Food 2008 – Recipes (Asparagus with Parmesan Crisps, Perfect Paella)

Saturday, 31st May 2008 – Recipes (Asparagus with Parmesan Crisps, Perfect Paella)

It was quite a busy weekend – which wasn’t planned. We were supposed to go to Portishead to see Lynne’s parents, but then on Friday evening Lynne managed to trip over the back doorstep and sprained her ankle so badly she couldn’t walk on Saturday. So we stayed home and I sorted out my wardrobe and drawers, then Lynne got the bug and sorted hers out. After that I tackled mountains of paperwork (and it’s all done now), and did some gardening. Before all that however, we had Steffy over for dinner and a catch-up session. I decided to keep things relatively simple.

Asparagus, with Parmesan Crisps

Ingredidents:

  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • Enough asparagus for everyone
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Salad leaves
  • Olive oil

Serves: 3-4

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 220 C.
  2. Place a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray.
  3. Pile the Parmesan up in 6 piles on the parchment.
  4. Bake for around 5-6 minutes.
  5. Allow the crisps to cool.
  6. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.
  7. Toss the asparagus in the oil and cook till tender.
  8. Pile the asparagus and crisps on top of some salad leaves, drizzle with balsamic glaze.

For the main course I opted for paella – for one thing I don’t often get the chance to get the paella pan out. The recipe came from the Times Food & Drink pages. The photos are my own, and I added squid to the mix. I may not think much of Gordon Ramsay as a human being, but he certainly can cook.

Perfect Paella by Gordon Ramsay

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 free-range chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 125g chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 400g Spanish rice
  • 125ml dry white wine
  • 1l chicken stock
  • A few saffron threads
  • 4 large prawns or crevettes
  • 12 large prepared mussels, or 6 green lip mussels
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 lemons cut in wedges

Serves: 4 (actually, I’d say 6-8)

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large paella pan or frying pan, sprinkle the chicken with the paprika and add to the pan skin-side down.

2. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the chorizo, garlic, onion and pepper.

3. Cook for a few minutes to soften the onion and then add the rice. Stir well so that each grain of rice is well coated in oil.

4. Add the wine and allow to evaporate before adding the stock and saffron.

5. Push the prawns and mussels into the mixture so that they are submerged. Scatter over the rosemary, and leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking. But not too often as you will release the starch and make the mixture too stodgy.

3. Arrange the lemon wedges around the edge of the pan and serve immediately.

We finished off with homemade apple pie (my Mum’s recipe, left over from Christmas), topped with creme fraiche with icing sugar stirred in, and then cheese (dolcelatte, murcia de vino, and manchego), quince jelly and oatcakes.

It was a very good dinner and I do enjoy cooking for an appreciative audience! Oh, and Lynne created a very pretty table decoration using chives, pinks and one of the weird architectural plants from our garden.

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