Paella

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.

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.

Time for Tapas

Staying in London I did fancy some tapas one evening, we decided to head to La Rueda Tapas Bar in Ealing.

La Rueda Tapas Bar is a one-of-a-kind culinary establishment with a menu inspired by the idea of simple and honest cooking. Starting in 2000, we developed a unique dining experience for all of our guests using fresh and sustainable ingredients—taking you on a culinary journey like no other. From classic recipes to new-age kitchen adventures, each dish reflects our passion for high-quality food presented in a simple yet pleasing manner. 

We were given a nice warm welcome and allowed to choose where we wanted to sit. We could have sat outside, but it’s quite a busy street, so we sat inside. We looked over the menu and chose what to have. In the end we went with five different dishes.

Knowing me, I probably would have chosen the calamari, but this time I decided I wouldn’t choose that dish. I was also tempted by the paella, but in the end we went with the tapas selection.

We started off with some olives marinated in garlic and herbs. These were really nice, just the thing to nibble, whilst waiting for the dishes to arrive.

The first of these was the Patatas Bravas. Tripled fried potatoes served with a spicy Brava sauce and a helping of aioli. The potatoes were nice and crisp, the Brava sauce was quite spicy, but this was offset with the nice aioli that had a good flavour of garlic. I think I would have liked the spiciness to be taken down a notch, but otherwise it was a nice dish.

The next dish to arrive was the Gambas al pil pil. This was prawns with chilli, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. This was an excellent little dish, the prawns were nice and tasty. They hadn’t been peeled, but they were easy to peel.

The dish after this was Pulpo Gallego. Galician style octopus, saffron potato mash, pimenton. 

This was one impressive dish, and one kind of dish I have wanted to try for a while. The dish was a mound of saffron flavoured mashed potato topped with two grilled octopus tentacles. The octopus was very nice, tender and tasty. I think the mash could have been smoother (more butter), but was tasty.

Our final dish was Chorizo al vino, the classic Spanish sausage cooked in red wine sauce.

The chorizo was lovely and tender and I liked the sauce.

Overall the food was beautiful cooked and it was delicious. I do hope to visit La Rueda again.

La Lola Calamares

Working in Bristol a few weeks back and out for a walk at lunchtime. I did consider buying some mushrooms from the food market at Finzel Reach, but they looked rather expensive, £10 for a small punnet of morels. Due to my experience last time with She Sells Sushi, I decided not to go there and headed to St Nicholas Market.

Having had some really nice food from La Lola at the St Nicholas Market it wasn’t too surprising when I was looking for somewhere for lunch that I gravitated to the La Lola stall. Having tried some of their other dishes, paella and Huevos Rotos with Iberico ham, this time I went back on an old favourite of their crispy squid.

The staff as always were friendly and welcoming, and I took a seat by the window and waited for my food.

It wasn’t very long before my food arrived. The squid was served with “chipped” potatoes, salad and aioli.

The squid had a nice crisp coating and was very tender on the inside. The chipped potatoes were cooked to perfection and the salad was nice and fresh. It was a delicious box of food, which I really enjoyed.

Rice with Chorizo

I diced a red onion and a red pepper. 

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 chopped fresh parsley and some cooked sliced chorizo.

Authentic “Paella”

Having upset Spain with my last paella, sorry Spanish inspired rice dish, I decided that the next time I cooked a Spanish inspired rice dish I would follow (at least) some of the unwritten rules of paella.

The end result I think looked quite authentic.

Authentic “Paella"

In preparation I diced a red onion, yellow pepper, and red pepper. 

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon. This isn’t in the list of ingredients in the unwritten rules of paella, so broke one rule there.

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. So another rule broken.

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

No prawns, no chorizo, just rice. Also no chicken either!

Time for a Spanish inspired rice dish

paella

Well we call this paella, but I know it isn’t paella, but it was inspired by paella.

This is a regular dish in our household and this pan of paella was finished off at dinner time.

What goes into the pan, depends on what we have in the house and whether I have been shopping or not. If I am out of the shops knowing that I am going to cook paella, then I will probably buy some cooking chorizo, some squid, and maybe even other kinds of seafood such as langoustine or clams. This time was what we had in the house.

This serves about four people

In preparation I diced a red onion and a large pepper. Well actually I diced half a red pepper and half an orange pepper.

In a hot large frying pan, I put some olive oil and I cooked off some smoked pancetta bacon and a small amount of diced (dry) chorizo. 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 splash of white wine (we had that in the fridge). Recently I have been using some Spanish sherry I got from Aldi for Christmas, but that was all finished off the last time I did paella, sorry Spanish inspired rice.

I then (cheated and) added a jar of paella paste from Waitrose. In the past I have used herbs, spices and saffron when making paella, however I do like the jar that Waitrose do as it does taste quite authentic and is quick and easy. Tesco use to do a sachet of paella herbs and spices, but they’ve stopped selling that now. I use to prefer that. 

After stirring in the paste I added some chicken stock. Last time I did paella I used a fish stock, but didn’t have any of that in the cupboard.

Stir once and then leave. 

I once got “told off” by a Spaniard for stirring my paella, so now I just as advised, leave it to cook.

In a separate pan I cooked off the remaining dried chorizo I had sliced, I also added some sliced linguiça sausage from Lidl I had picked in their Iberian week recently. In previous Spanish themed weeks Lidl have done some nice cooking chorizo which I have liked using in my paella dishes. This time though in their most recent week they didn’t do it, hence picking up the linguiça sausage. Not quite a replacement, but worked well with the paella.

We had some cooked prawns in the fridge, so I warmed them up in a pan with some olive oil and mixed herbs.

The prawns, chorizo and lemon slices were added to the top of the paella, with some chopped flat leaf parsley and served.

Overall, delicious.

Huevos Rotos with Iberico Ham

Headed out at lunch for a walk. I did visit Finzel’s Reach Market first, but nothing there took me fancy. So I headed over Bristol Bridge to St Nick’s market and went to La Lola. I had enjoyed the paella there earlier in the week.

Though tempted by the calamari, or the paella, this time I went with something different, the Huevos Rotos with Iberico Ham. This is egg, ham and chips, Spanish style! You could have had chorizo instead of ham, but I went with the ham. Took a seat and it wasn’t long before the food arrived.

Huevos Rotos with Iberico Ham

This was chipped potatoes, two fried eggs, aioli, slices of Iberico ham and some breadsticks.

The eggs were freshly cooked, the chipped potatoes were nice. The aioli added a nice touch. I did think the ham was not as well flavoured as I was expecting, so I think next time I get this I’ll go with the chorizo. I didn’t really see the point though of the breadsticks.

I enjoyed my lunch and left with a smile on my face.

Time for some seafood paella

I was thinking about some lunch so I made my way to St Nicholas Market in the heart of Bristol. I did consider getting some barbecue from Low and Slow, but they had a really big queue. In the end I headed to La Lola with a plan to try their paella. When I got there I was nearly swayed by the calamari, but said to myself that I was going to have the paella, so I ordered the seafood paella.

The staff were friendly and welcoming, and I took a seat by the window and waited for my food.

It arrived just a few minutes later, it looked great and was a decent sized portion as well. I only wish when eating in that La Lola would serve their food on plates (or in bowls).

seafood paella

At first, I did think there wasn’t much seafood, but as I dug into the rice there were prawns, mussels and squid. I did like the taste of the paella, which was delicious, though I did think it could have had less salt. There was a whole prawn in the dish which needed to be shelled, but they did provide a lemon wipe which meant it was less messy than it could have been.

As I ate three Spanish women came and sat down on the chairs next to me and started talking to each other in Spanish. I did think if Spanish people were eating here then the food must be pretty authentic. I know the staff are Spanish, but with Spanish clientele as well, they must be doing something right.

Will I visit again, of course.