Slow Grappa

What an afternoon we had at Slow Grappa!
The event, a fundraiser for our delegates Aldo, Mary-Ann and Claire attending Terra Madre, was hosted by Sue and Dan, with help from Deb and Claire.

Here are some photos by me and Barbara Holloway.

Aldo and Peter
Peter made dozens of cocktails, helped on and off by various people, and that really set the mood. Some ‘purists’ tried the various grappas unmixed, and Michael Brajkovich’s talk on distillation made us all wiser and keen to go back for more tasting.

The food received compliments from all directions, and I must say that Claire is a truly talented chef! The menu included:
Crostini with tomato and Basil
Sushi – smoked salmon and avocado
Antipasti with Turkish pide bread, organic Gouda, marinated mushrooms, olives, orange marinated beetroot, green capsicum, and brie
Canapés with salami and brie/ roast pumpkin, rocket and blue cheese/ parsley and green olive pesto
Eggplant, pinenut and smoked paprika empanadas
Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate molasses and coriander
Deb’s White bean dip with Alessandra’s ciabatta
Cheese and Chilli Tamales
Grapefruit Syrup cake
Vanilla Meringues

On request from many of the attendees Claire has also offered two recipes: the stunning tamales and the divine grapefruit cake. Keep scrolling down and you will find them.

Aldo and Mary-Ann

Claire, Sue and Deb

Grappa tales

Silent Auction

Thank you also to the people who offered goods for the event: Ross Clow of Hampers Ltd. in New Lynn, The Turkish Bread Company in Henderson, Charlies / Phoenix Organics, East West Organic store in Glen Eden, Aldo and Mary Ann of Ecopac, Icoco Coffee in Point Chevalier, Distilleria Bottega in Italy. Thank you also to Waitakere City Council for gifting six copies of Chris Hoult photographic book Out West for our delegates to take to Italy.

And thank you to all the friends who passed the trays around, collected the money and helped with the washing up after.

We finished with coffee, cake and chocolates sprayed with grappa, and many new friends.

David and Dan

On behalf of Slow Food Waitakere Committee and all our members I would like to wish Aldo, Mary-Ann and Claire all the best for Terra Madre.
Have a great time guys!

And for the recipes Claire says:

Hugo’s Tamales

This recipe is from Hugh O’Neill of Hugh’s New American Bistro, Denver, where I used to work. Hugh is a wonderful Irishman with a passion for Mexican food!
Some variations we would make were shrimp and peanut (for a Colorado wedding feast) and goat cheese, pumpkin and oregano.
Mexican traditional cheeses such as queso blanco or asadero would normally be used.
Traditionally tamales are made with fresh or dried corn husks. I save the husks off fresh corn in the summer for this use. Corn husks make a pattern of lovely ridges in the masa as it cooks. Fresh or frozen banana leaves work well and some Asian stores sell frozen banana leaves (try the Tofu Shop, Pioneer Plaza, Henderson).

1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cup roasted fresh corn raw, canned or frozen [raw is fine and canned or frozen is suitable out of season]
1 cup masa meal (lime treated cornmeal, available at Wah Lee’s, Hobson Street, and East West Organics, Glen Eden)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp soft butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh green chilli chopped finely OR a few dried chilli flakes added to taste
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Coarsely chopped fresh coriander to taste
2 spring onions finely sliced

Simmer milk and corn, strain milk and keep 1 cup of corn aside.
Purée remaining corn with milk, add to masa and mix well.
In a separate bowl whip butter, baking powder and salt till fluffy.
Add masa mixture little by little mixing between additions.
Fold in green chilli, remaining corn, cheese, coriander and spring onion
Lay corn husks or cut banana leaves 12 to 15 cm flat.
If using corn husks place the mixture vertically in the husk following the lines in the leaf, this makes folding easier.
Place 1 tablespoon or 2 of mixture (depending on size of leaf) in the centre of the leaf, fold in the sides and tuck in ends so that no mixture can escape.
Lay rolled tamales flat in a steamer basket, can double up layers. Steam for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot. Great with a good fresh tomato and lime salsa. Leftover tamales are fine re-steamed.

Any seasonal vegetables can be added, or herbs of your choice, but best to keep with the Mexican theme. Tamales usually feature lard instead of butter, and pork. Good with BBQ chicken or pork added.
You may like to try chipolotles, smoked jalapenos, for a distinct flavour, available from Wah Lee’s. Very hot! Use sparingly.
Sweet tamales are also made, using sugar instead of salt, variations on pineapple, banana, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and coconut

Grapefruit Syrup Cake

This recipe came from Everyday Gourmet in Dunedin and featured in a 2004 Cuisine Magazine.

200g butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp finely grated grapefruit zest
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk

For the syrup

1 cup grapefruit juice
3/4 cup caster sugar
More zest if you like

Preheat oven to 180° C or 160° C fan bake. Grease 24 cm round tin or line with baking paper.
Cream butter and sugar, add zest and beat in eggs one at a time.
Sift flour and baking powder adding alternately with milk.
Bake for about an hour or until skewer comes out clean.

I check at 40 min.
Leave cake in tin while you make the syrup.
Place sugar, juice and zest in a pan and stir until reaches boiling point. Cook for about 5 min until slightly reduced, then pour over hot cake.
Cool in tin.

The original recipe was with lemon and included 1 1/2 cups chopped figs [tossed with a little flour before adding to mixture]

and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.
3 tsp of lightly crushed coriander seeds were added to the syrup.

Great as a lemon, orange or rosewater cake.

Works fine muffin size too.