Above: Ana (left) and Teresa of Flavours of Spain supperclub, talking their guests through their cheese and charcuterie platter.
Ana and Teresa run Flavours of Spain, an independent outfit that import fabulous goodies from Spain, with a special focus on Ana's native Galicia - a region on the country's north west coast, famous for its seafood. I first met them at The Stock Mkt on Bermondsey Square this past summer, and have been a regular buyer (it sound better than "addict") of their manchego cheese and quince paste since.
This past July the 2 lovely ladies decided to start a supperclub to showcase their products and Ana's family recipes. Ana grew up around cooks and farmers, she told me in the kitchen. But somehow she found herself working in a telecommunications company for a number of years, before she made the leap and embraced her true passion - food. Ah well, it was the same with Pedro Almodovar and film, I shrug and smile. And aren't we glad he made the leap.
Ana and Teresa very generously had me along as a guest at their supperclub debut. Here, finally, is my long overdue writeup!
We open the summery evening with delicious strawberry mojitos.
Next, an elegant platter of what you might find at their weekly market stalls - a mixture of cheeses, charcuterie and olives. The little cubes on the middle right are cave-matured Cabrales, a Spanish blue cheese. "Probably Spain's strongest cheese," the ladies said on their little cheeseboard. They weren't kidding. I'll stick with their manchego.
An absolutely delightful take on gazpacho. That gorgeous hue and hit of sweetness comes from a special secret ingredient - cherries!
Tortilla - the classic Spanish omelette with potatoes. Personally I'm convinced you have to be Spanish to make a proper tortilla. That is, not have it fall apart into a sorry broken heap just as it transits from pan to plate. (Sigh of shame). Here, Flavours of Spain cleverly cut the tortilla up into tasting cubes, so that you can pace yourself. Because look what comes next...
Chorizo cooked in Galician Mencia wine. A perfect pairing with the tortilla above.
Squid in ink, serived with bomba rice from Spain's only existing wooden mill (perhaps Mr Quixote did manage to get all the others). I love squid in its own ink. I could stand to eat about a cauldron full of this.
Except there was one more hefty dish to go before dessert. A stew of oxtail with pochas beans from Rioja. *Mops sweat from brow*. I look forward to making pots of this in the coming chilly months.
And now to dessert: A coconut flan, a dessert made primarily of eggs and sugar. Combined with coconut, this is basically what kaya (South East Asian egg and coconut jam) would taste like, much to my delight. At some point I'll need to introduce Ana and Teresa to kaya toast.
Sidenote: At their stall at Brockley Market yesterday I discovered their fuet, little sweet-salty sausages that Ana apparently calls "candy meat" because of the way she snacks on them in front of the TV. I sheepishly confess that I cleaned them out of their last 320g of the stuff at the end of the market day. My excuse was that I was taking them to a party. Except there was already so much food at the party that I thought "Ah well, no sense wasting them here, I'm taking these babies home!" And so here I sit, snacking on candy meat. Promising myself that since they do resemble Chinese wax sausages in flavour, I should really see how they perform as a Chinese-sausage substitute in say, claypot rice. I wonder what other unexpected Spanish products could be used in Asian dishes... any thoughts, readers?
Back on plot: We also had a lemon tart that got consumed before I could get a photo of it!
A wonderful hearty dinner indeed. Perhaps a wee bit too heavy in total for a warm summer evening, but the mains would all be excellent comfort food in the months now coming. Muchas gracias to Ana and Teresa for having me along.
Above: I often picture Ana as a main character in an Almodovar movie. I really hope she takes this as a compliment.
Flavour's of Spain's next supper will be on 14 October, as part of Edible Experiences' Sunday Feast series in Covent Garden. The chorizo and flan will make an apperance again (Hurrah!), as will the squid in ink but served differently. They will also be serving one of my favourite Spanish dishes ever - Pulpo ala Gallega. Galician-style Octopus. Gotta get my grubby tentacles some o that!