Recipes Page 2 - Talking Tapas
June 16, 2016

Espárragos con Jamón Serrano - Simple!

So to celebrate World Tapas Day on June 16th, I want to share with you one of the quickest, simplest and yet most delicious tapas you can make yourself at home! Only two ingredients and one pan needed, and it takes not more than ten minutes from start to finish!

In Spain they love asparagus, and will often serve the tinned white asparagus with salads, as well as enjoying the fresh green spears when they are available. It is currently in season here and as a result is available (and on offer) in all the supermarkets at the moment. I love it, with so many dishes, but this one for me sums up what tapas is all about: being able to create a simple and tasty dish with very few ingredients in very little time!

Ingredientes (Serves 4 as a tapa)       

  • A bunch (at least 12 spears) of fresh, green asparagus (woody ends removed)
  • Thinly sliced Jamón Serrano (a 100g packet will be plenty)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Black pepper to season


  1. Wrap each asparagus spear with a slice (or half if they are big) of Jamón Serrano.
  2. Heat a non stick frying pan until fairly hot, add the olive oil, and carefully place your wrapped spears into the pan, 5 or 6 at a time so they have room to move in the pan and are not on top of one another.
  3. Fry for a couple of minutes each side until the ham is crisp and the asparagus starts to char and change colour to a darker green (they will still have crunch but that is the joy in my opinion!)
  4. Remove to a warmed serving platter and repeat with the remaining spears until all are done.
  5. Grind a little black pepper over the spears and serve warm, ¡disfrútalo! (Enjoy!)
May 25, 2016

Tortilla Española - A Spanish classic!

The name of this Spanish omelette, ‘tortilla’ actually means a small cake or tart, and really refers to the shape and depth of this delicious dish, which can be found in any Spanish restaurant or bar the length and breadth of the country! It is also the most common filling for a bocadillo (sandwich/ baguette), packed into hundreds of lunchboxes across Spain each day.

There are many variations of course, from the tortilla brava in Madrid, where they serve it with a spicy tomato sauce, to one made with peppers and chorizo. However, the best tortilla I ever tasted was that made by a Spanish friend of mine, Ana, in her home in Gijón in the North of Spain. Made in the more traditional way with just potatoes, onions and egg, the key is to take your time and not rush it. I have spent the last 10 or so years using her recipe and having fantastic results each time, so here it is!

Ingredientes (Serves 6-8 sliced up as a tapas dish, or cuts into 20 pincho squares as in the picture)        

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 medium eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Metódo (Main steps in the photo above to help!)

  1. Slice and dice the potato as small as you can, then do the same with the onion.
  2. Pour enough oil into a large and fairly deep frying pan to cover the bottom by about an inch and heat on a medium temperature.
  3. Once the oil is hot (but not too much, just enough for the mixture to gently sizzle) add the potato and the onion and fry gently and slowly in the oil, moving around from time to time, for about 10 minutes until soft but not brown (if it starts to catch or brown you need to turn down the temperature).
  4. Once soft, remove the potato and onion mixture to a separate bowl with a slotted spoon, draining off (and reserving) as much oil as you can, allow the mixture to cool a little.
  5. Pour the oil from the pan into a separate container, wipe the bottom of the pan with kitchen roll to remove any bits (this stops the tortilla from catching and sticking later), and then pour the oil back in.
  6. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together, add a large pinch of salt and a twist of pepper, then once the potato and onion mixture is cool add it to the egg and leave to stand for a few minutes.
  7. Warm the oil in the frying pan on a medium heat, then very gently pour in the egg, potato and onion mixture; making sure it is evenly spread out.
  8. Cook gently and slowly, until the edges and top of the tortilla start to set.
  9. Now come the tricky bit! Take a large plate or board, and carefully slide the tortilla out of the pan onto the plate, then place the frying pan upside down over the top, and holding both together firmly, turn quickly so that the tortilla end up back in the pan the other way up. (If you are worried about this you can always finish it under the grill instead!)
  10. Finish cooking the tortilla for another 3-4 minutes and then slide out onto a plate. At this point I tend to use some kitchen paper to blot away some of the excess oil from the top of the tortilla.
  11. Leave to cool and then slice and serve. It makes a delicious pincho (canapé) with a square of roasted pepper on the top as you can see in the picture, or just tuck right in!

¡Disfrútalo! (Enjoy!)

(Don't forget! If you fancy eating but not cooking this tortilla, why not join our next beginners Spanish course with tapas starting June 22nd! Click here for more details)

May 09, 2016

Habas con jamón ¡Deliciosas! (Broad beans and ham)


This amazingly tasty little tapas dish is found across Spain, although it originates as peasant food from the South where the beans are grown in abundance. I first sampled it in the gorgeous sun soaked garden of a little tapas bar in the beautiful Andalucian city of Córdoba (well worth a visit!), and although it’s offered as a tapas dish in bars, in Spanish households it is frequently served as a side dish to both grilled fish and roasted meat.  In my opinion this truly delicious dish is not only perfect served hot with crusty bread to soak up the salty, umptious juices, but also cold as a salad for all those summer barbeques heading our way!

Ingredientes (Serves 4-6)      

  • About 750 grams broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g Spanish jamón serrano, finely sliced
  • Small hand full fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. Blanch the broad beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes only, then plunge into cold water to keep their colour (you may peel/shell the broad beans at this stage if you prefer the sweeter taste and more vibrant colour as I do)
  2. Gently fry the onion and garlic in a dash of olive oil for around 5 minutes until soft and sweet but not coloured
  3. Add the jamón strips and gently fry for another minute
  4. Add the beans back in, along with the remaining olive oil, mint, a good grind of black pepper and a small pinch of salt, and stir to coat. Serve in a pretty cazuela dish and disfrútalo! (Enjoy!)
February 04, 2016

Salsa Romesco – Delicious, Healthy and Versatile!

Salsa Romesco – Delicious, Healthy and Versatile!

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December 06, 2015

A delicious winter warmer – Espinacas con Garbanzos (Chickpeas and Spinach)

This slightly spiced, warm and comforting tapa is firmly rooted on the menus of traditional tapas bars across the south of Spain, and in particular in Sevilla.  This became was one of my weekly staples when living in the city as a student, and has remained a firm favourite ever since!

The use of spinach in Spanish dishes began with the Arab traders who brought it into the country in the 12th century, along with chickpeas from the Middle East. These two ingredients, mixed with the warming cumin and paprika, really make this an ideal dish to have in these cold winter months, and although it is traditionally a tapas dish, I also think it goes beautifully as a side dish with lamb, or even with some good quality sausages! 

Ingredients (to make enough for a medium tapas or a side dish for 4) :

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 large bag of spinach (or like me you can use chard or greens from the garden!) washed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot or sweet paprika (depending on whether you like some spice or not!)
  • 1tsp sherry vinegar
  • 3 small sweet ripe tomatoes diced
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Take a large frying pan or skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then sauté the spinach until wilted, remove to a colander.
  2. Put another drizzle of olive oil in the pan, add the onions and fry gently until softened.
  3. Now add the cumin, garlic and paprika and fry for another minute or two.
  4. Now transfer all the ingredients from the pan, along with the spinach, into a food processor. Add the sherry vinegar and blitz until the spinach is broken down but still has texture (not to a paste).
  5. Tip the chickpeas into the large frying pan along with the diced tomatoes. Fry gently for 30 seconds, then add the ingredients from the food processor back in to the pan.
  6. Warm the spinach and chickpea mixture back through until it is piping hot, and add the salt and a twist of black pepper. 
  7. Transfer to an earthenware dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Then serve as a tapa with crusty bread, or as a side dish to some roasted lamb or fried sausages. ¡Delicioso!


October 18, 2015

A Spanish Autumn Classic - Pincho de champiñones y jamón


I first tried this delicious little pincho last year in the narrow tapas streets of Logroño in La Rioja, on a trip to celebrate my husband Nick’s 40th birthday, which just happened to fall on the weekend of the Logroño wine festival, what a bonus!

The region of La Rioja is not only famed for its wine production, it is also rife with mushrooms, and the local tapas bars and restaurants celebrate these earthy yet delicate fungi in many of their dishes, in some cases even growing their own in cellars nearby!

One of Logroño’s most famous tapas haunts, Bar Soriano, serves only this dish, mushrooms griddled with sea salt and garlic butter, skewered onto a pincho stick but instead of jamón, serves a little shrimp at the top and a slice of bread at the bottom to soak up the flow of delicious buttery juices, ¡delicioso! People cram into the little bar, shouting for ‘un pincho y una rioja’, savour the gorgeous wine and the unbelievably flavoursome mushrooms, and then come back time and time again!

Since returning from Rioja we have recreated and enjoyed this tapas dish many times, the garlic aromas transporting us back to that bar in Logroño, and of course having the Rioja alongside! Sometimes I serve it with a shrimp, but my all time favourite is with a slice of Spanish jamón, or simply stick with just the mushroom if you prefer, it’s just as good!

Ingredients (to make 4 pinchos):

  • 8 open cap mushrooms, stalks removed
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 25g butter
  • Drizzle of good quality olive oil
  • 1 slice of jamón split into 4, or 4 pre cooked shrimps
  • 4 slices of white baguette


  1. Heat a griddle pan until very hot, drizzle with olive oil then place the mushrooms face down, and griddle without moving them for a few minutes on each side, until golden and the edges tinged slightly.
  2. Meanwhile in a separate pan gently fry off the garlic in the butter, taking care not to burn the garlic. Pour over the mushrooms, add sea salt and toss.
  3. Skewer two mushrooms half way down the pincho stick, open cap facing upwards, and then push this into the slice of baguette. Finally place the jamón, or the shrimp on top,and pour your rioja (if you haven’t already!), enjoy!