Food is my thing. Eating it, looking at it, thinking about it, talking about it… I’ve got them down. Making it? Not so much. I’m an alright cook, but often find myself getting quite stressed if I have any time constraints. I’m also not the most adventurous in my cooking – but anything with cheese I’ll most likely have nailed. One of my favourite things about my new job is that I no longer work till 10pm, therefore I actually have time to make myself a proper dinner as opposed to grabbing whatever I can in the staff canteen.
When Alpharooms challenged me to try my hand at some Spanish recipes I couldn’t quite resist the lure of chorizo – which is probably one of my favourite things at the moment – and after a few hours perusing Pinterest and the supermarket aisles I had come up with a fair few ideas of what I wanted to cook. I, in typical fashion, couldn’t decide on just one dish to make and instead decided to make four. Remember that part where I said I get stressed in the kitchen? Yeah. Making a Spanish tapas feast for five people is apparently pretty stressful…
In the end though, the result was pretty damn delicious. If I’d had time to prep it all during the day the whole experience would have been a lot easier, so I know that in the future I need to give myself a bit more time. To make my life a bit easier I picked up a few extra sides from the shops that needed very little preparation, like oven-ready potato croquettes and a gorgeous soft loaf of ciabatta. I focused all of my energy in to four main dishes, and I thought I’d share my recipes with you.
Patatas Bravas is one of my favourite dishes to order when I’m out for tapas. It’s flavourful and makes perfect comfort food, plus it seemed pretty easy to make, so it was an easy choice when it came to adding it to my menu for the night.
1 small chopped onion
A pinch of sugar
2 crushed garlic cloves
250g can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato purée
Cut your potatoes in to small cubes and pat dry with kitchen towel. Grab a large roasting tin and spread the potatoes evenly then toss in the olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast in the oven at roughly 180 degrees for about 40-50 minutes, or until they’re crisp and golden.
To make the sauce, heat some olive oil in a pan and soften the onions by frying for a few minutes. Add all of your other ingredients – tomatoes, garlic, spices, sugar and salt – then bring to the boil whilst stirring. Let it simmer for roughly ten minutes and you’re done! The sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance, so if you’re more organised than me this could be a good idea.
Chorizo & Black Pudding was most definitely the easiest dish of the night, as it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. I cooked some sliced chorizo in red wine with a touch of garlic and paprika for a few minutes before adding in the black pudding and cooking for a further few minutes. This can easily be done without the black pudding too, in case it’s not to your liking, but don’t forget that black pudding is a superfood so it’s basically super healthy… 😉
The spiced tortilla was a last minute addition to the line up, because for some strange reason I felt like I wasn’t stressed enough, but I think it was one of the show stoppers on the night. We had lots leftover, and this makes a delicious lunch served cold or reheated! I decided just to use tomatoes in mine, but you could very easily add any leftover veg you’ve got hanging about in the fridge too.
2 small onions
Boil your potatoes for 15-20 minutes until softened then slice in to thin discs. Heat up some oil in a large frying pan and soften your onions with a touch of the chilli powder. Add the rest of the spices and fry for another minute before adding the sliced cherry tomatoes and potatoes. Beat the eggs and season with a touch of salt and pepper before pouring in to the frying pan and leaving it to cook for 10 minutes until it’s nearly set.
To finish, heat the grill and set the tortilla underneath for a couple of minutes to allow the top to cook properly. Cut in to slices and devour as you wish!
It would hardly be a Spanish feast without some take on Paella, right? I decided that this Chicken and Chorizo rice pot would be a great alternative as well as being a crowdpleaser in my house. This one takes the longest out of all the dishes so it’s best to get this cooking away whilst you prepare the rest.
1 chicken breast per person
3 small onions
3 crushed garlic cloves
A whole load of sliced chorizo
150ml white wine
1 tablespoon oil
850ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato purée
400g long grain rice
Cut your chicken in to large chunks and brown using a large frying pan with a bit of oil. Set this to the side and use the same pan to soften the onion for ten minutes before adding the garlic and chorizo for a further two minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and leave for another minute, before returning the chicken pieces to the pan alongisde the white wine, chicken stock and herbs. Bring this to the boil and cover with a well fitting lid and leave to cook for half an hour or so.
After 30 minutes, add your rice and stir it all together. Cover again and leave to cook on a low heat for roughly 15 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Remove from the heat and leave the dish to settle for a few minutes before serving.
As much as I love cooking, I think in the future I’ll leave the tapas to the professionals apart from *very* special occasions. I’m definitely going to be making all of these dishes again at some point, especially the tortilla as it makes such a great lunch option and is an easy way to use up any leftover veg in the fridge. Having my evenings back has made me so excited to be able to cook again, so keep your eyes peeled for more recipes in the future.