So the scene was set. Seven people were coming over for lunch, three dishes had to be made and there was one high need 6-month old baby who wants to be carried ALL. THE. TIME.
I've never really liked paella; those that I have had both in Spain or back here in Singapore don't exactly trigger my saliva ducts. It doesn't even occupy a spot within my Top 5 Favourite Rice Dishes.
So what triggered me to make a paella for family lunch one Sunday morning? I think it could have been a couple of reasons - one was to increase the mileage of our Le Cresuet skillet but more importantly, to see if I could change my feelings for this dish by making a version that suits my liking.
Using Jamie Oliver's my favourite paella recipe as a guide, the following changes were made:
- I used a Le Creuset pan, instead of a paella pan
- I could not find paella rice and replaced it with arborio rice
- Though I didn't use jarred peppers, I roasted the other peppers beforehand
- As for the seafood, we had fish, tiger prawns and squid
I got to say, I almost didn't pull it off. It was such a nerve-wrecking process. The clock was ticking down; the rice didn't seem to soften for the longest time; the pan was filled to the brim though I hadn't even added the seafood; and the bub was crying out for a hug. Dra-maaaah!
All I could think of was, if this screws up, I would be doing serious injustice to the seafood that my parents brought.
Thank goodness, it was a success - and by success, I mean it was tasty enough for the pan to be scrapped clean. On hindsight, it was a good move to use arborio rice as the toothsome fleshiness of arborio rice was more enjoyable to chew on than the usual paella rice.
It felt incredibly satisfying to have made this paella for the family and for my acceptance speech, I will say I definitely wouldn't have completed this in time without the help of my parents and kw.
I am thrilled to say that along with pizza and Mac & Cheese, I'm ready to file this under Things I Ever Don't Have To Order In A Restaurant Again.
My quick-thinking other half stir-fried the rest of the seafood that couldn't fit into the pan.
To accompany the paella - a roasted beets and walnut salad coated in a Jamie Oliver light casear salad dressing.
Yogurt-marinated chicken with paprika, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne. I shouldn't have been such a chicken with the spices: next time I will double everything.
Looking forward to the next cook out - or in!