Tapearte 2011-Tapeando in Ciudad Real & the joys of weaning!!!

I´ve been meaning to post this for awhile now but just haven´t managed to get round to it!! I have been doing some baking including a mango and chocolate torte and Custard Pie but haven´t had my camera at hand. I´m also pretty caught up in weaning and homemade purees for my daughter. So far she´s tried baby rice & baby porridge, carrot, carrot & sweet potato, banana and apple. Thankfully she seems to like everything so far, not like her mother!! I´m mainly following the Annabel Karmel website & her recipes. The funniest reaction we´ve had was a disgusted face and then a shudder after trying banana for the first time. Maybe she´s going to be like her mummy and not like banana!

Anyway, on to the main post, Tapearte 2011. This is an annual tapas contest held in Ciudad Real, where restaurants and bars compete against one another to win the title of best tapa and it is voted by you, the general public. Participating bars/restaurants have leaflets or you can pick them up at the tourist office, which list all the tapas and places taking part. You can then visit the bar and try the tapa which you fancy the most for the small fee of 2 euros for a beer or other drink(some allow you to have soft drinks or Salobriña, a red grape & apple juice drink, others you have to pay extra if you don´t have an alcoholic drink!)plus the tapa! This year Tapearte 2011 was from October 12 -October 16. The bar then stamps your leaflet and you mark the tapa on taste, presentation and originality. If you collect 7 stamps, you can also enter a prize draw!

This is the first year that we actually managed to take part in it and I think now it is going to be a regular event that we will join in!The first bar we tried was La Calle in C. Mata, The tapa was pork tenderloin with caramelized onion on a slice of bread in a reduction of sherry (Pedro Ximenez, I think) .It was delicious, especially as the bread had soaked up all the juices howver not very good on the originality and presentation counts! Unfortunately, I didn´t get a photo of this!

The next place we tried was the tapa in Miami Gastro (in Avenida de Rey Santo), unfortunately I can´t remember exactly what it consisted of. I think it was a toast with mushrooms in truffle oil or something. It was good but a bit of a disappointment coming from them as I really enjoyed this restaurant when we went there.

Next we tried Guridi´s (C. Libertad) tapa. Guridi has already won the tapas contest twice before and this year, their entry did not disappoint. By far the winner in presentation at least, the tapa was a mini burger complete with a quail´s egg and served on a poppy-seed bun (the bun was a little dry, I have to say), a potato chip coil wrapped round a flower as you can see in the following photo:

We then went to La Esquina de Hierbabuena, directly opposite Guridi on C. Libertad, whose tapa was a tasty sheep´s cheese Encomienda de Cervera covered in pistachios and spearmint and fried.

We then headed for the main square and tried two tapas in different bars, the first bar we tried was El Portalon, whose tapa was a type of pie, with pastry at the bottom, aubergine and a bechamel sauce, rather reminiscent of a lasange but very tasty even if not very original.

Then, it was on to the bar next door, El Ventero, again can´t quite remember what exactly the tapa was but it invloved mincemeat, cheese and tortilla type bread and was a little spicy if I remember correctly. Another delicious choice but they lost points in my book for charging us extra for the tapa. (Both of these restaurants can be found in the Plaza Mayor).

Finally, we ended our tapas trail in Cafe del Arte (C. del Lirio), where the tapa was made up of a kebab with red & green pepper,onion, cherry tomato and kangaroo meat.Good but the meat was a little tough, the tapa itself was neither very original nor very well-presented.

My three fav´s were La Calle (Pork tenderloin and caramellized onions), La Esquina de Hierbabuena (fried cheese covered in pistachio and spearmint) and Guridi (the mini burger). Still don´t know who won this year´s Tapearte and in the end didn´t get round to entering the prize draw as we lost our leaflets but was fun doing it all the same!!


Belated Halloween Pumpkin Spider Cupcakes

Although Halloween is long over, I still had some orange and black fondant so I decided to make the Halloween pumpkin cupcakes I made last year as I also had a jar of pumpkin that needed using up too. I actually made these cupcakes last weekend but haven´t got round to blogging it until now!

Using round cookie cutters, I cut out circles of orange rolled fondant and stuck it onto the pumpkin cupcakes using edible glue. I then rolled out the black fondant and using a 16 icing nozzle and a 2 icing nozzle, cut out the head and body for the spider. I then cut thin strips for the legs, which I rolled between my fingers to shape them into spidery legs and stuck them onto the orange fondant-again with the edible glue! I then rolled some small balls of orange fondant for the spider´s eyes. I still have some black and orange fondant left so any ideas of what I can do with it, which aren´t related to Halloween, are greatly welcomed!! Looking forward to next Halloween when Chloe will be able to dress up and join in the fun!!


Halloween decorated biscuits (in a bit of a rush!)

After ordering the Halloween cutters and the black and orange fondant, they finally arrived and I could set to on making some Halloween decorated biscuits. I made my usual biscuit recipe, the one I used for Chloe´s Christening biscuits but it´s not easy juggling a baby and baking!! It took me all day to make these in between feeding Chloe, having dinner, taking her for a walk etc! Or maybe I´m just slow!!

I was going to decorate the ghosts with royal icing but in the end settled on glace icing as it was quicker to whip up and despite using a spatula instead of piping it on, I think they actually look quite neat!! I made the eyes and mouths with some black fondant and stuck them on with some edible glue. I then rolled out some black fondant and covered the gravestones and bats with black fondant. Using the glace icing, I then piped RIP onto the tombstones, unfortunately as the icing was quite thin, it was very difficult to pipe writing and kept blobbing out and joining up so it was harder to make out what it said(but had to make do as ended up having to rush it all). I then rolled out some orange fondant and covered the pumpkin- shaped biscuits and made eyes for the bats. I then cut out some black triangles and squiggly shapes for the eyes and mouths of the pumpkin and stuck them on with the edible glue again! I think by the time I finished it was 1 am!!

I was planning on doing more detail,like giving the pumpkins green stalks and maybe giving the bats fangs or mouths etc but as it got quite late and I was tired, I didn´t have the energy or the will! All in all though, I don´t think they turned out that bad even though they were decorated in quite a hurried manner!!

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