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.

Cheesy leek sauce

I’d like to start by apologising for missing a post last week, I’m sure you all noticed 😛 I moved house; for most people this would mean a couple of car loads and a couple of days work….for me, someone who buys things all the time, including furniture, clothes and random bits and bobs, this amounted to 18 car loads. By all means the car was small (a Fiat 500), and this included 2 carloads of Rory’s possessions, but pretty much all my stuff. Because of this, we had such a big job of moving house, and then unpacking, we basically ate beans on toast all week. Now I could have written a post about beans on toast, but in truth, I don’t think you can improve on the classic, so it would have been a dull read.
Since last week I have cooked a Christmas dinner for 6 people, gone out for dinner a few times and had a variety of home cooked meals. It has been wonderful, all moved in with the boyf (feeling a little Monica “and I have to live with a boy”), unpacked and finishing up for Christmas break. I thought I should use this post to showcase my favourite part of a Christmas dinner. Not a traditional part, in fact I know very few people (if any) that include it.
giphy
Background to the post, the Chetwynd’s don’t do ‘bread sauce’, in fact I don’t think I have ever even tried it, but I have seen it and it does not appeal to me. This is why for as long as I can remember we have added cheesy leek sauce in replacement. And oh wow is it good! Cheesy leek sauce is delicious, it goes with soooo many things and it can be the base of loads of dishes such as pie, pasta sauce, cauliflower cheese (just switch the leeks for cauliflower) and even on its own. Love, love, love cheesy leek sauce!
Interesting fact, if you try and pour the milk into the pan whilst trying to take photos, it can lead to difficulties. In my case a pint of milk everywhere, and something definitely worth crying about.
Now that I have shown my passion for the sauce, I should probably tell you how to make it. It is pretty simple, very basic recipe just requires a little bit of TLC. Scroll below to find the recipe and instructions.
Tip: to make cauliflower cheese instead, chop the cauliflower into florets, boil for 5 minutes till soft, and add these instead of the leeks.
Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoy the recipe. I would love to see your creations and what you accompany your sauce with, tag me on Instagram @chefwynd. Like, share, comment and subscribe ☺

Cheesy leek sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Creamy, cheesy leek sauce perfect with turkey


Ingredients

    Equipment:
  • Large frying pan with lid
  • Non-stick deep pan
  • Chopping board, sharp knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Measuring jug
  • Ingredients:
  • 500g leeks
  • 500ml milk (or soya milk unsweetened)
  • 75g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 125g mature cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Prep the leeks. To do this, chop the end off, then score lengthways up the leek, take off the first 2-3 layers, run water down the leek to get rid of any dirt, then slice about 1cm thick up to the end of the white part of the leek. If unsure, watch this video.
  2. Add 50g butter to the large frying pan and melt on a medium heat
  3. Once melted add the chopped leeks, place the lid on top and let the leeks sweat for 10-15 minutes
  4. While the leeks are sweating, get the small pan and add the rest of the butter (50g) and melt this (medium heat)
  5. Once melted add the flour and mix together to form a roux
  6. Measure out the milk and slowly add this to the roux, mixing to combine each time
  7. Tip: add milk slowly, and keep on a medium heat and make sure the milk has completely combined each time, the roux will get larger and larger until it becomes a sauce, see pictures below
  8. cheesy-leek-sauce-3-pic
  9. Once all the milk has been added you should have a sauce consistency, turn the heat up slightly and keep stirring, this should help the sauce thicken.
  10. Next, grate the cheese and add this to the sauce, let the cheese melt in and then combine with the leeks. I personally serve this immediately, but if you need to keep it for later place it in an ovenproof dish to be reheated later.
  11. This sauce is delicious, cheesy and creamy; it can be served cold the next day, reheated and even frozen (consumer within 1 month).