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A passion for tapas

Did you know that Spanish tapas can be divided into different categories? Cosas de picar is usually something simple like nuts, olives or cheese. Pinchos is food served on wooden sticks that is supposed to symbolize the darts used in bullfighting. Bocadillos are sandwiches with fillings. (There are many other categories described in the cookbook A passion for tapas). Regional specialities also vary across the country. The Canary Islands is for example known for its great selection of various Mojo sauces (made of red or green peppers, vinegar and garlic) and “wrinkly potatoes” Papas Arrugadas (boiled in salted water and baked in their skin). While staying in Gran Canaria we decided to try experimenting a bit and come up with a couple of new, or slightly revised, tapas recipes. So far, we have only made oven baked fish with olives and Camembert (which we thought turned out very well) but today we can share with you two more recipes that don’t take long to prepare: Spicy almonds and Carrot salad with a taste of fresh mint and lemon.

Carrot salad with a taste of fresh mint and lemon

Ingredients (2 persons) 

3 carrots
1 handful fresh mint
1 lemon (juice)
olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste

Dry roast the cumin seeds in a frying pan. Peel and slice the carrots and place them in a bowl. Chop the fresh mint and mix together with the carrots. Add cumin, salt, lemon juice and a bit of olive oil. Toss before serving.



Spicy almonds

This is the perfect pre-dinner snack that goes exceptionally well with a cold beer. Blanch the almonds for 2-3 minutes. Take off the skin and let them dry. Place the almonds on a baking tray and coat them in olive oil. Roast them in the oven for approximately 15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. Toss the almonds from time to time so they don’t burn. Drain the nuts on kitchen paper, place them in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and chili powder.

Spicy crab sticks

We had this pack of crab sticks in the fridge but didn’t really know what to do with them except for using in various salads. But one day we bought some noodles and it suddenly struck us, hmmm, what if…

OK, here is a hot recipe you can make without breaking a sweat (ah, but you will when eating). In fact, it will even make your eyes water.


200 grams crab sticks
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small chili pepper, chopped
½ can of pineapples, sliced
½ cup pineapple juice
200 grams sweet chili sauce
Sesame oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry
1 small leek, chopped

Put sesame oil, peppers, pineapples, chili and sweet chili sauce into a hot pan. Mix in the pineapple juice and the crab sticks.  Add salt, pepper, garlic and curry powder to taste. Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes. Boil the noodles. Add the spicy crab stick sause and garnish with chopped leeks. Enjoy with a glass of chilled rosé and beware – you will be breathing fire!

Sam’s grrrrrilled peppers with mango salsa

Don’t you get tired of French fries and heavy carbs sometimes? Sam’s grilled peppers is an excellent side dish to meat, sausages or chicken and it’s so easy to prepare that even Hanna and Alex can do it (OK, maybe not Sam). The spicy mango salsa lightens up, with a splash of colors and flavors, an otherwise boring lunch or dinner. Basically something very tasty and healthy to replace that everyday mom-not-again-fare.



2 peppers cut in half
1 mango (chopped)
1/2 chili pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic (grated)
1 tbsp fresh mint (finely chopped)
1 tbsp Mango pulp vinegar
A dash of lime juice
Olive oil
100 grams feta cheese
Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste


Start preparing the salsa: mix mango, chili pepper, fresh mint, garlic, lime juice and mango vinegar. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Moisten the peppers with some olive oil before you add the salsa mix. Top off with feta cheese. Bake in the oven at 200C for approx. 25 minutes. Let cool down, serve and be prepared – your guests will be coming for more!


Cool Desert Lemonade


3 lemons  (zest and juice)
2 dl sugar
10 dl water

Boil the water and wash the lemons. Add zest and sugar into the boiling water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let the liquid cool down and add the lemon juice. Strain the lemonade and store it in a carafe in the fridge.


 Serve it cold with plenty of ice!


Sam’s muesli deluxe


2 dl rolled oats
1 dl almonds
1 dl cashew nuts (not salted)
1 dl dried dates
1 dl dried mango
1 dl pineapple juice
1 tbsp Argan oil
1 tbsp honey
1-2 tsp sugar

Chop almonds and cashew nuts and mix everything together with rolled oats, pineapple juice, Argan oil, honey and sugar. Put the mix in a roasting pan in the oven (15 min, 200 degrees). Stir from time to time so it doesn’t burn. Once the mix has cooled down, add slivered dates and pieces of dried mango. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy your homemade muesli together with milk or yogurt.

Sunset Buns

If you are stuck in the desert (see 5 tips on how NOT to travel through the desert) and are in possession of some flour, water, butter and most importantly a portable oven that works from the car battery, here is a quick and yummy recipe to make the night a bit more festive while you are waiting for the recovery truck. Mix in a spare tire: 2,5 dl flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 0,5 tsp salt 50 g butter and 2 dl milk.

Use a pair of scissors from the first aid kit and try to form the resulting mash into…buns obviously. Bake them for 15 minutes in 250C. Then, if you brought with you some Seville orange marmalade (if not, St. Dalfour’s pineapple and mango fruit rhapsody will also do) you can enjoy a late afternoon tea on the car hood while watching the sun go down over the horizon.

Top-Shop Tomato Sauce


On our last trip to Marrakech we came across this lovely Moroccan spice, Ras-el-hanout, which literally means “top of the shop” i.e. the best spice the shop has to offer. It is prepared differently everywhere you go but the one we bought in the Medina consisted of a 35 spice powder that is used in various chicken or lamb Tangines. Today we decided to be a bit adventurous and try it with something else. The aromatic flavor of cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, cloves and cardamom works perfectly with tomatoes so we came up with this homemade tomato sauce recipe:

Bring out the spaghetti!

3 tomatoes (chopped into small pieces)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 dl water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 cloves of garlic (grated)
Fresh parsley
2 tsp Ras-el-hanout
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp oregano
Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste

Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan and let simmer until you get the perfect consistency. The tomato sauce works very well together with pasta put we have also tried it on pizza topped with onions, peppers and feta cheese. 

Happy National Popcorn Day!

This is very pop art

What better way to celebrate this special day treating yourself and your friends with some (yes, right guess) popcorn!

Put a little bit of cooking oil in a saucepan. Cover the bottom with popcorn kernels and cover the pan. Put it on high heat. Once it starts popping, shake the pan once in a while (with the lid on obviously) to make sure the popcorn doesn’t burn. When you hear the popping slowing down put them in a big bowl and sprinkle with salt. Melt thereafter one tbsp butter in the pre-heated pan. Add one tsp curry and one tsp chili, less if you can’t take the heat 😉 and stir until smooth. Pour over the popcorn and mix all together. Enjoy with a cold beer!

Red desert coleslaw

Red desert coleslaw

2 servings

½ head red cabbage
1 ½ tbsp mayonnaise
2 carrots (minced)
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
1 garlic
Tabasco and black pepper to taste

Thinly slice the cabbage and mix with the salt. Put it to the side for about 30-60 minutes and remove any eventual water. Grate carrots and garlic and mix with the cabbage. Roast cumin seeds in a pan before putting them into the salad together with mayonnaise, a pinch of pepper and Tabasco to taste.

Perfect with fish or BBQ!

Autumn desert salad

Photo: samandthedunes

2 servings

1 head of romaine lettuce
1 carrot
½ cup mini-onions in vinegar
½ red onion
1 pepper
1 lime

3 tbsp. tangerine flavored olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper

Separate romaine leaves and chop the carrots, onion and pepper. Combine everything in a big serving bowl. Add mini-onions. Pour dressing over salad before serving. Top of with freshly pressed lime juice.

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