Spain is renown for its tapas. Tapas meaning ‘small Spanish savoury dish’, is typically served with drinks at a bar. When we visited Spain in 2019 we gorged on tapas and these spicy olives are just one of our favourites, and just one of the tapas recipes I will share with you.
I have hosted dinner parties where I have served tapas. These dinner parties were a hit. A taste of Spain was the theme and many dishes were served at the same time, allowing people to try lots of different tastes and textures. Tapas such as spicy olives, potato tortilla, meatballs, chorizo in wine, stuffed peppers, grilled eggplant, chickpeas and spinach create good variety and a balanced meal.
This recipe is simple, and easily dresses up ordinary olives making them a taste sensation!
1 – 2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon of chopped thyme
1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 – 2 chilli, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup of mixed olives
Heat oil in a small pan, then add the remaining ingredients and heat gently. Serve warm.
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This recipe came about because Dwayne wanted peas with his roast chicken. What…? It is simple really, we don’t have a freezer at the moment but had to buy 500 grams of frozen peas to go with the roast chicken dinner we cooked the night before. Therefore, we had 3.5 cups of defrosted peas to use… hence green pea soup. It is so simple and easy to make and, believe it or not, it is delicious.
I made a double batch of tapenade to have on hand when we sailed from Langkawi to Phuket. As we were island hopping, we were often at our destination in time for lunch. Our lunches, for this trip, consisted of Chinese tea eggs, salami, smoked duck, pickled vegetables, tomato, cucumber, cheese, crackers etc…. and this yummy tapenade! (Did you know we live on a boat?)
I love the saltiness of tapenade… it has all my favourite ingredients in this one little dish. I keep my tapenade a little chunky. Of course, you can puree it to make it more spreadable.
2 jars of pitted black olives (345g jars – drained weight about 170g)
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs of capers
1-2 fillets of anchovy
1 tsp lime juice
5 Tbs of olive oil
1 Tbs chopped basil
Rinse the olives and place in a food processor. Add two tablespoons of drained capers, the anchovy and the lime juice. Start blending the ingredients for a minute. Then gradually add the oil as you continue to blend the ingredients. Stop the food processor when you have the consistency you want. I then stir in the basil and store in glass jars in the fridge.
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This is only my second time making risotto. The first was several years ago when I made a crayfish risotto. This may not look pretty, but it is delicious! You could easily make this for two people using one duck breast… there almost seemed to be more duck than rice… but Dwayne wasn’t complaining. I was just happy it turned out as lovely as it did!
2 1/4 tsp five spice
2 duck breast
1 large onion, finely diced
2-3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 large oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, squeeze out the water and slice
1 cup of arborio rice
1/2 cup red wine
500ml – 700ml hot chicken stock
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp light soy sauce
2 green spring onions, thinly sliced
small bunch of greens, thinly sliced i.e. kale, spinach, bok choy
chives, finely sliced for garnish
Lightly score the duck skin a few times and rub the duck breast all over with 1 tsp of the five spice.
Place skin side down in a cold non-stick pan on medium heat without oil for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown, flip and seal the other side for 30 seconds. Remove from pan but keep the oil from the duck fat.
Place the duck breast skin side up on a rack in a roasting tin and put on the middle rack of a 220°C preheated the oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Then take the duck from the oven and let it cool before slicing.
While the duck is cooking….
Heat fat from the duck in a large pan and add the onion and garlic, and cook on medium heat for several minutes. Add the mushroom and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
Add the rice and continue to cook on medium heat, toasting the rice for 4 minutes. (This is an important part of making risotto).
Then add the red wine, the remaining 1 1/4 tsp of five spice, and light soy sauce. Allow the red wine to be absorbed before you begin to add the stock. Add 1/4 of a cup of stock at a time… allowing each 1/4 cup of stock to be absorbed before adding more. Keep stirring the rice and testing the consistency.
When the rice is almost done (you have tasted it and are happy with the consistency) add the spring onions, leafy greens and the sliced duck. Lightly toss the ingredients through as you finish cooking for a couple of minutes. Bon appetite!
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While cruising Indonesia we were lucky enough to visit a tiny fishing village on the island of Panebangan. The people were exceptionally friendly and welcomed us with huge smiles and a large bunch of bananas! It was at this village, the following morning, that we were invited onto a fishing boat for breakfast. Dwayne watched how the fisherman made chilli fish and it has since become Dwayne’s signature dish! This is great for when I don’t feel like cooking…. i.e. “I’d really love your chilli fish for dinner tonight Dwayne!”
Dwayne has made this a couple of times for dinner. Once he used fish and squid and the other time he used crayfish.
It’s simple and tasty. This is how he does it…
fresh chillies, chopped
fresh garlic, chopped
asian shallots, chopped
Blend all the above ingredients with the mortar and pestle.
Add oil to a pan and heat.
Add the spice mix, fry until fragrant.
Add the seafood (fish or what ever you want) and fry it for a while.
Then add some water and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasional.
Season with salt as needed.
I made this risotto while we were anchored in Darwin Harbour awaiting our visa and paperwork to set sail for Indonesia. The crayfish was caught on our way to Darwin as we cruised the Great Barrier Reef.
I have never made a risotto before, so I googled to get some ideas. In the end I combined some of my favourite flavours to make the risotto I had envisioned. Yay!
This is what I did… I melted butter in a large pan and sautéed finely chopped onion and garlic, diced chorizo and sliced chilli until the onion had softened.
Next I added the rice and cooked it for approximately four minutes “toasting it”. This step apparently determines the final texture of the risotto. It heats the outside of the rice quickly thus preventing it from breaking and seals in the starch.
I then added a cup of white wine. On medium heat I cooked it until all the liqud was nearly absorbed. I then began the task of adding 1/4 of a cup of hot fish stock at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding more, all the while stirring. When the rice was nearly done (a taste test will tell you) I added sliced mushroom, heaps of tarragon and the lobster.