Trying a new Paella Seasoning

I have made my version of paella for many years. Well maybe I should call it a Spanish inspired rice dish, rather than paella.

Recently I have been using a jar of paella paste from Waitrose when cooking paella, however it looks like they have stopped selling it. M&S have stopped selling their paste as well, and Tesco haven’t sold their paella seasoning for a couple of years now. I wouldn’t buy the Schwartz paella seasoning as it uses turmeric rather than saffron. I have been known to creating my own “seasoning” using saffron and I did think I would have to go down that road. It was suggested to me to look on Amazon, so I did, and found some paella seasoning. I ordered some. The Carmencita Paellero Paella Spice Mix is according to the description the number one selling spice mix in Spain.

I used it when cooking a paella and was pleased with the end result. It looked excellent.

It also tasted great when we had it with our New Year fish supper. It is something I would use again and will order more once I run out.

Eating at the Cranside Kitchen

Cranside Kitchen

I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. I had planned to just eat in the hotel restaurant, but found that the restaurant wasn’t open. Well that wasn’t helpful. I had a look around the area on Google Maps and found that, apart from other hotel restaurants there wasn’t much choice close by. I could have walked up to Argyle Street, but it was dark and cold, and to be honest I didn’t fancy walking back.

I did though went for a walk and looked at the Cranside Kitchen, from the outside it looked like it was now an Italian place called Romano’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Italian, so walked around the area a bit more, but didn’t find anywhere else apart from some hotel restaurants.

In the end I went to Cranside Kitchen. I found out then it was a little more than an Italian place. You scanned the QR code on the table and placed your order online. As well as the Italian menu, there was also Chinese, Thai and Japanese. So I discovered I had a wider choice of what I could eat.

Cranside Kitchen menu

I actually prefer proper restaurant service, but I can see the advantages of this kind of system. You can order from different places so if you were in a group you could order what everyone wants. It makes splitting the bill simpler, as people can order and pay for their own food and drinks. It is also easy to add stuff to the order as well. I spent some time looking over the menu before choosing what I wanted to eat. It was quite a challenge as there were quite a few choices that I liked the sound of.

In the end I went with the Seafood Cha Han, this was Japanese style wok fried rice topped with mayo and mix sesame.

Seafood Cha Han

I really liked this dish, it was fresh, full of flavour,  and really delicious. 

I also ordered some Bao Bun Box. You had to order a minimum of two buns, I decided to order three. I went with the chicken karaage, aromatic duck and enoki mushroom.

When the bamboo box arrived I was a little surprised by the size of the buns, they were bigger than I expected (and have had at other places). I think I could have got away with just two buns.

Bao Bun Box

The aromatic duck was my least favourite of the three, it was cooked duck in hoisin sauce. The chicken karaage was deep fried battered marinated chicken in a spicy sauce. The enoki mushroom was surprising, it was also battered and deep fried. The mushroom bao bun was my favourite.

As I had paid when I ordered, I could leave the restaurant when I had finished and wanted to. 

Confusing Fried Chicken

I wasn’t really intending to get lunch out, but I was walking through the St Nicholas market in Bristol and did feel a little peckish. It was quite late during the lunchtime period, so I could see some places were low on stuff. I did think about having something to eat at the Spanish place, La Lola, but in the end thought to myself I would have something I hadn’t eaten before. Across from La Lola is Woky Ko.

Located at the heart of Bristol’s historic St. Nicks Market is our lunch spot offering quick and tasty lunch boxes designed by you, made the Woky Way. Here you will find us serving out the BEST chicken Katsu curry or Korean fried cauliflower with noodles or rice. 

I have been tempted before, but this was my first visit. I do think it is an interesting perspective with Korean fried chicken served with a choice of either Japanese Katsu sauce or Thai red curry sauce.

This is three different kinds of Asian cuisine, which to be honest I am not sure actually works. I would like to have a Korean BBQ sauce with my chicken, but that wasn’t available. Is this fusion cooking, I didn’t think so. I did fancy the Thai red curry, but they had run out, so I went with the Katsu.

The fried chicken was served on rice covered in the sauce with some salad on the side.

The chicken was nice and crispy, the sauce was quite tasty. I did enjoy the dish, but I don’t think it would be something I would have again.


Dare I call this dish paella? Well this Spanish inspired rice dish is a regular dish in our house.

I diced a red onion, red pepper and mushrooms. In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. 

I then added the diced onion and pepper. When this was softened, I added 250g of paella rice. I ensured that this was then coated with the peppers and onions in the pan. I let this cook for a minute or so before adding a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Stirred once and left it to cook.

Before serving I added some cooked sliced chorizo and chunks of lemon.

I served it with some pan fried tuna steaks.

Time for some Risotto Nero

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. I had a nice starter of Fritto Misto. I went with fish for my main course and had the Risotto Nero.

Roasted scallops and squid seared in the pan served on a black squid ink risotto.

You have to say that the dish is very black, very black indeed.

A few weeks ago I had a squid ink paella and it was also very black. I have to say that it didn’t  look that appetising, however it was very tasty. There was squid and prawns in the rice. I am not sure I would have it again, but I am glad I tried it and it was good. So seeing the risotto nero on the menu I decided that I would give this squid ink dish a try.

Well the risotto I had was also very black. However the scallops and squid had been cooked separately and were added to the dish at the end. So it did look much nicer.

The risotto was al dente, and was quite good. It didn’t have the flavour of the paella, but I did enjoy it. The scallops were cooked well and were nice. The squid, was a little over cooked for me.

Overall I did enjoy the dish.

Preparado paella con caldo

On holiday in Spain recently I picked up this Alteza pack from the freezer at Dialprix.

Preparado paella alteza con caldo

I thought it was frozen paella. It wasn’t, it was a paella mix, with the ingredients for paella and included broth, but no rice!

With a small self-catering kitchen I had a go though, using some cooked long grain rice, instead of proper paella rice.

The mix was defrosted in the fridge and then cooked in a pan, before adding the rice and the broth and cooking for a little longer.

Preparado paella con caldo

Obviously if I could have used proper rice, it probably would have been better. It was certainly interesting, but even though I didn’t cook it for as long as indicated on the instructions, I still think the seafood was overcooked.

Squid Ink Paella

When I was down in Ealing at La Rueda Tapas Bar in Ealing I was initially tempted by the paella choices they had, including a squid ink paella. In the end we had tapas. I would have liked to try a squid ink paella.

Recently I was working in Bristol, and went for a walk at lunchtime with a plan on getting something to eat. It was a Thursday so I headed out to the Temple Quay Market. Didn’t really fancy anything from the market, so I headed to the St Nicholas Market. It was rather busy. In the end I headed down towards La Lola for some squid or paella.

I was impressed to see that La Lola have expanded their menu and one of the choices was a squid ink paella. Well it was bit of a no-brainer, so I decided to try out their dish.

As with previous visits, I was given a warm welcome, I ordered my paella and took a seat. It arrived quite quickly, with some aioli and a slice of lemon.

You have to say that the dish is very black, very black indeed.

I have to say that it doesn’t look that appetising, however it was very tasty. There was squid and prawns in the rice.

I am not sure I would have it again, but I am glad I tried it and it was good.

Savoury Rice

Back in the 1980s I do remember seeing packs of yellow savoury rice, often branded Golden Vegetable or similar. I also remember never having it and never buying it.

Over the last few years (or is that decades) I have been cooking Spanish inspired rice dishes (which I have been known to call paella), and a range of risotto dishes. When cooking paella and risotto I always use a specialist rice to ensure that it cooks right.

Well there I was cooking dinner and we decided on a rice dish, however I had no paella or risotto rice in the cupboard. I did however have some long grain rice. So reviewing a few recipes I came up with the following recipe.

1 onion
1 small red pepper
3 or 4 mushrooms
Pack of diced smoked pancetta
200g long grain rice
600ml boiling water
Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
1 teaspoon of Morrisons Chicken Seasoning
Fresh parsley

Dice the onion, red pepper and mushrooms.

In a large frying pan, heat some olive oil.

Cook off the pancetta.

Add the onions and pepper and cook until softened.

Add the diced mushrooms and cook for another minute.

Stir in the rice.

Stir the stock pot into the boiling water and add to the rice mixture. Add the chicken seasoning.

Simmer for fifteen minutes until the rice is cooked.

Garnish the rice with chopped fresh tomato and chopped parsley.

We had our rice dish with some fish and salad.

Paella problem

Authentic “Paella"

Made a paella this evening, using my usual technique, but when we came to eat it, it didn’t taste quite right. Couldn’t quite put my finger on it and then I remembered that I hadn’t added any stock to the dish. I had just used some water. I was quite surprised by how much the stock added, and how different the paella was when it was missing.

Keralan Coconut Curry

This was a Keralan Coconut Vegetable Curry that I cooked. I cheated a little by using a curry kit from The Spice Tailor.

A delicately balanced, mellow coconut curry from Kerala. Its gentle spicing and layers of flavours makes this a go-to for those who love milder Indian flavours.

I have been using this curry kit for some time now.

I prepared the vegetables, for this curry I used onions, peppers, carrot, sweet potato, tenderstem broccoli, baby sweetcorn, sliced mushrooms and asparagus.

I add oil to a large frying pan and then add the spices from the curry kit. I used a new wok I had got for my birthday. I then added the prepared vegetables. This is cooked until softened. I then add the sauce mix from the curry kit and stir it into the vegetables. I cook it for five more minutes before stirring the curry a final time.

I served it with plain white rice.