TRIED AND TESTED | The Marks and Spencer España Tapas range


Tapas – straight from the oven!

Tapas is not the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to ready meals. Spanish food is bursting with flavour, for us, it hits a spot that other regions of cooking just can’t reach. The Marks and Spencer España range (which is currently on offer by the way) was a pleasant surprise. To be honest, M&S can usually do no wrong, I can’t remember ever eating anything from there and finding it a disappointment.

We took a small range of the España dishes to Cardigan Bay in Wales where we were staying for a few days with the kids in an apartment in the Granary Lofts, part of Fforest. There was no microwave so we oven cooked everything, although that was the plan anyway, even if it does take about thirty times as long, it’s such a better result. You’ll have to excuse the picture and styling, we were under pressure from the kids to nip over the river to Pizza Tipi for a fig and nut brownie before they closed.

Adrian and I had already tried the Chicken with Patatas Bravas and Alioli (£6.99, 700g) previously, again it scored top marks, plenty for two to share as a main or for three people with other dishes as padding. Generous chunks of tender chicken and the potatoes come out really crispy.

The Patatas Bravas with Alioli (£2.50, 195g) is obviously pretty much the same dish, sans chicken. The garlic alioli is great, so garlicky and very authentic. Pork & Beef Meatballs (£2.50, 170g) are lovely in a rich tomato sauce, but the balls are too small and the serving tiny, it’s only enough for one (not very hungry) person.

The kids said the Garlic Mushrooms (£2.50, 130g) were very ‘woody’ which I would take to be a good thing, but apparently not. This dish was the only weak one we had, maybe it would be better microwaved, cooking it in the oven possibly made the mushrooms a little tough. These whole button mushrooms were topped with Manchego cheese and crisp ciabatta breadcrumbs and that alone made them more than acceptable for Ade.

We’d certainly return to M&S for more from the España range. We’re not just saying this but the M&S food range has been going from strength to strength lately – inventive and bold, they’re even putting chilli in the Percy Pigs. Other supermarkets take note…

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Marks and Spencer provided the above dishes, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.