Catalan cuisine can bring some sunshine to your autumn Irish table

Gráinne O’Keefe: Three recipes this week inspired by my three favourite tapas dishes, with slight twists

Each summer, I close my restaurant for two weeks to allow us all to have a relaxing holiday with no (or minimal) thoughts of work. The final few days before a team holiday is always fun, with everyone planning their trips and excitedly talking about which restaurants they will be visiting. We also make notes about potential new dishes and plans for the coming menus.

This year I went to Barcelona. It was very last-minute and I had no restaurants booked before leaving. I have been to the city before, and mainly went back to get some sunshine and eat tapas on the beach. There is something wonderful about the thought of eating tapas in Spain, with a spritz and some gildas on the side.

Tapas is a familiar concept and also quite a broad one. In some restaurants it is marketed as sharing plates, while in others it seems to be miniature versions of any dish. I ate in an incredible tapas bar years ago in Ronda, called De Locos Tapas, run by a husband-and-wife team. In London, Sabor is one of my favourite restaurants and in my opinion, a perfect tapas restaurant with top-quality cooking.

My recipes this week are inspired by my three favourite tapas dishes, with slight twists. Traditionally in Spain the croquettes would be filled with Iberico ham, but this duck leg version gives a slightly sweet twist.


The potato and onion tortilla is a classic and it makes a perfect side dish. You can use a wider-based pan for a more well-cooked version, or a smaller-based pan for a runnier version.

Albondigas are Spanish meatballs cooked in tomato sauce. The addition of pork meat and soaked bread makes them softer than regular meatballs, with some crusty bread making the perfect accompaniment.

Recipe: Duck croquettes with smoked paprika mayo

Recipe: Potato and onion tortilla

Recipe: Meatballs with tomato basil sauce