A few weeks ago I was invited to meet Jose and Lisa Gomez owners of Perfect Paella … and all I can say of that night is that the Spanish truly love their Paella, they really know how to throw the best parties and boy can they dance! Just so you know Perfect Paella is selling the most amazing paella pans (and very affordable too) and even give cooking classes if you want to really learn from the Masters.
But for me the paella is one of those dishes that I think has become victim to its own success and modern day popularity – hence the reason why it has so many different interpretations or variation. Now my question today is – to chorizo or not to chorizo? A purist friend of mine said to me he heard that you traditionally don’t use chorizo in paella! This caught me completely off-guard – for one, I have always cooked my own paellas with chorizo and I honestly thought that it is the way to do it! I had to immediately ask one of my best friends Louis who lives near Valentia: would I be defiling an ancient and respected recipe by including chorizo in the paella or not?
Within 5 minutes of my email, Louis responded as follows: “Nella… NO chorizo if you want traditional paella…my mother-in-law would turn in her grave. The paella with chorizo is more for tourists in Spain and in the South of Spain (Andalucia) . If you throw anything in then it’s just a rice ensemble and not a paella.”
So there you have it folks – in Spain they don’t use chorizo in a real Paella … But now … I am not a purist or a traditionalist so I love chorizo and love adding it to paella. So my paella is probably a rice concoction of sort in Spanish terms but for me it’s a damn good paella. I also steered well away from the tradition by substituting the wine with some South African “Nagmaalwyn”. My paella is also on the blonder side (not yellow) – another note to self – I need to stock up on some fresh saffron. It was one of the most soulful paellas I have yet to taste – try it and let me know …
chicken + chorizo paella
- 800g Chicken pieces – I take each piece and cleave it into two pieces
- 2 Chorizo sausages – sliced (+-250g)
- 2T Olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves - grated
- 1t Black pepper
- 1t Salt
- 50ml Olive Oil
- 50 ml Nagmaalwyn (Sherry)
- Other Ingredients
- 2T Olive oil
- 3 Garlic cloves – sliced thinly
- 1 Red pepper – cut into blocks
- 1 Handful of fresh origanum (or replace with ½t dried origanum)
- 5 Sprigs of fresh thyme (I use the whole sprigs)
- 1t Smoked paprika (I did not have smoked paprika so I used normal paprika and added 6 drops of liquid smoke to my stock)
- 1 Big pinch of saffron - soaked in a little bit of water
- 50ml Nagmaalwyn
- 500g Paella rice
- 1.75L Chicken stock
- Marinade - Mix all the marinade ingredients together and marinade the chicken for about ½ hour.
- Fry the chicken with the chorizo on medium to high heat until nice and brown.
- Take out of the pan and add all the rest of the ingredients except the Nagmaalwyn, rice and stock.
- Fry for about 5 minutes and then add the Nagmaalwyn to deglaze the pan. Scrape all the beautiful fried pieces from the bottom of the pan.
- Then pack the pieces of chicken in the pan – so they are spread evenly and add the sliced chorizo.
- Now add ½ of the stock to the pan and then the rice. Make sure all the rice is submerged in the stock.
- At this stage you don’t fiddle with the paella – don’t touch it with a spoon, ladle or anything. Cook over medium heat. When the paella looks dry add the rest of the stock and cook till done – about 40 minutes.
- Pour yourself a glass of good wine, rope in a few hungry friends and enjoy the flavours and the moment.
Derick Henstra is the Chairman of the company that I am very fortunate to work for. He is an amazing individual, architect, artist, food lover and wine connoisseur. A while ago he told me about a cauliflower soup with brie, smoked paprika and crostini (“little toasts” in Italian) that he ate in Durban. I immediately decided that I would have to make and taste this – I made it a bit different…choosing to roast the cauliflower … well, I cannot tell you how amazing it tasted. The smoked paprika certainly compliments the roasted cauliflower and the melting brie inside gives it just that extra edge. There is not one flavour that overpowers the other and all seems to come together in perfect harmony … it is a simple + beautiful bowl of joy! This one is for you dh … carpe diem.
Note: Smoked paprika is a wonderful ingredient but please use it sparingly + with respect. You can easily overpower the dish with its strong flavour. I bought the smoked paprika at Newport Deli in Cape Town.
roasted cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts
- 2 Cauliflower heads – cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 Big onion – cut into quarters
- 2T Olive oil
- 2 Cup water
- 1 Chicken or Vegetable stock cube
- 2 Cups full-cream milk (if you want it richer you can replace one cup of milk with cream or you can use fat free milk as a more healthier option)
- 20g Butter (or more 🙂 )
- 1 Large pinch of salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 125g Brie cheese – cut into 6 pieces
- Smoked Paprika to sprinkle over the soup.
- Preparing the "little toasts"
- Cut a French loaf into thin slices and toast in toaster.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Put cauliflower and onion in bowl – pour the olive oil over it and swirl the contents around in the bowl until all the vegetable pieces are lightly covered in oil. Place on baking tray and bake in the oven for +- 25 - 30 minutes until roasted and browned.
- Take a pot, add the water and the stock cube.
- Add the cauliflower and onion and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the milk and liquidize. It will have a nice thick consistency. If you find the consistency too thick just add a bit of extra milk.
- Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Please taste and use more salt if needed.
- Pour piping hot soup into bowls. Put a wedge of brie in each, then add the "little toasts" on top and sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika!
- Tuck-in and enjoy!
I am by nature a foodie and as foodies go, we all have our foodie idols … One of my foodie idols is Chef Peter Tempelhoff – not only is he a great chef but also not too shabby on the eye – oh, who am I kidding everyone … he is hot! And if you come to my office you will see an A3 poster of him hanging next to my desk … but to my utter dismay two of my wonderful colleagues Johann and Pieter gave Chef Tempelhoff a mustache and a tattoo 🙂 … Anyway, two weeks ago I attended the Table of Peace and Unity lunch on the slopes of our wonderful Table Mountain and Peter Tempelhoff was one of the chefs responsible for the starter [miso sesame cured salmon and ginger prawn spring roll with soja jalapeno dressing]. I don’t know if it was the dish or perhaps him walking past that inspired me to do something hot with salmon. So later in the week I visited my Chinese supermarket for some ingredients and over the weekend made this really delicious, salmon in a hot and sour Asian broth. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It’s so easy … so tasty and so fresh … and cheers to the hot chef who inspired me to make this dish!
20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer
- 150g x 4 Skinless salmon steaks
- Salt and black pepper
- For broth
- 1L Chicken stock (I use stock cubes for this – that’s what they do in Asia :-))
- 2-3 Green chillies (...if you like things a little hotter, spice it up with one more ... but not too many as it will overpower your dish )
- +-20cm piece of lemongrass – crushed with the back of your knife and cut into pieces (if you cannot find it but you do stay in Cape Town – contact me, I have a huge bush in my garden!)
- 1 Garlic clove – finely sliced
- 1 Thumb size piece of fresh ginger – finely sliced
- ¼ Cup of soya sauce
- 4ml Sesame oil - just under a teaspoon (be very careful that you don’t overdo the sesame oil)
- Juice of 2 limes (small) or 1 lemon
- 2 Spring onions – chopped diagonally into thin slices
- Handful of fresh coriander – roughly shredded by hand
- Bean sprouts to garnish and to add some crunch
- In a saucepan or pot add all the ingredients for the broth – except the spring onions, coriander and bean sprouts. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5-10 minutes allowing all the flavours to infuse.
- In a non stick pan fry the salmon until brown on both sides - +-2-3 minutes on each side should do. The salmon must still be rare inside – but you must be able to flake it with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
- To serve: Pour some of the broth through a sieve into a 4 bowls, add some spring onion and coriander. Put the salmon in the middle of the bowls and add some bean sprouts to garnish. I love fresh ginger so I always add the ginger I used for the broth in my bowl.
- Tuck in and enjoy!
Today, I need to tell you about my little weekend adventure … the Ultimate Braai Challenge… This past Saturday my friend Joani and I took part in the Western Cape auditions for the Ultimate Braai Challenge. This turned out to be one of the best foodie experiences of my life – the 100 crazy teams, the ‘gees”, the organizers, the judges were just amazing and Justin Bonello is such a fabulous guy and so down to earth! Kudu’s go to all the organizers, the sponsors and everyone that took part both young and old. I was really gob-smacked by all the different people that took part – their liveliness, their spirit and what passion we South Africans have! I realised once again – we LOVE a braai! I cannot wait for this show to start – I really think it is going to take SA by storm!!
But let me get back to what food we presented to the judges – our main course was braaied Ostrich fillet in a red wine and mushroom jus with beetroot blocks – all done on the braai. One of the judges told us that this specific dish was the best dish he had tasted on the day. So I thought I would share this recipe with you. For sure you can do this on the stove as well but for those of you who are adventurous why not also try this on the braai…? Serve this with buttery, mustardy, crushed new potatoes. If you are not so much an ostrich steak fan you can always swap this with a cut of beef or even kudu fillet. Do not forget to enjoy this with a good glass of red wine …
Happy Braaiing … remember where there’s smoke … there is a braai!
ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks
Author: Anél Potgieter . lifeisazoobiscuit.com
- For steak
- 4 x 200g Ostrich Fillet
- 1Tablespoon cooking oil
- Salt and pepper
- For the Jus
- 15 g butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ large onion, cut in quarters and parted
- 3 king oyster mushrooms, cut in 3x lengthwise
- 4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
- Pinch of salt
- Big pinch of black pepper
- 1 ½ cups of red wine
- 1 Cup chicken stock (it is ok to use stock cubes diluted in water as per instruction)
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
- 20 g butter
- For beetroot blocks
- 250g cooked beetroot cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes
- Add the oil and butter to a pot then add the onion – caramalise the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Onions need to have that beautiful honey colour.
- Add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and the salt and pepper. Fry for a further 10 minutes. I love to hear the snap-crackle-pop of the thyme!
- Add the red wine and garlic and de-glaze the pan.
- Then add the chicken stock and the tomato paste. Simmer till half the amount is left. This is important - it needs to be a thickish sauce consistency.
- Add the rest of the butter and let it melt. Taste and season.
- Sieve through a fine sieve and add the beetroot blocks. Set aside.
- Keep the big onion pieces and oyster mushrooms aside – discard the thyme and rosemary.
- Heat the oil in the pan and fry the ostrich according to your taste – medium rare for me. Season meat to your taste.
- Add the onions and mushrooms (that you used in the jus) and fry these with the steak.
- Take the steak out of the frying pan to rest (let it rest for least 8 minutes) and add the red wine jus to the steak juices in the pan.
- To serve: Put the steak on a plate – add some onion pieces and giant oyster mushroom on top. Then pour some jus at the bottom of the plate. Dress with a few blocks of beetroot around the steak.