My Tapas Birthday Party: 4-Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp

Another easy to make recipe that all my guests enjoyed at my Tapas Birthday Party, this one is by Rachael Ray and was found on Foodnetwork. I can’t tell you much about the flavor because I haven’t tried these. You see, I have this thing against shrimp: I can’t stand their texture!

4-Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed away from skin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails in tact, ask for easy peels at your fish counter
  • 2 teaspoons grill or steak seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick) or coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, a handful


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, garlic, red pepper flakes and shrimp. Season with grill seasoning or salt and pepper and cook shrimp 3 minutes or until just pink. Toss with lemon zest, juice and chopped parsley. Remove shrimp to a serving platter leaving the garlic cloves in the pan.



My Tapas Birthday Party: Marinated Mushrooms

This recipe for Marinated Mushroom from Real Simple is real simple, just like the name of the website suggests. They are pretty straightforward and easy to prepare, you can make this when you have a little time to spare and then pop them into the fridge until you’re ready to serve them: feel free to make them a day ahead! That’s exactly what I did and they were amazing!!

The day after my Tapas Birthday Party I had some Marinated Mushrooms leftover, just like some Pollo al Ajillo and Salsa de Tomate from the Aldbondigas (both recipes will be posted later), so I warmed up all three of them in a pan and served them over some pasta: lovely garlicy pasta dish!!

Marinated Mushrooms


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves. smashed
  • 1 1/2 pounds halved button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let marinate at least 30 minutes.


My Tapas Birthday Party: Gazpacho Shots



While browsing the Internet for a Gazpacho recipe fot my Tapas Birthday Party I came across this site where they had the great idea to serve gazpacho in shotglasses made out of carved cucumber. These look so cool and are handy too as you can simply eat the ‘glasses’ when you finish your gazpacho!



Both the gazpacho and the glasses can be prepared in advance and chilled before serving. This is a great refreshment during summer. I made some minor adjustments: instead of 300 ml bottled water I used 200 ml tap-water and 100 ml vodka. I also added a few splashes of Tabasco to up the spiciness of the Gazpacho.

Gazpacho Shots
makes 1 liter

4 Vine tomatoes
1 Small cucumber peeled
4 Large cucumbers
1 Garlic clove
1 Small onion
1 Small red bell pepper
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
300ml bottled water


To make the gazpacho

Roughly chop the tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic and 1 small cucumber.
In a blender or food processor, blend the ingredients together to form a thick paste.
Pour in the olive oil, wine vinegar and season to your desired taste with salt and pepper.
Blend for a second time, adding water little by little until you achieve the desired consistency.
Reserve in a glass pitcher or pourer.

To make the shots

Take the four large cucumbers and slice off each end, cut the cucumber into 6cm long segments.
Using a peeler peel away strips of the cucumber skin creating a vertical stripe pattern.
Use a small paring knife carefully cut around the seeds in the centre of the cucumber then, gently scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
Fill each cucumber piece with gazpacho and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

My Tapas Birthday Party: Tortilla Espanola – No TWD

Nope, that’s not a Tarte Noire you’re seeing in these pictures…. No TWD today: I’m truly sorry, but somehow Torte Noire didn’t do it for me this weekend…. Might give it a try next week though! For the Torte Noire go check out Tuesdays with Dorie or Dharmagirl over at bliss: towards a delicious life.

Instead of the Tarte Noire, let me introduce you to the Tortilla Espanola! A wonderful easy to make tapas as it is actually baked in the oven, so after prepping and popping it into the oven you can actually make another tapas without having to keep an eye on the pan to make sure the tortilla doesn’t burn!!

These tasted wonderful fresh out of the oven and can also be frozen, although they do can get a bit soggy…. But these were still a hit at my Tapas Party, even if they were a tiny bit soggy! I made a tiny adaptation by adding some paprika powder to the recipe and using a yellow pepper instead of a green one, other than that I made it as written on Pennies on a Platter.

Oven-Baked Tortilla Española

Serves: 16 as part of a tapas meal, or 6 as a lunch or bunch main course

4 large red-skinned potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, diced

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Spanish Rocal cheese
3 Tbsp snipped fresh chives (or about 1 tsp dried chives if you can’t find the fresh)
1/8 tsp paprika powder
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place diced potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside to slightly cool.

Spray a casserole dish (approximately 7×10 inch) with cooking spray; set aside.

Place the 4 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, scallions and bell peppers in a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onions are softened but not browned. Let cool a bit, then stir in the cooked potato. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream, cheese and chives together. Stir in the vegetable-potato mixture, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown, puffed, and set in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool and set. Run a spatula around the edge, then invert onto a cutting board, browned-side up. If the surface looks a little runny, place it under the broiler to dry out. (I didn’t need to do this.)
Let cool completely. Neaten the edges, if necessary, then cut into one-inch squares. Serve on a platter with wooden toothpicks.


My Tapas Birthday Party: Simple Sangria

Today is the day I turn 31 years old! To celebrate this joyous occasion I invited some friends and family over last Saturday evening for a Tapas Birthday Party. Considering the lovely (hot!!) weather we enjoyed last week I was hoping on having the party outside. Unfortunately at the same time the first guests arrived, the rain also started! We still had a great evening inside though, with the tv on so the guys could follow the quarter final of World Cup Soccer between Paraguay and Spain.

After browsing the Internet I finally decided on these drinks/bites:
Simple Sangria
Tortilla Espanola
Marinated Mushrooms
Gazpacho Shots
4-Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp
Pollo al Ajillo
Albondigas en Salsa de Tomate

I will be sharing the recipes and pictures with you over the next couple of days, starting with the Simple Sangria I found over at Real Simple. I followed the recipe almost as written and really enjoyed it! As the name indicates it’s very simple to make, but it’s still quite tasty!

Simple Sangria
Serves 8

1 bottle medium-bodied red wine (such as Rioja)
3 cups apple juice
2 thinly sliced oranges
(I used one orange and one lemon and quartered the slices)

In a large pitcher combine red wine, apple juice and oranges.

Serve over ice.

>Make your own Red Pesto


I used to buy red pesto at the supermarket until I found out that it’s actually super easy to make your own red pesto. And it tastes way better than store-bought pesto too!!! When you make a batch, make sure to store it in the fridge! It will keep for about 1 1/2 week. The red pesto is great on bread or in other recipes, such as pasta dishes.

Red Pesto
a small bunch of basil leaves
40 gram Parmesan cheese
30 gram pine nuts
1 or 2 garlic cloves
150 grams sundried tomatoes
a dash of extra virgine olive oil
a splash of balsamic vinegar
Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until everything is pureed.
If you have more time available, you can also use a mortar and pestle and some good old-fashioned elbow grease 🙂
Add some more olive oil if the pesto seems to dry for your taste.
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Apparently my tiny rant about the awfull weather was heared by the weather gods as today the world looks much more like a happy place: the sun’s out, there’s hardly any clouds and according to the weather forecast we will reach the lovely temperatur of 25 degrees Celsius today and it looks like it’s going to stay like that until Friday!

Whenever the sun shines I’m in the mood for snacks that are easily prepared, while visiting my friends in Canada I made this guacamola that everyone seemed to love and asked me the recipe for.

2 avocados in chunks
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely
onion to taste, chopped finely (I prefer red, but normal onion works too)
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 tomato, chopped into small chunks
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well. Dip a tortilla chip in the gaucamole and taste to see if it tastes nice, dip another one just to make sure. Add some more salt and pepper if needed.


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