It is hard to believe but one year has passed already that I’ve been blogging! On average, I’ve stuck to my one blog a month rule but it is true that I was much more productive in the beginning! However, to celebrate this one year, try to put this right and make the most of the fact I had friends staying who also love cooking, we managed all of the recipes listed in the title over two meals this weekend! The cava recipe was chosen especially for the one year celebration 🙂
The starter was Rob’s inspiration following a visit to the local market:
Razor clams (navajas) with chorizo, shallots and red pepper! When I met Rob he was always quite random with his cooking ingredients, never measuring anything with sometimes amazing results and sometimes not so amazing… I think he will forgive me for mentioning his syrup sponge pudding which was more like a soup (although it still tasted amazing!). Over the years he has perfected many techniques and is a great cook so now the random recipes are usually great too 😉 which included this one!
I’d never cooked razor clams before and it was quite a new experience as I discovered they were still alive while washing them. They made some noise and were kind of pulsing a little. I’ve come a long way with food but still, this gave me the heebie-jeebies! If in doubt, you can find the definition here:
We grilled them (alive! yes we felt kind of bad for some seconds…) for a couple of minutes until the shells opened and then cleaned them again (removing the dark parts) although I have to say thanks to Kristine and Rob for doing this dirty job! In the meantime we had chopped up about 10 shallots (after soaking them in boiling water to make the skins come off more easily), roasting a red pepper for 20 mins, removing the skin and chopping and also chopping about 100g of chorizo. We cooked the shallots, red pepper and chorizo in a bit of oil on the hob for about 5 mins before adding the razor clams for a couple more minutes. Then we put all the ingredients back in the shells to serve. We used about about 15 razor clams for 4 people.
The next course was inspired by my blog entries. In honour of the anniversary, the guest chefs had to choose one (or two as it turned out!) recipes from my blog from the past year. They chose risotto and arancini but with a slight variation this time in that it was seafood and cava 🙂 Again we took the inspiration from the market and chose razor clams and shelled and unshelled prawns with Kristine being head of ingredient sourcing! The remaining ingredients were shallots, asparagus, fish stock, rice and butter.
We snapped the asparagus ends off (using about 15 in total). This was Rob’s tip for knowing how much to remove from the end; bend them until their natural point of breaking and then all the “bad” part is removed. We boiled the ends in about a litre of water for about 30 mins with 2 fish stock cubes to make the stock before blending.
In the meantime we melted a knob of butter and gently fried the chopped shallots (approx. 10) before adding about 300g of rice and one glass of cava. Once the rice had absorbed the cava, we started to gently add the stock, one ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid was soaked up before adding another one. We added the remaining asparagus and continued this process for about 25 mins.
We added 8 unshelled prawns and cooked for about 4-5 mins before removing and then adding the shelled prawns (approx. 12) and cooking for 2 mins. We added a little more butter and ground pepper, mixed well and placed the unshelled prawns on top before serving.
For the next day we decided to use the leftover risotto for arancini. We used about a quarter of a baguette to make breadcrumbs and added flour to a plate and one beaten egg to a dish. We rolled the rice mixture into small balls, rolled in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. We cooked them on an oiled baking tray for 25 mins at 200 degrees.
The final dish went through various interations due to when we were going to cook it and the remaining time available before their flight home! So in the end we did stewed plums 🙂 We cut the plums into quarters, removing the stones and added to a pan with 4 tablespoons of water, 6 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. We stewed in the pan (with the lid on) for about 15 mins until the plums were soft. Fairly easy but delicious!
I guess this must be my longest blog ever! Definitely the most recipes at one time which is fitting for the one year anniversary! I’ve really enjoyed the blogging experience and over this weekend, it’s been really nice to look back at all the recipes I’ve done and hope that I’ve learnt something along the way. The best part of this though was to celebrate it with friends, friends who share the love of cooking and eating. A very special occasion and photographic evidence is provided below demonstrating just quite how small this cuineta is!