Sunday, 5 January 2014

DIY Tapas Night for an Easy and Yummy Dinner Party

A stunning combination of a love of eating and a series of Spanish holidays inspired me to host a tapas evening to kick off our NYE celebrations.  Surprisingly it went very well - the preparation was stress free, the food was very tasty and it acted as an excellent base to the more alcoholic second stage of the night.

Definitely a win from me, and here's how we did it:

Tapas Menu and Recipes

- Paella
- Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)
- Espinacas y garbanzos (Spinach and chickpeas)
- Patatas Bravas

Paella (Source: Back of Sainsbury's Paella Rice box, plus modifications by me)

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
Chorizo, diced
2 or more garlic cloves
1 onion or 2 spring onions
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
Frozen peas, as much as you like
King Prawns
200g paella rice
650ml veg/fish stock or boiling water


1. Fry the onion and garlic until soft.
2. Add the chorizo, paprika, turmeric, rice and pepper.
3. Stir and heat for about 3 minutes.
4. Add the stock and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Do not stir. Sometimes I like to add the stock a little at a time, but make sure your pan does not dry out if you do this.
5. Add the prawns and peas to the pan (you can arrange the prawns neatly if you are feeling fancy).
6. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes.  The rice should be soft and covered with a thin sheen of tasty stock, and of course the prawns should be cooked through.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Tortilla (Source: Adapted from  Delia Smith on BBC Food)


4 eggs
Dash of milk
Butter or oil


1. Peel and slice your potatoes.
2. Steam the potato slices for about 10 minutes.  Not all recipes recommend this but I think it speeds up the final cooking time, and no one wants to eat raw potato)
3. Break your eggs into a bowl, add a dash of milk and whisk.
4. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan.
5. Fry the chopped onion.
6. Add your potato to the pan, then cover with your eggy mixture.
7. Fry on a medium heat for a few minutes, then turn down to the lowest heat and leave to cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.
8. Either turn the tortilla over to cook both sides, or cheat like me and stick it under the grill.
9. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!

Espinacas y Garbanzos (Source: Smitten Kitchen)


Spinach (frozen or fresh)
1 Carton Chopped Tomatoes
1 Can Chickpeas
2 Slices of Bread
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Paprika


1. Cut the crusts off your bread and cut the remaining slices in to squares (approx 1 cm).
2. Heat a knob of butter in a pan.
3. Add your bread cubes, garlic, onion, cumin and black pepper.
4. Fry until the bread is crispy on the outside, then blend in a food processor or with a hand blender.
5. Add your chickpeas and tomatoes to the pan.
6. Add the paprika.
7. Stir it all together.  It will look a bit ugly at this stage but trust me - it'll all turn out fine.
8. You can add tomato puree for a more tomatoey flavour.  You may need to add a bit of water if it is too thick.
9. Put in your spinach.  I just eyeballed the amount.  The more spinach the better in my opinion!
10.  When the spinach has wilted and it all mixed in with the tomatoey chickpeas, serve and enjoy.

Patatas Bravas (Adapted from BBC Good Food)


Passata (sieved tomatoes)
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Chilli flakes or powder
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar
Fresh parsley


I want to be honest here and let you know that this recipe is ok but it could be better - I will try again!

1. Chop and fry an onion.

2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, paprika, chilli, salt and sugar.

3. Simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside for 24 hours if you have been organised enough to do it in advance. If you are like me, leave it for about an hour till your guests turn up and get hungry.

4. Peel and roast your potatoes in oil for about 40-50 minutes at 180'C

5. Reheat your sauce, pour over the roasted potatoes and serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.

Serve with: Spanish Orange Wine, Manzanilla, or your favourite red wine.  A green side salad if desired.

No comments: