I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Cooking is a family affair, and although I don't live with my family, my mother still sends me recipes, my grandmother searches out quinoa or spelt when I recommend them, and even my father gets in on the game.  This particular recipe comes courtesy of a guest appearance by my mother, who cooked up a paella recipe that has been making the rounds of my family.  It looked so good when she brought it to the table that my father made her take a picture and send it to me to post here.

Paella is a perfect dish for a crowd (even of just two).  It's one of those recipes that -- if you're willing to break with tradition -- can be made with any number or combinations of vegetables, meat, and seafood.  Like risotto, the basic concept lends itself fantastically to whatever ingredients you might have on hand.  Seasonal vegetables, chicken, chorizo, shrimp -- they all mingle with the saffron and paprika in a melting pot of Spanish deliciousness.  With all these variations, there's something for everyone.


1-2 T. Olive oil

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, red, green, yellow or mixed half and half, cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

½ tsp. smoked paprika

½ tsp. turmeric

¼ tsp. cayenne

¾ C. or 150g Paella rice

1/3 C. or 100ml sherry

1 tsp saffron strands

2 C. or 500ml boiling water or vegetable stock

Sea salt

12 mini plum tomatoes

4 small canned or frozen artichokes, thawed if frozen, quartered

10 pitted Kalamata olives

2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

4 lemon wedges, to serve


Heat oil in a large frying pan (or a Paella pan), then saute the onion for five minutes. Add the peppers and cook over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the spices, cook for a minute, then add the rice and cook, stirring, for another two minutes.

Add the sherry and saffron, boil down for a minute, then add the stock, the bay leaves, and a third of a teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat. Scatter the tomatoes, artichokes and olives over the rice, cover the pan and leave to rest for 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings, then sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 2 very generously, or serves 2 for dinner plus lunch for one lucky person the next day.


alice said...

I love paella, and your picture has me craving some! I plan on making this soon. Thanks for the recipe.

EMC said...

I can't wait to try this. What is paella rice? Is it arborio, or is there a suitable sub for someone who can't find this specific ingredient?

Mel @ bouchonfor2.com said...

I like this straight forward version.

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog :) How you've given me a new one to follow! I look forward to new posts.

Cucinista said...

Hi EMC. Thanks for visiting and commenting. The traditional rice for paella is Calasparra rice, which retains more of its structure than, say risotto rice. The experts say to substitute another medium-grain rice if you can't find it, but I have to say I have made paella very successfully with risotto rice. Just watch the liquid and the cooking times, stopping before the rice gets too soft. Happy cooking!

Melissa Good Taste said...

I love paella! Very pretty pictures! I am hungry at work now!

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