Apr 6, 2010

Paella, the one pan wonder. Terry D tells Manly to forget the Amalfi and just be.

Are we all thrilled to be back at work?  I hope the transition wasn't too stressful and that everyone and everything in your life has adapted just as well.

I road tested another Donna Hay recipe last night, the chicken and prawn paella.  It's from the Feb/Mar 2010 edition of her magazine, a One Pan Wonder.  This is my favourite section of the magazine, mainly because of the culinary miracle that is the one pan meal.

The recipe calls for chopped flat leaf parsley, garlic and lemon.  Observant readers will see that I used regular parsley because that was all I could find at short notice at the green grocer's.

As well as some chicken stock (which I reconstituted from good old Continental stock powder) and a brown onion.  Being a Monday night, the red wine wasn't there for imbibing whilst cooking, it was there to be used up.  For several week's now, Mr SSG has been pestering me at dinner time to use up the rest of the bottle.  Unfortunately, the variety of noodle and fish dishes I've been cooking really weren't apropriate - despite his attempts to convince me otherwise.

First step is to brown some chicken and browns in a pan.  Remove and keep warm.

Next, assemble the fiery red ingredients.  For optimum red balance (a variation of the photographic rule of white balance... I've been revising my class notes on colour balance and lighting) I've set them up in front of the fire engine red Kitchenaid.  1/4 tsp of smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes and a can of diced tomatoes.  I was in two minds about adding the tomato paste sachet.  1/4 tsp of the chilli is plenty.

The frying onions, garlic, paprika and chilli were a heady mix. 

Luckily, I didn't use the tomato paste because I suddenly remembered the jar of pepper paste I bought on my Food Safari.  I decided to cut loose from the restrictions of a printed recipe and added a good tablespoon.  Sorry Donna.  And thank you Maeve and Suzy for putting me onto this ingredient.

After the aromatics have browned up a bit, it's time to add the chicken stock (recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups) but you may need more liquid.  I used probably 2 1/2 cups of liquid all up.  Also the can of tomatoes and washed long grain rice.  I used a cup of basmati.

Leave it all to simmer for a good 25 mins or so.  Actually, don't entirely ignore it because the liquid does absorb rather quickly.  I was really testing the non-stick properties of Anolon with this recipe.  For extra water I used the juices from the previously cooked chicken and prawns.  Not sure if this is a proper cooking technique but it seemed to work.

When the rice is done, return the chicken and prawns to your pan and let heat through.  The Anolon came through all the simmering unscathed.  What a trooper.  Just a rinse in hot soapy water and a bit of a wipe down and it's returned to its usual glossy black complexion.

To serve, top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.  The recipe is for 2 but there was enough left over to make a total of 4 meals.  I am having leftovers tonight at work.

I am happy to report that Terry and I are Back On The Same Page this week.  He is advocating enjoying who and what we are rather than dressing up to pretend to be what we are not.  To simply let me be me and you be you.  This was all actually in reference to a fantastic Italian restuarant decorated in a manner to encourage its patrons to forget they were in Manly and instead feel the Amalfi Coast in the furniture, food and architecture around them.  However, it is an important idea that translates well to everyday life.  Especially as I was trying to watch Addicted To Beauty last night where everyone seemed hell bent on being nipped, tucked and fillered into some pretty frightening fixed facial expressions.

This week, Terry would also like us all to also enjoy lunch whilst sitting by large windows that offer stunning views of the water.  I have had a practice of this with lunch at the weekend at Berowra Waters.  I will continue to look for potential locations to revisit the experience this week.  So far, the only large windows I have at work are at the library.  They have no view of water, unless you count rain puddles.  But they do let in alot of sun.  The only problem is that the library gets shut at lunch for the librarian to have her own lunch break.  Back to the drawing board.

One last sea plane photo.  To remember the long weekend by.  Sigh.  Over too soon.

I have to get to bed now.  I need to be perky for my presentation tomorrow - big ask after 15 hours of gainful employment today.  Best not be the speaker who puts the whole room to sleep.  I was instructed to choose 'quiet' backgrounds for my powerpoints.  They may be too quiet.  A darkened room, flashes of navy blue with powder blue flow charts.  It's all too soothing.

Perhaps I should buy everyone a coffee before I start talking.


  1. Yesterday felt like first day of school after the summer break for me. I did not take it well. Slightly depressed and quietly hope that one day all weekends would be 4-day long. Until that dau=y, I'm glad that the weekend is 3 days away.

    The paella looks tasty - it's one dish that has been on my to-cook list forever. Somehow Chinese-style ginger and chicken rice always win. I also like your red Kitchenaid. Envy.

    Finally, good luck with the presentation today. Please kindly share the slides in today's post.

  2. foodwink!!
    You know how to make ginger and chicken rice? With Chinese mushrooms?

    That is impressive. My mum and my father in law have both tried to teach me and I still can't get it.

    Donna Hay needs to address this issue for me.

    SSG xxx

    PS - slides too boring.

  3. Can't wait for the Berowra Waters Inn post! I've always wanted to go there! :D

  4. That looks like a fabulous cheat's paella, SSG! The one thing that always puts me off making this fabulous dish is the amount of work - if you make proper sofrito etc. you end up using most of the dishes in your kitchen!

    And I also agree with you (and Terry) - The Amalfi Coast is spectacular (and one of my favourite places in the world) but there is no point in pretending that's where we are because where we are is pretty good as it is. I can't wait to try out the Pavilion at Manly - will put it on my list for when I get back from overseas!

  5. Kitty - report back on the Pavilion and your trip :-)

    SSG xxx


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