THE COOKBOOK CLUB: Espanyol Espesyal

So for our second meeting, the Housewife wannabeez decided to cook up a Spanish Storm for our loved ones – our families, of course, in celebration of Valentine’s! And by a storm we meant a FEAST enough to feed 20-30 people! We did not expect our output to be that much. I guess we really have that much love to give, if you know what I mean! 😉

Assignments were as follows:

El Apertivo y Tapas (appetizers or starters) were split between Nica and Ate Kat. Starch and centrepiece dish on me.

Nica prepared Gambas Al Ajillo (Spanish style Garlic Shrimps), Sautéed Mushrooms and Spanish Chorizo. As well as “adult-friendly” (less alcohol for our parents) Sangria.

Ate Kat made Fabada or Spanish bean and chorizo stew; two versions of Mussels – one smoked (without the use of a griller, just some life hacking skills which she will share with you) and one with white wine, Beef Salpicao and as an addition to our mains – Callos a la Madrileña, a traditional Spanish stew composed primarily of beef tripe, chorizo de bilbao and garbanzo beans.

I, on the other hand was tasked to prepare Arros Negre or Paella Negra (flavoured and blackened by squid ink) and Cochinillo Asado – Roasted Suckling Pig. (Yes, it’s a baby pig. Preparing it really broke my heart. BUT I HAD TO!!! Although the meat was truly, undeniably tender and succulent with a very thin layer of fat – no doubt about that, I am sad to say I’ll never prepare Cochinillo myself again, :'( )

For dessert, Ate prepared Chocolate Churros con chocolate but because we were all preoccupied with eating and communing with our family members, we totally forgot about the dessert! It was supposed to be fried but the batter became soggy so in an attempt to save it, we just baked it… Cut the long story short, it was a flop so no photo and no recipe here either! :p

PS: We really got carried away by the feast that we forgot to take profile shots of the dishes. Plus our guests were impatient already so we gave them the tapas as a headstart because the Cochinillo needed a total of four hours in the oven. And neither did we have a photo of US. No human photos were taken that night! Hahaha Well that can also be a good sign, right?

We were spent that day, but hearts full. Preparing thematic food for the family is always gratifying. Every day we feed them is love-day and that is everyday, actually!

Here are some photos we managed to take as well as our very own recipes. Disfrutar, Señoritas!

Spanish Saturday! Olives, Garlic Mushrooms, Spanish Chorizo, Gambas Al Ajillo with bread, Smoked Mussels, Mussels in White Wine Sauce, Beef Salpicao, Paella Negra and Cochinillo Asado. OH and Sangria! Fabada, sadly not in the photo.


Nica’s Tapas Trio

Gambas Al Ajillo

750g shrimps

3tbsp EVOO

2tbsp butter

8 cloves garlic

Spanish Paprika

juice of half a lemon

chilli flakes (optional)

salt & pepper

chopped parsley for garnishing

Sauté garlic and chilli flakes in EVOO and butter until slightly brown (not toasted). Add paprika, lemon and shrimps. Cook shrimps for 2-3 minutes until it turns pink. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.


Garlic Mushroom

300g white and brown mushroom

4 cloves garlic


Saute garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.


Spanish Chorizo

250g Spanish Chorizo

4 cloves garlic


Saute garlic until fragrant. Add chorizo until cooked.


Ate Kat’s Smoked Mussels (smoked by toasting flour, sugar and lemon in a pan!)

Smoked Mussels

500g mussels (bought frozen without shells at Santi’s)

2/3c olive oil

1tbsp  spanish paprika

1tsp pepper

1tbsp white sugar

1. Clean and debeard mussels. Marinade in olive oil, paprika, pepper and sugar for at least 3 hours.

2. For smoking the mussels: In a pan toast 1/2 cup flour, 1tbsp sugar and juice of half a lemon. Smoke the marinated mussels in the pan (including the container). Season with salt and pepper.


Mussels in White Wine Sauce

2tbsp butter

2tbsp olive oil

1/2 head garlic

1 pc onion

4 pcs tomatoes

500g mussels

1/2 pc lemon

1 cup white wine

1tsp sweet paprika

1tsp salt

2tsp pepper

1Tbsp sugar

1Tbsp flour mixed with water

2Tbsp parsley

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil and butter. Add tomatoes until wilt. Add mussels and lemon juice. Pour white wine and cook to dissipate alcohol. Add seasonings: salt pepper, paprika and sugar. Simmer. Mix flour with water and pour to slightly thicken liquid into a sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Creamy Fabada

*this version did not use chunks of salty pork and instead used bacon and pancetta

500g cannellini beans, soaked over night

1/2 head garlic

1pc onion

1/2 cup pancetta

1/4 cup bacon

1 cup spanish chorizo

250g beans

1cup sofrito

Beef stock

3 pinches saffron

2-3t salt

2-3t pepper

1t sweet paprika

1t oregano


1. Render fat of bacon, pancetta and spanish chorizo. Set meat aside.

2. Sauté garlic and onions in pork fat.

3. Add in 250g of beans and 1 cup of sofrito (see next recipe). Mix then pour beef stock.

4. Add saffron, salt, pepper, paprika and oregano. Bring to boil then puree everything except for bacon, pancetta and chorizo.

5. Meanwhile, boil gently 250g beans in beef stock and add in pureed mixture.

6. Add 1-2 cups of heavy cream according to consistency preference.

7. Add back in bacon, pancetta and chorizo.

8. Serve immediately.

Sofrito  (sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs)

1/2 head garlic

2 cups white onions

3 cups tomatoes

1/3 cup olive oil


Sauté onions until caramelized. Add in garlic and tomatoes. Pour broth and cook until soft. Puree everything. Bring back to pan and cook until reduced to paste-like consistency.


Beef Salpicao 

2 heads garlic

2/3 cup olive oil

650g beef strip loin cubes

1tsp pepper

1. Season beef cubes with pepper and marinate overnight with olive oil and garlic.

2. Sear beef then add in marinade.

3. Saute 2pcs roasted bell pepper, 1 cup mushrooms, 1/4 cup wine.

4. Add 1tsp sweet paprika and 1tsp oregano

5. Simmer until oil is reduced.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Top with garlic chips

Carlos’ Callos

Callos a la Madrileña de Carlos 😉

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup spanish chorizo

1/3 cup bacon cubes

500g ox tripe, (pre-boiled in water and salt for 20 minutes, discard water. Boil again with salt until tender. Reserve stock)

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 cups beef broth (recipe below)

2.5 cups ox tripe broth

2/3 cups garbanzos

1 pc bayleaf

1pinch saffron

1tsp salt

2tsp pepper

1tsp sweet paprika

1. Saute spanish chorizo and bacon cubes in olive oil. Add in Tomato paste.

2. Add boiled ox tripe with beef and ox tripe broth. Bring to a boil

3. Pour in garbanzo beans, bayleaf, saffron, salt, pepper and paprika. Simmer.

Beef broth

1 pc onion quartered

1 pc carrot chopped

2 cups celery

1kg beef bones


1Tbsp salt

1tsp pepper

Place everything in a pot and bring to a boil.


My favorite Paella Negra is from Mingoy’s in Fort Strip. My favorite part? The toasted bottom!

Arros Negre

1/4c olive oil

half head of garlic

half white onion

500g Paella Rice (found at Santi’s) or arborio rice for risotto if you don’t find any

6 pouches of squid ink gel (can be bought at specialty stores like Terry’s Selection in Podium) – dissolved in 2tbsp broth

1/4 kilo squid (clean and remove innards and cut into rings. I bought the cuttlefish without ink)

1/4 kilo shrimps

1/2 kilo mussels (soaked in a basin of water for at least an hour to get rid of sediments)

1tsp paprika

1tsp salt

1/2tsp pepper

Red and green bell pepper strips

1. Boil mussels and shrimp heads in 1.5L of water. Keep the water as broth.

2. Peel shrimps but leave tail intact.

3. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Add in squid rings. Set aside half for topping.

4. Add paella rice and coat in oil. Slightly toast.

5. Pour 1.5L of stock (ratio of paella rice to stock is 1:3). Bring to a gentle boil and season with salt pepper and paprika.

6. Arrange the boiled mussels (debearded already), shrimps and remaining squid. Cover and let cook for 20minutes.

7. Add bell peppers in the last 5 minutes.

8. Garnish with parsley and serve with dollops of Aioli (mayonnaise basically with grated garlic and lemon juice)


Homemade Aioli

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 egg yolk

2tnsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4cup EVOO

1. Whisk egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl.

2. Pour oil slowly while continuously whisking and mixture emulsifies and thickens.

3. Add in grated garlic. Mix to incorporate and season with salt and pepper.

4. Cover and chill until ready to use.

*If too thin, add more oil. If too thick, add a few droplets of water.

Coochi coochi cochinillo!!!

Cochinillo Asado

The piglet we got was not so young anymore. Cochinillo pig is supposed to be not more than 10 pounds. This one is probably around 20-25lbs so I call it a lechonita! Original Cochinillos are butterflied and roasted at a much shorter time. But since I had to stuff this little piggy in my 60-cm oven, I had to roast it whole and sitting down! Anyway like what I said, although Cochinillo tastes so good and the baby fat (literally) just melts in your mouth, I do not have the heart to prepare one again from scratch. All I could think of was Babe… and Wilbur… :'( Anyway, just the same here is our winner recipe for Cochinillo Asado!

Rub the cavity of the piglet with salt, pepper and dried thyme and rosemary. Do the same for the skin, but brush with olive oil and dollop with butter. Roast with the ears covered (they easily burn) and the entire pig blanketed with aluminium foil (so as not to burn too soon and leave the meat uncooked) at 400F for 3 hours. Increase the temperature to 425F, remove the cover and roast for one more hour to crisp up the skin. Let rest for 15mins to further crisp up. Serve and cut using a saucer for showmanship! Haha!

White Sangria

1 bottle white wine

1bottle apple cider

1 bottle flavored vodka (we used cranberry flavour)

a dash of cranberry juice

1 lime

1 lemon

1 orange

2 apples

2 kiwi


Slice the fruits. Soak in white wine for 1-2 hours in a pitcher or carafe. Add vodka. Last minute to add, right before serving: apple cider. Stir and enjoy!

Special thanks to our brother Ali of UrbanWillow for the rustic wooden table (he rents them out for weddings and other events) and Mom for the table setting. MUCHAS GRACIAS! TE QUIERO MI FAMILIA!

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