Words/photographs/illustrations© 2019 Helen  Lewis

Happy new year!


Feliz año nuevo


And a happy new year to you too Maria!


At Maria’s is all tucked up for a well-earned break after a crazy Christmas…


M: Crazy! Totally crazy, I tell you!


…So, today we’re having a working lunch in Ultracomida, Narberth. We’re planning a Spanish Adventure…


M: I want to show you Alberique – my home, the place I was born. Then we’ll go to Valencia. We must try Valencia Agua (click here for recipe) at Café De Las Horas, and you will meet my dear friend...Oh yes, we must try…


I’m exhausted and I haven’t even packed my case!


H: Where do you get your energy from Maria?


M: Hahaha! You will love it!


I know I will, with Maria as my guide, with her enthusiasm and energy, how could I fail? I’m looking forward to seeing real Spain, not a tourists version, meeting Maria’s friends and family and discovering where her story began.


Lunch arrives. I’m trying (and mostly failing) to be healthy, not veg, but a nod in that direction so I've gone for stuffed peppers and they look good, as good as a plate of meatballs and Patas Bravas.


I persuaded the recipe (see below) out of Maria, try them…



  • Cut peppers in half keeping the stalk attached. discard seeds. Place on a baking sheet.

  • Share the chopped garlic between each pepper half.

  • Drain jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Add to each of the pepper halves.

  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add 2 halves of tomato to each pepper half.

  • Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle dried rosemary over each pepper half.

  • Drizzle with olive oil.

  • Bake in the oven at a medium heat (170 Fan) for 30 mins.

  • Remove peppers from oven sprinkle each pepper half with pinenuts. Return to the oven for another 10-15mins. Check regularly in case the pinenuts burn.


Serve warm with a salad.


Totally vegan! As Maria would say.






Thank you for all the lovely comments that you have been sending in to us about our book Tapas At Maria’s. We love hearing about and seeing your adventures in Spanish cooking.


Here’s one from Susan, it looks delicious: