Paella

P is for Paella

Before I even start this blog entry, I’m going to apologise to any Spanish people reading this. This recipe is not a traditional paella and even more heinous is the fact it contains…chorizo – one of my favourite foods – but something that no Spanish person would ever consider adding to a traditional paella! So please excuse a Brit for combining some of has favourite Spanish flavours into one dish. The recipe title may be better described as a spanish inspired surf-and-turf risotto….but then I probably risk insulting the Italian’s risotto, so let’s just crack on.

The recipe here serves two greedy portions, and could easily feed three with a few accompaniments (ciabatta with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil, a few designer rocket leaves etc.)

Paella - chorizo, bacon and onion

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 100g chorizo cut into chunks – not finely sliced
  • 180g paella rice (Arborio rice – the one used in risottos will also work if you can’t get paella rice)
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon – cut into small pieces
  • 10 king prawns
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 800ml chicken stock
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 200g frozen peas
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Recipe:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts up into small pieces and fry in a little olive oil over a medium heat until cooked and starting to get a golden touch.
  2. Take the chicken out the frying pan and set aside. Then add the onion, garlic, chorizo and bacon and fry until the onions have softened. You will not need to add any oil, as the chorizo will start to ooze its oils after a couple of minutes and the bacon has more than enough fat in it. You may need to turn the heat down after a couple of minutes so the chorizo doesn’t crisp too much but the onion is just cooked enough and has absorbed some of those vibrant, orange colours and flavours.
  3. Whilst the onions and pork is cooking, add the saffron to the chicken stock and allow to infuse for a few moments, before adding 3/4 of the liquid to another large shallow pan with paella rice and smoked paprika. It should take about 20 minutes to cook over a low-medium heat.
  4. With 10 minutes left to go, most of the liquid should have been absorbed and the paella rice should be soft with a golden yellow colour. Add the remaining stock with the prawns and frozen peas. Turn up to a medium heat.
  5. In the final 5 minutes, stir in the cooked chicken, chorizo, bacon, onion and garlic and wait for the last of the stock to be incorporated, then it’s ready to serve!

Paella

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Lentil and vegetable curry - serving

L is for Lentil and vegetable curry

I picked up this recipe nearly 3 years ago and since then it’s been one of those great go-to recipes that I can tweak to whatever vegetables I have in. It contains at least 2 portions of your 5-a-day, is low in fat and is very tasty!

Lentil and vegetable curry - veg preparation

 

Making dahl for the curry

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 200g yellow lentils (washed)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 dried red chilis
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 2 small onions, finely sliced
  • 6 tomatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 1½ tsp ground corriander
  • 10 okra
  • 1 medium sweet potato – cut into ½inch cubes
  • a handful of green beans
  • 200g paneer cheese – cut into small pieces
  • a pinch of salt

Vegetable and lentil curry - adding the final veg

Recipe:

  1. Put the lentils in 1litre of  water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Spoon away any scum, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Add the turmeric and sweet potato and leave to soften for 20 minutes.
  2. The next stage is to make the tarka. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 1 tsp of sesame seeds, cloves and dried chillies.
  3. Once the mustard seeds have started popping, add the curry leaves and onion and a pinch of salt and leave for a few minutes until the onion has softened.
  4. Then add the tomatoes and ground coriander, give it a stir and leave for another 5minutes until the tomatoes have soften and the flavours are well combined.
  5. Add the tarka to the lentil and sweet potato mix (which should be nicely soft by now). Then add the tamarind paste, coconut if using, green beans and ocra and leave to simmer for a final 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile in frying pan you used for the tarka, fry the paneer in a little oil, sprinkling over the remaining sesame seeds. It should take a couple of minutes on each side for this hard cheese to take some colour. Add to the curry and it’s ready to eat.

Lentil and vegetable curry - with the toasted sesame paneer