Disclaimer: For my readers who are not familiar with the hashtag “spon”, it means I worked in partnership with Aldi UK and their media agency for this blog post. This by no means dictate how my experience was and what I choose to say about it 😉 that said, let’s jump in to the fun stuff! 😁
It’s safe to say the World Cup fever has truly taken over everyone ⚽️ 🥅 or most of the population I know! So it was just in time I was contacted to do a fun campaign with Aldi so I could stay relevant and actually host a World Cup party at my flat on a Friday evening. Guess who was playing against each other? Spain 🇪🇸 VS Portugal 🇵🇹
I was challenged to cook a meal 🥘 inspired by the team I chose to root for. I obviously chose Spain 🇪🇸 because a) I’ve been to Spain and love it 🤭😬 b) I’ve eaten way more Spanish food than Portuguese so I couldn’t take the risk of cooking something that’s not even close to what it should be! Although if I was really into football and knew Ronaldo was playing for Portugal, that mayyyy have swayed my decision just a teeny bit 👀😏
I mean just look at him …
To be fair he looks like he’s about to combust and could do with my special recipe of Patatas Bravas. Food always trumps boys. Soz! 🤷🏻♀️
This brings me to the main reason why you’re reading this blog post. I got sent £50 worth of food vouchers to use at the nearest Aldi and cook 👩🏻🍳 my Spanish meal for my guests while we enjoyed the match. So I went to my nearest Aldi on Kilburn High Road to buy the ingredients for my Spanish feast. I can’t take full credit of the recipes though as the two recipes were taken from two different blogs. I mean why reinvent the wheel and I wasn’t going to fake it 🤓
📌What was on the menu?
I chose to cook the following:
- Gazpacho Andaluz- Traditional Spanish Gazbacho (recipe by Spanish Sabores)
- Pollo a la Riojana- Rioja style Chicken 🍗 recipe ( recipe by the Spruce Eats)
- Patatas Bravas 🥔-my own recipe 😎
📌 Experience of shopping at Aldi:
There’s a sizeable Aldi located on Kilburn High Road and it was really busy. I can understand why. There is such a massive variety of different kinds of foods and produce. The best thing being the great value 👍 now I’m not saying it because I have to.
Bear in mind I made all those three dishes from scratch so the total cost of those ingredients was approx £28. On top of that I bought one of their best rated red wine 🍷 (did you know Aldi’s red wine also won the top award 🥇 in 2017?) and a big bottle of Sangria, because why not.
What was my total? £34!! I was literally standing at the till thinking what else can I buy 🤔. I was that annoying person who had to rush back and get some extra things so I didn’t have to waste the rest of my voucher.
I still came back with £10 to spare! I do most of my shopping via Ocado 🚛 (mainly because of convenience of not having to carry heavy bags) and a mix of local independent grocers, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and M&S. Aldi isn’t very common so if you live near one then you’re lucky (note: they don’t deliver)!! The point I’m trying to make is: I’ve shopped at all these stores and I don’t think I’ve walked away with £28 worth of ingredients for three recipes that would feed six people.
Walking away with two massive bags of grocery costing me £40 was a big win indeed. Honestly I was surprised by the value for money and how far your money goes at Aldi. So it’s not a surprise they’ve won Grocer of the Year award for 2018!
If you do visit an Aldi, check out their great deals on Meats 🍖 , Fruit 🍉 and vegetables 🍅 everyweek as part of their “Super 6 Deals”.
Anyway, let’s move onto the recipes 🙌🏼
🍅 Gazpacho Andaluz: (all credit for this recipe goes to the Spanish Sabores blog 🍋)
• 6-7 medium tomatoes (the quality of the tomatoes is one of the most important factors in the taste, use vine ripened when possible and don’t use the green salad tomatoes!)
• 1 green Italian pepper (the long type, not a bell pepper)
• 1 cucumber 🥒
• ½ of a small white onion
• 1 clove of garlic (not too big)
• ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (again, quality is important)
• A splash of Sherry vinegar (Vinagre de Jerez, although red or white wine vinegar can be substituted) I used Red Wine Vinegar
• A pinch (or two) of salt
• Optional toppings: Diced cucumber, diced green apple, diced onion, diced pepper, croutons, & hard boiled eggs
1 Wash and dry all of the vegetables very well—if you prefer to peel the tomatoes you can, although I usually leave the skin on. I left the skin on.
2 Cut the tomatoes into 4 slices (leaving the core behind) and put into your blender. I used my trusty Nutri Bullet for this job.
3 Halve, core, and de-seed the pepper. Cut it into a few slices and add to the blender.
4 Peel the garlic and slice it in half. Remove the core (which often results in bitterness when not cooked).
5 Cut the onion into a few slices and add it to the blender too.
6 Peel the cucumber and cut it in half. Add half to the blender and save the other half for a topping.
7 Blend the vegetables at a high speed until it is completely pureed.
8 Add the salt and vinegar and, while blending on a slow speed, slowly add the olive oil.
9 Taste and adjust salt and vinegar. If the texture is too thick for your liking add some cold water.
10 Refrigerate and serve VERY cold! Add as many (or as few) toppings as you like.
I served my Gazpacho in small “shot” style glasses with a light garnish of parsley. They went down a treat! So refreshing and a healthy start to a Friday eve 😄
Oh just after these were served, this happened…👀😬 guys concentrate on the food- it’s aaaalll good!
🐓 Pollo a la Riojana: (all credit for this recipe goes to The Spruce Eats blog)
Note: I cooked mine without the Chorizo sausage (for that recipe go to The Spruce Eats blog post) and I also forgot to put in the green peas at the very end🤭in my defence I was genuinely caught up in the game😂
- 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces, OR 8 pieces of legs and breasts
- 1 yellow onion, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 red peppers
- 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2-3 sprigs parsley
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth or the concentrated stock pot
- 1-15 oz. can peas, drained (or 8 oz. frozen peas)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and chop the onion. Peel the garlic and cut into thin slices. Remove the stems and seeds and cut the red peppers into strips.
- Chop the parsley.
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the chicken in the pot on both sides.
- Remove pot from heat and set aside.
- While the chicken is browning in the pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent.
- Add parsley and peppers. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes.
- Add vegetables to the large pot of chicken and mix.
- Add white wine and chicken broth. Stir.
- Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. About 5 minutes before removing chicken from stove, add peas if you’re not too engrossed in the game 😬🤭
And finally, the crowd pleaser at every Spanish meal I’ve had, Patatas Bravas aka carb loading 😂
🥔 Patatas Bravas:
You would be pleased to know this was my own recipe. I wanted a spicy twist to the regular Patatas Bravas I’ve had and so I made my own version 👩🏻🍳
- Two potatoes
- One tomato
- Red chilli powder
- Half a red onion, sliced
- Parsley, for garnish
- 1 clove of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cirio tomato pasta
For the potatoes:
- Boil the potatoes. I part-boiled the potatoes whole and then peeled the skin off and chopped into small chunks. Don’t completely boil the potatoes as you’ll be baking them in the oven.
- Transfer the part-boiled potatoes in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook them in a preheated oven on 180C. Keep an eye though so the potatoes don’t burn.
For the Brava Sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a non stick pan and add the sliced red onion.
- Add in the chopped garlic once onion is translucent. Stir through so garlic is cooked as well.
- Add in one chopped tomato and let the tomato release its juices and cook through.
- Add salt and red chilli powder. For red chilli powder I would suggest you start with half a teaspoon and taste along the way. Increase the quantity if you can take the heat
- Stir through the Cirio brand Passata, stir over low heat and let the sauce simmer. I covered with a lid at this point.
- Once the sauce is cooked, use a hand blender or mixer to turn the sauce into a smooth spicy Brava sauce.
- Final step: ASSEMBLE THE DISH! 🙌🏼
That random stain of sauce in that dish is where I went in for the kill 👀 chef 👩🏻🍳 has to taste the dish you know! #sorrynotsorry
An epic end to the week and Friday eve! Let’s not talk about football ⚽️ as it’s a touchy subject 👀🤭 however the food went down a treat. When I told my guests how much that meal cost, they were so shocked and simultaneously lamented there wasn’t an Aldi near where they lived. Well may be it’s a nudge for Aldi to open more stores because we all want a piece of that! 😆
I really hope I’ve inspired you to cook something new and different. I’ve honestly never cooked Spanish food in my life and my friends were amazed I made all this for the first time.