Marc’s Spanish Birthday

Tapas is great for parties you can just pile it up on the table and dive in. You can have simple snacks such as salted almonds, different types of olives, breads and other bits and bobs.You can also cook up a few dishes, some can be prepared a day or two beforehand, so no stress! I was supposed to be making a Paella to follow but we we too full up with this lot to eat any more…

Chorizo in red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 banana shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
150ml red wine
1 large tsp muscovado sugar
2 boxes (300g) Redwoods Chorizo Style Chunks

Prepare the sauce first (this can be done hours before, or even the day before). Heat a frying pan until hot, add the olive oil, shallot and garlic and fry for 2-3 mins. Add the bay leaves, red wine and sugar and cook down (keep stirring to prevent burning), until it is thick and sticky. Transfer to a glass container and set aside until you are ready to use it. Just before you are ready to eat, heat a frying pan and when piping hot toss in the chorizo and fry for 1-2 minutes until it begins to crisp. Add the sauce and heat for a further 1-2 mins then serve.

Stuffed Pequillo Peppers
Roasted Pequillo Peppers in a jar – these can be found in delis or some good supermarkets, they are ‘pocket’ shaped and can be stuffed.
½ a tub of Tofutti cream ‘cheese’
Zest and juice from ½ an orange
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin

1 Mix the ‘cheese’, orange zest and juice and spices and either pipe into the peppers or spoon in with a teaspoon – fiddly but worth it. If you can’t get pocket-shaped peppers just spoon the filling onto them and roll and secure with a cocktail stick.

Artichoke Hearts in Vinaigrette
½ tsp ground cumin
1 pinch ground cloves
1 small pinch saffron
1 clove of garlic, crushed
50ml white wine vinegar
1 jar of artichoke hearts in oil, drained
50ml extra virgin olive oil

Place the cumin, cloves, saffron, garlic and a little vinegar in a pestle and mortar and pound to form a paste. Place the artichokes in a glass jar or bowl and press down to form a tight fit. Combine the paste with the remaining vinegar and oil and pour over the artichokes. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Remove 1 hour before serving.

Patatas Bravas
1½ lb potatoes, cubed
A generous splash of olive oil
Spicy Tomato Sauce:
1tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
50ml dry white wine
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped fresh

Preheat the oven to 200°C (hot!). Put the potato chunks into a flat baking dish, pour on the oil and toss to coat. Bake in the top of the oven for 40 minutes, turning occasionally until the potatoes are cooked through and browning. To make the spicy sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the garlic, cumin, chilli and paprika and cook for 1 min. Add the wine then reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, tomato paste and Tabasco. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. When the sauce has thickened a bit, blend using a hand blender until smooth. Pour the sauce over the potatoes, garnish with parsley and serve hot.

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