I try to get my kids to eat as much non-British food as possible. They both adore curries (especially poppadoms for breakfast the day after a takeaway… #supermum), we recently had a proper American feast of pulled pork and cornbread and traditional carbonara is one of their favorites. Ditto American maple pancakes for breakfast!
Because cooking is such a love of mine I really enjoy teaching them the origins of where our food comes from and talk about how this differs from country to country – sometimes we get the atlas out and it turns into a lovely geography lesson.
One of our favourite cuisines to delve into is Spanish. I’ve been to both Madrid and Barcelona and just love the Spanish tapas style of eating; lots of nibbly bits of cheese, meats and fried stuff with copious amounts of Estrella, natch. HEAVEN. The children have an Auntie living in Madrid and with a new cousin en España I see it as my parenting duty to eat loads of chorizo ;)
This weekend we had a lovely quiet time at home – seeing friends, shopping and getting chores done – so our Spanish evening was going to be a little low-key. Less Estrella, more story time. Olé! And so I put my thinking cap on and brainstormed what Spanish-style feast I could whip up for my two that would be a) quick b) easy and most importantly c) very very tasty.
PAELLA, OF COURSE!
OK, so I did spend a while dreaming up my ideal Spanish feast. True story: on my 25th birthday I had 8 people over for dinner and spend two whole days cooking 8 tapas dishes for us all. It was basically heaven and FYI, heaven looks a bit like this:
– Sweet potato with chorizo
– Patatas bravas
– Catalan bread with Pata Negra
– Courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese
…all washed down with a lovely Tempranillo.
But as I only have two little mouths to feed I thought I may as well be more conservative in my approach.
Now I love LOVE Paella but I was worried how my two might take it. My preference is to cook it with bells and whistles – squid and mussels – but I toned it down a bit for these two and just added chicken and cod. It was still very much delicious and Elfie described it as “the most splendid food I have ever eaten”. Nice. Hux ate half of his portion and if you know Hux’s eating habits this is basically the highest praise you can expect.
Oh, and in case you were wondering I carted my paella outside with a large glass of white to enjoy in the garden once the kiddos were asleep. Perfection. Just as blissful as Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, honest…
- 150g Chorizo
- 150g Chicken breast, diced
- 150g Cod
- 1 pepper (I used half yellow, half orange, but I think green is traditional)
- 150g Paella rice
- Pinch smoked paprika
- Pinch turmeric
- Half a glass of white wine
- 1.5 pins (or so) of chicken stock
- Start by browning off your chorizo over a medium heat so all the lovely fat renders off. Add the pepper at this time and stir well. You could also add an onion but if you'd like to omit it (like I did) you can.
- Add the chicken and cod. Cook until the chicken is golden brown.
- Throw in the paella rice and stir well until coated with the fat from the chorizo. Add the white wine and turn up the heat so it bubbles for a couple of minutes.
- Add the pinch of paprika and turmeric and enough stock to cover the rice... turn the heat back down.
- Simmer for approx 10 minutes until the liquid has gone. Add more bit by bit until the rice is fluffy and cooked all the way through. I also added a handful of frozen peas at the end of the cooking process... every little helps, eh?
- Season to taste.