A Tapas Meal for Two

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In a few weeks time, hubby and I will be celebrating 8 years as a couple – can’t quite believe where the years have gone! We both still like celebrating this date, as well as our wedding anniversary (4 years this year) because who doesn’t like a reason to celebrate their milestones?!

Since we got married, our first date anniversary, as we like to call it now, usually consists of us going back to the bar that we had our first date at. It was a blind date, in that we had never met before in real life, but had built up a friendship online for a few months – we met on a dating site!

Before getting married, I would cook us an anniversary dinner…since I’ve not done that for a few years, I thought this year it would be nice to cook for just the two of us.

The first time you’d learn about my cooking endeavours for this would be when I prepared the food and blogged the recipes. However, Furniture Choice are currently running a blogger competition called “Come Dine with Furniture Choice” and have asked us to come up with a dinner party menu. I can’t say no to a comp like that, so here is my entry!

Now, when it comes to creating a dinner party menu for lots of guests, I always go down the route of having as much prepared in advance so that I don’t have to be a slave to the kitchen. However, when preparing a meal for hubs and myself, because we both like to cook, it’s a chance for us to have our dinner date in the kitchen and prepare the food together.

One of our first dates was at a Spanish restaurant, and in memory of that, I thought I’d prepare a tapas menu for us to celebrate our anniversary!

If you’ve not had tapas before, let me tell you, you are missing out! There are so many flavours and textures going on – owing to the fact that you can have lots of different small dishes, that it is truly a party in your mouth!

It looks like a lot of food on this ambitious menu with lots of cooking involved, but, it would be a leisurely dinner starting with a platter of cured meats and cheese – I said that I like to prepare stuff in advance when having a dinner party, and I am also not averse to buying in some goodies to save time and stress. A charcuteria (or charcuterie in French) platter is one such appetiser that provides that. Lots of nibbly bits to get the party started, all piled up on a wooden board or piece of slate, looks just lovely. You may remember when I set up a platter like this for a party?

Our local supermarket sells a good deli range. I found a trio of Spanish cheeses on a recent trip, so that will be perfect for this meal, and the cured meats are always available in the store. Putting together this charcuteria platter is going to be quick, stressfree, but most importantly – tasty!

With the tapas selection I’ve tried to have a little something from different food groups – meat, fish, vegetarian. Most of the tapas can be prepped in advance and then, all we’ll need to do is cook it when we are ready to eat.

I’ll explain some of the tapas dishes to you since I’ve written some things in Spanish on this menu! Patatas Bravas are fried chunks of potato in a spice tomato sauce. It’s one of our favourites when going to a tapas bar. The Salmon Mojo is fresh salmon cooked in a sauce made with garlic, paprika and cumin and the Calamares are fried squid rings. I hope that I can find some fresh squid to make them myself, but if I can’t, I’m not going to be embarrassed to buy them ready made! I’ll serve them with a garlic mayonnaise. Gambas al Ajillo are prawns cooked in chilli and garlic, perfect combo! I don’t know about you, but just typing this is making me hungry!! The final dish which needs a little explanation is the Ensalada de tomate. At our favourite tapas bar (which sadly, has now closed) they served a delicious tomato salad topped with crumbled goats cheese on top and that’s what I hope to replicate.

For dessert I couldn’t decide between two typical Spanish sweets, so I plan to serve both! Crema Catalana – the Spanish version of the French crème brulée, which can be made in advance and finished off by browning the sugar when we are ready to eat dessert. The second dessert could come later in the evening with coffee and liquers – Churros and Hot Chocolate! We had some really tasty churros in a Cuban restaurant whilst on holiday this year, and they were soooo good!

All of this delicious Spanish food will be washed down with lots of fruity sangria! We are not big red wine drinkers, so it may be that we create this with red grape juice instead of the usual red wine. Or, I could make sangria blanco which is made with white wine instead…

To set the mood for a romantic anniversary dinner party, I’m not going to go wrong with lots of candles for some soft, dim lighting, and playing in the background, some traditional Spanish guitar music. I personally love the sound of this instrument, and hubs just loves Spain, so it will be a perfect dinner party! After all that food, I don’t know if we’ll be up to moving much…but there is a little bit of salsa dancing on the cards as well!

I can’t wait to set this dinner party up for hubs and I to celebrate our 8 year anniversary, and will be bringing you the recipes for it soon!

Disclosure: This is my entry of the Come Dine with Furniture Choice Blogger Competition.

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