We had a very rare weekend to ourselves last week and I must say it was splendid indeed. Just being able to have a lie in is a treat in itself, things you really do take for granted before you have kids. A leisurely breakfast and a day of pottering around, eating and drinking. These things make me happy every once in a while (well, eating most of the time in truth, correction, all of the time). Another great thing about being child free for a couple of days is being able to eat out in peace and cook without limitations!

To take advantage of this opportunity, we paid a visit to our wonderful local Spanish store/cafe ‘Sampa’ for a cheeky late lunch (second review blog post coming very soon – I really can’t rave about the place enough) and a crisp glass of vino, as I had decided in the morning that we were having a Spanish themed day. And why the hell not? At that point we also planned our evening tapas menu – Gazpacho, Roasted Red Peppers stuffed with Manchego Cheese and Fried Chorizo and Lentils, all served with some plump Pimento stuffed green olives and some fresh bread.

We had been waiting to put this meal together since Christmas, as I surprised my other half with a hamper of Spanish ingredients for Christmas (all purchased from ‘Sampa’ incidentally, and all very good value for money, particularly the oil). It was made up of various paprikas and seasonings, some good olive oil, paella rice, olives, some lentils and his favourite of all – a jar of roasted red peppers. The only thing he was unsure what to do with, were the lentils, until he happened upon the chorizo recipe.

‘Fried Chorizo and Lentils’ was found nestling in our Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie Does…’ book. To make this you simply need the Chorizo, jarred or tinned lentils, extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar and flat leaf parsley to garnish. You pretty much fry them all, adding them one by one in that order. It’s ready within around five minutes and its truly delicious.

We also followed the recipe for Gazpacho in our Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie Does…’ book. To put that together you will need (to serve two – we roughly halved the amounts in the recipe aimed at serving four) 1/8 of a loaf of white bread (a little stale), three tomatoes, 1/2 of a cucumber (peeled and chopped), half a green pepper, one garlic clove, Spanish extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, black pepper, optional pinch of sugar, plus any garnish you may have to hand – fresh herbs/spring onions/Serrano ham. We served it as it was, and it tasted divine. The full cooking method can be found in the book which I would highly recommend purchasing if you don’t already have it within your collection. The Spanish section is fantastic for little tapas plates.

Dan was itching to use some of his roasted red peppers, so he picked up some very flavoursome Manchego from the supermarket and used it to stuff them. We debated over whether to grill them or not but in the end we ate them just as they were, and they didn’t disappoint. The peppers were sweet and juicy against the slightly nutty flavour of the cheese.

The star of the show was possibly the chorizo with lentils. The lentils really soaked up the oils and smokiness from the meat, and it was very tasty moped up with a piece of fresh bread. Gazpacho is something I haven’t sampled for years – it was as refreshing as I remembered. All in all, it was a marvellous little spread, perfect with a glass of wine…and a little bit of peace and quiet!