I go on holiday to Spain in just over two weeks. Ten days of chilling out, relaxing on the beach and most importantly finding fantastic local places to to sample Spanish food. Will and I are staying at my parent’s apartment in Torrevieja, on the Costa Blanca. As with most Spanish towns on the south coast it has been attacked by tourists and many restaurants offer a strange selection of Paella and Spanish omelette alongside chicken and chips and gammon and egg. But Torrevieja still has some Spanish charm and this time I am determined to find some authentic places to eat and drink.
To get us in the mood for the holiday I decided to have a go at doing a little tapas evening, but although I make a pretty good Paella, that is about the extent of my Spanish culinary range. I found a couple of recipes; one for the classic Patatas Bravas and a chorizo and cannelloni bean concoction. To those dishes I added a favourite started of mine – melon with Serreno ham – then some rustic bread with fruity olive oil and some cheese and salad. It is a strange mix of dishes but that’s the thing about tapas you can’t really go wrong with it because it is just a selection of dishes to nibble at. Knock it back with a few glasses and young Tempranillo and you can’t go wrong.
This was a recipe I found in a book by Simon Rimmer (regular chef on Something for the weekend) called The Accidental Vegetarian. I will leave the quantity for four people because often with tapas you will be making for a crowd. But as a pointer I think I cooked about 400g of potatoes, with half a can of chopped tomatoes, one fresh red chilli (because that was all I had in the kitchen) with an added tsp of dried chilli flakes, plus three small garlic cloves for two people.
Lots of olive oil
600g Maris Piper or Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch cubes.
400g tin of chopped tomatoes.
3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Lots of fresh chopped parsley to through over at the end.
1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Heat a load of oil in a big roasting tray until really hot. Throw the potatoes into the oil, give them a shake, season well, and cook for about 10 minutes until they begin to brown.
2. Add the tomatoes, chillies, garlic and stir well to coat the potatoes. Put back in the oven for a further 25-35 minutes, until they are going crisp on the outside but are still soft and gooey on the inside.
3. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
WARNING: These are very addictive: make sure there is enough to go round!
Chorizo in beer
This recipe came from a really good book I read recently called ‘3 ways with…stale bread (and 99 other things you will find in your pantry, fridge or freezer)’, by Ross Dobson, an excellent Australian food writer. It is a great read for people trying to cut down on food waste and save money. Ross offers three different recipes for each store cupboard ingredient, such as tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, rice ect.
Stir-fry one finely chopped onion in some olive oil for a few minutes. Add one tablespoon of soft brown sugar and one sliced chorizo and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sausage starts to brown.
Add a 400g tin of cannelloni beans, 125ml of beer, three tablespoons of red wine vinegar and one bay leaf. Boil for 6-8 minutes until almost all the liquid has gone. Serve in a bowl with the juices so you can soak them up with chunks of bread.