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Prawns with chilli, garlic & parsley in cava

I am calling this a tapa but, in truth, I didn’t have something like this in Spain. But, Spain inspired me to make it. And, I am using cava. Can I get away with that? It seems like something you would get in Spain, perhaps with less chilli? Anyway, here it is.

I love prawns. We eat them really often, preferably from raw. I don’t like buying the precooked ones – they’re too tough and overcooked. I can be quite lazy and frequently buy the ones that are uncooked but have been deshelled & deveined for you to save time. We usually have them in a curry or in pasta with the occasional breakout to piri piri or a fish pie. This time they’re cooked briefly in cava with chilli, garlic & parsley and served on toast.[Read more]

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Broad beans with ham & lemon

I am still on a Spanish buzz! I just can’t get enough of tapas. This dish was inspired by habas con jamon (broad beans with ham) that we had in Spain but using what I had to hand – bacon. We had it twice in Spain. The first time was very disappointing in Plaza Nueva in Granada, in a bodegas which looked great but unfortunately wasn’t. This, incidentally appears to be very rare in Andalucia! The beans were overcooked and I couldn’t even see any ham. However, we had it again and it was delicious, nice bright fresh broad beans amidst chunks of serrano ham, one for the notebook to try and recreate when I got back to London.

It’s broad bean season so I had no problem getting these fresh. At this stage they’re quite large but still tender. To get the best from the broad beans be sure to double pod them. This takes a while but it is worth removing the rubbery skin, especially from larger ones (you can leave it on smaller ones).

Broad beans and ham are a great combination and the lemon lifts it and makes it really summery. It’s a very nice snack with a glass of cava. I will stress that this is my interpretation of the dish and not a traditional spanish recipe. I do intend to dig out the traditional one though and will post the results here.[Read more]

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Tapas for tea

We had to do something to lift our spirits! The harsh reality of leaving our little Spanish seaside town and returning to the urban jungle that is London was a little hard to bear. Especially as it was raining. I love London but that contrast is too extreme and sudden. So, we decided we’d have a little Spanish night. We got home a little late so we didn’t have alot of time and limited it to two tapas and some Spanish rioja that we had brought back with us. We settled on a a Tortilla Española (or Tortilla de Patatas, Spanish Omelette) and Chorizo cooked in cider.

I have been making tortilla for years, it’s one of my favourite dishes, it takes a little time but you can squeeze it in after work, it’s a relatively low maintenance dish. Chorizo with cider is new, we had chorizo with cider in Andalucia and it was the first time I tried it. It was delicious, the sweetness of the cider combined with the intensity and sharpness of the chorizo. I have cooked it in red wine before so figured it can’t be much different and went with that. Easy peasy, slice the chorizo, fry it in olive oil, add approx. 150 ml cider and a bay leaf or two and braise for 10 minutes or so.

The tortilla requires a little more explanation. In Spain, they cook the potatoes and onion (otional) in about half a litre of olive oil. I haven’t done it that way yet but will soon. For those worried about the grease, don’t worry, they drain it off before adding the eggs :-)[Read more]