Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Winter tapas with Ruth Pretty

Handmade has wrapped up for another year. Held at Queen's Birthday weekend around various venues in Wellington, this event for crafty people now features more than 200 workshops to choose from and is becoming better organised each year.

Ruth Pretty played a big part in this event with several sessions on offer. We opted for her winter tapas demonstration. Tapas, hors d'oeuves, sharing plates or good old appetisers have been en vogue for a while. They are great for entertaining guests and a refreshing change to catering for dinner parties.

Ruth's sessions are always a feast of good storytelling and food. I love her willingness to share, her enthusiasm for food and the genuine affection she shows staff. Ruth's secret to tapas is that they must be extremely simple but also extremely tasty. Perusing the recipe booklet we were given, the menu certainly met this description.

Unfortunately for me, with my aversion to all things capsicum, we were greeted with the aroma of sweet peppers cooking. This wasn't entirely unexpected given the subject matter of the workshop but the approving ahhs from all around the room told me that the first dish of Spanish-style peppers with garlic and sherry vinegar was a hit. The porcini mushroom arancini with aioli were more my style. They may also justify my partner using his new deep fryer sometime.

Chorizo stuff Medjool dates wrapped in streaky bacon and served on piquillo pepper and tomato sauce were a great step up from party favourites devils on horseback. The pepper ratio in the sauce wasn't too unpleasant for me, but I'd look for another variation if I were to make this myself at home.

Chorizo stuffed Medjool dates with piquillo pepper and tomato sauce
Also on the menu were prawns in spicy batter with almond dipping sauce (another deep fried wonder). I managed to sample the last of these on the way out the door and will definitely add this recipe to my To Make list. Grilled lamb cutlets with and iceberg lettuce salad (featuring a healthy dose of Spanish vinaigrette) were sampled by a selected few but looked and smelled delicious.

Our session was topped off by sipping a pleasantly smooth glass of 2013 Mount Edward Riesling. With just the right balance of sweetness and acidity, this is another one for my 'yes' wine list.

Thank you to Ruth and her team for another delightful foodie afternoon. I was delighted to win a voucher for coffee and cake for two at Ruth's kitchen shop in Springfield. This will make a lovely winter weekend treat to look forward to.

No comments: