Cooking up a Spanish storm with Antonio Banderas

Ok, so I didn’t actually cook with Antonio Banderas but if Gordon Ramsay describes Omar Allibhoy as ‘The Antonio Banderas of Cooking’ then so will I. 

On Thursday night, a group of Cardiff bloggers were invited to a cookery class at Giovanni’s Cookery School on Mill Lane for an olive masterclass with Omar. The event was in conjunction with the campaign OliveIt! which is a European project being run in the UK, Spain and France to introduce new ideas and ways to use olives. I admit, I am a massive olive fiend but tend to have them as a snack or as a side dish and very rarely cook with them. When I heard we would be making a dessert with olives I questioned the likelihood of me enjoying it but waited with baited breath for the end result. I mean, Omar is the professional right? 

Luke (Yeastie Boy), Jade, Jonathan, Imran and I got stuck straight into the red wine and I now know you can never eat too many olives but you sure as hell can drink too much red wine. I absolutely loved every single thing about the class and still can’t believe I’ve been taught and spent time with someone whose recipe book is on my shelf. It was an experience you’d be mad to miss and I feel honoured to have been a part of the night; it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. 

I can’t confirm that all the dishes LP and I cooked tasted exactly how they should’ve done due to the fact I kept adding cloves of garlic and handfuls of chilli when Omar wasn’t looking but they definitely tasted delicious regardless. 

LP was very proud of his balls…


In saying that, the combination of goat cheese, double cream, sugar, vanilla, black olives, cherries and sherry really did result in one of the best and most unique desserts I’ve ever had the joy of eating. 

If you can’t get to a Tapas Revolution restaurant, there’s nothing stopping you from buying the recipe book and whipping up some Spanish dishes in the comfort of your own home. 

Omar, you’ve taught me to love olives even more than I already did, so that’s some mean feat. I also now want to experiment so much more with them and I for one, can’t wait to start trying out recipes from our OliveIt! book. 

All I will say is, if you’re heading to the cookery school any time soon, I URGE you to take the stairs. If you want to get stuck for an hour and a half then head on in but being stuck in a lift is frustrating enough as it is and once you’ve knocked back the equivelant of a bottle of wine everything seems so much more traumatic. You know things are getting out of hand when you’re contemplating opening a tin of olives to drink the brine due to how thirsty you are. When would that ever be a good idea? Oh that’s right, never. Luckily we had this massive lol to keep us entertained…

Thanks for having your face in the lift Gio; you kept us laughing. 

A shout out has to go to Ten Mill Lane for setting us free, treating us to complimentary drinks and for looking after Omar and Lucy while we were trapped in a bubble wrap and MDF filled lift. Yes, it was that dodgy and yes it should’ve been reason enough not to get in it but when you’re full of olives and red wine, you feel like you can take on the world. 

When the weather is this grim, the only thing you should be doing this morning is heading online to order your cookbooks. You’ll appreciate my recommendation no end, I promise you. 

  Gracias Omar, Lucy, OliveIt! and Tapas Revolution for a wonderful Thursday night. 



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