Plates of tapa circulated the room including empanadas, croquetas and Spanish tortillas, all cooked to perfection and oh so delicious! It was as if we were being teased with the promise of the paella to come, which when it did, boy was it worth the wait!
|Marlon, Javi, Lana and Xavi|
|Chef Javi checks the paella, waiting for the critical moment|
to add the rice.
|Adding the rice in a cross shape is the perfect quantity for this pan.|
Getting the rice-to-liquid ratio is critical to
make the perfect paella - not too dry and not too loose.
|The finished dish!|
Meat and vegetarian versions of the paella
Being a greedy so and so I tried both paella's, the vegetarian version included asparagus, artichokes and peppers and it was seriously packed with flavour, who needs meat! The Valencian paella was made with rabbit and chicken, a completely different flavour to the vegetarian paella but again, the flavours were intense, I have never tasted paella like this, if this is traditional Spanish cuisine, then I am a convert.
And don't get me started on the socarrat (that's the crispy bits from the base of the paella), wow, the concentrated flavour in a crispy bite was to die for.
Whilst watching Marlon and Javi cooking the paella earlier I noticed them putting their ear to the pan, on speaking to Marlon he explained that by listening to the paella they can hear when it is cooked, it starts to make a different noise, who knew!
We had a great evening, met some truly wonderful and passionate people, and of course got to eat some pretty amazing food. Sign me up now for a cooking class, I think I am hooked!
The classes will start from 16th May at a very reasonable cost and the Sunday lunch club will take place monthly from today, full details can be found on their website - London Paella School
I grabbed a few minutes with the team and asked them a few questions.
It depends what kind of paella you're planning to cook, but the Valenciana version originally has chicken, rabbit, snails, runner beans, butter beans and rosemary and of course time and care from the Chef cooking.
Well that's a good question, I always recommend you get a proper paella pan, they are not expensive and they last all your life as with any cooking pan if you take care of it. Try buying a small one to learn and then get a bigger one to cook for your friends and family. Chefs tip - if you buy a paella pan and it states for 6 people on the label, divide it by 2 and you will have an idea to get the perfect paella at home. Example if you want to get one to cook for 5 portions, buy a pan for 10 people, the same quantity of ingredients are used but the bigger pan will make for a completely different end result.
As we say in Spain, the best paella is the one made by mum. Original paella has its origins in Valencia, but every region in Spain then developed their own recipes. Even in Valencia you can find 6 different varieties of Paella Valenciana, changing or adding a few ingredients, depending on what vegetables can be sourced from the specific region. Check the differences at wiki paella.org
Definitely chorizo, we NEVER add this to paella. Try to cook them as a starter while you are cooking paella for your friends but don't add them to the paella!
We would like to see the different divisions of the company well developed and in the future we may expand to other cities around the world.
We will occasionally be at markets however we want to focus on large scale events using a arroceria where you cook the more traditional and primitive forms of paella over a wood fire.
A creamy lobster for Cleopatra! I would also like to cook for Mr Kahn, the new Mayor of London so we could talk about how this city can give people the opportunities to start up new businesses.