Supper with Olives From Spain and Omar Allibhoy
I’ve been to a couple of Olives from Spain events before and I’ve even seen Omar making his fabulous tortilla. But, Monday’s supper at The Lounge tapas bar in Balham is my favourite event so far. The Lounge is one of those places you walk into and immediately feel at home. It’s normally closed on Monday but this week, rather appropriately, it was taken over by Olives from Spain who invited bloggers, chefs and food writers to enjoy a real taste of Spanish hospitality.
There were, of course, tapas while we all gathered. I kept having to move myself away from the bar to avoid eating ALL the very moreish anchovies and patatas bravas
And then there were the olives.
Omar has developed a whole series of marinade recipes which any of us could easily do at home. The delicious looking concoction above is a sweet pimenton, red onion and fennel seed mixture with black olives. Each recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks – perfect food for snacking or eating with a spanish meal.
I think my personal favourite was the green olive with lemon and mint. But, in his own inimitable style Omar was encouraging us to try different mixtures and invent our own!
He went on to show us how to make a tortilla. Including turning it in the pan…which he did with typical Spanish style. In fact EVERY photo I have of him is blurry because he was so animated and enthusiastic as he was showing us how to make his favourite dishes! The basis of Tortilla is potatoes which are pre-fried with onion in olive oil till they are soft, then topped with eggs. It’s essential to cook the potatoes first and Omar told us that Spanish families re-use their Tortilla oil, just like we might keep a pan of chip oil!
Now, the tortilla was quite splendid. We tried some of the freshly made hot one with a slightly runny centre and then went on to feast on one that had been prepared earlier.
I like Spanish food and Tapas in general. And, I’ve tried this Sea Bass dish which Omar prepared for us and can genuinely vouch that it’s easy and delicious. I think I saw him making it a year or so ago and I remember that part of the USP of the dish is that apart from the Sea Bass itself and an onion, everything else is a store cupboard ingredient (it’s a rather heady mixture of sherry, capers, black olives and red pepper).
Something you can use to impress even the most celebrated of Master Chefs
Now, I’m lapsing into flippancy. But, for me what made this event so special was that it really did feel as if we were all eating round a very large family dining table. With Omar in the middle cooking and laughing a lot. It was friendly, spontaneous and informal – and the food was delicious.
So thanks to Olives from Spain for hosting such a great evening. You can find Omar’s recipes on their website and I recommend trying some of them for yourself!