Some Simple Tapas Recipes

Tapas is a great way to eat.  Having small dishes that everyone shares makes for a really sociable meal.  And, if you have kids, well, there’s bound to be something they will eat!

Here are three of my favourite REALLY SIMPLE tapas recipes.  I’ve been posting these recipes for some time on London Unattached, so if you like this is a bit of a round-up of how to make a tapas supper.

Gambas Pil Pil

For this you need great prawns.  They should be uncooked (look for the grey coloured ones, not the pink ones) and if possible already peeled for you.  In fact you can cook them in their shells and leave everyone to peel them at the table, but I find it quite messy.  Here’s what to do.

For 2 people as a main course or 4 as a tapas

12-16 large green (raw) prawns – shelled, butterflied and de-veined.

3-5 cloves of garlic sliced finely or crushed

A good pinch to half a teaspoon of red chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like things)

2 tablespoons of light olive oil

2 tablespoons of white wine or dry sherry

Chopped flat leaf parsley to serve

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200c

Put the oil into a casserole and place in the oven for 3-5 minutes (it should be smoking slightly)

Add the prawns, chilli and garlic and mix through

Place back in the oven for 5 minutes

Take out of the oven and stir through again.  Now, add the sherry/white wine and return to the oven

Heat for a further 2 minutes or so

Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges

Gambas Pil Pil

Chorizo Con Vino

For 4 as a tapas

Ingredients

Half a Chorizo ring, skin removed and chopped into 1/4cm slices

A glass of red wine

A handful of finely chopped thyme or oregano

Method

Put everything into an ovenproof dish and place in a pre-heated oven at about 180c for 15-20 minutes.  Watch to make sure the wine doesn’t evaporate completely and top up if necessary.

Drain off any excess fat and wine.  Garnish with chopped parsley and serve

Chorizo con Vino

Patatas Bravas

Ingredients for two

For the patatas

1 medium to large potato

1 tablespoon of olive oil

For the tomato sauce

1 shallot or half a spanish onion

1 small chili or half a teaspoon of chili flakes

Half a tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika

Method

First start the tomato sauce

Chop the shallot and garlic finely and soften in olive oil for 5 minutes or so.  Now add the finely chopped, deseeded chili (or chili flakes) and paprika and cook for a minute longer

Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180c

Peel the potatoes and chop into 2cm cubes.

Heat the oil in a baking tray till smoking gently, then add the potato cubes and stir through the oil

Put in the oven

Watch them carefully and turn them once or twice so that they brown nicely.

Once the potatoes are golden brown, you should be able to serve the dish.

Drain the potatoes on kitchen roll.

Check the seasoning of the tomato sauce and adjust as necessary.

Spread the tomato sauce over the patatas and then if you like add alioli or mayonnaise on top of that.  Garnish with flat leafed parsley

Eat while the potatoes are piping hot and crispy!

patatas Bravas

(ps, as you can see, it works quite well to mix in your chorizo con vino with the patatas, to make a more substantial supper dish).

The Ideal Home Show

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Earls Court is home to the Ideal Home Show again this year, possibly for the last time since there are major development plans which will mean that the exhibition centre is demolished.  So, I made a special effort to pop in there at the weekend and have a look around.

The entrance is really spectacular this year.  I don’t remember such an effort in the past, but perhaps I’ve just not noticed.  This year, there’s a ‘green carpet’ and a really pretty façade on Earls Court 1.  I was surprised to find the Chelsea Pensioners there, collecting for the soldier’s fund.  And even more surprised to find a FEMALE Chelsea Pensioner (apparently there are 6 of them, to the 240 or so men!)

Inside, there’s a pretty wide range of stands downstairs and some spectacular show houses (always a feature of the Ideal Home Show).  There’s more emphasis on the environment and Eco friendly homes and there’s a whole set of ‘Princes’ Trust’ stands, sponsored by Prince Charles.

Perhaps the most eye catching sight is the ‘Home of the Future’, complete with lake and smart car!  I didn’t get a chance to watch the show through, but it looked very impressive.

The House of the Future

The downside to the fantastic show houses is that, at least on a Saturday afternoon, you have to queue for around 30 minutes to get into each one.  And, I found that just too much after I’d already checked the various stands and sat in on the B&Q DIY theatre for a while.  My advice is to go during the week if you can!  Or, be prepared for a wait.

Upstairs is great if you are looking for small appliances for your home.  There are demonstrations of everything you might ever need from magic window cleaners to devices that can microslice an onion in seconds.  I was a little disappointed at the food stands which seemed predominantly focussed on fast food (and actually found the smell of the burger stand as you went up the escalator really offputting.

I was really thrilled to find the Cola-Red stand – I love the 1950s look and I’ve been considering getting a small table and chairs for my kitchen.  It was great to see them in ‘real life’ without having to travel to Amersham, where they have a showroom.  Their products are beautifully made in the US by traditional manufacturing methods so everything has a real weight to it.

Is it worth going this year?  Well, it may never be the same again – an exhibition somewhere other than Earls Court just won’t work in the same way.  So, yes I think so.

You can book tickets online or by phone for £10-£12, and also organise some food at the same time.  It costs a little more on the door so it’s worth getting things set up before you go!