Food & Drink
Michele is a creative and innovative designer by trade whose passion for food, family and design all stem from her warm Spanish heritage. Having grown up with creative parents, Michele has experienced different cultures and worlds and applied all of those to her exquisite repertoire of dishes.
Michele’s passion for food, wine, hotels and restaurants is something she grew up with. Her parents came from the hotel and restaurant industry, running their own restaurant for over 30 years in Valencia, Spain where her elderly mother still lives today. More recently, Michele appeared on series 17 of MasterChef where she battled the competition to make it to the quarter finals. Her dishes were loved by many, with TV personality Greg Wallace stating “It’s a very brave thing to do, and in that I’m quite impressed” following Michele’s first ever attempt at a Thai curry without using curry paste.
Having five daughters and two dogs, Michele understands how a home needs to function in order to satisfy everyone – and these tapas dishes are sure to do just that.
Clams with white rioja & serrano ham
Ingredients: Serves 2 as a starter or 4 as a tapas dish
- 1 kg of clams (preferably fresh) if not frozen (thaw before cooking)
- 100ml of olive oil
- Small white Spanish onion or shallot finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
- 150ml of white rioja wine (or dry white wine)
- 6 slices of serrano ham (one small packet)
- 1/2 tsp of hot pimenton (Spanish spice normally in small tin) or paprika
- 1/2 tsp of sweet pimenton
- 1 tsp of plain flour
- Garnish with small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
Soak fresh clams in a large bowl for approximately 20 minutes in cold water so that all the grit can be released. Rinse thoroughly in cold water. Please discard any that don’t close after tapping firmly with a metal spoon as well as any that are broken. Heat the oil in a large deep-frying pan with a lid on a medium heat and fry the finely chopped onion and garlic for approx 5 minutes. Do not over cook or brown; the onions should be transparent. When cooked add the chopped ham and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Keeping it at a medium heat add your pimenton spices and the flour and stir constantly for approximately 30 seconds. Now add your white wine ensuring you are stirring all the time. The wine will fizz, keep stirring until all ingredients come together.
Drain the clams and add to the pan. Turn up the heat and stir or shake the clams vigorously making sure they have been mixed in well. Season to taste with salt and black pepper; don’t add too much as your clams are naturally salted and the salt from the ham adds an amazing flavour. As the clams cook they will release beautiful juices which will add to the sauce.
Add your chopped parsley to the pan and then place on a tight fitting lid and cook on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes or until all of the clams have opened. If using frozen clams you may only need 2 minutes. Any clams that have not opened please throw away!
Give it a last stir and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve into small bowls or individual dishes with some lovely crusty fresh bread and a glass of chilled white wine.
Potatoes with spicy chorizo, red pepper & tomato
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm slices
- 250g Spanish chorizo sausage sliced approx 0.5cm slices
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into strips, or roasted red peppers in a jar, sliced into strips
- 3 cloves of garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp pimentón dulce (sweet Spanish smoked pepper) or smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp of dried chillies
- 120ml tomato passata
- 1 fried egg per person if serving in large dish, alternatively 1 quail egg for a small tapas dish
- Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large frying pan heat the olive oil for a few minutes, then add the sliced potatoes and sauté, stirring often, until pale gold and be soft in middle, approx 10-15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a dish.
Add the chorizo to the pan and fry on a medium heat, stirring and turning often, until crisp and brown, about 3-4 minutes. If the mixture is a little dry add more oil in small amounts. Using slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to a dish. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Then add the garlic, pimentón and dried chilli; sauté until the onion has absorbed all the spices, then add the tomatoes and simmer for approx 8 minutes. Return the potato and chorizo to the pan and bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 -15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large serving dish or individual dishes. Fry eggs leaving yolk runny and serve one per person or portion. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve warm.
- 1 whole pork fillet, cut into 1cm slices
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 large French baguette
- 12 padron peppers
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 300gms manchego cheese or mature cheddar (grated or thinly sliced)
- Pimenton dulce (Spanish sweet paprika) for garnish
Take off any white sinue from fillet and slice into 1cm slices. Sprinkle sliced pork with salt and a little black pepper. In a medium non-stick frying pan heat oil to medium to high heat, add pork slices, you may need to do this in two batches. Fry the pork until browned nicely, turning frequently for approximately 3-4 minutes.
Turn heat down and add the garlic and stir until light golden brown. Leave pork to rest in the pan. Add tablespoon of oil to a separate frying pan, bring to medium to high heat and add padron peppers, fry for approximately 2 minutes turning constantly. When the skin is opaque/brown they are ready. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place onto piece of kitchen roll.
Slice the baguette into 1cm slices and gently toast either on griddle or grill until lightly golden. Set the grill to a medium heat. Arrange the toasted bread onto an oven tray, on the top of each slice add a slice of pork fillet and then place cheese on top of the pork. Pop under grill until the cheese has melted and is gently bubbling. Quickly remove from grill pan and arrange on a serving dish. Add one patron pepper on top of each portion and secure with cocktail stick. Lightly sprinkle with pimenton and serve.