Spanish Made Simple – Review, Recipe and Giveaway

Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day by Omar Allibhoy, the chef behind the Tapas Revolution chain of restaurants in the UK and cookbook by the same name, guides you through the basics of 100 key Spanish dishes. 

Omar is one of the UK’s Spanish superstars having worked for both Ferran Adrià and Gordon Ramsay. His philosophy is simple –  you can cook without fuss and still eat like a king (or queen). “The dishes I grew up with have left an indelible mark on my heart” says the chef, “My aim is to convince everyone to add some of my favorites to their weekly repertoire at home.”

His passion for Spanish food is the heart of everything he does. He remembers watching his Mum making crème caramel as a boy. She was a great baker but a terrible cook so he took over the helm as soon as he was old enough. When he arrived in the UK, he was shocked by the lack of Spanish restaurants and how rarely anyone cooked Spanish cuisine in their own kitchens. He decided to start his Tapas Revolution right then and there. I have Omar’s first cookbook and have cooked from it frequently as I love tapas – the chance to share mulitple flavors and small plates with those I love around my table – who doesn’t love that?

In Spanish Made Simple, the recipes are approachable but that doesn’t mean plain or lacking finesse. Recipe titles are given in Spanish and English with ingredients offered in weight and volume as well. Nearly all of the recipes are accompanied by vibrant photographs (including more of the handsome author) with tips and notes scattered throughout.

I made a version of his Torreznos Con Mojo Dulce (Slow-Cooked Pork Belly with a Sweet, Spicy and Sour Sauce) using a pork butt that was out of this world. The Penne Pasta with Chorizo and Tomato Sauce is brilliant as well and I hope to find time to try many more dishes. 

Special thanks to Quadrille Publishing for sharing the Creamy Rice with Prawns and Artichoke Recipe with our members today – be sure to add this recipe to your Bookshelf  (click the blue +Bookshelf button).  Please see our giveaway details below. 


This rice dish is a megahit in my restaurants. The artichokes give a beautiful liquorice flavour, which I love. People don’t cook much with artichokes but I grew up with them. My mum used to just boil them whole and serve them with olive oil to dip in; it felt like a treat back then so I am a big fan.


  • 500g (1lb 2oz) fresh squid, cleaned (you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
  • 10 baby artichokes, stalks trimmed and outer leaves removed
  • 50ml (3 1/2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rock or sea salt
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet pimentón (sweet smoked paprika)
  • 2 tomatoes (weighing about 300g [10 1/2 oz] in total), grated
  • 1g (2 tsp) saffron threads
  • 2 litres (2 quarts) shellfish stock (see below)
  • 400g (heaped 2 cups) spanish paella rice, such as bomba, bahia or senia
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) fresh prawns, heads and shells removed

Roughly chop the squid tube, wings and tentacles.

Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and scrape away any of the furry choke with a teaspoon. (If you do this step in advance, squeeze over some lemon juice and keep them in cold water to stop them going dark and oxidizing.)

Place a large wide pan (or a big terracotta one if you have one) over a high heat and add the olive oil, squid and salt. Allow the squid to release its liquid and let it evaporate before adding the onion and artichoke, stirring constantly so that everything browns nicely.

Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute before adding the sweet pimentón. Stir again and cook for 30 seconds, then add the grated tomatoes. If the garlic or pimentón start to burn, add the tomatoes a little earlier. Add the saffron and stock and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary; it should taste too salty at this stage as it will balance out once the rice is cooked.

Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes over the high heat, then reduce to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the prawn tails just 5 minutes before the rice is ready. The rice should have released a lot of starch with the stirring, making the texture thick and dense, like a risotto.

For the shellfish stock

  • heads and shells of prawns (see above)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and finely chopped
  • 25ml (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) brandy
  • 25ml (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) white wine
  • 3 litres (3 quarts) fish stock
  • 1 salted anchovy or 1 tsp dried japanese bonito flakes or 1 tsp thai shrimp paste
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1g (2 tsp) saffron threads, toasted (see note below)

I believe that the only way to achieve the flavour that a master arrocero in Valencia will get into his paella is by making a shellfish stock with a previously made fish stock. I know it feels like you’re doubling up but, seriously, it allows you to get good intensity and a depth that you will not achieve unless you do this.

Place the prawn heads and shells in a pan over a high heat with some olive oil. Add the leek, celery, carrot and garlic and cook until golden brown and there is an intense toasted shellfish aroma coming out of the pan.

Flambé with the brandy and wine. To do this, pour the alcohol into the pan and light with a match, keeping your head back. Let the flames flare up then die down, then immediately add the fish stock followed by the anchovy, peppercorns and bay. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Blend the stock to extract as much flavour as possible, then pass through a fine sieve. Pour into a pan over a low heat, add the saffron and simmer for at least 15 minutes.

NOTE: Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and it’s grown in just a few countries. Spanish saffron is regarded as the best and most expensive of all, partly because it is toasted and given an extra layer of flavour. As a result it loses weight, so it’s even more precious, gram for gram. If your saffron is not Spanish I recommend you toast it before you use it. Wrap it in foil and hold it with a pair of tongs over an open flame for just 10 seconds, flipping the envelope every other second so that the heat is indirect and even and the saffron doesn’t burn. It is extremely fine and delicate.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Spanish Made Simple by Omar Allibhoy, published by Quadrille May 2017, RRP $24.99 hardcover.


Quadrille Publishing is offering three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the US.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on September 18, 2017.


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  • annmartina  on  August 10, 2017

    On first glance I thought it was another Rocco DiSpirito cookbook

  • Kristjudy  on  August 10, 2017

    Salt cod fritters

  • Rosesrpink50  on  August 10, 2017

    I would love to cook the slow cooked lamb and pepper stew.

  • skipeterson  on  August 10, 2017

    Salt cod fritters (Buñuelos de bacalao)

  • rchesser  on  August 10, 2017

    Stewed pig cheeks with pasta (Ragu de carrilleras con pasta)

  • RNJessicaK  on  August 10, 2017

    The Lemon Honey Chicken Wings!!

  • sgump  on  August 10, 2017

    The cod and lentil stew (bacalao con lentejas salteadas) looks neat!

  • traculart  on  August 10, 2017

    Tosta de higos con Jamon

  • Frmnjgal30  on  August 10, 2017

    Slow-cooked lamb and pepper stew

  • cora429  on  August 10, 2017

    I'd make the chorizo cooked in wine and empanadillas.

  • ejsimpson  on  August 10, 2017

    Seafood Paella. Though I see a whole slew of recipes I need to try or would love to try!

  • lpatterson412  on  August 10, 2017

    Marinated Chicken Skewers!

  • Joy001  on  August 10, 2017

    Because it's August and hot: Chilled watermelon soup

  • Shelley.b  on  August 10, 2017

    Fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce

  • lgroom  on  August 10, 2017

    Swiss chard with potatoes.

  • ravensfan  on  August 10, 2017

    Cheese fritters

  • Siegal  on  August 10, 2017

    I want to make olive oil raisin and lemon cookie

  • DarcyVaughn  on  August 10, 2017

    Pan-fried squid with spicy chorizo and chicory salad

  • heyjude  on  August 11, 2017

    Clams Fisherman-Style

  • lhudson  on  August 11, 2017

    Lemon Honey chicken Wings

  • vickster  on  August 11, 2017

    Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Mushrooms. I have wanted this book for a while!

  • sarahawker  on  August 11, 2017

    Chorizo, greens and bean stew

  • akrupnick  on  August 11, 2017

    You had me at creamy rice with prawns and artichokes

  • dbielick  on  August 13, 2017

    Tuna in tomato sauce

  • hirsheys  on  August 13, 2017


  • love2chow  on  August 13, 2017

    Spiced mashed potatoes with crispy pork belly (Patatas machaconas)

  • jezairey  on  August 13, 2017

    Homemade turron… yum! Roasted almond nougat (Turron de almendra).

  • annieski  on  August 13, 2017

    hmmm, maybe seafood paella

  • LaurenE  on  August 13, 2017

    chilled watermelon soup

  • t.t  on  August 13, 2017

    Slow-cooked pork belly with a sweet, spicy and sour sauce (Torreznos con mojo dulce)

  • sipa  on  August 14, 2017

    Tuna and alioli sandwich with piquillo peppers

  • kmn4  on  August 14, 2017

    Salt cod fritters (Buñuelos de bacalao) – I love bacalao!!!

  • matag  on  August 14, 2017

    Slow cooked lamb and pepper stew

  • infotrop  on  August 15, 2017

    Lemon and honey chicken wings

  • RSW  on  August 16, 2017

    Pan-fried figs, serrano ham, cream cheese and walnuts on toast (Tosta de higos con jamon

  • skyejaden  on  August 18, 2017

    Cannelloni with truffles

  • davisesq212  on  August 18, 2017

    I would like to try and make the Penne pasta with chorizo and tomato sauce.

  • jaburg  on  August 18, 2017

    Arroz Meloso de Gambas …..

  • njk4  on  August 18, 2017

    Cauliflower with garlic, vinegar and capers… Cauliflower is my favorite veggie

  • Nancith  on  August 18, 2017

    Aubergines with honey sounds very intriguing.

  • Amandaspamanda  on  August 18, 2017

    Deep-fried squid sandwich (Bocadillo de calamares) – I love calamari, and this sounds like an amazing way to eat it!

  • Scotsman61  on  August 18, 2017

    Spiced mashed potatoes with crispy pork belly (Patatas machaconas)

  • nadiam1000  on  August 19, 2017

    Eggs Benedict with spinach and chorizo Hollandaise (Huevos con chorizo Benedictinos)

  • RickPearson54  on  August 19, 2017

    Salt cod fritters

  • Maaseelulu  on  August 19, 2017

    Mussels in a cream sauce (Mejillones a la crema)

  • sequoia55  on  August 21, 2017

    Chorizo, greens and bean stew

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  August 21, 2017

    Chorizo pate and cheese sandwich (Almussafes)

  • ktwalla  on  August 22, 2017

    Eggs Benedict with Spinach and Chorizo Hollandaise.

  • dna  on  August 24, 2017


  • njk4  on  August 24, 2017

    Aburgine with honet YUM

  • motherofpearl81  on  August 24, 2017

    Beef sandwich (Pepito de ternera) oh yeah!

  • lean1  on  August 24, 2017

    Patatas Bravas!

  • stephanieyee  on  August 27, 2017

    Deep-fried squid sandwich

  • Katiefayhutson  on  August 28, 2017

    Seafood paella (paella de Marisco)

  • Karla123  on  August 30, 2017

    Swiss Chard with Potatoes would be a great way to use my garden Chard.

  • robynsanyal  on  August 31, 2017

    Seafood paella

  • AnnaZed  on  September 2, 2017

    alted anchovies with paprika and vinegar (Anchoas saladas con vinagre y pimenton) (page 22)

  • soffner  on  September 4, 2017

    Moorish marinated lamb cutlets

  • fiarose  on  September 4, 2017

    venison and wild mushroom stew, cod, prawns, and quinoa with saffron, oysters cooked in salsa verde, grilled cuttlefish, scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms, piquillo peppers stuffed with mushrooms, cauliflower with garlic and capers, roasted red pepper and salt cod salad, salt cod, leek, and mussel soup…what an awesome food culture!

  • JenJoLa  on  September 6, 2017

    Cauliflower with garlic, vinegar and capers (Coliflor con ajos vinagre y alcaparras)

  • tarae1204  on  September 7, 2017

    Seafood paella

  • bstewart  on  September 8, 2017

    Salt cod fritters!

  • choppergirl  on  September 8, 2017

    Penne pasta with chorizo and tomato sauce

  • PennyG  on  September 9, 2017

    Meatballs in Black Truffle Sauce!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  September 14, 2017

    patatas bravas

  • milgwimper  on  September 14, 2017

    Tosta de higos con Jamon or maybe turron.

  • ladybrooke  on  September 15, 2017

    Cheese fritters (Buñuelos de queso)

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