I yay, you yay, we all yay for PAEEEEELLA! (Spanish pronunciation lesson)
FIRST things first: check out my tiny paella pan!! A souvenir I snagged from a dollar store in Barcelona. I was looking for a traditional paella pan to take home, but then LOOK TINY THINGS!! And if we all know me, we know that it's hard to say no to tiny things. Also, way more travel friendly am I right?
Paella, if you are unfamiliar, is a rice dish hailing from SPAIN and it is darn delicious. It is made (and often served) in it's own namesake pan, which is recognized by it's shallow depth and two skinny U-shaped handles on opposite sides and is much bigger than the one shown above.
Paella usually contains a mixture of seafood and/or chicken and/or pork and sometimes vegetables, and always a lemon wedge to squeeze over the top before you dive in. Spiced with smoked paprika (HELLO I'm sold), it gets its signature golden yellow colour from tiny expensive threads of saffron... the gold of the culinary world. Some dishes are worth the splurge. Paella is one of those dishes.
I had the joy, privilege and pleasure of experiencing paella for the first time whilst travelling in... where else... SPAIN! Yes!
I was lucky enough to find myself in the little southern town of Nerja with my dear mother and father. Traveling with mom and dad is great because we try our best to live like the locals, buy ingredients from local stores and cook our own meals in our little rental apartment. We learn about new ingredients and go out for ice creams and coffees and bakery treats, but we rarely eat full meals out... mostly because it's very expensive and there are sooo many tourist traps! But Mom and I (mostly Mom) do our research and if we find a good authentic restaurant, we might be able to convince my dad to go out ;)
One sunny Spanish day, we decided to throw caution and our frugal budget to the wind and treat ourselves to a lunch on the town. Or, I should say, a lunch on the beach. #livingthedream
A high priority on our vacation To-Do List (or at least on mine) was to try an authentic Spanish Paella. My dear mother is the best travel researcher and she scoped out a suitable venue: a bustling oceanside outdoor "restaurant" feeding fresh paella to the masses, complete with white plastic chairs and tables allowing you to feel the sand under your feet and the sun above your head. We set out on a warm walk along the beach, hearts hungry for adventure and stomachs hungry for PAELLA.
GOOD NEWS: It was DELICIOUS! So flavourful and comforting and exotic all in one dish. We loved it! One of the best parts of the experience though was getting to see how they made it... In a GIANT paella pan! This is how you feed the masses, out on the beach, with one massive pan. It's a little bigger than my mini one ;)
Look at that golden rice! And all those shrimpies! I'll take three helpings please.
Our little fiesta on the beach was so deliciously inspiring that we knew we must learn how we could re-create our own paella back home...
My dear Papa, who is a fantastic cook, especially of ethnic foods, took to researching and creating and quickly perfecting his own version of paella. Now, it is a regular dinner request in our home and one of my personal favourites!
Which is why I was terribly excited to once again get the opportunity to eat paella in its country of origin... this time in the grand city of BARCELONA.
I visited Barcelona with one of my best travel buddies... my Aunt! Traveling with my Aunt is kind of the best for a few reasons:
Not a bad day I must say, not a bad day at all.
We sipped our sangria whilst looking out the window and across the street at the famous Sagrida Familia Church (which we coined the Sangria Church, for obvious reasons, but also much easier to say) and shared a pan of paella. Another trip to flavour town with a super fun mixture of seafood and pork along for the ride! It's an adventure in a pan let me tell you. Yup, pretty hard to beat that experience...
HOWEVER... I have to admit that while the paella I ate in Barcelona that day was mighty tasty, I could not help but compare it to the paella I have become accustomed to at home, prepared by my dear father. I must say, he makes a mean paella. It might not be 100% authentic, but it's darn close and it's 100% tasty so who cares! Every time I eat it I am transported back to wonderful memories of warm and sunny Spain. And now, aren't we all the luckiest bunch because today he shares his recipe!
Enough rambling about my travels, here's how you can have your own Spanish Paella fiesta!
Pablo's Spanish Paella
Recipe from my papa (serves about 3-4 people)
Let's just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of sweet potatoes. They are one of my favourite edible things in this whole wonderful world. They can be sweet OR savoury AND they are even good for you!! So if we make cookies with them... the cookies have gotta be good for you too right!? You're welcome.
These cookies are a very recent discovery for me. They are naturally gluten free, made with sweet potato, egg whites, coconut and ground almonds... resembling the familiar coconut macaroon cookie. Dry on the outside, but soft and chewy in the centres. The most important part though, is that they are very delicious.
Apparently they originate from Spain... specifically speaking, they are a Catalonian cookie which is all the more thrilling as I have just returned from a trip to BARCELONA.
However, I had never heard of "Pannelet" cookies until just a few days ago. The truth is, I had half a cooked sweet potato sitting in my fridge that I was just about to eat, but suddenly I had that burning desire (that I get quite often) which is "MUST BAKE COOKIES". Feeling adventurous I hit up my good friend google and found a recipe for these little mounds of orange chewiness. The recipe is from Alice Medrich, a name to which I trust all my baking qualms, so I knew it was gonna be good. I was right. Make these! Share them with the gluten intolerant people in your life! Or save them for yourself because they are just yummy regardless.
Recipe slightly adapted from Alice Medrich
see original here:
Tiny Tea Party
It's about celebrating the tiny things.
© 2015 Larissa Costella
All Rights Reserved
(All images and content are my own unless otherwise noted)