" My Summer wine is really made of all these things... " - a party of sorts for a Summer's night dream

Last weekend we had a party of sorts, for no good reason whatsoever except the tasting of good food and good wine. I mean, there has to be no particular reason to party up on a Saturday night, right? The truth was that being part of the Youzz network as I am, I sometimes get offered the chance to try certain products and share them with people around me. It's a great platform that allows me to be in touch with new stuff and get hands on possibility of tasting and experimenting items I would probably not buy straight away, had I not had a chance of trying them in advance. Check them out, it's really cool and they have a lot of campaigns going that are interesting and fun to participate in!

My most recent campaign was this sangria from Casal Garcia, a portuguese brand best known for their green wine. I first had my real taste of wine with a bottle of Casal Garcia, chilled to perfection, during some sort of dinner party when I was in highschool. Sounds dreadful, right? Kids who are no more than fifteen, sixteen, going off to a restaurant on their own with their classmates in tow and drinking wine? Dunno if it does, it's how I grew up. Truth be said, I thought of myself as really grown up when I was sixteen. I remember drinking about two glasses of wine and being fine with it. I remember drinking cocktails in nightclubs when I was fifteen and being fine with it. I remember being fifteen and going to this particula bar called "Bora Bora" where they had the most amazig cocktails and having some of the best nights of my youth!

It's great to see brands that end up being household names - I bet every one from my generation first drank wine on their own through a bottle of Casal Garcia's green! - branching out into new markets, new tastes, new products. I was stoked to see they now had sangria, I love sangria, it's my choice of Summer wine (along with Plexus red), and I have a few recipes up my - husband's - sleeve that are cooling, refreshing and tasty as hell! But sometimes it's just so convenient and good to have it all just ready and mixed together, where you only have to chill the bottle and then open it and add whatever tickles your fancy. I rather like this particular sangria with a sprig of mint inside, because I find it a bit too sweet for my personal taste and the mint seems to cut through the sweetness far better than lemon rind. Add some ice and it's perfect for an evenig of good nibbles and fun!

For this evening in particular I had a charcuterie board set and some good portuguese cheeses that weren't photographed, sadly! My son did some olive, mozzarela and tomato skewers as well as an oven baked tomato recipe he invented on his own (check full recipe on my instagram account @kitchenwitchmiranda). We also had some fresh baguette cut into slices, olives marinated in garlic and cilantro, mozzarela bits, sundried tomato and parmigianno scones and the most delicious Azuki beans humus I have ever tried - if I do say so myself! I'm a huge sucker for humus, but generally stick to chickpeas, going with the original recipe. Not this time, this time I really wanted to try something different, so I used a small batch of Azuki beans I still had on my pantry and leme tell ya: To. Die. For. Really.

For this humus I used what I had around the house, basically, but I tend to have a larder that's fully stocked, so there was no lack of flavour involved. I had had the idea for this humus about a week before and this was the perfect meoment to put it through a test drive! You'll need:
  • about 150 gr Azuki beans
  • 1 heaped tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 red onion, medium
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper corns
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • water and walnut oil or sesame oil
Start by soaking the Azuki beans for at least twenty four hours. Then in a pan place the beans, the onion, peeled and cut into quarters, the garlic clove, mashed and still with the peel on, the pepper corns, salt, one teaspoon of cumin seeds, nutmeg and water to cover. Bring to a boil over a high heat and then reduce the heat and allow to cook until the beans are really tender and falling apart. Let cool. Now you can make your tahini paste. I never used storebought tahini, simply because when I first started making humus I couldn't even find tahini for sale at my local supermarkets, so I researched recipes on line and came up with my own way of making it. Might not be your way, and if you have a tried and tested fave recipe, go ahead, or simpy use store bought if you like it! Mine starts with heating up a flat pan over high heat, adding on two heaped tablespoons of black sesame seeds (a question of taste, I prefer these) and the heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds. I find that cumin go rather well with Azuki beans, hence the use of. If I was making any other type of humus I would probably not use these. Now, allow the seeds to fry up and pop, you can feel their aroma being released and once they are to your liking, bring them off the stove and reserve. Once the beans are cold, strain and place them in a food processor. Add about two table spoons of the water used to cook them, add the roasted seeds, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, the small garlic clove and a drizzle of sesame oil. I used walnut oil because it was what I had! Blitz until you have a paste, scoop into jars of your preference and drizzle some olive oil over. That's it, really, pretty tasty and good, pretty unusual and I'm sure you'll quite like it!

The other thing I spruced up for this meal was a batch of savoury scones. I'm a sucker for scones and I do indulge in sweet scones every once in a while (there's a great recipe here), but I do get nuts with savoury versions of pretty much anything, you know? I prefer savoury cupcakes and pasties of any kind to the sweet ones, I rather like savoury tarts a deal more than sweet ones, I'm a sucker for anything puff pastry with savoury fillings, so I guess it's no wonder I would go for savoury scones more often than not. My usual ones end up being these, as they're rather portuguese in their use of charcuteries that are typical of my country, but being such a fan of the sundried tomato and such a fan of a good parmiggiano, well, I had to try these here. So I did just that, and they're amazing, really, I won't be wanting any other version for a while, now! And they're easy to make, too!!

So here's what you need for these babies, and they quite belong at Marta's August table, as it is the month for tomatoes over at her blog:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 30 gr cold butter
  • 1/2 cup parmiggiano cheese
  • 6 sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • 45 ml milk
  • egg wash - if you want to coat them, I didn't
Start by pre heating your oven at 220ยบ. Sft the flour and the baking poweder with the salt onto a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mix with the tips of your fingers until you have something that coarsely resembles sand. Now add the cheese, the oregano and the chopped sundried tomatoes and mix together. Lightly whisk the milk and egg together and pour them into the flour mix. Stir everything together with a knife and once it's starting to combine, turn the dough onto a floured surface and pat together into a height of about four cm. Cut out the scones and place them over a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes - until they're looking golden and pretty! Enjoy with the nibbles of your choice and a great chill drink!

As for the baguette slices, I will simply refer you to this recipe here, as it is one of my husband's best, for sure. The cheeses and the cured meats, we sadly do not make our own, though lord knows how much I would like to!! I mean, what a joy, what a priviledge it would be to make your own cheese! It's one of the things I would really want to try one day - my son was actually lucky enough to have had a workshop at his school where they made their own cheese and the one he brought home was delicious. You should have seen his joy and sense of pride at having made it himself!! Would love to do that with him one day. So here's how we go about getting together a different kind of dinner, a party of sorts, for no reason whatsoever except to celebrate an evening of joy and some great Summer wines!! I hope you do indulge yourselves into making these sort of evenings a must in the midst of your busy lives, it's always great to unwind, relax and enjoy amidst great company, great food, great drinks! Enjoy and be happy!