Spain vs Italy

June 25, 2008

ambar

sangria

The Spanish Cup
Ambar
Sangria

bocadillas

tapas

cake

The Spanish Plate

Bocadillas – Iberian ham, Manchego cheese and marinated capsicum on bread roll
Cordero al limon – Lamb with Lemon
Patatas bravas – Potatoes in Tomato Sauce
Pisto manchego – Courgette, Tomato and Capsicum Stew

Chocolate and chestnut cake

Score

little m
4.5 stars(cup)
4.5 stars(plate)

Holy what a huge Spanish fiesta! Luckily it was a Sunday and no one is playing tomorrow so we can recover from this big day in the kitchen. (Sorry the big cook off has meant we are a little behind in posting).

The sangria is a tried and true drink.

The bocadillas were great and we had these for lunch. Actually they would want to be good as the spanish ham cost $15 and so did the cheese! Worth it, as a once a year treat.

The tapas was also very good – we tried to make it a balanced meal with one meat, one vegetable and potatoes for the carb (my favourite).  This worked very well and there were plenty more tapas dishes I’d like to try. We bought the clay pots especially – I had wanted them when we were in Barcelona but couldn’t justify carrying them back home. You need to cure them before use by soaking in water overnight. They made a really strange sizzling noise, which I’m guessing was the air escaping!?!

To top off the very indulgent day we finished on chocolate chestnut cake.  I had seen tins of chestnut puree in the delis and always wanted to give it a try. It’s really thick, a bit like fine peanut butter without all the oil…. sort of. I actually used macadamias instead of the hazelnuts, although you could easily leave out the nuts altogether, as I think they are there to just add texture.

Fingers crossed Italy makes it through, because we haven’t eaten it yet!

Big M
3 stars (cup)
5 stars (plate)

Ambar was a nice malty lager, nothing special however. The Sangria was a good mix of red wine, freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice, contreau, plymouth gin, sugar and orange and lemon slices. Kept in the fridge for the next day is even better!
3 and half stars.

5 stars – I did not think we could make it! Bocadillas was the best sandwich I have ever eaten. The ingredients work together well and the Iberian ‘plack pig’ jamon is why the 5th star come out. The lamb is not slow cooked but cooked on low temperature in the oven for 15 minutes. We did not use the absolute most lean cut of lamb and payed the price. Patatas bravas is my Spanish version of chips with mushy peas – they just work. I can’t see us topping this effort.
5 stars.


France vs Italy

June 18, 2008

e.guigal 2003

The French Cup
E.guigal Cotes du Rhone 2003

coq au vin

The French Plate
Coq au vin and boulangere potatoes

Score

little m
3 and half stars

I loved the crunchy tops of the potato side dish. The chicken was also good. It was just missing a bit of omph to rate it any higher. Am I being too hard? Perhaps. For a Tuesday night dish, when we both work full-time I really can’t complain. There’s also left overs for lunch which will hands down beat anything edible within a block of work. Next time, I’d probably add some honey carrots?

Big M
2 and half stars (cup)
3 stars (plate)

The Guigal was a little dissapointing. I do drink french wine quite often and have had better bottles than this. Of course Guigal has $50 and $75 bottles from the same region so at $24 this was probably the cheap stuff!
2 and half stars.

The Coq au Vin also did not work out, a bit like the French football team at the Euro finals. The hint of red wine through the chicken is a nice, however did not improve the tenderness of the meat. The boulangere potatoes were a winner with nice contrast between crisp and soft potato. I like pommes Anna better though!
3 stars.