the dudes from ardmona have created some new tinned tomato flavours, and the marketing fairies thought the puku might like to test them out. which I did.
I like ardmona, especially because their old marketing campaign used ‘rich and thick’ tag in a cute (and apparently highly successful) way, and also because their tinned tomatoes are rich and thick. philosophically however, I prefer tomatoes without all the additions, so started buying less rich and thick brands, because they had tomatoes, salt, water in the can, and nothing else. But free tomatoes are free tomatoes, and considering the various other substances (like jagerbombs? oportos @4am?) that have been going into my temple, I think a little thickening agent 205 isn’t going to kill me.
the tomatoes are still rich and thick, but now they have flavours. again, not something I normally go for, but I thought they were nicely balanced and flavourful – more punch than plain toms, way less ‘i can’t cook, and eat everything out of cans’ than a lot of preflavoured / packaged foods.
I made paella – first a test paella with chicken, chorizo, squid and fish (pictured), then a party paella with chorizo and chicken (not pictured, I was too busy wearing fishnets, drinking and assisting with magic tricks).
This, as with pretty much all the food cooked for the puku, is my interpretation of paella. I don’t remember if I ever used a recipe, or just cobbled together what I thought would work, based on eating it, seeing it cooked, and just generally being interested in food – if you’re the kind of person often with cookbooks on your bedside table, you will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Put large pinch of saffron threads in warm/hot water to soak. In a paella pan, or large frying pan – or really conveniently, a large electric wok (thank you mama, 5 years on, it really is an awesome appliance) – with strong olive oil fry off sliced chorizo sausage, with some chopped chicken (I prefer thigh), adding sliced onion and smashed garlic once beginning to brown. chuck in some chopped capsicum (any colour/s), add some paprika, salt, pepper, touch of cayenne, a bay leaf or two and stir. now add the rice* and then toss in the saffron water + threads, the tinned tomatoes, and some water (want total liquid to be roughly double the measure of rice). combine well, lower heat and leave the whole thing alone, lidded if your pan has a lid, for 10-15 mins. seriously. don’t stir it.
if adding seafood (calamari, prawns, mussels, fish, go for your life), do this while its all still quite liquidy (<10 mins), gently press the seafood into the rice in a pretty pattern, or just chuck it in, stir vaguely (without disturbing the bottom of the pan!) and bung the lid back on. I like to chuck in some lemon wedges here, and add peas at that point too, if adding peas. throw some fresh chopped parsley on top, once the liquid is absorbed, a tasty crust should be formed on the bottom of the rice. this is why you need to leave the paella alone. and why it is awesome. hope you have a non-stick pan. eat.
* yeah, I am not great at providing quantities, sorry. also, I always make Way Too Much Food, suffering as I do from Over Caterers Anxiety syndrome. this is ok, since paella goes nicely in fridge for lunches, or just invite lots of friends round. so: how much rice to use? for one tin of tomatoes (400g) I put 2 large glasses of uncooked rice, and about 3 large glasses of water, plus saffron water. it doesn’t really matter what size glass you use, paella is pretty forgiving. if it’s too dry before rice is cooked, add bit more liquid. if too liquid, cook bit longer. easy. that was a party feeding maybe 15, with other foods. if making at home for quiet flat dinner, I use 1 glass of rice, and there are quantious leftovers.ps. sorry about the absences. it’s been a crazy year. have internets set up at home again, and am actually spending some time there now, and 1st year of ph.d is done.. more pukuing is on the cards! 😀 xz