A gazillion posts behind. My mind is going a gazillion miles an hour as well. Who says that we need to write a certain post before another and so on and so forth? So I went to the Melbourne Good Food and Wine at the MCEC a couple of weeks ago. I probably should write that post before I write this so that I can link back to that post as there is something I need to mention here that…. I think you can the drift. Anyway, I want to write this first because I am so excited to get back into the cooking. So I don’t care what needs to be written first and why. My blog. My rules.
I was given complimentary Melbourne Good Food and Wine tickets by the good people of Ogilvy Public Relations & GFWS. My date fell through at the last minute and so I ended up heading down by myself. The first thing I did when I got there was to get myself one of those trolley. There was no intention to get ridiculously tipsy from trying out as many wines, ciders and other naughty but yummy alcoholic drinks this year. I was prepared to be good and sober so as not to over commit and buy random items like what I did on previous years! But habits are hard to kick, I still manage to fill this trolley up with so much goodies. At least these were sensible and practical purchases and will be sharing what I got with you in the coming weeks.
See my brand new spanking paella pan. I got it $40 from the General Traders. It is definitely a win for me. I wanted a paella pan for the longest time ever and finally, it is mine! And also I happened to bumped into Callum Hann of Masterchef Season 2. He was chatting with wide eyed young girls so I just move on. But I did manage to get a shot of him the day before when he was doing a cooking demo.
Sorry for the bad photo… I was in the rush to meet other food bloggers and Poh from Masterchef Season 2! Sorry but Poh wins
Anyway, I wanted to make paella because I now can! I bought the yabbies at Queen Victoria Market and would have gotten some mussels but left that out as I was cooking the paella the next day and did not think the mussels will survive in the refrigerator overnight. These blue yabbies were still alive when I bought them. I just put them to bed in the freezer when I got home.
And another shot.
I bought some lovely paella rice from Casa Iberica Deli on Brunswick Street. Can someone tell me if this is good enough or was I not looking hard enough for better paella rice? And where can I get some? Thanks in advance!
I received a vegetables box from Aussie Farmers Direct (thanks to Grapevine PR and Aussie Farmers Direct) and was actually really pleased to find some tomatoes and other goodies that I will share with you in another post. The tomatoes were actually pretty sweet. I used half of it here and other half in a fish soup dish.
This recipe is adapted from Masterchef. I love the sofrito recipe but tweaked it a little according to the ingredients that I had on hand. I only have 2 out of the 3 paprika it has in the recipe. If you have one, just use the one and don’t buy it all just because it says so. Having said that, I did like the smokiness factor in this sofrito.
Look how vibrant the colour of the sofrito is.
The chicken and wild rabbit were from the Chicken Pantry at Victoria Market. My hand was in no position to do heavy karating chopping of the chicken or rabbit and so I got them to help in chopping down the chicken and rabbit into smaller pieces. I only used half of the chicken and rabbit. And remember bones mean flavour! Don’t bother about deboning or de-skinning the meats. But of course, if you are cooking for young kids as well, then it will be a good idea to just use chicken breasts.
I love my paella pan. Paella is so easy to make. You don’t have to stand there and stir and stir like risotto. The rice absorbs all flavour. How I love the vibrancy of the colours and flavour in this dish. I must say that it will be more perfect with crabs and mussels. It is good enough for now. Just means more paella recipes to come! If you have a favourite recipe, please share!
- 3tbsp olive oil
- 500g paella rice
- 6 yabbies
- 1 whole calamari
- 1 chorizo sausage, diced
- 1/2 chicken, chopped
- 1/2 rabbit, chopped
- 2 litres chicken stock
- salt and pepper
- 200g frozen peas
- 1 large capsicum, sliced
- 2 lemons
- 150 ml (5 fl oz) olive oil
- 3 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 piquillo peppers
- 1/2 bunch coriander and roots
- 1tbsp dried thyme
- 1tsp spicy paprika
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- 1tsp saffron threads
- For the sofrito, blend oil, vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, onion, carrots and peppers in blender or food processor until smooth, add herbs and spices and season with salt to taste
- For the paella, place paella pan on the stove over high heat. Add the chorizo and allow it to fry for a couple of minutes or until the oil is released. Add the rice and cook for a minute until it changes colour
- Add the sofrito paste and cook over high heat for a minute mixing with the rice evenly. Now add the chicken and rabbit pieces. Allow it to seal for a minute. Add stock and bring to the boil, add the calamari and yabbies. Cook for 25 minutes over high heat until stock evaporates. Remove from heat and sprinkle through the peas and cook them with the residual heat in the pan
- Rest for 5 minutes covered with a tea towel on the stove top and serve warm, not steaming hot, scattered with extra parsley
- Sprinkle some raw capsicum on top. Serve in the pan with lemon wedges to squeeze over before serving and make sure you season properly to taste
- Grind the saffron thread with some salt in a mortar and pestle until it is like a fine powder. It will help to distribute it through the paella evenly giving a better colour and flavour to the finished dish.
- The perfect time to add the seafood to paella is when enough of the stock has been absorbed to allow the rice to be seen.
- Do not stir the paella during main cooking.