A couple from the UK with a passion for exploring the world, and enjoying a drink or two while we’re at it!
We want to share our travel experiences to help you plan your next trip, and let you know the best places to enjoy a cold one when you get there!
Like a lot of people, we’re pretty bummed out about not being able to travel at the moment! Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on our day to day lives, and a lot of people’s travel plans for 2020 have been rearranged or cancelled, ours included. Right now (November 2020), we should be part way through a four-month backpacking adventure around Southeast Asia, but we don’t like to think about that too much!
But just because we can’t travel to all of these amazing places doesn’t mean we can’t recreate some of the experience at home! During quarantine we’ve been taking some time to enjoy ‘virtual date nights’ in some of our favourite cities that we’ve visited in the past, or that we planned to visit before the pandemic hit.
We find out tasty local recipes and pair these up with some great drinks to recreate how a date night in each city might unfold. We’ve been doing this quite a lot during the pandemic and have been having a lot of fun with our themed nights in!
To kick things off, we’re heading to Seville, for a night of tapas and wine in Southern Spain’s Andalusian region.
First up, let’s talk about food! Andalusia as a region is famous all over the world for its tapas culture. If you ask the locals, they will argue tooth and nail that Seville is the home of tapas, with over 3000 bars to choose from! Sure, you don’t need to eat tapas in Seville, but the culture of socialising while sharing small plates and great wines with the people you love is what a night in Andalusia is all about!
The thing with tapas is, because the portions are so small, you don’t often need many ingredients or too much time to create really flavourful dishes. We’ve picked out some of our favourite tapas recipes that we make to recreate an authentic experience from home.
You can mix and match any of the dishes below as you like. If you made all of this, there would definitely be too much for two people!
Tomato bread with Jamón Serrano
Iberican Jamón (ham) is regarded as some of the best in the world. Some of these extra mature cured hams can set you back hundreds for a whole leg, and the most expensive can sell for over £4,500.00 each!
Don’t worry, you won’t need to spend that much money to have a delicious Spanish ham tapa at home. Serrano is the most common type of Jamón available, and you won’t need to take out a loan to enjoy some.
Our first recipe is tomato bread with Jamón Serrano, a perfect dish to kick off your at home tapas night!
2 Large Ripe tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Slices Jamón Serrano ham
250g Crusty Baguette or Ciabatta bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes.
Recipe credit: BBC Good Food.
- Slice the baguette or ciabatta into 4 equally sized pieces and season with salt & pepper to taste, followed by a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Don’t skimp on quality here, the better the olive oil, the better the tapa will be!
- Toast the seasoned bread to your preferred level of toastiness (it’s a word….).
- Once toasted, slice the tomato in half and gently rub it onto the bread slices to give a thin coating, do the same with the garlic cloves, then keep to one side and finely dice for the other recipes.
- Take a slice of serrano ham and place it on top of each piece of toast. Finish with another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Andalusian Style Chicken
Tapas dishes are all about quick, easy recipes that give the best variety of flavour in the least amount of time.
This chicken dish is a perfect example, quick to prepare and even quicker to cook, but with a sweet & spicy flavour that will make you feel like you’re sitting in a Sevillian tapas bar.
It will impress, trust us!
large pinch of saffron
½ chicken stock cube, dissolved in 100ml boiling water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
1 large chicken breasts or 3 boneless thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
pinch of ground cinnamon
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp clear honey
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tbsp raisins
Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
15g toasted pine nuts or almonds
- Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water, add the saffron to soak and set aside for the moment.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium pan and cook the onion until it is soft and just beginning to turn golden. Add the chicken and cook for a few minutes until browned all over. Make sure the pan is nice and hot, more colour equals more flavour.
- Add the cinnamon & chilli and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the saffron infused stock, vinegar, honey, tomatoes and raisins. Bring the pan to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced, and the chicken is cooked through.
- When ready to serve, scatter with the coriander and nuts (if desired).
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes.
Recipe credit: BBC Good Food.
Spanish Omelette/Tortilla (Vegetarian)
300 g waxy potatoes (such as Maris Piper or Charlotte), peeled and cut into thin slices
1 white onion, cut into thin slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
5 large free-range eggs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Recipe Credit: Jamie Oliver
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil into a small frying pan or skillet over a medium heat, then add the onion and potatoes. Cook on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the onions are turning golden and the potato slices are cooked through.
- Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then whisk together with a fork.
- When the onions and potatoes are cooked, carefully tip them into the eggs. Transfer the mixture back into the pan and cook on low heat for around 20 minutes, or until there’s almost no runny egg on top.
- Use a spatula to loosen the sides of the tortilla. Carefully flip the pan over a dinner plate and tip out the tortilla, slide it back into the pan, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
- Turn out the tortilla onto a serving board, then cut into wedges and serve hot or cold (this will keep in the fridge for a day or so).
Sauteed Chorizo with Red Wine & Honey Glaze
Chorizo is a classic Spanish pork sausage food that is guaranteed to add a kick of flavour to any recipe.
It is generally classed as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet) and you can use either for this recipe.
This dish is packed full of intense flavour from the smoky Chorizo and rich wine which reduces down to make the most incredible sauce!
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
250g cooking chorizo, cut into chunky slices if large or left whole if small
100ml red wine
1 tbsp clear honey
handful parsley, chopped (to garnish)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Recipe credit: BBC Good Food
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the onion for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for an additional few minutes until the onions start to turn golden.
- Push the onion and garlic to the side of the pan, add the chorizo and brown all over. Mix the chorizo, onions and garlic together in the pan once browned to impart all of that flavour.
- Add the wine and honey to the pan, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through and the sauce has reduced. Add a splash of water if the pan is starting to dry out.
- Serve scattered with parsley.
King Prawns with Chilli & Garlic
The easiest, quickest, and one of the most delicious tapas recipes. This one is so simple that anyone can make it taste fantastic.
Seafood tapas is something that everyone should try at some point in their life. We’re not big seafood lovers, but this is one of our favourite dishes!
8 large raw shell-on king prawns, or 350g uncooked king prawns.
3 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
50 ml olive oil
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Recipe Credit: Jamie Oliver
- Peel the garlic and finely chop with the chilli (deseed if you don’t like it too hot). Pick and finely chop the parsley leaves and set aside for later.
- Drizzle the oil into a shallow heatproof terracotta dish or a small frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the garlic and chilli and fry for 30 seconds to flavour the oil, before stirring in the paprika.
- Add the prawns and fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through, adding most of the parsley when you turn the prawns.
- Squeeze half the lemon juice into the dish, then remove from the heat and sprinkle over the remaining parsley and a pinch of sea salt.
- Serve sizzling with the remaining lemon cut wedges for squeezing over.
Patatas Bravas (Vegetarian/Vegan)
This authentic tapa is available in all corners of Spain. It’s one of the most loved, yet simplest dishes to prepare and is the perfect accompaniment to any tapas spread.
We recommend preparing the sauce ahead of time, that was you can simply warm it through with your potatoes ready for that perfect tapas.
For the sauce;
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 can (approx. 2oog) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp sweet paprika (normal paprika will do if you can’t find the sweet variety. We recommend staying away from smoked paprika for this dish as the flavour is a little too much)
chilli powder to taste
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
300g white potatoes
- To make the sauce;
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for about 5 mins until softened. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, sweet paprika, chilli powder, sugar and a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Lower to a simmer and cook for 10 mins until pulpy. Can be kept chilled for up to 24 hrs.
- To make the potatoes;
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Peel the potatoes and pat dry with kitchen roll, then tip into a roasting tin, toss in the olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 40-50 mins until crisp and golden.
- To finish;
Tip the potatoes into serving dishes and spoon over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with some fresh parsley to serve.
Paella is one of the best-known, and best loved dishes in Spanish cuisine. Many people view it as Spain's national dish, but it is actually synonymous specifically with the Valencian region on the East coast of the country.
Paella takes its name from the wide, shallow traditional pan used to cook the dish on an open fire. Paella means "frying pan" in Valencian, Valencia's regional language.
This is an alternative option if you don’t feel like making a multitude of smaller dishes.
Paella can be made with pretty much any combination of meat, vegetables and seafood depending on what you like. This version may not be traditional and might miss out some of the more authentic ingredients, but it’s still delicious and guaranteed to please.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 British free-range skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 3cm pieces
100g cooking chorizo, cut into small chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
200g paella rice
1 litre chicken stock
100g sustainable raw peeled and deveined king prawns
50g frozen peas
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the chicken over a medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook for a further 4 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate when cooked.
- Add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until starting to soften and turn golden. Add the garlic and paprika and fry for another minute. Stir in the rice, then add the stock and cook without stirring for around 25 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add the prawns, peas and the set-aside chicken & chorizo. Cook until all of the ingredients are combined and warmed through.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges to serve.
Prep time: 15 Minutes.
Cook time: 45 minutes.
Recipe Credit: Delicious Magazine.
A night in Seville wouldn’t be complete without wine! Spain is world renowned for its variety and quality of wines. Sure, they make some really great beers and you can’t go wrong with an Estrella or Alhambra if you want an authentic Andalusian cold one. But if you really want to dive into Spanish culture, wine is the way to go!
We recommend that you grab yourselves a nice Tempranillo. It is the dominant red grape in the Rioja region that produces a wine that’s medium to full bodied and fruity, the perfect accompaniment to all of the rich food recipes.
You can grab a nice bottle of Tempranillo from any supermarket for under £10.00, you’ll have all seen bottles of Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rioja (with the yellow label) in your local shop and this is a great place to start! We recently tried a bottle of Dominio D Fontana Tempranillo & Syrah. It’s not from Rioja but is another classic example of excellent Spanish winemaking. We picked our bottle up from The Whisky Exchange for £9.95!
If red wine isn’t your thing, we’ll still bet you like Sangria! The Spanish have been making Sangria for over 2,000 years, so by now it’s fair to say they’re pretty good at it. Try out this recipe for a fruity cocktail to enjoy with your night in.
1/2 medium apple (cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces)
1/2 medium orange (rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed // plus more for garnish)
3-4 Tbsp organic brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp (37.5 g) organic cane sugar as original recipe is written)
3/4 cup orange juice (optional)
1/3 cup brandy (plus more to taste)
750 ml bottle dry Spanish red wine
1 cup Ice to chill
- Add apples, oranges, and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds, or until all the ingredients are combined.
- Add orange juice if desired and brandy, muddle again to combine for around 30 seconds.
- Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavour as needed. I added a bit more brandy, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
- Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish with orange segments (optional).
So those are our food and drink recommendations for your at home Sevillian date night. Hopefully we will be able to travel freely again soon enough so we can all cram into a tiny tapas bar in the middle of Seville and share a glass of red or two!
Until then though, we really hope that you enjoy this idea and that you have a great time trying it out for yourselves!
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