Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy arrived in the UK 8 years ago with the intention of putting Spanish cuisine on the map. Surprised by the lack of Spanish restaurants compared to other cuisines such as Indian and Chinese, Allibhoy took over the reins at El Pirata Detapas in West London. Now as well as running that restaurant, Allibhoy has two Tapas Revolution restaurants and has made a variety of appearances on TV shows teaching viewers how to cook great Spanish food. His new book Tapas Revolution serves up 120 classic Spanish recipes for you to make at home.
Tapas has become a fairly popular way of eating now with restaurants such as La Tasca and Wahaca offering a variety of mouth-watering dishes. By its very ethos Tapas is meant to shared rather than eaten alone and Spanish food is very inclusive making it a great choice for a night out with friends. In Tapas Revolution Allibhoy offers 9 chapters packed with great recipes that are surprisingly easy to whip it with a bit of practice.
Opening with Aperitivo the book immediately hits you with fantastic and tasty recipes. Pimentos de Padron (fried Padron peppers) is always a favourite of ours when we go out and it’s a really easy starter or side dish to make. It’s also a little bit like Russian Roulette as every pepper has a different strength so be careful you don’t get the one that blows your head off. As is to be expected most of the recipes in this section focus on bread and dips but Allibhoy also offers up a couple of drinks suggestions too.
The best recipes are those found in chapters 2-4 where the focus is on fish and meats. Immediately when we think of tapas we think of meatballs and the Albondigas en Salsa recipe will help you craft a very tasty portion of those. There’s plenty of recipes including eggs too with Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette) always being a crowd pleaser in our house. One recipe we found particularly lip-smackingly good is Pinchos Morunos Con Mojo Picon (Moorish Skewers) which are pork skewers with Moorish spices. Absolutely delicious!
Alongside the meat dishes there are plenty of vegetable dishes for vegetarians and soups and stews if you prefer your dishes not to have meat as the main ingredient. There’s also an entire section on rices and pulses so Paella fans will have plenty to wrap their taste buds around. Another interesting recipe from this section is Arroz Con Costra (Baked rice with a crust) which is a different spin on serving rice with your meal.
As always we raced straight to the desserts section and we weren’t disappointed. Spanish desserts are a mixture of sweet and bitter flavours and are always an absolute treat. Allibhoy’s recipes for Creama Catalana (Catalonian custard pots) and Churros Con Chocolate (Spanish doughnuts with chocolate) are two of the finest recipes in the book. We guarantee you’ll keep going back for more once you’ve tried them.
The final chapter of the book is for the more adventurous foodies out there. The Chef’s Cut features a variety of recipes that honestly we don’t think we’ll be trying any time soon. We love our food but when it comes to snails and the like we quickly lose our appetite.
Tapas Revolution will make you change the way you think about Spanish food. Better than places like La Tasca, the recipes here are delicious, fairly easy and utterly addictive. Tapas is one of our favourite ways to eat and now we can make it at home we doubt we’ll be leaving the house if we want Spanish food (other than to go to Allibhoy’s restaurants of course). If you fancy serving up some cuisine outside of the norm then get your hands on this book and get cooking!