I am a traveller and a creative photographer. When I am not able to board a plane to a highlight destination, the next best thing I can do is explore a country through its cuisine. Spain has been on my “someday list” for years, in fact my son and I were booked to travel to Barcelona a year ago, we even had tickets to an FC Barca game. Sadly due to the unexpected perils of Corona virus and global border closures, we had to cancel the trip. My hopes of photographing Gaudi’s whimsical architecture and tasting tapas in Barcelona, or walking the city streets of Seville while breathing in the aroma of orange blossoms or swimming in the turquoise water of the Costa Brava are now on dream-mode. It may be a while before I get to this sensational destination however, I can create the atmosphere by making Paella at home. I am fortunate to have a Spanish grocery shop in my neighbourhood so the ingredients are authentic. This recipe serves six, enjoy with family and friends – share travel stories, listen to vinyl, take photos, drink Rioja!
4 cups Spanish rice (Arroz Bomba)
3 cloves of garlic
1⁄2 a sweet Spanish onion and 1 red/orange bell pepper diced
2 ripe tomatoes diced
1 packet of paella seasoning
Pinch of saffron strands (soak in 1/4 cup of warm water)
6 chicken thighs, 2 links chorizo sausage sliced, shrimp, lobster tails, scallops
Chicken stock (approx. 6 cups), 1/2 cup frozen peas, lemon wedges, Spanish olive oil is very aromatic, find it if you can.
Heat the olive oil in a traditional paella pan or a large oven proof frying pan. Add the chicken thighs and chorizo, cook for 15 minutes until brown then remove from pan and set aside. Add garlic, diced onions, pepper and rice to the pan. Sauté until rice is translucent, then add the chicken, chorizo and diced tomatoes. Gradually add chicken stock to cover the rice (approx 3 cups) and simmer. Sprinkle the paella seasoning and saffron over rice; continue stirring and adding the rest of the chicken stock until the rice is al dente. Next add any kind of seafood you enjoy, I like to use large tiger shrimps with the shells on, lobster meat and scallops. Place the paella into a preheated oven (400 degrees) until seafood is cooked, lastly add peas and finish with lemon wedges, bring to the table and enjoy!
Recipe adapted by Ann Ivy Male
Original photography © Pixie Blue Photography 2021