The beauty of making a paella - NO STIRRING! Get it on and go and do something else, the results are stunning. There are so many variations of this Catalan classic and (just like a risotto) there are so many different ingredients that you can use. When by the coast, fish and shellfish rule, the further inland, chicken, rabbit, sausage are the key. To make a good paella, there are a few things that you need to get right, the rest will take care of itself.
If you've ever thought vegetarian food is slightly dull, hold on to your hats... this simple one-pot dish based on the humble chickpea absolutely packs in the flavour. The soft creamy chickpeas are cooked in a richly flavoured tomato sauce with a good splash of Fino sherry, dried chilli and smoked paprika. The dish is finished with roasted peppers, creamy aioli made with olive oil, a scattering of fresh parsley and a chunk of grilled sourdough.
There is something quite magical about a good fish stew, it packs in so much flavour, yet is still fresh, light and healthy. A great fish stew doesn't need to be complicated - if you can get hold of some fresh white fish and a few mussels or clams, foodie greatness awaits with just a few key store cupboard ingredients and about 45 minutes of your time.
Not everyone knows that Spain has a huge cider-drinking culture, but in the Northern region of Asturias there are plenty of apple orchards and sidra is a really popular drink. In the bars of Asturias, the waiters pour cider with a flourish - holding the cider bottle with one hand, a couple of feet above their heads, and pouring it into special glasses that are held below their waists with the other hand. This takes a fair bit of practice and unless you're happy to mop the floor up afterwards, not recommended to try at home!
Eating freshly barbecued sardines, fresh from the sea is one of life's absolute joys. If you can't get to the Mediterranean or it's too cold to light your BBQ at home, here's the next best thing. These smoked sardines are fantastic quality and I can't think of a better way to enjoy them than on a slice of Village Baking Co sourdough with a few sweet cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and a squeeze lemon.
Just the other day, I was very lucky to be given a box of the most amazing king prawns by a foodie friend (thank you Caroline). Determined to do them justice, I used one of our brilliant Alejandro spicy chorizos, our Spanish saffron and smoked paprika and a box of Riso Torro Arborio Rice. Ok, ok I know that Arborio rice is not classic, but paella rice and Arborio rice are pretty close. We've recently listed a great quality Spanish Saffron, it comes in a 1g container and is half the price of the saffron you find in the supermarkets - I love it's earthy flavour and it's great in so many other dishes.