Spanish food is fast, fun and all about sharing. Just like the Spaniards, Australians love down-to-earth, uncomplicated, communal eating and tapas plates are the perfect light meals for our hot summer days. Foodie and writer, Alana Lowes, created her favourite spanish-inspired tapas recipes for Queensland Homes, and we think it’s time to share them all over again – they’re just perfect the summer! entertaining season ahead!
“What I love so much about the flavours of Spain is the multicultural influences from the Arabs, France and Italy,” says Alana. “I have filled my summer tapas menu with loads of fresh and zippy citrus and one of my favourite ingredients, Jamón.
When cooking simple dishes, it is all about using the best quality products you possibly can and when it comes to the best ham, Spanish Jamón Ibérico reigns supreme. Ibérico pigs are somewhat of a celebrity in the ham business. Prized for their intensely sweet, floral, earthy, nutty flavour, you can pay up to $200 per kilo, but don’t worry, you only need around 60 grams for this recipe – it won’t break the bank and trust me it is worth every cent.
If you are feeling a little daunted at the idea of making your own donuts, I can tell you that this recipe is super simple and produces the fluffiest, tastiest homemade donuts. The dusting of orange zest and basil sugar will have your guests fighting for every last crumb.
Splash some seriously bold colours around in tones of orange and blue and pair them back with softer neutrals for a fresh vibe. I love to mix up textures of wood and ceramic and I have even used a gorgeous Turkish towel for a real summer feeling – now get out there and enjoy our endless warm weather!”
Caramelised Fig & Jamón Tapas
Jamón Ibérico is intensely sweet. It’s floral, earthy and nutty like a good Parmesan, with fat so soft it melts right in your mouth. For many ham lovers, it’s as good as good gets, but it doesn’t come cheap.
Prep time: 5-10mins
Cook time: 10-15mins
6 slices wood fire artisan bread
¼ cup olive oil + extra for brushing
1 garlic clove, peeled
6 figs, halved
Fresh basil leaves, torn
6 slices of Jamón Ibérico, torn
100g Manchego cheese, shaved
1. Preheat a chargrill griddle plate.
2. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill for
1-2 minutes each side until golden and charred. Rub one side of each slice with a peeled garlic clove.
3. Toss the halved figs in olive oil and salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the hot griddle and grill until caramelised, approximately 1-2mins. Set aside.
4. Arrange two fig halves on each slice of chargrilled bread. Top with the Jamón, shaved Manchego and torn basil. Serve warm.
Smoked Paprika Grilled Prawns with Chilli Salt
Makes: 8 skewers
Prep time: 3-5mins
Cook time: 7-8mins
8 large green prawns
¼ cup Alana’s Pantry Spicy Mexico sauce
2tbsp olive oil
3tbsp sea salt flakes
2tbsp dried chilli flakes
1. To prepare the prawns, remove the shell, leaving the head and tail intact. Skewer the prawn from the tail, through the body and out the head. Repeat with the remaining prawns.
2. Mix the Alana’s Pantry Spicy Mexico sauce with the olive oil and brush each side of the prawns. Heat a griddle pan to high. Cook
the prawns for 3-4mins each side or until cooked through.
3. Mix the sea salt flakes with the chilli flakes and sprinkle over cooked prawns for extra spice.
Orange & Basil Donuts
This donut batter is super easy to make and I just love the flavours of orange and basil sprinkled on them.
Makes: Approx. 30 donuts
Prep time: 10-15mins
(+ 40mins rising/proofing time)
Cook time: 1-2mins each
Zest of 1 orange
5 basil leaves, finely chopped
100g white sugar
450ml full cream milk
75g caster sugar
10g instant dried yeast (1.5 sachets)
600g plain flour
1. To make the sugar coating, mix the orange zest, basil and sugar together thoroughly and set aside (uncovered to allow the sugar to dry out slightly).
2. To make the donuts, heat the milk in a large saucepan to 37-38°C. Add the butter to the milk and allow it to melt. Whisk in the sugar and the eggs then whisk in the yeast.
3. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and slowly pour the milk mixture in and whisk until smooth. The batter will be thick. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place for 40mins or until the batter has risen and doubled in size. Gently mix the batter to knock out the air. Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a large round nozzle.
4. Fill a large saucepan to approximately 1/3 full and heat to 165°C (or until you insert the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil and it bubbles straight away). Pipe in balls of batter into the hot oil, using a knife to cut each ball off into the oil. Take care and do this just above the oil so that it does not splash when the batter hits the oil. Repeat until you have 4-5 donuts cooking. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. The donuts generally turn themselves when cooked on one side. Remove with a slotted spoon and roll straight in the sugar, basil and orange mixture.
Sparkling Wine Lemon Sorbet (Sorbete de Cava y Limon)
This frothy lemon drink is just like a sherbet cocktail. Bubbly and sweet!
Makes: 12 drinks
Prep time: 10-15mins
(+overnight chilling time)
Cook time: 15-20mins
300g caster sugar
1½ cups water
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 bottles sparkling wine
(Cava is a Spanish variety)
1. To make the sorbet, place the sugar, water and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Heat on high until water boils, stirring occasionally. Gently boil for approximately another 5-6 mins or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for approximately 10-15mins. Do not allow to cool completely as the syrup will harden (just reheat slightly if mixture becomes too hard). Remove the cinnamon stick.
2. Whisk in the lemon juice, zest and
condensed milk. Allow to cool.
3. Pour into ice-cream churner and churn accordingly to machine instructions. If you don’t have a churner, place the mixture into the freezer and whisk every 15mins for 2 hours.
4. Allow to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.
5. To serve, add 4 scoops of sorbet to a blender and pour in half a bottle of sparkling wine. Blend until thick and frothy. Pour into 4 champagne flutes. Repeat with remaining sorbet and sparkling wine as desired.
Photography: Marina Ridgway