Even the best-laid plans can sometimes be scuppered by external circumstances. As a result of the appearance of a substantial amount of cloud and rain displacing the unseasonably delightful weather we have had recently, yesterday’s summer themed meal of fresh rocket, Jersey potatoes and lamb failed to materialise and we were left with a dinner shaped hole where it had previously been residing in the consciousness. As an alternative I decided to attempt an exercise in improvisation by using up the various items in the fridge and cupboards that were nearing the end of their consumable existence. Better they end up as sustenance rather than compost. An aging chorizo sausage provided ample inspiration for a mini selection of hearty tapas, perfect for conjuring up images and flavours reminiscent of more Mediterranean climes while outside the rain dripped down the window in energetic streaks and the trees shook at the whim of the wind.
The piquant chorizo was cut into little gem sized cubes and fried in a little olive oil until the edges were beginning to crisp and the paprika had leached out and stained the oil a deep red. At the last minute two generous handfuls of broad beans and some chopped garlic were added to the pan and cooked for no more than a minute. The pale, almost translucent, green of the mass of beans was studded throughout by tasty little morsels of sausage. To go with it, a simple tomato sauce (garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika and a tin of tomatoes blitzed to a smooth consistency) was reduced down to an intense and warming thickness and pepped up with a little cayenne pepper before being poured over some fried potato to make a quick patatas bravas.
Buoyed by my recent bread making success I felt it would be right to bake an appropriate loaf to match the general theme. Using white bread flour and olive oil in place of wholemeal flour and sunflower oil resulted in a lighter loaf with an amazing resistance and slight chewiness that was just perfect for mopping up the tasty sauces that were left over. Unfortunately, hunger proved victorious over patience and we sat down to eat picnic style on the lounge floor before we could even think of taking any pictures. But we did manage to get one of the bread. Again.