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A Passion for Tapas

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Genre: Food & Drink / Dieting / Paperback / 224 Pages / Book is published 2007-08 by Parragon Book Service Ltd

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      26.10.2009 20:39
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      fantastic ideas

      A Passion For Tapas currently has a RRP of £12.99 but is available cheaper on Amazon and significantly cheaper from The Works (around £4).

      I am a recent convert to Tapas, I like going to Spanish restaurants including those that form part of the La Tasca chain. I was not planning to get a book on how to do tapas but was really impressed after browsing through this one.

      The book is a fairly glossy fronted paperback. One thing that is a bit annoying is that the spine isn't as flexible as I would like so it can be a bit tricky to keep the pages open unless you have a proper stand. The pages have a slight matte finish so are a bit susceptible to splashes and stains from cooking.

      There is a surprisingly lengthy introduction section which explains the long-running history and traditions of tapas culture. Some key important ingredients are detailed and with an indication of example recipes which include them.

      The first section is "vegetable, nuts and olives" - I have found that the nuts and olives recipes are particularly good outside of a traditional tapas meal - ie as snacks to dip into of an evening in fornt of a DVD or whilst casually entertaining friends. Example recipes and favourite recipes from this section - salted almonds (simple but very effective), olives with orange and lemon, stuffed cherry tomatoes (delicious), salads, and one of my favourite staples as part of a tapas meal - patatas bravas (cubed potato pieces in a spiced tomato sauce).

      Next comes meat and poultry which has the more substantial dishes that you could have as part of a tapas banquet. Example recipes - spanish meatballs with cracked olives, croquettes - serrano ham/crispy chicken and ham (divine..) and chorizo and red wine (my favourite).

      The next section is "fish and seafood" - possibly my least favourite because I do not really cook a lot of seafood, but the most appetising looking ideas are; fresh salmon with red pepper sauce, rosemary skewers with rosemary and bacon, seared squid and golden potatoes, scallops with serrano ham.

      Following this is "eggs and cheese" - there are some lovely ideas in this section and stuff that can easily be adapted to a main meal. There a number of tortillas - spanish/spinach and mushroom torillas for example, basque scrambled eggs, cheese puffs with their tomato salsa, fried manchego cheese (gorgeous if you can track down manchego).

      Then we move on to bread. You probably would not need to cook too many of these at the same time - however there is an absolutely fantastic recipe - chorizo bread parcels (bread rolls with chorizo in the middle.), onion and olive rounds - then moving on to pates and dips.

      There are 100 recipes in total in this book. The recipes are all really laid out with 1 recipe ona page, and a warmly shot appetising photograph on the facing page. Each dish gives quantities for how many it serves as part of a tapas meal.

      The recipes that I have done have been easy to follow. One piece of advice I would give though is that you should work hard at choosing dishes that you can prepare easily and will not be too stressful when it comes to timings as the inevitable thing with tapas is that you will inevitable have a lot to do with various dishes at the same time. (NB - there are some nice tapas terracotta dishes on Amazon.)

      In conclusion I think that this is a really good book, as an introduction to tapas yes, but also as a comprehensive directory on tapas that contains recipes that I think would appeal to most tastes.

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