Planning a dinner party but don’t know where to begin? The fresh flavours and tantalising textures of Spanish cuisine is reliably varied yet surprisingly achievable at home. Inject the sumptuous sass of Barcelona with the gentle elegance of Valencia into a unique dinner party menu featuring these three courses and a side dip as a finishing touch. Share your attempts with us on social media tagging @Winged_Boots then start planning where to go to get the real thing here.
• 50g membrillo (quince paste)
• 2 tbsp apple juice
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• Good pinch of ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 350g chicken mini breast fillets
• 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
• Handful of chives, parsley or basil, torn and chopped
• 1 tsp red wine vinegar
• 250/300g microwave pack to serve cooked rice, quinoa and vegetables (to serve)
1. Soften the membrillo in a large bowl with the apple juice, 1 tablespoon of oil and the spices, salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken pieces and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Place the tomato wedges on a plate and scatter with torn or chopped herbs, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of oil.
3. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, then put in the pieces of chicken and fry for around 3 minutes on each side until caramelised and cooked through.
4. Serve on a bed of rice and quinoa and mixed vegetables with the tomato salad.
Slow-cooked pork cheeks with Oloroso sherry, taken from cookbook Andalusia, by José Pizarro.
• 1.5kg pork cheeks preferably Ibérico, cleaned and trimmed
• 150g jamón ibérico, cubed
• 750ml Oloroso sherry
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 onion, finely sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
• 3 black peppercorns
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2-3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
• 300ml chicken stock
• Crusty bread (to serve)
1. Place the pork cheeks and jamon ibérico in a glass or ceramic dish. Pour over the sherry, add the carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Drain and reserve the marinade liquid and aromatics from the vegetables, jamón and pork cheeks. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and season well.
3. Pour the oil into a heavy-based lidded saucepan or casserole dish. Fry the pork cheeks on all sides over a medium-high heat until well browned and caramelised, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove the meat and set aside.
4. Add the jamón Iberico and fry for a couple of minutes until it’s just starting to crisp. Remove and set aside.
5. Reduce the heat to medium, add the veg to the saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until softened, adding more oil if necessary.
6. Place the pork back into the saucepan with the stock and the reserved marinade liquid. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours until the cheeks are tender. Remove the lid and place the pork cheeks onto a plate or chopping board then cook the liquor for a further 30 minutes to reduce to a coating constancy. Once reduced, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
7. Return the meat to the sauce to heat through and serve with chunks of crusty bread.
Gazpacho by Hannah McCollum, private chef and founder of ChicP
• 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
• 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
• 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
• 1kg tomatoes, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 white onion, chopped
• 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (optional)
This one’s easy! Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve as a side dish with optional garnishing on top.
Walnut, sherry and honey semifreddo, taken from cookbook Andalusia, by José Pizarro.
• Olive oil, for greasing
• 4 medium free-range eggs, separated
• 1 tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry
• 100g caster sugar
• 325ml double cream
• 85g walnut halves, plus a handful to serve
• 1 tbsp dark honey, plus extra for drizzling
1. Grease a 450g loaf tin with olive oil and line with enough cling film so that it hangs over the sides.
2. Place the egg yolks, sherry and sugar into a small bowl. Tip the egg whites into a separate large bowl, and pour the cream into another large bowl.
3. In a small frying pan over a medium heat, toast the walnuts until lightly browned then remove from the heat and crush lightly with the end of a rolling pin while still in the pan. Stir through the honey: it will fizz a little, but make sure it coats the walnuts well.
4. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks with an electric whisk. With the same whisk, beat the egg yolk mixture until thick and foaming a ribbon trail.
5. Then again with the same whisk, whip the cream to soft peaks.
6. With a large metal spoon fold the cream into the egg yolk mixture, then gently fold in the egg whites until combined. Stir through the honeyed walnuts and spoon into the lined loaf tin, right to the top of the tin.
7. Loosely lay a sheet of cling film over the top and then cover with a sheet of foil. Place in the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours before serving: it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
8. To serve, toast a handful of walnut halves in a small flying pan over a medium heat and allow to cool a little. Turn out the semifreddo, peeling back the cling film and lift onto a board or platter. Top with toasted walnut halves and a good drizzle of dark honey.
Are you inspired to visit the nation of unique architecture and endless fiestas? Discover our pick of the top luxury hotels across Spain or enquire here and start dreaming of the finest fresh cuisine, served to you after a sun-splashed day of relaxation.