Baked sardines with white wine & braised octopus with olives, tomatoes and hot chorizo

Cookbook Challenge

Cookbook Challenge

Many of us have fell out of routine for the cookbook challenge. It is such a good challenge as it encourages many of us to make use and dust off cook books that we have tucked away and forgotten about. There isn’t that many more weeks but to be very honest, I am struggling to catch up. I don’t think I will catch up this time so hopefully the challenge will be up again next year?

First, I need to thank Agnes of Off the Spork & April of My Food Trail for organising this catch up. It was the first time that I met up with Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie, Ange of Vicious Ange & Leigh of Chit Chat Chomp. Last but not least, Anna & David bought their “stomachs along for eating” :)

I made 3 dishes that day. Not sure why but I didn’t think we had enough food! Or maybe I am just greedy?

Fresh sardines

Fresh sardines

First dish was Baked Sardines with white wine. This recipe is slightly adapted from 1080 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega.


  • 1.5kg of fresh sardines, gutted and scaled
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250ml of white wine
  • Smoked sea salt (don’t worry if you do not have any, normal salt is perfectly fine)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 fresh chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 30g of butter
  • 1/2 bunch of chopped parsley

I have no problems gutting fishes. They look pretty awesome to me.

Clean fresh sardines

Clean fresh sardines

I had slight problems with the method from the book. The amount of sardines were divided into 2 portions. I cooked one portion and it didn’t work out the way it I think it should so I tweaked it. That came out perfect. I think so anyway.

Method (This method is for cooking the lot together):

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare the fish and make sure that it is pat dry. Layer the bottom of the tray with a good dosh of oil (about 5tbsp). Place the sardines first. Over the lemon juice and wine over the fish, sprinkle salt and chilli slices. Use half of the butter and drop bits into the dish
  2. The sardine goes into the oven for about 15mins. Bast it once or twice. Take it out of the oven. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and rest of the butter over the fish. Crank the oven up to 200C
  3. Place the dish back into the oven for another 5 – 10mins. Make sure that the sardines are properly browned
  4. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley and serve hot with thinly toasted bread
Baked sardine with white wine

Baked sardine with white wine

Second dish that I made was a braised octopus with olives, tomatoes and hot chorizo. These are baby octopus and I bought them from Queen Victoria Markets. I can’t remember where I learnt this recipe from. But it has changed over time and it is a great one pot wonder.

Fresh baby octopus

Fresh baby octopus


  • 1.5kg of baby octopus
  • 180g of hot spanish chorizo (fresh), cubed
  • 1 fresh chilli, very finely diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, fingely diced
  • 3 chipolte
  • 2 guajillo
  • 250ml of white wine
  • 500g of cherry or small roma tomatoes
  • 100g of black olives
  • Large handful of finely chopped parsley stalks
  • 50g of tomato paste
  • Pepper


  1. Stir in garlic and fresh chillies into oil. Once garlic is slightly brown, add the chorizo and allow it to crisp up. Add the octopus and combine well
  2. Once the octopus turns a slight pink/red, pour in the wine and allow it to reduce
  3. Turn down the heat slightly and add the olives and parsley stalks. Cut all the cherry tomatoes in halves. Squeeze the cherry halves into the pot. Stir and add the tomato paste
  4. Lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 11/2 hours
  5. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and serve with chunky bread
Octopus braised

Octopus braised

And now for a showcase of foods I consumed that day! I could hardly move by the end of it!

From top left to bottom right. Ange made us a roasted pepper, garlic, onion and tomato salad with a sherry vinegar dressing.

Leigh made some beautiful chorizo and pea parcels.

Cherrie made some Morcon. It’s Filipino beef rolls influenced by the Spanish.

April made a Spanish garlic & chilli prawn.

Most of these dishes are made by Agnes! This super woman made 5 dishes all up. The first wrinkled salted potatoes with mayo & verde. Then followed by Chorizo & chickpea stew. And a lovely spiced oxtail casserole. All recipes here.

My third dish was a garlic butter mushrooms.

And of course, we had desserts and sweets. What a spread. I did manage to leave some room for dessert. Let me show off my plate filled with goodies.

Leigh made 3 types of Catalan biscuits – pinenut, almond & chocolate.

Super woman Agnes made Deep fried custard and a lemon tart! OMG!

We all had a lovely Sunday afternoon. All of us went home with a very full and happy belly and fond memories. I am sorry that I will be missing the next cookbook challenge gathering but I will sure that I will read it on all your blogs. Enjoy and see you in summer :)


I enjoy blogging. And I enjoy meeting people from blogging. These people that I met at this gathering come together for the love of food. Some of these people, I have gotten closer to and call them friends. I hesitated to respond but I have to. I have to speak my mind. I might regret it but if I don’t, I know I will regret it. So if I offend friends or readers, then I apologise. But I am NOT sorry for those that has no basic respect to fellow human beings.

The blogsphere is big and at times, there are nasty ones. Ones that feel that they can bully through words. Ones that bully by victimising fellow bloggers. Ones that shows no respect and yet demand respect by undermining the credibility of others. Is that a right thing to do? Yes I am upset. And yes I teared. What right do you have to make another human being cry and feel pain? What right do you have to judge! Do you know me or any of those bloggers that you have mentioned? What right do you have to disown our credibility? Who and what gives you the right to police the blogsphere? And integrity? Don’t get me started. What is worse? Bloggers receiving a couple of freebies or gunning specific fellow blogger down for doing so?

I have no respect for these people that think they are bigger and better than others. I have no respect for those that impose their “high moral” principles onto others. I am thankful for those that are supportive and even send me very kind messages, DMs & emails. Thankfully, there are so many many more nice bloggers and friends out there. If you are NASTY, please keep your nastiness to yourself. Shame on you for attacking the unexpected. Tsk tsk tsk…..! And for those that supported his act, shame shame shame. Come to me if you have an issue. Don’t piggyback onto others. Just shame.

How do you deal with nasty bloggers that say nasty things about you on their blog?