Friday, 27 July 2012

Tapas and La Tasca

For the last three years, La Tasca has been by far my favourite restaurant. Whilst Italian food may reign supreme on my favourite style of cuisine, the idea of several shared dishes have made me become La Tasca's number one fan! I have been on a mission to convert any sceptics of La Tasca and Spanish food, luckily for me, I have always managed to find a new convert. Anyway, I've acknowledged that there is a significant difference in eating at La Tasca's and attempting to recreate authentic tapas dishes at home- I will get there one day. The only thing that would top  eating Spanish food at La Tasca is eating Spanish food in Spain, I would love to say that I have spent hours walking the cobbled streets of Barcelona trying a variety of cheeses, chorizo and olives, followed by some authentic meat dishes (Rabbit is often used in Espana as a main meat). Unfortunately for me the only place I have been in mainland Spain is the not so authentic Benidorm, a place where you are more likely to eat fish and chips than an empanada. I have been to some Spanish islands (Mallorca and Tenerife), but never really ventured outside ordering lasagne. If I pass my course I could always recreate Rick Stein's Spanish tour ............

Me about to go out to La Tasca

I tend to get quite dolled up when I eat out (unless it's an all you can eat Chinese restaurant), plus it was my chance last to meet up with the girlies before I moved to Leicester to start my placement. Also, you just never know, there may be a Spanish prince dining in Birmingham who is also looking forward to eating Spanish meatballs, Spanish potatoes and various other Spanish dishes.

I managed to convert 7 of my amigos to La Tasca's and dined on their "6 dishes for £10.95". All in all there were 42 dishes. Some of the many dishes that are in this table are: empanadas, spanish tortilla, calamari, deep fried white fish, chicken in creamy sauce, chicken wings, paella de Valencia, seafood paella, salad with pears and balsamic vinegar and chorizo in red wine....... I love this picture - look at all that food !

Even in the winter months there is something so comforting about a warm paella dish, or eating lots of fresh bread to mop up all the various sauces from the various dishes. Another good thing about eating lots of Spanish food is having to drink a traditional Sangria or some other form of exotic drink.

Even in the coldest wintery nights, any Mediterranean restaurant is in my diary I will go. I won't let something as dramatic as snow come between me and Spanish/Italian/Portuguese food.
Unfortunately for me there is a  difference in attempting to recreate some of my favourite tapas dishes at home. Firstly, I feel as though I need the little brown tapas bowls to serve each dish in, it just doesn't feel the same pilling all the various dishes onto one plate as though I'm at an all you can eat Chinese. And some of my favourite dishes are quite hard to source, last time I went into Asda in Wolverhampton, in the fish section there was no squid - a key ingredient for the ohh so lovely calamari. It's not as though I haven't tried, I know Aldi sell the frozen mixed seafood bag for £2.85, bargain! I thought it was all I needed to recreate a calamari dish, I even picked out all the prawns and mussels in the bag, but my calamari dish was a disaster. However, not all my Spanish creations have been a disaster, I have had a fare few successes,  I must say the stuffed peppers, pan fired prawns and chroizo in red wine was lush. I have a Mediterranean cook book and a tapas cookbook which I often drool over but rarely cook out of, unless I'm too poor for La Tasca's and want Spain to come to me.
Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers with sauteed prawns
I highly recommend all Spanish/Tapas food lovers to purchase the following two books. Everyday Tapas and Every day Mediterranian. I recall these books costing £2 each, and for all the lovely recipes, are an absolute bargain.

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