With Campo Viejo
I can’t be the only one who thought ‘Ooooh what a nice living room, I’m sure we’ll have people round all the time!’ when I decided to move into my current flatshare. Three years on, I can probably count the amount of parties we’ve had on one hand. Quite often we’re just collapsed watching #GBBO in our comfies and the most excitement we get is when an oven door falls off.
Entertaining others is something you have to make a conscious effort to do. Firstly it’s tricky to find a date when everyone’s free and not at a hen, wedding or trip of a lifetime (I’ve got one friend who can only do our Christmas get together in February 2018). It’s also quite easy to let the weeks fly by without tackling any of your socialisation goals. I’m determined not to be a ‘breadcrumber’ and I want to follow through with any plans I make. I’d quite like someone other than my housemates to see my fancy cushion arrangement.
My tip is to keep things small and start off with your core group of friends. It doesn’t need to be for a special occasion, but just checking in with each other, enjoying some IRL interactions and the odd glass of fizz. Since Spanish brand Campo Viejo have recently launched their cava, I thought I’d challenge myself to organise a small gathering at home and try out some new dishes. It’s a fruity, sparkling wine that’s a great option if you find everything a bit overwhelming (like yours truly).
3 Dishes You Can Make At The Last Minute
This is probably a good time to tell you that I’ve never made Spanish food before. Of course I’ve consumed many a tapas dish in Barcelona (and a far less sunny Nottingham), but I always thought that things had to be more complicated. After having padron peppers in a restaurant recently and seeing the light (if I were veggie, I’d probably eat these all the time), I thought I’d investigate the recipe and other simple dishes.
One Pan Spanish Chicken & Rice – Who else loves cooking everything in stock? I love a one pan meal for obvious reasons and all of my fears for dry, flavourless chicken were soon quashed with this recipe. The spice mix consists of many store-cupboard essentials and I’d recommend making a bit extra for seasoning other dishes. You may want to add a little less chilli powder if your tolerance isn’t particularly high (some of the girls added natural yoghurt to cool things down).
Grilled Peppers With Lime & Salt – The aforementioned peppers that changed my life. Most of the time vegetables are something I have to tolerate, but I think it’s the sweetness combined with the salt that makes achieving my 5-a-day far more enjoyable. These are so simple. Just cover in lime and olive oil and chuck them under the grill. If you’re prone to burning things slightly like me, then that’s even better. I’d be quite happy to have these with every meal.
Sautéed chorizo with red wine – Silly me thought that making chorizo would be as simple as just popping it on a plate, but the kind you cook needs a little more love. This recipe requires you to make a simple glaze from red wine, honey, garlic and parsley but don’t fear, it takes no time at all. Definitely one to add to your dinner party plans.
I think I deserved the bubbles after organising that lot! Getting the girls together was enough of a celebration in itself, as we sometimes find it hard to get our schedules to match up. I’ve realised that it’s so important to maintain our actual friendships, which can be stretched when we run events, work in the same industry and even mentor each other.
As much as I love our Facebook thread with approximately 167,180 messages, hanging out in the living room was all kinds of entertaining. Our chats ranged from silly stories to grown-up musings about rugs and we’ve vowed to not leave it ages until the next one. We’ve had so many fun experiences and I want to keep them coming, whether they’re spontaneous evenings in with added fizz or something a little more formal (I’ve already planned what I want to wear to Liv’s wedding in two years)…
This post is in collaboration with Campo Viejo, look out for their cava at Sainsburys, Tesco and Amazon!