Book review: Spanish Made Simple by Omar Allibhoy

23 September 2016 by
Book review: Spanish Made Simple by Omar Allibhoy

Quadrille, £20

As a terrible cook, I was eager to try out a cookbook labelled "simple". Turning the first page, I hoped that Omar Allibhoy, the chef behind Tapas Revolution, would transform my punishable behaviour. The chef has experience working at the three-Michelin-starred elBulli in Catalonia under Ferran Adrià, and at Gordon Ramsay's Maze in London's Mayfair under Jason Atherton.

He opened the first Tapas Revolution in 2011, to fill what he thought was a gap in the market for good Spanish cuisine.

With a philosophy of "cook without fuss and eat like a king", the 100 recipes in this book are relatively straightforward, so there's nothing here an experienced (or inexperienced) chef couldn't handle. But it might offer some sort of inspiration for smaller Spanish restaurants.

The meat and game section of the book contains plenty of what you might expect, such as penne pasta with chorizo and tomato sauce, and some of what you wouldn't, like cannelloni with truffles and Spanish cordon bleu. These are dishes that could be elevated to restaurant standard.

The fish and seafood section borrows flavour from the bottle: baked crab with Cava, and cockles in a dry sherry sauce. Now that I can get on board with.

There's a comprehensive selection of rice dishes, such as Lord's paella with shellfish but no shells, and baked rice with pork ribs and sausage, a dish Allibhoy claims is more popular in Valencia than paella, that would make a great alternative on a menu.

The eggs and poultry chapter may lend itself to restaurants or hotels looking to spruce up their breakfast menu. Dishes include 'Not just another French omelette' and eggs Benedict with spinach and chorizo hollandaise as a spicy alternative to the usual.

Were the recipes simple? Definitely. Were they revolutionary? Perhaps not. But I recommend you pour yourself a glass of sangria de Cava and get stuck in.

By Katie Pathiaki

If you like this, you may enjoy these

  • Made in Spain: Recipes and Stories from my Country and Beyond Miriam GonzÁ¡lez DurÁ¡ntez
  • Brindisa: the True Food of Spain Monika Linton
  • Eivissa: the Ibiza Cookbook Anne Sijmonsbergen

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