Should my spice rack ever be even close to empty, I would panic. A Spanish chef recently admired my collection of spices, and then proceeded to use many of my spices liberally in a meal i was meant to be cooking for him. I wept as i saw the jars of cayenne pepper and paprika emptying fast. I have restocked now and here are two recipes using my favourite spices.

Pulpo Gallega - Octopus, Galician style

Ingredients



2kg Octopus (pulpo), 2kg peeled potatoes, 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper or paprika, 2 table spoons of rock salt, 350 mils of virgin olive oil

What to do



First wash the octopus in cold running water. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Place the octopus in the pan and sommer for 30 minutes. Remove the octopus and leave it to cool. Cook the peeled potatoes in the same liquid for about 20 minutes until they are tender. Cut the octopus into small slices. Then remove the ptoatoes and slice them. Place them in a large plate. Cover the potatoes with the slices of Octopus. Drizzle the Olive Oil on top. Sprinkle with paprika or cayenne pepper (whichever you prefer). Sprinkle rock salt and serve to your guests.

Patatas a la Riojana - Potato stew, La Rioja style

Ingredients



2kg potatoes (peeled and diced), 150 mils of olive oil, 200g of diced chorizo, 150g of diced jamon serrano, 2 diced red peppers, 1 Spanish onion (finely chopped, 2 crush garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 2 litres of chicken stock.

What to do

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Add the chopped onion, peppers and crushed garlic. Cook over gentle flame until the onion starts to soften. Add the diced ham, chorizo, paprika and diced potatoes. Cover with chicken stock and cook gently for 30 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked. Skim off the fat that rises to the surface during cooking. Season with salt and pepper, pour into a soup tureen and serve at the table. Do not forget the mandatory bottle of Rioja to accompany this tasty dish.