Update: Ham and Friends sadly closed after a year of business.

If you know me by now you’ll know I bloody love tapas. What’s better than small dishes of glorious food so when you get bored it’s onto the next one!? However I’m not made of money, especially after I’ve been to Barcelona and spent my last euros on Flormar makeup and some tomato bread (my obsession) so I have to get a bit creative when it comes to enjoying Tapas at home. Luckily I’ve been given both Omar Allibhoy books by the man himself, so have plenty of Tapas recipes to start trying. When I say this I mean for Luke to start trying – I don’t cook- I stick to what I’m good at round here!

Living in a small town it’s not that easy to quickly pick up great produce for a homely tapas evening, although we have a great deli, it’s very British based so not quite suited to an evening of Spanish tapas – unless there’s some delicacy involving a scone or sausage roll that is!? So when we were invited to Ham and Friends*-the new guys to the scene offering a restaurant, cooking school, wine room, cheese room and deli plus a coffee shop/restaurant I knew it was the perfect time to actually create a fab evening taps evening based on their wares! I was NOT disappointed!

The wine was the priority, and we got to climb the spiral staircase to heaven, well a wall of wine , which, in all honesty, is pretty darn close. We tried a few ones and I was schooled on orange wine- we loved it!- but settled on a classic red for the evening- mainly as they had sold out of the orange one we liked already!

After that I found another heaven, and that my friends, was a cheese room. Taking me back to my roots (Worksop Co-op Deli counter 1999-2001 stand uppp!) of cheese cutting this reminded me how much I used to hate cutting Manchego cheese with a crap cheese wire, but also how much I blooming LOVE cheese. What better way to take it all in than a walk in semi-cold fridge room- with the most amazing tiles- get in my kitchen now! We opted for a lovely 6 month aged Manchego and an amazing Killeen which tasted amazing- smooth yet nutty. Well worth the money I must say as it was the best cheese I’ve had in this country!

My final search was for some Quince Jelly (or Membrillo as the Spanish call it) and they actually had some. I’ve not yet found it in the UK to buy (except in a jar which just isn’t the same) and I highly recommend trying this fruit based jelly spread sparingly on a slice of Manchego or any goats cheese for that matter. They also had white anchovies which are another fave of mine but I didn’t dare transport them home this time, I’m taking a cool bag next time to they can handle the trip!

So we picked up some lovely torta’s which are like crispy bread covered in different toppings the orange one was a sweet almost baked sticky marmalade with sugar on top which was fab for afters. We also cooked off some chorizo in cider, added some olives and toasted offsome bread to scrub garlic and tomato on with salt flakes to round off our tapas eve. It was truly yummy! Have you ever had tapas at home?

*I was invited to go see Ham and Friends and given a voucher to spend on what I liked! As always all thoughts and opinions are my own!