Pato con Ciruelas

Pato con Ciruelas



This dish has all the elements of the perfect Christmas centerpiece, if it wasn’t for the fact it is just too easy to prepare. You know how complicated we like to make it when it comes to Christmas – nothing can take half an hour.













Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/gas mark 6.

Heat the olive oil in a wide ovenproof pan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Season the duck with salt and pepper and pan-fry on all sides until golden. Help yourself with a pair of tongs. After 10 minutes, remove the duck from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic cloves, chestnuts and onion to the pan and fry for 10 minutes. Add the thyme and prunes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Return the duck to the pan and flambé with the sherry. To to this, slowly tilt the pan towards the flame until the sherry catches, or light with a match. Let the flames flare up then die down and then add 250ml (1cup) water.

Put the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave the duck in the oven for a further 20 minutes without opening the door. This should crisp up the skin and cook the duck to perfection as well as resting the meat.

Serve as a centerpiece with some good bread or roasted new potatoes.

NOTE: For a really delicious accompaniment, cook the duck sitting over 600g (1lb 5oz) new potatoes so that the potatoes roast in the sauce and meat juices.

© Spanish Made Simple by Omar Allibhoy - Quadrille Publishing; Photography by Martin Poole

Get this recipe and more in Omar's new book Spanish Made Simple

Watch Omar making this dish on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch - 04/12/2016

Watch Omar making this dish on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch - 04/12/2016

Habas con Chorizo

Habas con Chorizo



Broad (fava) beans are widely consumed all over Spain. We love to eat them in many ways: in stews, soups, and paellas, or even raw and salted as a snack. The tender seeds within the pod are delicious. The younger they are, the better, but obviously the more expensive, too.


  • 250g (2 cups) shelled broad (fava) beans (if you find baby broad beans, even better)
  • 50ml (3. tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, skin on but crushed
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 chorizo cooking (fresh uncooked) sausage (about 90g [3.oz], chopped
  • grated zest and juice of lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • bread, to serve


Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the beans, bring back to the boil and then cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold running water. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion, garlic, oregano and chorizo. Sweat for 5 minutes until the onion is transparent and soft. Increase the heat to high, add the broad beans and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add 25ml (2 Tbsp) water, the lemon zest and juice and some seasoning, and serve with some good bread.

Spanish Made Simple - Spanish Foolproof Recipes For Every Day by Omar Allibhoy. Quadrille Publishing.

Photography by Martin Poole.

Spanish lamb stew with olives and dried apricots

Spanish lamb stew with olives and dried apricots


  • 1kg of roughly chopped shoulder of lamb on the bone
  • 1 tin of black pitted olives
  • 50ml of Spanish olive oil
  • 100g of dried apricots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tb sp of tomato puree
  • ½ l of lamb stock (it can be beef or chicken or even water)
  • 1 tb sp of honey
  • 1 tb sp of cumin powder
  • 1tb sp of sweet pimenton
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 cinnamon stick


In a wide pot pour the olive oil and brown over high heat the lamb pieces and set aside. Roughly chop all the vegetables and add to the pot and caramelized until golden brown. This may take you 15 minutes.

Add the spices, tomato puree, apricots, olives, honey and give it all a good stir for 5 minutes.

Add the lamb back into the pot and fill with the stock, season and let it simmer for about 2 hours until the stew has thicken up and the meat is nice and tender.

Serve with some fluffy steamed rice or lots of bread to dip into the rich sauce.

Gambas Al Ajillo

Gambas Al Ajillo

Prawns with garlic. Serves 2, preparation time 5 minutes, cooking time 5 minutes.

You’ll find this dish in pretty much every tapas bar in every coastal town in Spain, as well as in all the major cities. We love our fish and shellfish so much that the capital Madrid (which is in the middle of mainland Spain), is a major fresh fish importer, second only to Tokyo. There are two ways of preparing this dish, depending on whether or not you want to peel the prawns before cooking. Traditionally this would be cooked in a flameproof terracotta dish, in which you then serve the prawns – if you don’t have one you can use an ordinary frying pan and leave the heads and shells on. I love these either way.


12 Large Raw Prawns in their shells

3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced

100ml Olive Oil

3 Dried Cayenne Chillies (or other dried chillies)

Sea Salt Flakes

1 Tablespoon Freshly Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley


1) Peel the prawns, leaving the tails intact (if you are using a frying pan you can cook the prawns in their shells). Sprinkle with a little sea salt.

2) Put the olive oil, garlic and chillies in the terracotta pot or frying pan and place over a high heat. When the garlic starts to turn golden, add the prawns. Cook for 1 minute on each side, until they just turn pink. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve immediately in the terracotta pot. Take care not to burn yourself as the oil and the terracotta will stay hot for several minutes.

Bacalao En Salsa Verde

Bacalao En Salsa Verde

Cod with Peas and Parsley, serves 4 as a main dish, preparation time 5 minutes, cooking time 20 minutes.



100ml olive oil

5 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon plain flour

50ml white wine

200ml fish stock (fresh or from a stock cube)

Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 x 142-g tinned cooked peas drained or 100g frozen peas, defrosted

1kg cod fillet, cut into 4 portions

Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper


Put the olive oil and garlic in a large frying pan and place over a medium heat (you want to start frying from cold so that the oil becomes infused with the garlic aroma). When the garlic starts to golden, add the flour and toast it for a minute or so before adding the white wine, stirring all the time. Add the fish stock, little by little, stirring constantly so you get a smooth sauce.

Add the chopped parsley and peas and bring to the boil. Season the cod fillets and then place in the pan, skin-side down, and reduce the heat to low.

Cook the fillets for 3 minutes, shaking the pan gently to release the juices from the fish - this will make the sauce even more delicate and flavoursome. Turn the fillets over and cook for a further 4 minutes.

Fideuà by Omar

Fideuà by Omar

Paella with Pasta, serves 2, preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 30 minutes.



150 ml olive oil

200 g fideos (thin, short angel hair pasta) or any angel hair pasta broken into 2-cm lengths

1 fresh squid (about 350g), cleaned and chopped into 1-cm pieces

10 peeled prawns, defrosted if frozen

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 Spanish onion, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

Pinch of saffron

1/2 teaspoon sweet pimentón

1/2 teaspoon fish stock powder or cube

1 teaspoon salt


Heat about one-third of the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the dried pasta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until it turns golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan, increase the heat and add the chopped squid and salt. Squid can be very temperamental as it releases a lot of water when you start cooking it so it tends to explode in the pan. It’s fair to say this bit is a tiny bit dangerous. I recommend you hold a pan lid over the pan, so that the steam can still escape, and stand back. Give it a quick stir, half cover with the lid and leave to cook for a couple more minutes. Don’t scrape the bottom of the pan, as that sticky layer on the bottom is essential for making a rich stock.

When the squid has browned, add the peeled prawns, garlic and onion and cook for another 5 minutes until everything is dark golden (this will happen fairly quickly because of the high heat). Add the chopped tomato, saffron and pimentón and stir constantly to dissolve the sticky bits on the bottom. This should take no longer than 2 minutes.

Add the fish stock powder or cube and 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the fried pasta. You need to use your judgement here – you need just enough water left in the pan for the pasta to cook and absorb all the remaining liquid. A good thin fideo pasta should cook in about 3 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cover the pan and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from the heat and leave for 1 more minute, uncovered, to create a toasted layer of pasta on the bottom of the pan – it will taste like heaven. Enjoy with a good dollop of alioli.

Almejas al Fino con Jamón

Almejas al Fino con Jamón

Clams with Sherry and Serrano Ham, serves 4-5 as a tapa, preparation time: 20 minutes plus soaking, cooking time: 10 minutes



1kg of clams

100ml olive oil

5 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Shallot or ½ a Spanish onion, finely chopped

6 slices Jamón Serrano (cured ham), roughly chopped

1 teaspoon plain flour

1 teaspoon hot pimentón, although the sweet variety will do as well

150 ml fino sherry wine

2 Tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Start by soaking the clams in cold water for about 20 minutes to allow them to release any sand trapped in their shells. Rinse thoroughly under cold water and discard any that are open, broken or don’t close when tapped firmly.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (wide enough to hold all the clams) over a medium heat and add the garlic, onion and jamón. Cook until the onion is translucent, but not coloured.

Add the flour and pimentón and stir-fry for 20 seconds to cook the flour. Add the sherry, stirring all the time and then quickly flambé by setting light to the pan using a lighter or long matches. If you don’t want to flambé the sherry don’t worry, just cook for 1 minute so that the alcohol evaporates. Add the cleaned clams to the pan, turn up the heat and shake the pan vigorously, tossing the clams a couple of times. Season to taste and stir in the parsley, cover with a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes until the clams are fully opened (throw away any that remain closed). Stir again before serving with lots of fresh bread to soak up the sauce.


Trufas de chocolate

Trufas de chocolate

Chocolate truffles by Omar. Preparation time: 6 to 10 minutes.


50g double cream

220g of 70% dark chocolate

1 orange zest

50g of black pitted Spanish olives

40g of butter


Take 150g of black olives and blend them into a rough paste with a food processor.

Place a medium sized pot with the double cream over a low heat. When this is almost at boiling point, turn off the heat and add the chopped dark chocolate, orange zest and the olive pate.

Mix the truffle mixture well with a spatula until you have a smooth texture.

The mix should still be warm, now add the chopped butter to give extra shine and silkiness to the truffles mix.

Cover the pot with cling film and cool down in the fridge for 5-7 hours for the mix to harden so that you can shape it into balls later on.

Once cool and hard, it’s time to make little balls with your hands, shape the mixture and then coat them with cocoa powder.

I recommend placing them back in the fridge to enjoy them cold, as they take longer to melt in your mouth!

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche

Rice Pudding recipe for 6 people - Arroz con leche by Omar Allibhoy


1 lemon

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp cinnamon powder

200gr. Spanish rice (bomba rice)

230gr. sugar

2l. milk


Pour the milk into a medium size pot and add the crushed cinnamon stick and 3 strips of lemon zest. Over a medium heat bring it to the boil, add the rice and let it simmer for 20 minutes stirring every so often. Then add the sugar and let it boil for an extra 5 minutes. Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder on top and enjoy.

Champinones al ajillo

Champinones al ajillo

Wild mushrooms in garlic and white wine sauce, as a tapa for 4 people. If you have any of this left over it makes the perfect garnish for roasted chicken, a steak or even can lift a boring pasta dish.


400g of wild mix mushrooms (Any kind will do, just choose your favourite)

5 tbsp of Spanish olive oil

5 garlic cloves

½ red chilli

1 teaspoon of plain flour

1 small glass of Fino sherry or a dry white wine

A pinch of salt

A pinch of black pepper

1 Sprig of thyme

1 Sprig of flat parsley


Wash your chosen mushrooms very briefly in cold water and pat them dry to get rid of any excess water (this is important as the mushrooms will release water halfway through cooking and they will boil instead of fry). Cut the mushrooms up.

Place a flat wide pan over a high heat with thinly sliced garlic, red chilli and olive oil and fry until light golden.

Add the wild mushrooms and sauté for one minute. Add the teaspoon of flour and continue sautéing for another couple of minutes before seasoning with salt, cracked black pepper, the sprig of thyme and the finely chopped flat parsley. Add a small glass of Fino sherry and stir well to combine for one more minute. Taste and season to your liking.

Bread sticks with figs and jamón Ibérico

Bread sticks with figs and jamón Ibérico

Tapas is much easier than people think and these days you can find any Spanish ingredient in your local supermarket. Figs are at their peak right now; make sure you pick up some soft and sweet ones. This recipe is ideal as a tapa for 4 people.



4 Slices of jamon Iberico

8 figs & 8 bread sticks

A drizzle of Spanish olive oil


Wash and open your figs by cutting a cross at the top of the fig and open it like a flower with your fingers.

Wrap the breadstick with the jamon Iberico (1/2 slice in each), place them on the top of the figs and drizzle them with some good Spanish olive oil. Simple, quick, super tasty and very healthy.


Prawns & Olives Lollipops

Prawns & Olives Lollipops


10 peel and devein raw prawns

10 green pitted queen olives

10 7” wooden skewers

oil for frying

For the batter:

50g of plain flour

80g of lager beer

1 tea spoon of table salt

1 tea spoon of baking powder

1 tea spoon of sweet pimenton


1 free range egg

1 clove of garlic

2 tb sp of lemon juice

6 threads of saffron

1 pinch of salt

50ml of vegetable oil

70ml of Spanish extra virgin olive oil


To make the aioli, bring the lemon juice in a small glass with the threads of saffron to the boil in the microwave, it won’t take longer than 10 seconds. Let it rest for 5 minutes for the saffron to infuse.

To make the batter just whisk all the ingredients until a thick dense batter has formed.

Wrap each olive with the prawn and skewer it like a lollipop. Dip the prawn and olive skewers in the batter and deep fried in 180 degrees oil for about 2 minutes until crispy and thoroughly cooked.

Serve in a tray or a glass with all the lollipops facing up and the aioli on a little ramekin for people to dip it themselves.

Seasonal greens with Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese

Seasonal greens with Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese

For this recipe you can use any greens you like. I cook this at home very often as I always have some Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese, a must in any fridge. Ideal as a tapa for 4 people.


50g of mange tout or 100g of runner beans

50g of broad beans or fresh garden peas

100 g of other seasonal greens such as green beans, broccoli or green asparagus

100g of Jamon Serrano

50 g Manchego cheese

A drizzle of Spanish olive oil

A drizzle of Sherry vinegar

A pinch of Maldon salt and black peppe

3 garlic cloves


Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and immerse the vegetables in order of cooking time. For example: first broccoli, 1 minute after asparagus and green beans, 1 minute after the broad beans and mange tout and 1 minute after the garden peas. Bring the water back to the boil for a couple of minutes until they are all cooked but still have a bite to them. Drain and cool down in icy water, drain again.

Next, decide whether you want to eat this hot or cold. If you choose to eat it cold, just dress the vegetables with the salt, pepper, sherry vinegar and olive oil and top with the Manchego cheese and the Jamon Serrano.

If you want to eat it hot then heat a wide pan in which all the veggies will fit over a medium heat with the olive oil and thinly sliced garlic. As this starts to become golden add the greens. Season with Maldon salt, black pepper, a drizzle of sherry vinegar and top with the Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese.


Chorizo & Olives Skewers

Chorizo & Olives Skewers


3 fresh chorizo sausages (the hot ones if you like it spicy)

2 red peppers

27 green pitted olives

9 wooden skewers


3 tb sp of olive oil

1 pinch of fresh thyme leaves

1 pinch of dried oregano

1 pinch of cumin


1 free range egg

1 tb sp of vinegar (whichever you have available)

1 pinch of salt

1 tbsp of honey

1 tb sp of mustard (English, French, grain… as you prefer)

50ml of vegetable oil

70ml of Spanish extra virgin olive oil


To make the mayonnaise, in a tight bowl or jug using a hand blender blend together the egg, the mustard, the honey, the vinegar and a bit of salt. Start adding the oil in a thing string while you blend until completely emulsified. Keep refrigerated until needed.

Cut each chorizo sausage in ounces as thick as the olives. Do the same with the red pepper.

Skewer 3 olives, 4 pieces of pepper and 2 of chorizo in each skewer, alternating them. Starting and finishing with the olives.

Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over the skewers in a baking tray.

You can cook them in a medium heat frying pan or just bake under the grill in the oven at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes, changing the sade half way the cooking time.

Serve the skewers in a tray with the mayo on the side for people to dip as much or as little as they like.


Pomegranate and Spanish olives salad

Pomegranate and Spanish olives salad

Pomegranate and Spanish olives salad with chicory endive. Perfect as a tapa for 4 people. This is a traditional salad from Andalucia, the biggest producer of olives in the world, with the seasonal pomegranate that you can find in the supermarkets from September until February. I am a lazy person and chicory endive is one of those lettuces that need no washing and Spanish olives are always ready for me in the dry store.



1 Pomegranate

1 small jar of Spanish black pitted olives

1 chicory endive

A teaspoon of honey

A drizzle of Sherry vinegar

A drizzle of Spanish olive oil

A pinch of salt


This is a traditional salad from Andalucia, the biggest producer of olives in the world, with the seasonal pomegranate that you can find in the supermarkets from September until February. I am a lazy person and chicory endive is one of those lettuces that need no washing and Spanish olives are always ready for me in the dry store.

Cut the pomegranate in half and use your fingers, or a spoon, to remove all the delicious pulp and keep this to one side.

Chop your chicory endive into large pieces, drain the Spanish black pitted olives and mix altogether with the pomegranate. Drizzle with honey, Sherry vinegar, Spanish olive oil and salt. A delicious salad ready in just 5 minutes.


Pollo con salsa

Pollo con salsa

Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes. Taste the seasoning and buen provecho!



50ml Spanish olive oil

8 free range chicken thighs

1 head of garlic

1 Spanish onion

2 teaspoons of flour

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 glass of dry white wine

Black pepper powder

1 glass of water

200g of pitted green and pitted black Spanish olives



Place a wide pan over a high heat and add a touch of olive oil, then lightly season the chicken thighs and brown in the pan. Place skin side down first, as they will release a touch of fat, which will help to colour the meat and caramelise the rest of the ingredients.

Once both sides are golden, set them aside and start frying the thinly sliced garlic and onion.

When golden, add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute so that the flour doesn’t become doughy or lumpy.

Bring the chicken back to the pan, add rosemary and pour in the glass of white wine.

Stir the sauce to dissolve the flour and reduce the wine by half to burn the alcohol and add the acidity that the dish needs.

At this point add the black pepper, the glass of water and the olives and braise the dish for approximately 20 minutes, until the chicken has tenderised and the ingredients have come together in a juicy, rich sauce.