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.

Picnic times at Harewood House

I am loving this heatwave! After so many summers looking wistfully out on the window to cloudy skies, drizzle or intense rainfall its nice to enjoy the excellent weather. With this in mind J and I decided to venture out to Harewood House last Saturday for a picnic. So I covered up in factor 30 (lobster red skin is never a good look in my opinion), put together a salad based picnic and we chilled out in a shady spot by the lake.

What are your favourite picnic places and picnic foods?

Fig and parma ham salad – an easy way to impress

Now, I really can hardly call this a recipe. It took all of 5 minutes to make, but it tasted pretty lovely. This fig and parma ham salad is really quick and easy to make and looks simply beautiful. It would be great as a light lunch served with some crusty bread or as a starter for an evening meal; particularly if you want to impress somebody or a pushed for time.

To make this salad you will need (per person):

A large handful of salad leaves – watercress, lambs lettuce or rocket are all great

2 figs

A slice of parma ham (or 2 if you’re feeling generous)

A splash of olive oil

A splash of balsamic vinegar

(optional garnish) Parmesan shavings

 

Arrange your salad leaves onto a plate. Quarter the figs and arrange on the plate. Tear up the ham and arrange on top of the figs and leaves. Add a splash of oil and balsamic vinegar and serve.

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If you haven’t noticed I love veggies and salad because they’re so colourful!

 A very quick and straightforward way to impress your friends. I hope you like it!

 

Chorizo sausage and cous cous salad thingy

I suppose this recipe IS a salad, but its a hearty salad. Filling enough to serve to even the most macho men (all men like sausages right?) you can use any sausages but chorizo ones work best with salady things in my opinion. Now this recipe is pretty easy and straightforward, sausages are generally more fatty than other meat products but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives (plus I got 3 meals from 4 sausages).

To make this recipe you will need:

Chorizo (or chorizo style) sausages suitable for cooking (I used 4 to make 3 portions but you could use a pack for 4 decent sized portions)

2 small to medium red onions

Cous cous (I half filled a small pyrex jug but you can increase the amount you use accordingly)

2 Avocados (I used small avocados but if you’re serving more people use larger avocados)

Half a pack of cherry tomatoes

Whatever you like to season cous cous with; I use sea salt, olive oil and chilli flakes.

Olive oil or a few spritzes of fry light

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C (190°C if its not a fan oven). Roughly chop the red onions and place on a roasting tray with the sausages, drizzle with a tiny amount of oil and cook the sausages for 25-30 minutes.

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In the last few minutes of the cooking time prepare your cous cous by soaking it for a few minutes in boiling water. Once it is cooked season it according to how you like it. I find cous cous bland without something tasty like chilli flakes added to it. Remove the stone from your avocado, peel and chop the avocado and wash the tomatoes. Keep the avocado stones if you’re saving some of this. It prevents the avocado from browning.

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My least favourite washing up is scrubbing roasting pans and trays

Once the sausages are cooked remove them from the tray and slice them. If your roasting tray has deep sides add all the ingredients into the tray and mix thoroughly. If it doesn’t, find a bowl and use that to mix and prepare your salad.

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Pre mixing

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Post mixing

Enjoy! Oh, and by the way, if anybody calls you a “big girls blouse” or a “fairy” for enjoying a good salad, or thinks of salad as rabbit food, point them in the direction of this recipe. It doesn’t taste as if its as healthy as it actually is.

Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival

If you’ve ever read Chocolat by Joanne Harris you’ll remember the part where Vianne plans a chocolate festival on Easter Sunday much to the chagrin of the local priest. Well in the town where I grew up (Ramsbottom and yes you are allowed to giggle), a local chocolate shop owner Paul Morris of the Chocolate Cafe had the idea of opening a chocolate market for a few days. What better time than the weekend before Easter? The festival has grown year on year since it first began 5 years ago in 2008 and has become immensely popular. Who can blame people? It’s highly entertaining with live music, chocolate demonstrations and even a beer tent serving chocolate beer. So even if you’re not a fan of sweet food, you’d be entertained.

Now, I was only observing reallyrather than eating lots of sweeties; as I have given up chocolate for Lent and I am getting excited for Easter Sunday, but I’m sure a few people are only just recovering from sugar comas.

Oops

I suppose I am pretty lucky that Harrogate regularly has a street market which is decent and actually sells things I want to buy (cheese, salami, deli items). Well feeling sad when my boyfriend went home after visiting me I impulse bought a whole load of olives not really considering how big the box is.

A bit excessive?

I’m not even sorry!

Lunch of the week

Deli food is my favourite food to pick at or make a lunch or a picnic tea out of. Sunday afternoon after a busy long morning of cleaning I settled down to eat toasted seeded batch loaf with a selection of Marks and Spencer tapenades topped with parma ham. Blissful in front of a good film after a hard morning’s work.

Apologies for poor picture quality, this was on my phone