For me, paella and Spain go hand in hand. So when Villa Plus asked me to come up with a simple recipe, suited for a self-catering villa in Costa Blanca, this recipe sprang to mind! Paella is also believed to originate from this region so it’s most fitting (if I do say so myself). Nine other bloggers have also joined in on this #VPeats foodie competition. Have a search of the hashtag and find their entries on Twitter.
What you will need
For this recipe you will need: a chopping board, a few bowls, knives, wok or pan and stove. You can serve the paella in bowls or on plates. I served my bread (and bowl) upon drinkstuff’s Slate Platter, so thanks for the team for providing this!
This is my twist on the traditional paella recipe, using brown rice rather than arborio, as it is nutritious and chewy in texture; I also think it tastes rather delicious and tends to fill me up for longer!
1 Cup of mushrooms
3 Cups of quick cook brown rice
2 Cups of vegetable stock
2 Cups of tomatoes
½ Cup of green and black olives
½ Cup of artichokes
1 Cup of warm water
2 Garlic cloves
1 Red chilli
1 tsp. Saffron
2 tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Couple of handfuls of parsley
To serve alongside the paella:
1 Mediterranean loaf (fresh from the local market)
Method (Serves 4)
- Boil the eggs for 10 minutes and leave to cool.
- Chop all of the vegetables into small chunks.
- Crush the garlic, chop the chilli and leave in a bowl to one side.
- Finely chop the parsley and leave to the side.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add in the pepper, onion and courgette. Sautee for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining vegetables (excluding the olives), rice, saffron and liquids (including vegetable stock cube) and stir. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Please note: Half-way through add the garlic, chilli and seasonings (salt and pepper). Make sure to cover the pan or wok to help speed up the cooking process.
- Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthways.
- Cut the lemon into wedges.
- Stir the chopped parsley and olives into the paella for a couple of minutes and then serve into bowls.
- Finish each portion with half a boiled egg and wedge of lemon. Add pepper to season if necessary.
- Serve with a chunk of freshly baked Mediterranean bread.
How much did it cost to make?
All of the ingredients used are fresh and locally-sourced. This vegetarian family-friendly meal serves four people and costs £7.23 in total. This equates to a reasonable £1.81 per person (/€2.29), which is considerably cheaper than (some) meat dishes. This makes it an ideal choice for saving a few pennies whilst abroad. You can also get away without refrigerating any of the ingredients once purchased.
It is worth bearing in mind that you will be able to haggle and save even more money in the Spanish markets. The locals tend to offer good deals and enjoy the banter, so don’t be shy!
What was my inspiration?
Spain always strikes me as a country full of rich, vibrant colours and hopefully this dish reflects this. Paella is extremely easy to prepare and make, so little time will be spent in the kitchen and more time at the poolside.
What is your favourite Spanish dish? Personally I could live on a diet of olives and sundried tomato bread for years, if only…