courgette and pepper salad . Picture: Chris Collingridge 490

A selection of tapas-style dishes which make great party or pre-supper nibbles.


Serves 6-8

150ml water

50ml olive oil

125ml flour, sifted

3 eggs

3ml paprika

a pinch of cayenne pepper

2ml salt

180ml grated Gruyere cheese

oil for frying

Combine the water and olive oil in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then remove immediately from the heat and add in the flour. Beat well until the mixture forms a ball in the middle of the saucepan.

Put the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Cool for a few minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and cheese.

Fry spoonfuls of the mixture in hot oil until golden, puffed and cooked through.

Drain the cheese puff on a paper towel.

Serve with tomato salsa.


2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 red chilli, seeded and chopped

30ml olive oil

salt and pepper

45ml chopped coriander

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.


Serves 6-8

300g chorizo sausage

30ml olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

5ml crushed garlic

400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

125g pickled peppers, drained

15ml white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

45ml chopped parsley

Cut the chorizo into slices then cut each slice in half. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry gently until the chorizo releases some of its oil.

Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the chickpeas and peppers. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, seasoning and parsley.

Serve at room temperature with crusty bread.


Serves 6-8

1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper

4-6 baby marrows, thinly sliced

olive oil

60g black olives, pitted and halved

45ml olive oil

15ml sherry vinegar or lemon juice

5ml chopped garlic

salt and pepper

pinch of sugar

slices of olive ciabatta for serving

Cut the peppers into quarters and place, skin side up, on a baking tray. Place under a hot grill until the skins are charred. Remove and put the peppers into a plastic bag and set aside to cool.

Brush the baby marrows with olive oil and cook on a griddle pan. Remove the skins of the peppers and cut the peppers into strips.

Combine the baby marrows, peppers and olives. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and seasoning.

Pour over the peppers and baby marrows. Serve piled on to slices of bread as part of a tapas platter.


Makes 6

1 small onion, finely chopped

10ml chopped garlic

30ml lemon juice

10ml grated lemon rind

80ml olive oil

5ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

salt and pepper

a few sprigs of fresh thyme

600g lamb cubes

lemon wedges to serve

Combine the onion, garlic, lemon juice and rind, olive oil, spices, seasoning and thyme and add the lamb. Cover and marinate for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Thread the meat and lemon wedges on to skewers and cook on a griddle pan until done to your liking. Baste with any remaining marinade.

Serve warm with extra lemon wedges.

* I found it easier to first cook the lamb cubes and lemon wedges in a griddle pan, and then to thread them on to skewers once they were cooked.


Serves 10-12

45ml olive oil

10ml chopped garlic

1 bunch of spring onions, chopped

1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced

4 small potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced

200g mature cheddar, grated

salt and pepper to taste

6 eggs, beaten

125ml sour cream

60ml chopped chives

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic, onions and peppers until soft. Remove from the heat and add the potatoes, cheese and seasoning.

Spoon the mixture into a greased 20x30cm oven-proof baking dish. Combine the eggs, sour cream and chives and pour over the potato mixture.

Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until set. Remove and cool before cutting into squares.


Makes 70 small meatballs


1 large onion, finely chopped

2 slices of bread, crumbed

500g lamb mince

500g pork sausages, removed their from casings

10ml chopped garlic

1 egg

10ml ground coriander

10ml ground cumin

salt and pepper

flour for dusting

olive oil for frying

Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. Using a food processor will make this easier.

Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut. Toss them in a little flour and fry in batches in olive oil.


15ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5ml chopped garlic

400g can of chopped tomatoes

60ml dry sherry (optional)

10ml sugar

3ml smoked paprika

salt and pepper

100g green olives, pitted

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes, sherry, sugar, paprika and seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree using a hand blender.

Pour over the meatballs, add the olives and simmer until heated through.


The tradition of tapas started hundreds of years ago in Spain when innkeepers placed slices of bread on top of drinks to keep out the dust and insects. (The word tapa means lid).

The bread was later topped with slices of meats or cheese to boost trade, which eventually evolved into what is served in tapas bars across Spain.

Tapas can be as simple as a bowl of flavoured olives or spiced almonds to sophisticated dishes like croquettes or saffron prawns.

Tapas served in Spain will reflect local produce and can differ widely from region to region.

Many authentic Spanish ingredients like Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and chorizo sausage are available in local supermarkets, but these can easily be replaced with local produce to create tasty morsels to serve as cocktail dishes. - The Star