Friday, 7 October 2011

New Food Friday - Paella.

I've wanted to make a Paella for ages & I decided that MoFo would be a great time to try it. I actually have a few things on my list of 'intimidating foods' & I'll be spending Fridays during MoFo trying them. In the coming weeks I'll be making tamales, pierogis and bread although I am slightly unsure about the bread after my cook book challenge bread baking success, I think it'd feel a bit like cheating & I'd welcome some new ideas.

I decided to use mock king prawns and chicken drumsticks in my paella. Nick & I picked them up in Berlin in June & had been struggling to come up with a recipe to use them in, I thought paella would be perfect. I also used vegi bacon, red pepper & peas.

For some reason I could't just pick one recipe & go with it, oh no, that'd be far too simple! I ended up spending the morning researching and I took inspiration from two meat / fish based recipes online, one from Jamie Oliver and one from the BBC website written by Anthony Worrel Thompson. I also looked at Dynise Baclavage's recipe in The Urban Vegan Kitchen, this recipe on the blog What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway and Liz's review of the Millennium Cookbooks Paella on her blog Cooking The Vegan Books.

As you can see I used a large skillet to make this because I don't have a paella pan but you could also use a wok. Do try to find something with a lid that fits though otherwise you'll end up in a strange double balancing lid situation like I did!

The actual paella recipe is very much a work in progress so I'm not going to post it today. I'd like to make some changes so that I'm happy with it first & being the unexperienced recipe writer that I am I'm probably going to need to cook it again before that can happen. Is this usually how this works or are seasoned recipe writers just intuitive enough to sense what needs changing? I probably wouldn't use the mock shrimp or chicken again, I quite liked them (Nick was oddly less impressed given that he usually loves mock meat) but the prawns didn't taste as sea-like as I'd hoped they would meaning that I wished I'd added more nori. Next time I think I'll use canned artichoke hearts, Chorizo Seitan Sausages from Viva Vegan and perhaps some homemade chicken style seitan.

I also don't think I steeped the saffron in the vegetable stock for long enough meaning that the paella didn't quite have it's traditional colour, that is until I remembered I'd brought this back from Mallorca...

...this definitely perked up the colour of the seitan & as far as I can tell it does't have a detectable flavour. I was thinking of using the annato infused oil from Viva Vegan to add the colour next time although I'm sure it would be far from traditional!

Whilst the paella wasn't perfect I think that this was a pretty good first try & I'm definitely looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow.

21 comments:

  1. Pretty nails :-)
    It's shocking I haven't blogged about my paella recipe yet...hmmmm......easy to orange-ify too. Yours looks tasty Jo Jo, sometimes I know where a recipe needs tweaking, if it's something simple like more salt/more pepper/less stock etc etc but I do tend to be a bit of a perfectionist before I divulge a recipe to the blogoshere. It's the Virgo in me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your paella looks delicious. I've never try to cook it and to be honest I just ate a vegan paella once, two years ago in Barcelona. It was pretty good and hopefully I'll try it again soon but I can't see myself cooking it for now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh that looks awesome. I've never had paella.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've used that recipe from Millenium a couple of times with good success. Paella is yummy... but it definitely is a lot of time and chopping and such. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. It looks like a lovely paella, but I must say, the prawns might be a bit too realistic for me. I'm not sure I could eat them! :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. Do I spy Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday on your nails? :)

    Well your paella really looks amazing even if the flavours need tweaking, I think the annatto oil from VV! would work really well in it too. I've never made paella so I'm looking forward to your recipe when it's ready :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am reading this paella post DROOLING! I haven't eaten lunch yet and I'm so hungry. I love paella.

    I haven't had any since becoming vegan and after reading your post I realize how much I miss it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, pretty nails!

    There is a recipe for Candle 79 paella in the publisher blurb for the cookbook on Amazon. It does sound like you are off to a good start with yours! I love paella.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm more of a Risotto girl, but a butter bean Paella can tempt me. I find the best way to learn is to watch someone make it for you to eat!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That looks fantastic! I love your food pictures- gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Looks so delicious, I love vegan shrimp.
    Now I'm totally craving paella, might have to try making some soon.

    -Sophia
    http://whatyourmommadidntknow.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. the paella looks super!..and super pretty nails!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a creative dinner! It almost looks creepy, like real shrimp :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ha, Andrea the prawns were definitely a bit creepy!

    Thanks for the nail polish compliments too guys! Mandee that is indeed DL Happy Birthday, the good thing about that polish is that it still looks okay even though it's really badly chipped!

    ReplyDelete
  16. AWESOME! We've never made paella so to see yours is very inspiring! I love your blog! It makes me hungry! xox

    ReplyDelete
  17. thevegandivision9 October 2011 at 21:06

    This paella looks perfect! Really, I was amazed when I saw it! Being spanish, I should learn to do it like that xD
    I have that same food coloring :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Those shrimps are freakishly real looking!

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is a beautiful looking dish! I know what you mean about wanting to perfect something before you share, it though.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love this! That paella looks killer!

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me!