Sunday, 16 September 2012

Olives from Spain and Cooking with Omar Abilhoy

Olives from Spain recently arranged an event in conjunction with Friday Food Club at The Balham Lounge Tapas Restaurant in Balham. Olives are a vital part of the Spanish diet and we should incorporate them more in ours. They are antioxident and high in vitamins.

One of the highlights of the evening was cooking with chef and resturanteur Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution in London who took time out to spend the evening with a bunch of food bloggers and give us some great hints and tips for spanish olives.

Omar began the event by giving us a quick lesson on the place olives have in the food of Spain and how a day without olives just doesn't happen.  He explained that he would be showing us some quick ways to add flavour to olives which all start tasting the same. 

When Omar was ready to begin cooking he asked for an assistant. So I donned an apron and went to the other side of the table to await instructions!

This was the point when I wished I had my own set of knives with me!!

Helping Omar with the difficult task of onion and potato chopping!

 I loved learning the proper way to make a Spanish tortilla.
Sliced potatoes and onion cooking for the tortilla
The olives that Omar had prepared with different flavourings such as pomegranate, harissa paste and fennel seeds or sesame seeds, lemon juice and mint.

Spot the Masterchef contestants!! Shelina Permalloo and Andrew Kojima (and ME!)
We all sat down to a fantastic meal and plenty of Spanish wines

Salad with Sardines, olives, endive lettuce
Tortilla espanol!
Chicken with olives
Pan fried sea bass
Chocolate truffles made with chocolate, orange zest and OLIVES!!
Throughout the evening we had loads of Spanish wines, Tio Pepe Fino (Gonzalez Byass) as we arrived, a dry white, dry red and dry rose during the meal but what really left an impression on me was the dessert wines.  Finca Antigua Moscatel (a sweet dessert wine) was like sipping sweet silk. I have had different Moscatel wines before but a new one for me was the sweet red, Gran Barquero Pedro Ximenez.  This was one of the nicest dessert wines I have ever tasted, sweet, silky and smooth.
A goodie bag to take home and I made my way to the underground station and onward to my train.  Thanks Olives from Spain and Friday Food Club for a lovely evening of food and fellow bloggers!

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