Tag Archives: tapas

Put a spring in your plate – with a Tortilla Sacramento…

A week end in Granada got me a whiff and a taste of spring, ahead of it really arriving here. Granada is a baking hot Andalusian town laying at the foot of a snow capped Sierra, the fire and the ice ; a cool arab paradise in gypsy flamenco dress, an oxymoron of a place that is hard to define and delicious to loose yourselves in…

In April, the gardens of the Generalife are bursting with roses and carnations, a riot of spring flowers everywhere and the lingering scent of orange blossom and heady climbing roses following you around like a music… I came back wanting more : Especially more colour, more taste, more fragrance! So I recreated one of the local dishes that encapsulated all of my longings: Tortilla Sacramento.

Sacramento is the gipsy quarter from which you have an incredible view over the red walls of the Alhambra palaces and gardens. A view immortalised by numerous painters and engravers over the centuries but still magic when you “recognise” it under the moonlight. Imagine a warm April night with a cool breeze and the towers of the palace of the last Moors of Spain in front of you… A palace full of legends, songs and poems…

Tortilla Sacramento for 4

Ingredients list:

  • Eggs, two per persons: 8 here
  • Steamed asparagus, 6/8
  • Shallot, 1 sliced finely
  • yellow pepper, sliced, 1
  • Petit pois or garden peas, 1 small handful
  • Olive oil to fry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley and chives, a few sprigs
  • Optional: shreds of spanish ham to top it and Pedro Jimenez reduction to decorate!

NOTE TO SELF: There is not one dish that can’t be improved with a swish of Pedro Jimenez wine reduction – Take my word for it… This is a delicacy I just brought back from Spain: a sticky, spicy and sweet wine reduction that goes with ab-so-lu-tely everything from fresh fruit to foie gras and beyond…

Here dishes without "Pedro" and with "Pedro"! See the difference?

Here dishes without “Pedro” and with “Pedro”!
See the difference? Salad in next post…


Steam and prepare the chosen vegetables. The idea is to go for seasonal, fresh and colourful! Fry the shallots in olive oil, fry the sweet peppers and quickly cook the peas (fresh or frozen). Break the eggs and proceed to make your omelette in the usual way but pile it high with vegetables and herbs and only cook it on one side. Serve warm IN THE PAN with a swish of Pedro Jimenez reduction – if you have any.

Rioting colours in my pan

Rioting colours in my pan

My address book in Granada:

The Alhambra Palace Hotel for its incredible balcony over the Sierra Nevada and its HUGE gin and tonic served in a large wine glass. Salud!

Los Italianos, for the best ice-cream ever – particularly the chestnut  and the orange flavours. An institution very near the cathedral. Expect long queues that nobody respects.

Try the tapas and also the wonderful “churros con chocolate” served in the many restaurants around the cathedral – Look out for “Churrerias” for a treat at any time of the day and night!

Enjoying breakfast at 3pm...

Enjoying breakfast at 3pm…

Restaurante Chikito  for the unique “Tortilla Sacramento de la case” that inspired this post and its cool outdoor space.


Lazy Sunday “tapas”

Lazy Sunday “tapas”

“Tapas” is what we used to eat at home on a Sunday evening when I was little. It is still the Sunday dinner default mode favoured by my parents when we all visit in summer and my children love it. For it is indeed more a mode of eating than a specific dish collection. Here are a few ideas but the combinations are endless:

  1. Herby squid rings
  2. Cheddar scones with mascarpone
  3. Tuna loin canapés with tapenade.
  4. Tender cod dumplings.
Ingredients list for the cod dumplings:
  • salted cod or “bacalao”500g
  • potatoes  250g
  • garlic clove 1
  • parsley 1 Tbsp
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Rapeseed oil for frying
  • Harissa or chilli paste ½ tsp
  • Thyme and bay leaf

Two or three days before, cover the salted cod with water and reserve in the fridge. Do not forget to change the water at least once a day.

On the day: drain and rinse the fish.

Cook the peeled potatoes in a steamer until soft.

Boil the fish into a pan with thyme and bay leaf. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on low heat.

You can also cut the potatoes and cook them with the fish in the same pan.

Drain and let it cool, then  take the fish skin off and with your fingers, push the soft flesh of the fish away from the central bone. Taking care to remove any little ones. There are only a few. Discard the bones.

Put the flesh, the potatoes and the yolks into a food processor and blend roughly but thoroughly.

Add the parsley, chilli paste and crushed garlic. Mix well.

Prepare the oil in a deep fat fryer or a wok and shape the dough in dumpling form with a spoon.

Fry each in oil, on both sides, until brown.

Drain and serve warm with a chilled white Sancerre or Chablis. It’s the end of the week end! Relax and enjoy- Better: invite neighbours to share as we did last Sunday!

“Tapar” in Spanish means “plugging a hole” and that’s exactly what I need on Sunday nights! Easy,relaxed,  fun finger food.

Market colours to inspire a menu!

>Roasted Frigitelli peppers

>Last year, coming back from Mallorca, I did this recipe with Padron peppers but today for some reason I keep getting those sharp Frigitelli peppers and can’t find the Padrones, so never mind! The Frigitelli are sharper and the Padrones slightly bitter but both equally delicious.

Just clean the peppers in running water. Then chop the end bit and shake the seeds out. Don’t worry if some are unwilling. Lay them in a roasting pan, sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and roast at high temperature until the skin blisters and the pepper is tender. Serve cold like a tapas, or before a meal, with a glass of wine equally sharp and flavoured. As soon as the heat draws in I am very fond of tapas and find it the best way to have a light evening meal.