Monday, January 31, 2011

A hip spanish dish...

Today, we chat with Clare, wife and mother of 2 gorgeous girls, who moved to Spain from England when her youngest was 6 months old. Clare and her family live in Madrid, the girls are both fluent in Spanish and go to Spanish school. Naturally Clare now has a love of Spanish food, and the fabulous social way in which mealtimes flow on for ever as if there's not a care in the world. Life is so relaxed, and in restaurants, children are encouraged to just be children, and are not expected to sit still all the time, and be on their best behaviour. How very refreshing. 

Clare has agreed to share her recipe for Paella which her little 'hips' adore. Why not have a fun Spanish night at home, and try cooking a Paella? Nothing like immersing your little hips to a different culture from time to time.

So here we go...have a go at Clare's fool proof recipe.

"To be honest, the first time I cooked paella I got into a bit of a state about it. I panicked about cooking squid as didn't want to serve it up with the consistency of a rubber band, so I committed the ultimate sin and stirred my paella. Then I panicked that the rice wasn't going to cook properly!

Several hours later than planned, I finally emerged from the kitchen red faced but triumphant.  As it turns out, it's really not that hard to do, and now I just get everything ready in advance, pop all the ingredients in in the right order and hey presto - perfect. Kids seem to love it. Ok, it's not packed with veg, but it contains plenty of fish which might be more unusual for them to try. We're very lucky that the ingredients are plentiful here, but you can adapt the recipe to whatever you have locally. 

Ingredients - serves 4. This recipe is adapted from 'The food of Spain' by Murdoch books.

125ml white wine
1 onion chopped
12 black mussels bearded and scrubbed
Olive oil
1/2 onion finely chopped
12 chicken wings
Slice of jamon finely chopped
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 red pepper deseeded and chopped
1 ripe tomato peeled, seeded and chopped
90g chorizo sliced
A pinch of cayenne pepper
220g paella or any round rice
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
500ml fish stock
85g peas
Prawns peeled and deveined
Squid tubes, clean and cut into rings
115g firm white fish cut in pieces
2 tablespoons parsley chopped.

Serve it with lemon wedges and crusty bread.

And how to make it...

You don't need a paellaria (flat cooking pan) - I use a large saute pan.

Chicken wings - cook the chicken wings in the oven on 180 deg for about 20 mins until just cooked through.

Preparing the mussels - heat the wine and onion in a pan over high heat.  Add mussels, cover shake gently, cook for 5-8 mins remove from heat and discard any closed mussels, drain and reserve liquid.

First lot of ingredients - heat the oil on medium heat, add 1/2 onion, jamon, garlic and red pepper cook for 5 mins.  Add chopped tomato, chorizo, cayenne pepper and cooked chicken wings.  Season.  Stir in the reserved mussel liquid (or wine if cheating) then add the rice and stir again.

Stock - blend the saffron with the hot stock and stir into rice (or shake in paella mix) - this is your final stir, make it a good one as you can't stir it again, ever.  Bring to boil, then reduce to low simmer, uncovered for 15 mins NO STIRRING.  If the stock runs too low to cook the rice you can add a little more.

Nearly there - put peas, prawns, squid and fish on top of the rice, then push them in.  Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes turning over halfway through until the rice is tender and the the seafood is cooked through.  Trust me, because you're cooking the squid slowly it won't be chewy.  Add the mussels for the last 5 minutes (which ever type you're using) and heat through.  If rice isn't tender add extra stock and cook for a few more minutes.  Rest for 5 mins (the paella not you) and then add parsley.  Proudly carry your paella to your waiting friends and family, let them help themselves and enjoy the applause! Hooray.

And here's a wee bit more about Clare....
During our time here, to get my brain back in gear, I mused on the idea of providing information for parents holidaying abroad from the UK and Baby Abroad was born.  At the time, there were companies offering to send baby milk and food to your holiday destinations for a substantial cost, which really is great if you're travelling somewhere where you feel you really can't buy the baby milk or food you need. However, at the popular tourist destinations such as Spain, France and Italy, there are plenty of options for UK babies too, it's just a case of being armed with the right information.  Hopefully parents are finding the information helpful and we encourage people to send us any new snippets of info they find as well as reviews of their holiday destinations to share with other parents.   Meantime, we continue to enjoy our time as a family here in Spain and hopefully we too can share our experiences to help make the holidays of other families all the more enjoyable"

What a magnificent effort. Thanks so much for sharing Clare. To find out more about Clare and life in Spain, head on over to Baby Abroad.

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