The Gourmet Traveller Challenge. January: Porteño’s barbequed calamari with chickpeas and preserved lemon

If your anything like me, you are a Gourmet Traveller magazine addict. I used to buy it when I used to live here 10 years ago, then when I left, I packed them up and kept them.  Still having Gourmet traveller magazines from 1996 may be slightly obsessive and lean toward being a crazy hoarding woman, but hey they are interesting to browse through though and to see how far we have come. OK, I know I have to get rid of them.

Even when I lived in London, my local newsagent kindly used to order it in for me and text me when it arrived. Now that is service!

And so the obsession continues. I have noticed, however, that I hardly EVER make anything from them. Shocking isn’t it. So that is my challenge this year, to make something from every issue. There are a few simple rules I must follow:

1. Make at least one recipe from each issue

2. Choose something I may not usually make.

3. Don’t choose something easy just to complete rule 1.

So January brings the BBQ issue. Every month there is a section where they fulfil the request of diners, by gathering favourite recipes from their loved meals. I was drawn to the Porteño offering.

The recipe was not difficult, except for the calamari. I wanted this to be a one stop meal so after popping into Broadway Harris Farm Market,  I road the escalator to the seafood shop above in the shopping centre. I could only see calamari from Thailand so I asked if they had any Australian. Bargain squid at $3.99/kg, but I would have to clean them myself. What! is this a new Sunday sabbath, no clean rule for fish shops? Anyway, no problem, I quite enjoy the satisfaction of cleaning my own anyway, thanks to a little stint at Rick Stein’s Seafood School.

But it was squid, and a big one. I only cooked the tentacles (which should be more tender), but they were still a bit tough. I think a young calamari would be much more tender. The recipe suggests buying ones only about 12cm long, and not squid twice the size, as mine was. My remaining squid was thrown into the freezer in preparation for a slow cooked red wine and blood orange stew.

Other than my squid dilemma, it was a great dish. The chickpea base was lovely with the yoghurt, and the watercress leaf makes a great change from the over used rocket. I think I will use the leftover base and watercress with some wedges of roasted pumpkin. If you’d like to make it you can find the recipe here.

I encourage you all to take up the challenge and cook something from the food magazine that you subscribe to! Please tweet me some photos if you do, I’d love to see them.