Sunday, 27 March 2011

How To Make Tapas the Sarah Way

Being a culinary genius and all, and since today is National Spanish Paella Day, here are my recipes for tapas, done my very special way, tantrums and all. Of course, tapas are not paella but I'm using the tenuous link of them both being Spanish and food to write this.

It's also pretty handy that, by chance, I happened to make tapas just the other night.

Glazed Chorizo
Chorizo ring
Sainsbury's House Red Wine for £3.69 (I'm a skint student, okay?)

1. Dry fry the chorizo. It will produce its own tasty chorizo flavoured oil.
2. Once the pan is sufficiently oily and the chorizo is sufficiently brown, add a nice big glug of the wine. You could (and should, since it tastes better) use a better red wine, like Rioja. Port or sherry are also tasty in this dish.
3. Reduce the wine down 'til you have nice sticky, winey (or port-y or sherry-...y) chorizo.

Patatas Bravas

Baby new potatoes
Can chopped tomatoes (Sainsbury's basics, of course)
Pinch of paprika
Clove of garlic
Knob of butter
Glug of that Sainsbury's House Red again.

I've made this before, but couldn't remember or find the recipe, so I made it up. It worked, but I guess it's difficult to get wrong.

1. Cut potatoes in half and boil until tender.
2.  Melt knob of butter in a pan at a medium heat.
3. Fry the garlic in the butter.
4. Search frantically for the can of tomatoes you know (slash hope) is somewhere at the back of your cupboard. Dread another quick dash to the supermarket before finally finding it behind the kidney beans.
5. Look through your spices for one that is suitably 'Spanish-y' and that will go with tomatoes. Reject Chinese five-spice and Garam Masala. Settle, finally, for paprika and chuck some of that in.
6. Bring tomatoes et cetera to the boil and then simmer until you have a thick, rich, tomatoey sauce. This should take about 20 minutes.
7. Drain your tatties and put the tomato stuff on top.

If you want to make patatas bravas con quesa, which I didn't, add a sprinkle of grated manchego and grill 'til the cheese is melted and golden brown.


This isn't Spanish, but it's tasty and I fancied eating halloumi so I decided it could be honorary tapas. This recipe is adapted from one by Nigella Lawson and by a complete happy coincidence happens to be currently featured as 'What We're Eating Today' on her website. So if you want her actual recipe, click on her name back there.

250g block of halloumi, drained
Lime juice
Clove of garlic, crushed
Olive oil

1. Chop halloumi into bite-size pieces.
2. Dry fry halloumi at a medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
3. Meanwhile, combine all the other ingredients in a shallow dish to make a dressing for the fried halloumi. If, like me, you can't find a shallow dish you're not already using, a soup bowl does the trick. Put in a bit of everything and keep tasting 'til you have the flavours right.
4. Add the nice golden brown halloumi to the dressing and then eat most of it before the rest of your tapas are ready.

Spanish Surprise

Again, a Nigella recipe was the inspiration for this dish. The actual recipe is not on her website, but can be found in her book Nigella Express under the title 'Spanish Omelette'.


3 Spring onions
75g roasted red pepper from a jar.
4 eggs
225g halved baby new potatoes
75g manchego cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes until tender. If you're sensible, unlike me, you will cook them along with the exact same potatoes you're cooking for your patatas bravas.
2. Mix eggs, chopped spring onion, and sliced roast red peppers together in a bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste.
3. Drain potatoes, combine with eggy mixture.
4. Heat a tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan.
5. Pour potato and egg mix into pan (preferably the frying pan you've just heated the oil and butter in) and cook.
6. Get distracted by doorbell ringing. Answer door.
7. On return to the kitchen, realise you forgot to put the cheese into the omelette mix before putting it in the pan. Decide to add it now instead.
8. Realise omelette is burnt on the bottom and it's too late to add cheese now. Decide to flip omelette to cook the top. You can cut the burnt bits off and grate the cheese on the top after and it will taste the same.
9. Be unable to flip omelette because it is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Make a mess.
10. Have a tantrum and completely over-react. Cry a bit. Call self a failure. Consider not cooking the rest of the meal. Declare it will taste horrible. Stomp about a bit. Slam some pans around.
11. Realise you're too hungry to not cook the rest of the meal, and being a brat. Transfer horrible omelette mix to pyrex dish and grate cheese on top. Place under grill until cheese is melted and golden brown.
12. Rename your omelette 'Spanish Surprise', taste it, and realise it is exactly as you envisioned in taste if not in looks.

So there you have it, how to make tapas the Spanish Sarah way. Serve it all with slightly stale crusty bread that was reduced at the supermarket, and olive-oil and balsamic vinegar. Wash it all down with the rest of the bottle of Sainsbury's House Red Wine. Et voila (or whatever the Spanish equivalent of 'et voila' is).

And of course, Happy National Spanish Paella Day!

1 comment:

  1. I love Spanish tapas. Small bite sized pieces of goodness. :-)