Tapas – easy recipes including Spiced Marinated Olives

basic tapas spread  

I share easy recipes to make a simple tapas board with ingredients from your store cupboard and fridge. You can add a few items like my fig and dulce mascarpone or paprika almonds to take it up a notch. Scroll down to see how.

Dedication: F. C Barcelona v Arsenal F.C

Nail biting. Tummy twisting. Controversial (let’s not go there).

I think we all aged a few years watching, cheering, praying for and with our lads during the Uefa Champions League match yesterday.
Undoubtedly, Barca were the kings on their own turf last night and claimed a deserved victory against Arsenal F.C. Off to the quarter finals we go.
Now, what to have with that celebratory glass of bubbly? How about something with a Spanish flare? Tapas and here’s how you can join in the celebrations- make your own tapas board at home.




This one dedicated to Barca



Tapas- what’s the deal?

For a word that merely translates into ‘lids’ from Spanish, tapas has taken the world by storm, year after consecutive year in a way that means so much more than cover. Originally a cover over a glass of sweet sherry, the humble tapa has evolved to include dim sum, fusion foods and practically any edible that can be served as a little bite.

I think the heart of the tapa’s popularity lies in the fact that it’s food to share- over drinks, as a starter or even as an entire meal consisting of several courses of small plates, spread out over several hours.

Here I’ll show you how to make a basic tapas board to share and enjoy with friends over the rest of our balmy, Cape Town Summer. You’ve probably got many of the ingredients in your store cupboard and fridge, slightly less adventurous than the tapas I enjoyed in Madrid and throughout Spain. (here’s another foodie’s review of a tour I also took.

 You can add more complex items to the board, like prawns in a spicy tomato gravy, squid and calamari salad and more smoked, cured meats. Adjust quantities according to number of guests.


Bread (breadsticks, baguette toasted and cut into slices, sourdough etc)

50 ml olive oil (use more as needed)

1T balsamic vinegar


Olives (I marinated mine in a mixture of ground coriander and cumin seeds and garlic, and covered with olive oil. Best to leave in the fridge to soak up flavours for a week, at least)

2 large handfuls rosa tomatoes (halved and baked drizzled with olive oil and salt for 30-40 min at 150 degrees Celsius. Turn half-way during cooking)

Cured meat or sausage e.g chorizo (Serrano ham is the classic Spanish choice. I used kudu salami from Prince Albert)

Figs (you can also use grapes, watermelon, nectarine or mango slices)

Camembert (Manchego or other smoked cheese would be the traditional choice)


Prepare the olives a few days to a few weeks in advance for the best results. 

The marinated olives are perfect to make to give as gifts and I’ve added it to my series called  Edible Gifts

olives with cumin coriander and garlic

Tomatoes can be prepared an hour before serving or the day before.



slow roasted rosa tomatoes

Add olive oil, balsamic and salt to a small bowl for dipping. Serve with the bread on a board or large platter. 




bread and seasoned olive oil

Arrange olives and tomatoes in bowls and add to the board.

Slice meat, if not pre-sliced and arrange.


Add cheese and figs. Serve with something ice-cold, light and fruity to drink.


the good grind



basic tapas spread

 Featured on Barcelona the Offside Blog

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  1. Kitchenboy March 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Wow, Ishay! This looks gorgeous!

  2. […] contributor Ishay Govender, from Foodandthefabulous (who is also on Twitter), is here with a tapas lesson as simple and brilliant as the football lesson Barça gave Arsenal at the Camp […]

  3. Lyn March 10, 2011 at 9:12 am - Reply

    cant wait to try it out on weekend for family, sounds great

  4. Jeanne @ CookSister! March 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Tapas totally rock – and they make such an easy feast if you find a good supplier! Looks divine.

  5. Ishay March 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Hey Lyn- let me know if you do and bon appetit!
    Jeanne- the easiest is if you had a good deli who makes the stuff and you just pick, pay and serve- a la my girl crush Nigella 🙂

  6. […] share easy recipes to make a simple tapas board with ingredients from your store cupboard and fridge. You can add a few items […]

  7. World Spinner March 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    How to make tapas, tapas recipes | Food and the Fabulous…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  8. […] the rest here: How to make tapas, tapas recipes | Food and the Fabulous None Found This page has 0 views Post a comment | Trackback […]

  9. Marisa March 11, 2011 at 10:43 am - Reply

    I adore tapas – such a quick and easy way to feed friends. The Apprentice in Stellenbosch used to do sundowners & tapas – an absolute steal of a deal with amazing little bites – the menu would change each week. I think I’m going to try fit some tapas into our weekend menu – haven’t had it in ages!

  10. Ishay March 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Hey Marisa- did you do tapas this weekend? Hope so and trust you enjoyed!

  11. […] amount of give when ripe. Here’s some proof: Indulgent Fig & Dolce Mascarpone Salad and Figs Featured on a Tapas board, I attended a weekend Cookery Class because figs were part of the theme and Passion Fruit and […]

  12. […] the most tried, tested and replicated foods the world over. Even I have a post on how to set up a basic Spanish tapas board. Iberian ham and cured meats, olives, bread, prawns with garlic and chilli- there’s hardly […]

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