4 simple steps to tapas heaven!

Lemon chicken skewers, sticky chicken skewers and patatas bravas

Tapas is one of my favourite cuisines. It allows you to try a great variety of tastes and flavours all washed down with a glass (or four) of wine. The difference between cooking a meal and cooking tapas is timing; timing really is everything, and a lot of the food needs to be cooked at the same time or within minutes of each other. This is where the difficulty lies, each recipe alone is somewhat simple, but then added together, preparation is the key to success. As a friend always says, prior preparation prevents poor performance.

Rory’s parents were up for the weekend and we decided on the Saturday evening to cook tapas for them, and hopefully showcase some of my culinary skills. Rory was mostly on the entertaining (drinking) side, although he did help with a lot of the preparation. I have been experimenting with a few of these dishes for a while now, others were first or second attempts.

I must have got my quantities wrong, I cooked enough food for 8 people, rather than 4, but it is delicious re heated the next day, and the day after. On the menu, I included two types of chicken skewers, first off I made a sticky chicken and pepper skewer (recipe here), and then I made a lemongrass chicken skewer (recipe here). These are delicious, I love skewers, so simple and easy to cook, marinated for at least an evening before and only ten minutes under the grill make these a simple go to dish.

Next on the menu was meatballs and sauce, this is the second time making these so I have not done a recipe, a few tweaks needed but a great deal of flavour. Then I made Spanish omelette, I tried a new twist on my usual recipe and it tasted delicious! You can’t have a tapas evening without patatas bravas, it shouldn’t be done (recipe here). This simple dish can be prepared ahead and re-heated the next day or evening.

Other dishes on the table included, halloumi, a mozzarella, tomato and spinach salad with balsamic glaze, mozzarella wrapped in parma ham on a stick with a piece of fresh mango, my first attempt at Arancini, although these ended up flat, so I referred to them as flarancini. Several appetisers lay about the table including olives, hummus and flat bread, oiled peppers and various nibbles. I had planned to flash-fry king prawns with chilli and garlic but once I saw how much food was on the table, I made the executive decision to quit while I was ahead.
Tapas-meal
Tapas is so much fun to make and even better to eat, a little stressful but totally worth it when you see the sheer glory of all the food in front of you. A wonderful evening with great company, delicious food and lots of wine.

Hope you enjoy the three recipes I have included below, very easy to make but so much flavour and delicious to eat! Like, share, comment and subscribe.

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Sticky chicken skewers

Marinated sticky chicken and pepper skewers

Overnight marinated sticky chicken and pepper, skewered and grilled for a delcious starter


Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. runny honey
  • 2cm knob of ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper cubed (2.5cm2)
  • 500g skinless chicken breast cubed (2.5cm2)

Directions

  1. Prepare all ingredients and place in a glass bowl. Combine until mixed well, then cover and leave in fridge overnight (the longer the better). If possible, mix a couple of times throughout to make sure all is combined.
  2. On the day of serving, skewer the chicken and peppers, around 5 chicken to 3 peppers on each.
  3. This should make about 6 skewers, more if you use less chicken on each one.
  4. Place on grill pan, drizzle extra sauce on top and grill for 10 minutes, baste and turn halfway.

Lemongrass chicken skewers

Lemongrass chicken skewers

Marinated overnight, lemongrass chicken skewers, delicious as a starter


Ingredients

  • 2 lemongrass stalks finely chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (cut into 2.5 cm sticks)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 500g skinless chicken breast cubed (2.5cm2)

Directions

  1. Prepare all ingredients (except lemongrass sticks) and place in a glass bowl. Combine until mixed well, then cover and leave in fridge overnight (the longer the better). If possible, mix a couple of times throughout to make sure all is combined.
  2. On the day of serving, chop up the lemongrass stalks into small sticks (about 6 little sticks in total), then thread chicken onto a wooden/metal skewer, with 1 piece of lemongrass in the middle.
  3. This should make about 6 skewers, more if you use less chicken on each one
  4. Place on grill pan, and grill for 10 minutes, turning halfway.

Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas

Spicy patatas bravas, the perfect accompaniment for any tapas dish


Ingredients

    Equipment:
  • Hand-held blender
  • Large saucepan
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Roasting tray

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 kg potatoes, chopped into 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil plus extra for roasting
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp.) white wine
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. crushed chillies
  • 1 ½ tsp. smoky paprika
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oc. Roughly chop potatoes and par boil in cold water, bringing to the boil and boiling for 3 minutes, drain, pat dry with kitchen roll and transfer to baking tray, coat in oil and sprinkle salt, place in oven for 40 minutes, shaking every so often.
  2. Finely chop onion and garlic, fry onion in olive oil for 5 mins until soft, add garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the white wine and let this simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add all the other ingredients (tomatoes and spices etc.), and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Using a hand blender, blend sauce until smooth and return to pan. Once potatoes have finished cooking, add them to the sauce and serve.

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