Sticky Beak Flies In For Mi Casa Book LaunchPublished On Friday 24 Apr 2015 by Sticky Beak
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Last night The Man Bird and I were on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.......... well ok, we weren’t actually there, but it felt as if we could’ve been if we’d closed our eyes and smelt the delicious aromas in the air. We were in fact at Chesterfields only 4 star hotel, Casa for the owner Steve Perez’ book launch. The book is titled “Mi Casa“ and Steve details his own Spanish roots and some of the dishes that he loved growing up and enjoys cooking now.
Anyhow, the event took place on a terrace decorated with stylish Rattan furniture, artful patio heaters and glass panels. With the sunshine still blazing down, jewel coloured juices and wines available and delicious Tapas dishes laid out there was a real buzz surrounding the event. Mr Perez himself is an extremely gracious host, spending plenty of time with all of his guests and ensuring everyone was enjoying their evening.
Head Chef Andy and his team were preparing all manner of tempting morsels, which I have to say were all superb. The Man certainly enjoyed the Pimientos de Padron, little green peppers shallow fried in Olive Oil and Maldon Salt, and I must say they were very tasty. I really enjoyed the Hake, Cheese and Chive Croquettes they were beautifully smooth inside with a cheekily crunchy outer. The Cajun Calamari went down a treat too, as did the Gambas Pil Pil (Prawns simply sautéed with Garlic, Chilli and Paprika).
The Piece de Resistance was the huge pans of Paella that Andy and his team prepared in front of us. They had already done a lot of the prep work with the stock and rice to save time, but the vast amount of seafood they added was staggering; piles of King Prawns, Langoustines, Mussels and Cockles got laden onto the fragrant rice and then went into the ovens to be finished off. We were treated to dishes of this signature Spanish dish and honestly dear reader, if you closed your eyes you really would have been transported to Spain.
Finally, there was an opportunity to try some of the beef that Steve rears on his farm at Walton and uses in the restaurants at Casa. Andy cooked it in the Josper oven which creates an even heat, with the charcoal adding a lovely smokiness to the meat, and then it was thinly sliced for us to try. I know it’s always said (and it is true) that properly reared and matured meat just has a rich flavour that caresses the tongue and this beef did just that, it was a delight to eat.
Little glass pots of Lemon Cheesecake rounded things off nicely with the fresh citrus zing cleanly refreshing the palate.
At this point I just want to mention the waiting staff that served us. Without exception the team were superbly smart and polite, very professional and extremely attentive without being in the slightest bit obtrusive. Glasses were discreetly refreshed and napkins etc cleared away to maintain a pristine environment. But what really impressed me was that every member of the team knew the details of the dishes, from what spices and herbs were in them, how they were cooked and where the produce was sourced. All this was done with a smile and as if they had all the time in the world for you.
Congratulations should also go to Anna, Sophie and Emma from In The Works PR (based in Chesterfield) as they made the evening seem so smooth and effortless despite the huge amount of effort and organisation that we all know goes into an event of this kind. And obviously the Management team at Casa itself should be recognised for all their efforts too, they made us feel so welcome and introduced guests to each other, which helped the event to feel like an extended family gathering.
At the end of the evening we were given a copy of Mi Casa, and all the mouth-watering dishes we tried are in there as well as many others. I cannot wait to try some of these out in my own kitchen, and thankfully none of them seem complicated to do. Steve also gave us some of his own Organic Free range eggs to take away, and we had them soft boiled for breakfast Chez Beak this morning.
Once again, thank you for inviting us to a thoroughly enjoyable event, we loved it and it was great to meet you all.