This is Spain


Tapas, by any other name.

Tapas, mezze, hors d’oevres or the good old British ‘starter.’ The British meal deal usually comprises of starter, mains and dessert.

But what if you want to stay with the starters, trying lots of little bits of what-you-don’t-yet-know-you-fancy for a change? (‘Go away steak & chips.’) Or you’re not in the mood for the old favourites, (‘Not today, steak & chips!’) and want to be surprised, enticed, enlivened to choose… Something New. Or maybe you’re simply not so hungry, but you really don’t need a packet of crisps or peanuts with your glass of vino again.

Britain caught up with the Mediterranean tradition of tapas, or mezze, to some extent with the ‘Canape Reception’ and ‘Cocktail Party.’ But be honest: didn’t you move to Spain for the bursts of sunshine?

Tapas = celebrating life your way.
Tapas = composing a feast.
Tapas = a mosaic of tastes, colours and delicious smells that make you happy.

How to do tapas the easy way

Heard of The Mediterranean Diet?  You are in one of the best places in the world to make the most of this. Just go to the market. Choose what delights you – you know it will be fresh, colourful, in season and full of the sun’s goodness.
At home cut your selected vegetables into bite sized pieces half an hour before serving, and arrange in sections of a broad platter. Eat with a dip, such as…..

RECIPE: Baba Ghanoush
You will need 2 aubergine,  tahini,1 lemon, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, paprika and fresh parsley.

  • Chargrill the aubergine on the barbecue or on your gas ring until the skins are completely blackened, and it is soft.
  • Rinse under cold water, while discarding either end, and scraping off all the skin.
  • Mash with a fork (doing this electrically spoils the texture… don’t be tempted!), and add 3 tbs of tahini.
  • Add the lemon juice and olive oil slowly until you have a pleasing ‘dippable’ consistency.
  • Add salt, 2 cloves of garlic and black pepper.
  • Spread with circular motions on a flat plate, leaving a slight dip in the middle in which to drizzle olive oil.
  • Garnish with sweet, red paprika and fresh parsley.

This is lovely with pieces of pitta bread, as well as  your fresh vegetables.
What do you love about tapas? What have been your favourite tapas moments?

Lisa Attias is a partner in MoreSouth, Mediterranean catering. She is interested in the space between eating and meeting, and invites you to share your recipes and questions at the shared table, ‘more-MoreSouth, the blog


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