Christmas & New Year & Three Kings in Spain is normally celebrated, just like in the UK, mostly at the table. Families would pack into overflowing dining rooms for holiday meals that last long into the night, even when they start at lunchtime. There are five giant meals as a minimum, starting with Christmas Eve Dinner, Lunch on Christmas Day, Dinner for New Year’s Eve, Lunch on New Year’s Day and finishing with Three Kings’ Lunch. Some food is traditional throughout Spain and other Christmas recipes have been passed down through different generations of families and can vary between regions. The meal starts with an appetizer which is usually lots of tapas, (always some fish ones) and guests would bring one dish each. The first course would be soup or/and salad and the second usually meat or fish with just a few side dishes. The dessert course is probably the longest and has 3 parts to it. Again guests are encouraged to bring one dish which could be a flan, cake or pudding, followed by sweets (often homemade), fruit, nuts and finally sweet wines and liqueurs. Even though we usually have our traditional turkey on Christmas Day, I do try to add some Spanish items to our meal, so below I have added a recipe for each course for you to try.

Merry Christmas Everyone

Buen Apetito 

Chilli Tuna Balls – Tapas

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 red pepper

1 green chilli

1 tbsp olive oil

185g can tuna or fresh

75g breadcrumbs

1 egg yolk

1 lemon

Salt & pepper

4-6 tbsp plain flour

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. De-seed and chop the pepper and chilli. Fry the chopped vegetables in olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain the tuna and flake into a bowl. Add vegetables and mix in the breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk. Grate and then squeeze the lemon into the mixture. Season and divide into balls. Coat each ball with flour. Heat oil and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Gazpacho – Soup

1 slice of thick white day-old bread

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

450g (14oz) ripe tomatoes

1 garlic clove (crushed)

600ml (1 pint) water

Few drops of Tabasco Sauce

1 small red pepper 

. cucumber 

. red onion 

Basil (fresh is best)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Tear bread into small pieces and soak in vinegar. Place the tomatoes, garlic, soaked bread and water into a blender and process until smooth. Add salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste. Cover and chill in fridge for at least one hour. Gazpacho is served cold. Sprinkle with cucumber, onion, pepper and basil. Drizzle with olive oil.

Asparagus & Goat’s Cheese Salad

  • Asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 100g rocket
  • 150g goat’s cheese
  • 75g pine nuts


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp runny honey

In a bowl, toss washed and prepared asparagus with the oil until coated, then season and arrange on a rack under grill. Cook for about 4 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients and season to taste. Divide the rocket between 4 plates, top with asparagus and crumble over the goat’s cheese. Sprinkle with pine nuts and then drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately with warm crusty bread.

Roasted Suckling Pig – Main Course

  • 6lb suckling pig 
  • Salt (to taste) 
  • Black pepper (to taste) 
  • . cup olive oil 
  • 1 knob butter 
  • 2 carrots 
  • 1 onion 
  • 2 medium cups of water 

Slice the carrots into 4 pieces each and coarsely chop the onion. Season the meat with salt and pepper, inside and out. Wrap the ears with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Place the meat in a large, open roasting pan. Coat with olive oil and place dabs of butter all over. Place in oven 150 F or 65 C and roast, basting often with the pan drippings, for about 2.hrs. About 10 minutes before removing the meat from the oven, place the carrots and onion in the pan with the meat. At the end of the cooking time remove the aluminum foil from the ears and place the meat on a serving dish, letting it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.While the meat rests, pour juices from the roasting pan into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables. When the juices start to sizzle, skim the fat off of the top. Add 2 cups of water. Increase heat to high and boil rapidly to thicken. Strain into a gravy boat or small bowl. Serve the meat on a large platter with the warm gravy. 

Roscon de Los Reyes (Three Kings’ Cake) – Dessert

  • 30g yeast
  • 1. kg flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp orange flower water
  • 1. cups of milk (room temperature) 
  • 300g sugar
  • 300g butter
  • 250g candied fruit
  • 1 small plastic or porcelain doll

Mix yeast with . kilo flour. Slowly add . cup of milk and mix well. Remove half of the dough and roll into a ball and allow to double in size. With the remaining flour make a hollowed out mound on a baking tray. Put all the remaining ingredients (apart from the candied fruit and toy) in the centre and slowly mix. When the ball of dough has doubled in size, mix it with the original dough until both are completely united. Mix in the dough on the baking tray until all are completely incorporated. Cover with a clean tea towel or cloth and allow to rise to double the size (about 2 hours). 

Place doll or toy in the dough and knead well. Shape into a circle with a hole in the middle, but not all the way through. Place on a large baking tray and allow to rise again, but being aware that the ring will also rise when cooked. 

Decorate with the candied fruit and brush with beaten egg to give a glazed finish. Cook in a moderate oven for 20 minutes and allow to cool.