La Oliva – Harrogate

Living with a Spaniard has its perks. For one thing I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such wonderful chorizo in my life and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such beautiful guacamole (she’s also half Mexican). However, knowing where to go for delicious tapas is certainly up there with other reasons why I adore living with A.

Now, it is with deep regret that I write that A was actually in Spain when I organised a girls trip to La Oliva in Harrogate. However, a night of gossiping, trying different dishes and most importantly for a Friday night, drinking wine.

La Oliva is a pretty new kid on the block when it comes to restaurants in Harrogate, only being a month old. However, the food, staff and restaurant atmosphere were all lovely. Considering there were 10 of us dining we were all really well looked after and the dining atmosphere was very relaxed as tapas should be.

Anyway, here is an assortment of pictures I took on the night:

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My bouche it was amused

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Jamon, hurry up

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Bravo patatas bravas

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Don’t clam up on me now baby!

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You’re my lobster

Now on the whole I found the food to be excellent. I wasn’t struck on the lobster ravioli sauce but the wonderful pigs cheeks more than made up for this. My favourite has to have been the Iberian ham, I could have just sat eating ham all night to be honest. Now as a greedy omnivore I found plenty of things on the menu I was dying to try, however as the menu is particularly Spanish, if you aren’t big on red meat and fish (or follow a vegetarian diet) you might struggle to find something on the menu that you fancy.

The staff are all really knowledgable about their food and wine and recommended us some lovely things.

La Oliva is really well worth a visit, especially if you’re in a bigger group. Tapas is always more fun with a larger number.

Definitely book before coming here at the weekend. I have a feeling this restaurant is going to become popular. Find out more on their website.

Pavlova

I am well aware that Pavlova is generally more of a summery food than one for the depths of winter. However, hear me out. Frozen berries work wonderfully in this recipe and this recipe is amazing following a Sunday roast or for a special occasion. Plus, as its Valentine’s Day coming up, do you really want to pass up an opportunity to say “This my darling? Why, I just threw this together, it was no trouble”? (You can imagine your loved ones gazing at you in awe now…)

Anyway, I adapted the meringue recipe and the big meringue on a baking sheet recipe from The Model Foodie’s recipe which uses summer fruits and looks beautiful. I took the bulk of the Pavlova into my work and one guy wanted to stick his face into the thing, that’s how much he enjoyed it. I see that as a baking success.

To make your very own Pavlova you will need:

For the meringue

6 egg whites (I had some in the freezer left from making ice cream)

300g caster sugar

A pinch of salt

For the vanilla cream

600ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod

1 tbsp icing sugar

For the fruit topping

300g frozen fruit (I used mostly raspberries with a handful of strawberries)

100g white chocolate

 

Preheat your oven to 150°C and line a baking tray (approx 40cm x 25cm) with a sheet of greaseproof paper or a silicone baking sheet. Remove your fruit from the freezer. Make sure your mixing bowl is really clean (no grease or water) and whisk your egg whites until peaks form.

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Slowly and gradually add your sugar while continuously whisking then add the salt. Turn your whisk up to the highest setting and whisk for a further 7-8 minutes until your meringue is smooth and glossy.

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Spread your meringue onto the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 1 hour until the outside is crisp. Leave to cool. By this point I had run out of space in my kitchen so I left mine to cool on top of one of the living room shelves, vowing to wipe a surface.

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In a clean mixing bowl add your cream, vanilla and icing sugar. Whisk until the cream goes thick and it leaves a trail across the surface. Whisk for about 10 seconds more and then spread on top of the meringue.

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Top with your fruit.

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Melt your white chocolate and drizzle artfully over everything.

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Serve to your adoring fans. Fun fact from my Kiwi friend DC: Australians and New Zealanders often debate over which nation created the Pavlova.

Now, I appreciate anybody who cooks lovely things with a hint of false modesty, but if anybody happens to say “Oh this, I’m sure it wasn’t difficult” or the like you have permission to give them a black eye and not let them have any of this. A good Pavlova is a thing of beauty.

Nutella Ice Cream

This recipe is an absolute dream for any people who are simultaneously obsessed with both Nutella and ice cream. For the rest of you, I honestly don’t know what is wrong with you. Currently I don’t have an ice cream maker but, although making ice cream can be time consuming without the kitchen gadget, the wait is well worth it. I cannot tell a lie though, I was hovering around the freezer waiting for the ice cream to set. This recipe makes a bit more than 1 litre of ice cream so you’ll need your ice cream machine or a heavy duty tupperware container that can hold 2 litres. The pictures I have taken do not do this ice cream justice.

To make Nutella ice cream you will need:

350ml double cream

350ml Hazelnut or almond milk

6 egg yolks

A pinch of salt

140g caster sugar

A jar of Nutella (not going to give you an exact amount but I used over half a jar)

A vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

If using a vanilla pod split the pod and extract the seeds. Place the vanilla, cream and milk into a saucepan and heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Leave for 10 minutes to cool and to allow the flavour to infuse.

Whisk the eggs and the sugar until pale and fluffy.

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Add the cooled vanilla cream mixture to the egg mixture slowly using a ladle. Once all the mixture was added I gave everything an additional whisk.

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Pour your mixture back into the saucepan and heat on the lowest possible setting for 10-15 minutes. You want the egg yolk to cook slowly and thicken the mixture. Stir occasionally and check the consistency of the custard you are making, it should start to look ever so slightly thicker on the back of your spoon.

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Allow this to cool slightly. During this time heat your Nutella for approx 20 seconds in the microwave. Add 3 to 4 large spoonfuls of the Nutella to your ice cream base. Mix well (every time you come to this mix again or the Nutella will settle).

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Transfer to a tupperware container.

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Refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold. At this point those of you who are lucky enough to have an ice cream maker can put it into that. Otherwise put it into your freezer and periodically (about every 30-40 minutes) beat the ice crystals from the edge of the container with a fork. When your ice cream has nearly frozen put it in your food processor or use a hand blender to break the ice crystals before freezing until hard.

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I like to serve mine in fancy cornets. Portion control is never a bad thing and it allows you to enjoy this for as long as possible.

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You can thank me later…..now to find my digital camera.