I already blogged the Thermomix version of this Spanish Lentil Soup/Stew (Lentejas) recipe a few years ago (find it here). It’s such a lovely dish. Simple yet comforting. Here it is now in Instant Pot Spanish Lentil Soup (Lentejas) recipe format!…
This is one of the myriad of recipes you can cook after pressure cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot. Find the method for pressure cooking whole chicken first here.
Then, after making Chicken Stock as per that delicious recipe. You can keep the stock and some of the meat (or just the stock and none of the meat) to make this Instant Pot Soup with Greens, Beans, Potatoes and Chorizo.
If you fancy the idea of this recipe but are not a meat eater and wish it didn’t have the chorizo or the chicken stock, how about making it vegetarian or vegan by preparing my Vegetable Stock Paste and cooking this soup with 1 litre of water, 3 tablespoons of my vegetable stock paste, 1 tsp of paprika and omitting the chorizo, keep the potatoes, the greens and the beans.…
Cooking gammon in the Instant Pot is easy, painless and, above all, tasty. Instant Pot ham though is not great for my waist line as I seem to snack on it all day (particularly good dipped in Quirky Cooking’s BBQ Sauce if you haven’t glazed it!). In my defence, it’s really, really nice and well, it’s there in the fridge, all I have to do is pinch a bit.
There are two ways of cooking Instant Pot ham, all details here….
I am a big fan of serrano ham, it’s right up there with chorizo (chorizo being the clear winner as you may have gathered from previous recipes). In particular, I love serrano ham with very garlicky mushrooms (recipe here). So this Chicken, Serrano Ham, Mushroom Stew was bound to happen sooner or later.…
This Spanish Turkey Stew is so good! I give you both Instant Pot and hob instructions.
The original name is Escaldums.
Escaldums is a dish typical of Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain.…
There are dishes that just take you back to your childhood, this is one of them, probably for any Spaniard. Lentejas are a classic of any Spanish household, it’s a Spanish Lentil Stew with, of course, chorizo (you wouldn’t expect any less from this blog, would you?)….
It took me ages but I finally have the perfect recipe for Tortilla de patatas, Potato omelette, Spanish omelette… whatever you may call it, it’s delicious! And, because you can prepare most of it in your Thermomix… it’s easy peasy.
Now, you don’t have to make this with onion, you really don’t so leave it out if you don’t like it. Both the smaller omelette and the larger one use the same amount of water and oil. Traditionally the potatoes are fried in a lot of olive oil but the good thing of the Thermomix is that you can safely fry them in a combination of water and olive oil, making it a lighter omelette.
I give you size options: for 2-4 people (depending on appetites) or for 4-6 people. For the larger omelette I would personally increase the amount of salt a bit for flavour, this is a treat! But try it as it is and perhaps add more next time! I got the recipe from the La Juani de Ana Sevilla Spanish blog, it’s her Tortilla de patatas casi sin aceite and have adapted a few things such as the potato times and the mixing of the potatoes and egg as you have to be careful with those.
Before you go check whether you have all the ingredients in the house to make this right now, let me tell you that you can find more tapas ideas here. And, if you’re based in the UK with your Thermomix or thinking about buying one, come join my Thermo Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas Facebook group, lots of friendly chat, tips and advice there.
– 100 g onion, quartered (200 g if making a bigger tortilla)
– 50 g olive oil
– 375 g potatoes “chascadas” (this is the peeled weight, 750 g if doubling up). This basically means that you hold the potato in one hand and, brandishing a knife in the other hand, slice the potato but don’t slice it all the way, instead snap it. Slice and snap. Slice and snap (have I got you thinking about Legally Blonde yet?). For the tortilla you don’t want the potato slices to be too big nor too small. This video shows you how. This technique is really good for thickening stews too.
– 220 g hot water
– 4 large eggs
You will need a frying pan and a dish to flip the tortilla over or, if you’re clumsy like me, this Ibili Venus Double Frying Pan from Amazon is handy. The two frying pans easily clip together to flip the tortilla over. That’s my Amazon affiliate link by the way which means I get a few pennies if you buy through that link, it won’t cost you a penny extra.
1. Add the onion to the bowl: 5 seconds, speed 4. Lower anything that has climbed up the walls.
2. Add the 50 g olive oil and sautée: 10 min Varoma, speed 1.
3. Butterfly on: add the potatoes, hot water and a tsp of salt: 15 minutes, Varoma, soft speed. This time my potatoes were done by 12 minutes so make sure you check from minute 10 perhaps. Move the potatoes to a bowl (as they are, don’t drain them), reserve.
4. Do not wash bowl, remove the butterfly and add the 4 eggs, half a teaspoon of salt and freshly milled black pepper: 10 seconds, speed 4.
5. Return the potatoes to the bowl: 3 seconds, speed 3 (watch it, you don’t want to end up with mashed potatoes)
6. Drizzle a medium pan with olive oil and heat over a high heat, add the mixture and turn the heat right down, give it a gentle shake so that it all distributes well. Now, the key is to do this first part over a low heat, when it’s looking like the egg is setting, it’s time to turn it over. Grab a plate big enough to sit steadily over the frying pan, place it over it and, holding tight to the whole ensemble, flip the omelette over onto the plate, then carefully move the omelette carefully back to the pan. It will only need one minute on this side (I like it juicy), you may need a bit longer if making a larger omelette. Just don’t let it go too dry, remember the egg keeps cooking for a little while when off the heat.
To serve: cut it in wedges as if it was a cake and enjoy with a lovely mixed salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives or cut into small squares, have cocktail sticks nearby or stick them into each square so that people can help themselves. Perfect for barbeques and tapas parties. It’s also perfect for elevenses with a cup of coffee or for a quick bite to eat with friends with a glass of red wine or a chilled beer.
You can of course just get a big chunk of crusty bread, slice it open, stick a good slice of tortilla in and have a classic Spanish sandwich: bocadillo de tortilla.
Serve with Spanish flair!
|Presentation is overrated anyway, no?|
As you may have noticed, I seem to be struggling to post on this my blog more than ever at the moment. I started the year full of good intentions and armed with more time, all I have achieved though is to build a list of draft recipes as long as my arm that I never get to share because I am waiting to have enough time to make them as perfect as I can or because I don’t like the photos I took in a hurry. “In a hurry” describes my cooking rather well lately (so does “hit and miss”), with these Patatas Bravas I missed half of the recipe but they were a hit (see what I did there?). They make the perfect quick(ish) tapas dish!
And how am I? I shall keep this short and sweet: I’m good, I have work coming out of my ears and I miss having lots of time to spend with my Thermie and sharing recipes with you. This being self-employed malarkee can be such hard work! You can usually catch me giving you mini updates on my Instagram account and, of course, if you are UK based you should definitely come join us at the Thermo Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas Facebook group for local inspiration.
But enough about me, how have you been?
For the potatoes
– 4 medium potatoes, not peeled, whole (mine were about 600g in total)
1. Place in big pan, cover with cold water. When they start boiling add 1 tbsp (I probably added a bit less) of sea salt.
2. Boil for 30 minutes or so, check that they are soft in the middle by pricking them with a skewer
3. Remove from the heat, but leave in the pan, I took the lid off. Cool like that for 30 minutes, peel, dice.
For the sauce (make the sauce while the potatoes cool)
– One and a half tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tbsp sweet paprika
– Half red chilli, sliced
– Half tsp tabasco
– 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
– One small/medium onion
– 150 g chopped tomatoes, making sure you grab the pulp, not so much the liquid
1. Place oil, paprika, chilli, tabasco and red wine vinegar in bowl: 2 min, 100ºC, speed 2.
2. Add onion: 7 seconds speed 7. Add chopped tomatoes: 10 minutes, 100ºC, speed 1 with inner basket on top of lid instead of measuring cup
3. Blend: 1 minute 30 at speed 8. I did 1 minute, checked and wanted it smoother so I blended for another 30 seconds.
Tip: Add less tabasco/chilli if you don’t want it very hot or you could just add more chopped tomatoes so that it is not as spicy and you get more quantity.
Hello! It has been so long since I last blogged that I would rather not look at the date of my last post. Work has been extremely busy this year which I have to confess makes me very happy but I miss my little blog. I keep jotting and drafting recipes but I never seem to have the time to finish them or make sure the photos are good enough and, as I don’t like to hit publish until I am happy with the post, the …
I have always been a huge fan of croquetas, Spanish croquettes made with creamy bechamel, breadcrumbed and fried. Unfortunately my bechamel, unlike my grandma’s, had always been quite lumpy and croquetas can be very time consuming.
When I asked my grandma about 15 years ago for her bechamel recipe, she said “You need your grandfather, same as you do for my arroz con leche (similar to rice pudding), I may do the cooking but it’s thanks to him that they are so smooth”. And it was true, whenever she made bechamel or rice pudding (the creamiest of the creamiest), she cooked but my abuelo was in charge of the essential continuous stirring. No wonder my croquetas dough was always lumpy!
Ever since I got the Thermomix I knew the task of making croquetas was going to be much easier, in fact I loved making my first bechamel in it (for a lasagna) as it was so easy and it came out so smooth.
I researched croquetas recipes high and low, I made the first ones with chorizo but I wasn’t totally happy. I do love chicken croquetas and making the most of our gorgeous Maple-glazed roast chicken leftovers, so I decided to make chicken croquetas based on this recipe from the Cocinando con Kisa blog.
But I made a mistake, one of those mistakes that turned out to be good! I had meant to have little bits of chicken among the creamy bechamel but instead I left the chicken in the TM bowl, totally forgetting to remove and reserve it, and ended up with really creamy smooth croquetas.
The key is to let the dough rest in the fridge overnight or at least as long as you can so that it is really cold, before shaping it into croquetas.
Now, I am a clumsy cook, the croquetas tasted lovely but I remain rubbish at frying them. Just remember, I don’t claim to be a chef or the best cook in the world, not even a good one, and my presentations skills are lacking. However, taste is taste.
For the bechamel dough
- Approx. 100-120 g roast chicken leftovers. Just pull the meat out of the bone, sit down listening to some lovely music or watching a nice show while you do this
- Shop-bought roast sliced roast chicken but why would you when my Maple-glazed chicken with sesame seeds is so easy to make?
- 50 g olive oil
- 100 g butter
- 170 g plain flour
- 800 g milk at room temperature (this is important), I used whole milk
- 1 chicken stock cube (I tend to use Kallo) or you could substitute some of the milk with some homemade chicken stock
- A pinch of ground nutmeg (you can grind nutmeg in a few seconds in the Thermomix before you start, I did)
- A pinch of salt
- Eggs (start with 2 but you’ll probably need more)
- Breadcrumbs (they need to be quite fine)
- Olive oil (a good amount)
Thermomix TM31, shallow pyrex dish or similar, large frying pan, a bowl for egg and a large dish for bread crumbs, kitchen paper
How to make the dough
- Add the chicken to the Thermomix bowl, press the Turbo button 3 times. If you want totally smooth croquetas, leave the chicken in the bowl, otherwise reserve the chopped chicken on a plate/bowl for later.
- Add the oil and butter to the bowl: Varoma, 3 minutes, speed 4.
- Add the flour: 100ºC, 3 minutes, speed 2.
- Add the milk, stock cube, ground nutmeg and salt: 10 seconds, speed 6 then 7 minutes, Varoma, speed 4. Note: if you reserved some of the chicken it’s now time to add a few spoonfuls of it (about half I’d say).
- Pour into the Pyrex dish (and add the rest of the chopped chicken if you reserved it).
- Let it cool before sticking it in the fridge overnight, the dough needs to be very cold.
Making the croquetas
Some people use a piping bag for this, some people use two spoons, I use my hands and to be honest for me it’s the worst bit, I’m not very good at giving them shape or frying them. Then again, my kitchen isn’t part of a restaurant and Michelin starred I am not (nor shall I ever be). However, I do love eating at Michelin-starred restaurants (just in case you are wondering or run one!).
- Whisk a couple of eggs (you may need more), lay the bread crumbs on another plate and have a third plate ready
- get a bit of the dough, give the croquetas shape and first coat them in egg, then coat them in bread crumbs, it helps to coat them in egg and bread crumbs a second time as this helps keep them together when frying.
- Fry them in a large frying pan with quite a lot of olive oil, over a medium-high heat, not for long, just until the breadcrumbs are golden. Cover a dish with kitchen paper and let them rest in the kitchen paper so that some of the oil is soaked (I do this a lot when frying).
You can either eat them immediately or later, you get rather a lot of them (approx. 50) so they are perfect for parties, picnics, lunchboxes and even to fry in batches if your family keeps different timetables. Of course, they are perfect for TAPAS.
|They should be goldeny all over, don’t do like me|
Tip: Try the dough as it is when just prepared or before frying it, it’s DELICIOUS!
I’d love some feedback on this one as I’ve only tried it a couple of times. So, if you try it do let me know how you get on and if you tweak it (I love it when you all adapt my recipes as I myself am rubbish at following a recipe to the letter) and please send me some photos of your croquetas!
I have been meaning to write this post for a while as I would like to start a surreptitious campaign to bring fideos to the UK. Fideos can be defined as extremely short and thin spaghetti (well, the ones I like are thin). You can make lovely soups with them and one hugely popular soup is the Spanish recipe this post is for: sopa de fideos (pasta soup).
This is a really simple recipe, in fact if you have good homemade chicken or vegetable stock at home you can just add the fideos and, within five minutes, you could be ready to sit down to steaming hot comforting soup, spoon in hand. My mother always has stock in the fridge or in the freezer precisely for this purpose.
It should always be cooked the moment you want to eat, that’s when it tastes best and it takes so little time to prepare that it is totally feasible. This is the soup you eat when you’re cold and need warming up, when you don’t feel so well, when you need cheering up… Ok, by you I mean me but let me tell you, that cup of tea that the British fix everything with…this is my Spanish-style cup of tea. And, yes, being me it includes chorizo (you didn’t expect anything else, did you?).
Now, I like my pasta soups to be very thick, without too much liquid
(otherwise I call them consommés and I’m done with it), so make sure you adapt it to
your taste (don’t panic, it’s easy to do). Fideos are designed for soups so they get soak in the stock in a delicious way.
|What I like to see in my cupboard|
Fideos are not easy to find in the UK. In Tesco you can find Lubella Filini no. 2 (a Polish brand), but they’re number 2 (hence much thicker and they don’t soak in the lovely flavours like my absolute favourite: Gallo no. 0 (it has to be, it’s the only fideo brand I’ve been able to find in the UK, there are other brands in Spain of course). You can find the Gallo brand in the Spanish London supermarket R Garcia and Sons (you can order online or pop in for a visit). I’m pretty sure my husband has bought them from the La Plaza Deli in Portobello too. Of course, try any local Spanish shops or market stalls you may pass on your travels and, should you see a Portuguese shop, ask for their pasta soup range, even if they don’t have fideos, you will find tiny pasta dots, stars or teardrops that tend to be really good and work rather well.
Substitutes: De Cecco Stellette nº75 (I’ve seen them in Waitrose), Orzo pasta (I get it from Waitrose and I have seen it in selected Tescos), Tesco’s Farfalline, Lubella’s Filini. You could also break vermicelli into short length cut-at-home fideos.
Sopa de fideos a la Feisty Tapas
- 1 litre of stock or however much you fancy having (I have to warn you that it is addictive so you will be going back for more).
- 1 chicken stock cube if using water (I use Kallo), depending on the amount of water you may need more or less stock.
- 250 g approx of fideos or substitute pasta (how I calculate is by checking the resistance of the pasta against the wooden spoon when stirring straight after adding them, if there’s a bit of resistance, that’s about right, if it stirs too easily, it needs more).
- 1 carrot (quartered lengthways and then sliced not too finely and not too thickly so that it cooks quickly).
- 25-50 g chorizo, peeled and “pierced” a couple of times with a fork (I tend to use either half a sausage or a whole one) peeled and (as you may know from previous posts I tend to use Tesco’s Cooking Chorizo nowadays, I should tell them that, shouldn’t I? That failing, get the Revilla’s Chorizo de Pueblo. If you’re really lucky ask your local Spanish shop/stockist/market stall).
1 medium pan, 1 chopping board for vegetables, one chopping board for hot food
- Place the water in a medium pan, when it’s boiling add the chicken stock and carrots. Let it bubble away.
- After a couple of minutes add the chorizo.
- When the carrots start feeling tender (it will only take a few minutes), add the fideos or pasta soup. Follow the pack instructions. If using number 0 fideos, try not to let them overcook, they are best al dente. Make sure you stir once in a while.
- If using fideos remove the chorizo and, with the help of a fork and a knife so not to burn your fingers, chop it (you know my method, cut lengthways first and then slice away) before you put them in, if using pasta that takes a bit longer to cook, you can leave the chorizo a bit longer.
HINT: Should it be too thick, add more stock. Should it be too watery, just make sure you make it thicker when serving it by removing some of the extra liquid. See? I told you it was easy. If you don’t eat it all straight away, make sure you remove it from the heat and leave the lid either off or only half covering the pan so that the pasta doesn’t go too soft.
TIP: When immediate comfort is required, skip the carrots, add the chorizo and stock cube (if not using your own stock) when the water starts to boil and add the fideos or similar pasta for soup. In 5-10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you could have a fantastic warming and comforting soup.
EXTRA TIP: You can also make a sopicaldo by chopping any leftover chicken and vegetables you may have.
YET ANOTHER TIP: Try making it with quinoa for a gluten free version, in that case make sure the chorizo is gluten free too (many tend to be but I am of the “you never know” persuasion).
If you’re new to my blog, welcome! You can find out more about in my bio.
As most of you lovely regular readers know, I grew up in Northern Spain, Marmitako is not typical of my region (Galicia) but, if you move your finger a little bit to the East along the Northern coast of Spain you will find Cantabria and the Basque Country, where Marmitako (Spanish tuna casserole) is the perfect homemade hearty food. It actually is more typical of the summer when the fish used (bonito) is in season. But it’s a hot hearty dish so it will warm your cockles in the winter (I wonder what the tuna will think of me talking about cockles!).
My mother used to cook Marmitako quite a bit growing up. You see, unlike me, she had cookery lessons in school and outside (this was Franco time) and, as she was supposed to be a proper lady, I remember her attending courses and the multitude of notes and books she brought back with her. I have recently asked her for some, will she let me have them? We shall see.
I have been cooking Marmitako the conventional way for a few years, actually not that conventional as I started cooking it when I lived on my own and I just did quite a quick version. This is the Thermomix conversion, with the help of the Marmitako recipe in the Spanish Imprescindible book that comes with Thermie as standard in Spain.
Time: Approx. 45 minutes total
- 150 g onion (in chunks)
- 100-120 g red pepper (in chunks), you can use peppers of other colours but my personal favourite is red
- 100 g chopped tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 40 g extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 760 g floury potatoes. Cut the potatoes with a knife but don’t cut them fully with it, cut them about half way and the rest you snap with your hands, this helps them absorb better and the starch works for a better sauce. My potatoes weren’t very big so I quartered them, made a deep cross with the knife on them and snapped the rest. This is called “chascar patatas” in Spanish.
- 400 g water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 300 g fresh tuna (in chunks, not too big not too small)
- Black pepper
- A handful of dried mixed herbs or dried herbes de provence, you can use parsley too
Thermomix TM 31, chopping board for vegetables, chopping board for fish, a couple of knives. I also used a bowl full of fresh water for the potatoes, I like placing them in water for a bit as I peel them.
- Place the pepper, onion, tomato, garlic and oil in the bowl: 3 seconds, speed 5.
- Spatula in hand, make sure you slide down anything that has climbed to the sides: 7 minutes, Varoma, speed 1.
- Add the paprika: 3 seconds, speed 3.
- Put the butterfly in place and add the potatoes: 2 minutes, 100ºC, reverse, spoon speed.
- Add the water and salt: 24 minutes (adapt this to your potatoes, I started with 20 but needed a further 4 minutes), Varoma, reverse, spoon.
- Add the tuna and a couple of twists of the pepper mill: 3 minutes, Varoma, reverse, spoon speed. Lift the measuring cup to add the herbs a bit at a time during these 3 minutes.
- When the Thermomix finishes doing its job, don’t touch anything, just leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes (depending on how much patience you have).
TIP: Add a bit of white wine about 3 minutes into step 2.
Are you new to the Feisty Tapas blog? Welcome! Feel free to have a good browse, you will find out more information about me in the aptly named “About me” section. If you don’t know what on earth a Thermomix is, this post
will tell you all about it. If you live in the UK and you already have a
Thermomix or are giving some serious thought to buying one, I run the fantastic Thermomix Owners UK Facebook group.
We have signed up for Abel & Cole again recently, I was with them when I lived in Leamington years ago and then again at our old house last year when I convinced them to stretch their postcode coverage by one village, but last year somehow the quality didn’t seem to be the one I remembered from years ago so I stopped them. Now that I have the Thermomix I have been challenging myself more and remembered that, when I first started receiving organic vegetable boxes, what I loved most was finding out what to do with a lot of the vegetables, half of which I had never cooked before and some of which I had never even heard of before.
Last week our box included chard (acelgas in Spanish), I was a weird child and vegetables, kidneys, liver and other foods that would make other children run away screaming, were my friends. I liked everything and anything, I would eat everything and anything, all mums at the school gate wanted me round for lunch any day of the week as I was so easy to please and was always full of compliments for anyone who fed me something different. Acelgas were a favourite, so this was my chance to replicate my childhood easily in the Thermomix with: Paprika Chard and Potatoes.
Once it was cooked, I quickly remembered the smells of my childhood lunches, this would be a first course. Yes, we always had three course meals mid-week (well, first course of soup or vegetables like this and second course of fish or meat, then fruit) and I went to school from 9 to 13.15 every morning, then home for lunch and then back to school from 15.45 to 17.45. So everyday I went home for lunch and my father would try to meet us there whenever he could, despite working out of town about half an hour away. At home lunch was served at 14.15 on the dot. My grandma would invariably call at 15.00 on the dot to talk to my father, basically while my parents were having coffee (the famous Spanish sobremesa).
You see, that’s why the relationship with food of the Spanish population is historically and intrinsically different to what I am now living in the UK, what my husband grew up with.
I would like to say that this is the Mediterranean diet but I grew up right by the Atlantic so: I give you the Atlantic diet. This is lovely for a light lunch for those of you who, like me, work from home or a delicious light meal.
Scroll down for the conventional method, without a Thermomix, very easy.
Don’t forget you can find daily inspiration in my Facebook group, Thermo Cooking UK with Feisty Tapas, if you live in the UK with your Thermie or you are considering buying one.
Thermomix Paprika Chard and Potatoes
1. Place the chard in the Varoma and cover with the lid, then place the potatoes in the inners steaming basket. Pour the water (750 ml) in the bowl, insert the inner basket with the potatoes. Close the lid and place the Varoma on top: Varoma, 25 minutes, speed 1. Check that the potatoes are cooked, give them a few more minutes on Varoma, speed 1 if not.
2. Remove the Varoma and the basket. Dry the bowl quickly with a clean cloth (wash it first if you want but I didn’t), it needs to be dry as you’re about to add oil and it just doesn’t mix well with water. Chop the garlic 7 seconds, speed 5. Use the spatula to lower the bits of garlic that may have travelled up the walls of the bowl and the lid.
3. Add the oil and paprika: 100ºC, 5 minutes, speed 1.
4. Leave the oil to cool down a bit (I set my phone’s timer to 5 minutes for this). Put the butterfly in place (I have to confess that I don’t always use the butterfly and it turns out fine but it’s best if you do), add the chard, then the potatoes (this order is very important, the potatoes need to go on top): Varoma (TM5: 120º), 8 minutes, reverse, soft speed.
boil an egg per person and either serve it alongside the chard and
potatoes or chop 1 or 2 eggs and add at the end, for this I would do 1 minute, reverse, soft speed.
Paprika Chard and Potatoes (Conventional method)
Conventional cooking equipment:
2 pans OR 1 pan + 1 steamer
A frying pan
A chopping board
Conventional cooking method (loosely as there’s a bit of guesswork involved):
- Steam or boil the chard and potatoes separately until they’re ready.
- Chop the garlic and fry in oil, add the teaspoon of paprika, give it a stir.
- Add the chard and potatoes and let it all mix for about 8 minutes over a medium heat.
A lot more equipment to use but, as you can see, it’s a very simple recipe and, if you like chard or would like to try the one in your veggie box, this is a delicious option.
My tip: boil an egg per person and either serve it alongside the chard and
potatoes or chop 1 or 2 eggs and add towards the end of step 3.
Serve with Spanish flair!
Just before Christmas Mr Tapas took me out on a date in London, fully organised ahead of time and he knew exactly where he was taking me too: Tapas Revolution. This is not a regular occurrence for us.
I already mentioned this Spanish paradise in London and the man behind it, Omar Allibhoy, in a previous post about Olives from Spain, an initiative backed by him.
|Christmassy view from the top, we got lost but we found it|
There was the Christmas rush, there was an ice rink, I didn’t mind either as we looked for Tapas Revolution, a search that took us a little while as it didn’t seem to be signposted anywhere but, as we say in Spain, preguntando se llega a Roma (basically meaning that, by asking, you’ll find your way).
Mr Tapas asked me on the way what I fancied eating, for some reason I had a craving for croquettes, the Spanish kind with bechamel inside, the best way to use leftover meat (or even eggs that need eating soon by boiling them and making them part of the filling). Croquetas are something that I haven’t mastered yet but I that I might one day, although to be honest, once you have prepared the mixture and before dividing and breadcrumbing it, it’s all just so tempting sitting there. Who doesn’t like bechamel?
Anyway, I was a tad disappointed to find out that there were no croquetas
but quite impressed with the layout, the décor, the selection of food on the menu
and the service so we were off to a good start and I soon forgot all
about them. We chose to share the Chef’s Choice set menu: Jamón serrano de Teruel (Spanish cured ham), Pan con tomate (toasted bread, tomato, garlic and olive oil), Pulpo a la gallega (octopus with potatoes and paprika), Paella de marisco (seafood paella), Pinchos morunos (marinated beef skewers), Tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) and Chorizo al horno (oven-roasted chorizo), £15.50 per person.
It was all served promptly and the tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) was exactly how I like it, very spongy and not at all dry. Perfect for a bocadillo in fact! Take-away Bocadillos de tortilla de patatas are already included on the menu and at £3.95 they would spice up those boring weekday lunches for office workers. Omar, any chance of stalls all around the country selling Bocadillos de tortilla, Bocadillos de jamón serrano, Bocadillos de calamares…? In the colder months you could add Chocolate con churros to the mix. Go on, you know it’s a brilliant idea, I might just start a “Bring the chiringuito to the UK” campaign.
We were amazed by the large amount of staff but to me this was key as, together with the decoration, it was giving it the real vibe of a Tapas joint: speed of service and hustle and bustle (and not just the one happening behind us in Westfield Shopping Centre, which was surprisingly easy to block out). Our waiter, a young Spanish lad (how English do I sound?!), was really efficient and, to show just how tiny the world is, he turned out to be from my hometown, Vigo!
I had mentioned that I was going to @tapasrevolution on Twitter and Omar
had mentioned that he would be there so to let someone know when we
arrived, which I did. He came to see us briefly and we had a quick chat, I mentioned how he needs to add croquetas to the menu and that I would like to see him more on TV, bringing young Spanish cooking to my favourite cooking show, Saturday Kitchen, not that I’m biased or anything but we do love that programme in the Tapas household.
|Chocolate con churros, essential ordering material|
He actually popped by to see us again before we left and to check how we were finding everything, which I thought was a lovely touch. He made sure that we ordered the Chocolate con churros before we left so we did and I am so glad we did, a tiny bit of Spanish heaven was all mine for a few seconds (well, I had to share it with Mr Tapas of course). I asked whether they did it to take away and they do, so if you’re ever nearby and haven’t got time to stop for long, make sure you order some to take away and have a sweet few minutes with them at home. Thick Spanish chocolate, sugary deep fried dough, what’s not to love?
|Un cafelito, coffee in a tumbler, caffeinated bliss!|
The finishing touch to a lovely afternoon came with the bill or rather the lack of it, our Galician waiter handed my husband, who had his card ready to pay, the bill and indicated we were invited and the only thing we were being charged for was the Cola Cao that at the last minute I decided to buy for my daughter, it’s the Spanish hot chocolate that I grew up with and that she now has for her meriendas. We were a bit puzzled. Omar, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making a lovely date with my husband so special.
Next time you’re either in Westfield or Bluewater, make sure you stop to “eat like a Spaniard”.
PS: Querido Omar, please open one of these, either “Tapas Revolution” or “Tapas Revolution goes mobile” (or “on wheels”?) in Cambridge, we promise to look after it.
All photos used in this post are mine therefore my own copyright.