The unwritten rules of paella


The Guardian reports on how researchers in Valencia have decided what ten ingredients you can use in paella are.

The ten permitted ingredients are: rice, water, olive oil, salt, saffron, tomato, flat green beans, lima beans, chicken and rabbit. 

Note that there is no fish or shellfish. Ever!

The research was carried out by social scientists at the Universidad Católica de Valencia at the instigation of local chef Rafael Vidal. The researchers questioned 400 amateur chefs aged over 50 from 266 Valencian villages.

Now I like making paella inspired rice dishes that include chorizo and seafood, even though this sometimes upsets Spaniards.

The article talks about how the valencianos believe that only they know how to make paella.  

To people in Valencia, their version of paella is the version and nothing else is worthy of the name. 

As for other kinds of paella they think this isn’t paella.

The typical seafood paella encountered elsewhere in Spain is generally dismissed by valencianos as arroz con cosas (rice with things).

So I cook rice with things….

Time for some paella

There are some street food stalls which serve amazing food and I see them on a regular basis, but for whatever reason when I am decided and choosing what to eat, they don’t get picked and I go to another stall. I think to myself I will go there when I come back to this street food market. Riceminster who sell traditional Valencian Paella alas fall into this trap.

Today I was at the Bristol Temple Quay street food market and it was rather busy, busier than it was last week.

Bristol Temple Quay Market

There was a range of stalls, some familiar faces from last week, but plenty of others who were there this week and not last time. I was pleased to see it was busy, as that means there is a good chance that it will keep going and not be disappear. I was also slightly concerned as I was in a bit of a rush and most stalls had long queues.

Having seen the Facebook post about the market I had initially thought that I would hit High Steaks: Delicious Argentine inspired steak sandwiches using the best locally sourced beef, topped off with their signature chimichurri. 

Having seen both the ordering queue and the collection queue, I thought, I might not have time and I would have to rush my food. Looking elsewhere I saw that the queue for Ah Ma’s Dumplings was quite short (but there is still a cooking process for pan frying the dumplings). The queue for Riceminster was short as well, and I thought I did enjoy their paella and have been meaning to try their food again, so joined the queue.

Riceminster stall

It moved quickly and there was a choice of a chicken paella or a vegan paella. The only real difference was that the chicken one had chicken in and cost an extra pound, and the vegan one had mushrooms and vegetables.

I ordered the vegan version, I was given the chance to add garlic aioli for another pound, I said no, then lemon and chilli, I opted for just the lemon juice.

Taking it back to the office and eating at my desk I really enjoyed the paella. It was excellent, authentic and very tasty. Maybe a little salty for my tastes, but still really nice.

I thought I had been to Riceminster relatively recently, however back home, checking back through the blog (they weren’t on here) though there is a solitary Instagram photo of some delicious paella  from April 2017.

Had it really been four years since I had ordered food from them? It must have been as I do usually photograph my food. I can’t recall if I had had their paella between then and now, I may have done.

I did enjoy my paella today, so next time when I am looking for something to eat and try to remember get the paella, it’s tasty!

Lunch at La Tasca

I do like tapas, but haven’t eaten at La Tasca for a while. It’s a great place to go in a group, but unlike a few other places I could mention, it’s not a place I often go to when eating on my own or needing a quick place for lunch. However needing a quick lunch, I did notice walking by that La Tasca had a lunch deal on, two tapas dishes and bread (or salad) as an accompaniment for £5.95, that to me seemed quite reasonable. I had considered going to Jamie’s Italian which was close by, but they don’t appear to do a lunch menu and the main menu was a little expensive for a quick lunch.

PaellaFor my two dishes I went with Calamares Andaluza, crispy squid, served with a roasted garlic & paprika mayonnaise and Paella Valenciana, a paella with chicken breast and mixed seafood. Alongside I went with the bread, the Pan de Barra, freshly baked white baguette, olive bloomer and caramelised onion bread, served with an extra-virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar dip.

Not sure how freshly baked the bread was, but though it may have been freshly baked at some point it didn’t feel that freshly baked to me. Probably because I have been spoilt by going to the Royal Well Tavern where the bread is so fresh that it is still warm when it arrives at the table! However it was nice to have three different kinds of bread and my favourite out of the three was the olive bloomer.

CalamaresThe calamares and paella arrived together. The calamares was nicely cooked, crisp batter and tender in the middle. The mayonnaise complemented the squid well. I enjoyed the calamares and was certainly one of the better dishes of squid I have had from La Tasca, so was impressed.

On previous visits to La Tasca, when I have had paella, usually as part of a special offer, tapas for a tenner, it wasn’t that special. I thought it was a bit of a risk taking the paella, but I thought why not. I was quite pleased though, it was very pleasant and certainly much better than previous paella I have had at La Tasca.

Overall, good service, nice food and value for money, just what I wanted for lunch.