A Meetup Dinner, All things Spain

Celebrating all things Spain, that was the theme of the Meetup that Steve and I hosted tonight.  For those who don’t know what Meetup is, it’s an online site that helps people get together for off line activities.

A little about how we came to be part of meetup, having recently relocated to New Hampshire after 30 years or so in Maine, I knew I needed to rebuild my social network.  Not having kids in a local school and working mostly from home, there weren’t many opportunities for me to meet people. Since Steve and I  met  ‘online’ (5 1/2 wonderful years ago), I figured, why not go the same route to make new friends!  So a little bit of googling brought me to Meetup.com.  I have to grin when I remember Steve’s look when I told him about  the first meetup I signed ‘us’ up for, a wine tasting.  But trusting guy that he is, he humored me and we ended up at a gorgeous home in Merrimack with a great group of people, a fabulous pot luck dinner and learned alot about wine from someone who obviously loved to teach about it (thanks Duffy)! The very next day, Steve was on the meetup site looking up other groups for us to join.  Anyway, tonight we are hosting a meetup in our home with the Wandering Table Meetup group. We’ll have a total of 6 guests, everyone bringing a  Spanish dish to share.

Remembering our January trip to Costa Rica, Steve and I had a wonderful Ceviche in San Jose. Ceviche is a lovely, light fish dish, typically

Ceviche

served as an appetizer.  The unique part about Ceviche is the ‘cooking method’. Essentially its raw bite sized fish that has been ‘cooked’ in a marinade of acidic fruit and seasoned with salt, spices and chili peppers.  The marinade changes the texture of the fish, but not it’s raw taste.  Any kind of fish will do, a quick search will find many many ceviche recipes.  For tonights ceviche, I used a combination of fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, jalapeno pepper, fresh cilantro, tomatoes and onions.  For the fish, I used cod, bay scallops and shrimp.  Served on mixed greens in a martini glass with sliced avocado for garnish, I also sprinkled a little black lava finishing salt over the top of it. Yumm!

Now, if we have too much to drink, we could be really really adventurous, as the true ceviche lover will indulge in ‘Tigers Milk’ ((leche de tigre), the marinade juices of the ceviche (sometimes mixed with vodka)  are said to be a cure for hangover.

When it’s a pot luck, everyone brings a dish so for Steve’s contribution, I made a light Bizcochos Borrachos, sometimes known as just Borrachos, it’s translation is basically, Drunkin Sponge Cake.  The cake is light as air topped with a syrup made of lemon, brandy or rum (I used Capt Morgan) and cinnamon. Served with a side dollop of fresh whipped cream, the perfect finish to a lovely meal!

Bizcochos Borrachos

Bizcochos Borrachos | Drunken Sponge Cakes

Ingredients:

For cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup granulate sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon for decoration

For sauce:

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 fl. oz. water
  • 1½ tbsps honey
  • 1½ oz. Brandy or Rum
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • Peel of ½ a lemon

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Liberally grease an 8″ square cake tin with shortening and then flour it.
  • Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar until creamy.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Fold the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the egg whites carefully using a spatula.
  • Fold in both the baking powder and the flour gradually, bit by bit and make sure it is mixed well.
  • Pour the batter mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until it turns golden. You can check whether the cake is done by inserting a tooth pick into the center of the cake. If the pick is clean when it is pulled out, the cake is done.
  • While the cake is baking, you can make the syrup sauce. Put water, sugar, cinnamon stick, honey and lemon peel into a small sauce pan. Bring this mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally, and allow to boil for about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the brandy or rum. Then allow the syrup to cool down.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool. Once it has cooled sufficiently, cut the cake into 9 pieces and place them on a serving dish. Drizzle each piece of cake with the brandy syrup sauce and then decorate them by dusting the tops with ground cinnamon. Add a dollop of fresh whipped cream to the side.  Enjoy!

Bon appétit!

Karen

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