Paella

Made a homemade paella the other day.

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Took some onions, pepper and some pancetta, and fried them together in a large heavy pan with a splash of olive oil.

Add some diced raw chicken.

I then added the paella rice, and it always makes sense to use paella rice, and never any other kind of rice.

Ensuring the rice was coated in the onions, pepper and oil, I would have added a splash of white wine, but alas there was no wine in the house.

So I then added saffron and chicken stock. The saffron I had infused in hot water. This helps to bring out the traditional yellow colour in the paella. I also added half a tin of chopped tomatoes. In case you wonder what to do with the other half, I made a spicy tomato sauce  for patatas brava.

Simmer for twenty minutes adding more stock if required.

A few minutes before serving add raw prawns and slices of chorizo. I was  using cooking chorizo which I had  cooked separately. A handful of chopped parsley adds flavour and colour.

The dish was the put together and served.

I would have liked to use more shellfish, but all I had was prawns to hand, nice to have used squid and mussels.

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Paella

Made a homemade paella the other day.

Took some onions, pepper and some pancetta, and fried them in a large heavy pan.

I then added the paella rice, and it always makes sense to use paella rice, and never any other kind of rice.

Ensuring the rice was coated in the onions, pepper and oil, I added a splash of white wine. Then add the saffron and chicken stock.

Simmer for twenty minutes adding more stock if required.

I had already cooked the chicken and the prawns, I was also using cooking chorizo which was cooked separately.

The dish was the put together and served.

I would have liked to use more shellfish, but all I had was prawns. I would have probably also cooked the chicken in the rice, but that was done separately on this occasion.

Tapas for a Tenner

I have been meaning for ages to visit La Tasca. I really like tapas and I really wanted to try their paella – more often then not I am very disappointed with the paella that is offered at other places.

So today I happened to be in Regent Street and popped into La Tasca for a (very) late lunch.

I decided to do the Tapas for a Tenner deal. This deal allows you to eat as many tapas as you want for just £10! The deal varies across the UK, but here it was available until 5pm, whilst in Bristol it is available from 5pm!

Tapas for a Tenner

I went for six dishes in the end.

Patatas Bravas – Fried potato, topped with a spicy tomato sauce.

A Spanish classic and a tapas favourite. The tomato sauce was spicy, but rather too salty for me. Whilst the potatoes were soft and not crispy, slightly oily. A bit of a disappointment for a dish which should be relatively simple to make. It felt like it had not been freshly cooked and left around for a while. For me tapas should be freshly cooked.

Paella de Pescado – Paella with squid, prawns and mussels, served with lemon.

This was a well flavoured dish, but again like the patatas bravas did not taste fresh, felt like it had been cooked a good hour earlier.

Calamares a la Andaluza – Deep-fried rings of squid, served with roasted garlic mayonnaise and lemon.

Now this is a dish which again is simplicity, but oh was so wrong. The rings were overcooked so were rubbery in texture. I got the feeling (and I may have been wrong) that these were not freshly prepared, but came from a packet or even the freezer. Good calamari should be cooked using fresh squid. Alas they covered the calamari in salt – if I wanted salt I would have asked for it.

Chorizo Frito al Vino – The spicy Spanish sausage, sautéed in red wine.

This in my opinion was perfect, great chorizo cooked in red wine, bursting with meaty flavours and with a great depth provided by the red wine. This one I would have had second helpings of.

Selección de Embutidos – A selection of cured Spanish meats.

Can you get this wrong, no, and La Tasca didn’t. Three slices each of three different kinds of cured Spanish meats.

Paella Valenciana – A Valencian-style paella, with mixed seafood and chicken.

A different paella to the first tapas, but a similar story.

Overall I kind of had what I expected. La Tasca is a chain (not a family run restaurant) and probably cooks to a system. I did enjoy the meal (despite the disappointing food) and the ambiance and the atmosphere was pleasant, and you have to remember this was a very busy Regent Street.

Will I go again, possibly if I was stuck and there was nothing else to choose from.

Paella

Tonight I cooked (my version of) paella.

In a large frying pan, add some olive oil and butter.

Soften some onion (I used a normal and a red onion) and some red pepper. I also added some lemon zest.

Arborio Risotto RiceAdd some arborio risotto rice.

Ensure that the rice is coated in the oil, butter, onion and peppers.

At this point add some white wine, however I didn’t do this as I had no white wine.

Add some saffron, this will add colour and flavour.

Now add some chicken stock to cover the rice.

Stir.

As the rice cooks, add more chicken stock to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. The rice will take about fifteen to twenty minutes to cook.

A few minutes before serving, add the raw prawns and squid. They will cook quite quickly in the hot pan.

Before serving add the cooked lobster and wedges of lemon.

Obviously you could use alternative ingredients, such as chicken or mussels. I used lobster as I had got one from a local supermarket for just £2.99, it’s normally a lot more expensive!