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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Yo Sushi

I have had Yo Sushi before, I had some time to wait before my train so decided to sit down and eat rather than buy the takeway that I normally buy.

The concept of Yo Sushi may be familiar to anyone who has been to Japan it certainly is a weird concept for many in the UK.

Sit down and watch as little bowls of sushi pass you by on a conveyor belt. Help yourself to the ones that you want. After you have eaten they count the bowls you have eaten and charge you accordingly. Not all the bowls are the same price and range from £1.70 to £5.00. The price depends on how much is in the bowl and what ingredients are used.

As well as the cold dishes on the conveyor belt you can order soup and hot dishes from the waiting staff.

I looked at the menu and the first two items I chose were not available. So I ordered Chicken Yakitori, char-grilled chicken skewers with a soy-mirin glaze and Prawn Katsu, crispy fried prawns in Japanese bread crumbs, with a fruity sauce. I had wanted to order Prawn Tempura and Chicken Teriyaki .

While I was waiting for the hot food I started off with a crayfish salad which was very pleasant. The hot food then arrived (quicker than anticipated). The prawns were good and the chicken skewers were sticky.

I then picked a Salmon Nigri from the belt. The salmon lacked flavour but the rice was okay.

My final dish was Spicy Pepper Squid which was very nice and a good finish to my meal.

Still think it was cheeky that they charge £1 for water!

I will go again.

Tapas

Cooked my own tapas, with variety of dishes.

Pan fried squid and prawns: Simple slice the squid into rings and fry on a hot pan with a splash of olive oil. The prawn, I butterflied and again just cooked in a hot pan.

Patatas Bravas – Fried potato, topped with a spicy tomato sauce. I made the tomato sauce myself, onions, tinned tomatoes, a hint of chilli and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The potatoes, I cheated and used frozen fried potatoes baked in the oven.

Chorizo Frito al Vino: Remember to buy the whole sausage and not the thinly salami style sliced version.

Chorizo

My method is to cut the chorizo into slices about quarter of an inch thick. Fry in a large frying pan until sealed on both sides and just starting to go a little crispy. At this point I add the red wine (Spanish red wine is best, but I am sure you can use any good red wine).

Cook the chorizo for a few more minutes and then serve.

Rosemary flavoured roasted chicken breast: Simple roast a chicken breast on a bed of rosemary with a splash of olive oil.

Overall some delicious dishes.

Photo source.

Fish Supper

One thing that I cook quite often and enjoy during the summer months (though not that we have had much of a summer) is a fish supper.

Fish Supper

This photo is from a recent version and included baked cod, griddled scallops, griddled squid and prawns cooked in olive oil.

The cod was drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes.

The scallops were scored with a checked pattern on one side and griddled on a hot pan.

The squid “pockets” were sliced on one side and opened out. On the inside I scored a checked pattern. These were then griddled inside face down. When cooked on one side, turn them over and cook the outside; at this point they will curl into rolls. Serve with the tentacles cooked as well.

The prawns were simply cooked with a little olive oil and black pepper.

Served with lemon wedges, salad and crusty bread.

Delicious.

Is it okay to eat Tiger Prawns?


I quite like eating tiger prawns.

Prawns

However after reading this (slightly old) article in the Guardian, now I am not so sure…

The article starts on a positive note…

Something happened to prawns in the 1990s. Like the girths of western gourmands discovering fusion food, they started to grow and grow. Once a mere shrimp of a thing, a fiddly heap of shell for every tiny mouthful, the prawn miraculously turned into a great tiger, an effortless bite as good as lobster but at half the price.

Evidence of this startling evolution is everywhere. Prawns feature prominently on bar menus and in top restaurants. Thai spiced prawns have even infiltrated Delia’s Summer Collection cookbook. Healthy and fashionably south-east Asian, but not too exotic or rare any more, they have flown into our lives from apparently teeming tropical seas where everything grows bigger and better.

But then issues the following warning!

The price of providing an everyday luxury for consumers in industrialised countries has been a catalogue of damaging consequences in developing nations. Serious environmental degradation, disease, pollution, debt and dispossession, illegal land seizures, abuse of child labour and violence have afflicted the dozen or so countries entering the market. Western diners, meanwhile, are eating a food dependent on the heavy use of antibiotics and growth hormones.

Hmmm, may now need to reconsider what prawns I buy and eat – difficult to do when eating out!

Cajun Prawns

I made this dish as part of a tapas selection. The key is to make the sauce and add the prawns at the last minute.

In a frying pan, soften some onions, after they have softened add some Cajun spices. I don’t like adding the spices too early as they can burn.

Add some chopped tomatoes and some tomato puree.

Cook for a while.

Add raw prawns and let them cook.

When they are firm and pink they are cooked, be careful not to overcook them, as this will make them rubbery.

Cajun Prawns

Done.

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!