New Year: home made tapas for a last minute party

Posted on January 24, 2010


For new year’s eve, a few of us had planned to go to Sol where there is the big count down at midnight with people scrambling to eat a grape on every chime of the clock (apparently this brings you luck for the year ahead). Being that this will probably be the only year that we will be in Madrid for NYE, I thought that would be a great idea. Until it rained. And then I saw that three hundred thousand people turned up just for the rehearsal the night before (no, I have no idea why either). My friends here felt the same way so we put together a last-minute party at my house.

I dashed to the shops, bought a load of ‘things’ from shops that were all closing and, put together with what was in the fridge, this is what I made…

Peppers stuffed with black peppered tuna

I LOVE the fact that in Spain it’s cheap and easy to get marinated red peppers all ready done in jars – saves so much time and effort roasting peppers and peeling the skin off. For this tapa, just mix together tuna with a little mayonnaise (not too much) and generous amounts of cracked black pepper then spoon into peppers. Place on a serving dish in a big circle.

Chorizo and roast red peppers with brandy

There are two ways of doing this:

  • Either use the peppers as described above, or (and I think this is better for this dish) take two or three red peppers and place them in a really high over for around 20mins or until the skin is charred. Put them in a plastic container or sealed bag for 10mins or so to steam. Remove the skins and then the core and seeds. Slice into stripe.
  • Heat a pan and then add slices (about 2cm thick) of uncooked chorizo. Use a medium-sized chorizo for every pepper. Stir fry until the chorizo has browned.
  • Add the peppers to the pan with a good splash of brandy. Stir for a minute or so and then serve.

Chorizo with prawns

So simple and so delicious. Cut a cooked chorizo into slices and lay on a baking try

  • Place a prawn of top of each chorizo slice and secure with a cocktail stick
  • Twist some cracked pepper over the top and then bake on a medium high heat for around 10mins
  • Transfer onto a plate and serve

Dates in Bacon

This is my favourite tapa EVER. I love these and they always go down well. They are a little fiddly but worth it.

  • Half cook several slices of streaky bacon and leave to cool for a few mins.
  • Meanwhile, take a packet of dates and remove the stones
  • Cut the bacon strips in half and wrap around each date, securing with a cocktail stick.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10-15mins in a medium high oven
  • Serve, making sure that you try one or two first. Just to be sure they’re ok.


Again, these are simple and there are a number of variations that can be used.

  • Heat a flat pan on a medium high hob
  • Place a flour tortilla in the pan and then sprinkle with grated cheese (I prefer Emmental but it’s entirely up to you) and then add either some ham or spicy sauce (tabasco or similar).
  • Once the cheese starts to melt, place a flour tortilla on top to make a sandwich and then flip it over
  • After a minute or so, when the bottom tortilla has browned a little and crisped up, take the quesadilla out of the pan and cut into 8 pieces
  • Serve immediately whilst still hot

The evening was a success. We listened to the chimes and ate our grapes like good pretend Spaniards. And the next day we breathed a little sigh of selfish satisfaction having made a good choice – not only did we miss the cold and rain but so many people that went to Sol got pickpocketed. Crazy city that this is.