delicious, due to the smokiness in its flavour. I haven't cooked anymore smoked paprika dishes but ooh, the aroma was lovely!

I should have made lamb meatballs instead!

The chickpea balls were not great, as the scent of cinnamon was too strong. We added dashes of Tabasco when we ate it and did the same for the leftovers the next  day. (I really don't like cinnamon!)

As for the sangria, I had initially intended to make a non-alcoholic version but decided to wing it and make do with whatever I had in the fridge. I sliced half a lemon, orange and red apple, soaked them in 1 cup of red wine (Shiraz) with 1/2 cup of orange juice for a couple of hours. Then poured in 1 cup of lemonade before serving. Be sure that your glass/mug has some ice cubes!

Twenty minutes into the meal, we were stuffed. 

I love my Spanish-like plates so much, that I'm tempted to buy a couple more. I mean, I tell myself that I need to, as we mostly have a pair of each item so when we have guests over, our tableware doesn't match!

Since Monday this week, it has been the start of our Vege & Protein vs Carbs Dinner Challenge. I do hope that this way, my belly will be a wee bit flatter and in time for the Melbourne Marathon! I really can't afford to look like Humpty Dumpty in my running dress, you know!

And why must it be chilly and crazy windy again??
We missed our run last night because we felt it was too cold. Brrr!


  1. Man,
    You cooked dinner like I wanna do a quarterly budget! All the researching and jotting downs. ;)

    Sure looks good.

    Hungry la...

    1. hahaha ya la, what to do. i like to look out for the simplest recipe with the least ingredients (or whatever i have in my kitchen) possible. and i have goldfish memory, i don't have any recipes memorised!

  2. That Calamari Ring is to die for, Yvonne... Drooling over it already... Looks super scrumptious! Yummm, my favourite dish too

    1. yup yup, sometimes i get disappointed in M'sia when they serve pieces of squid although the menu states 'calamari'. Calamari rings are the bomb!