FAQs and important points to know
Below are some of the questions you may be asked and points you need to know about our paella and paella in general. Naturally you will have to adapt these according to the conversation you are having and the type of person you are speaking to. We never want to sound patronizing or preachy, so always keep the conversation light and friendly.
What is paella?
Paella is a Spanish rice dish. This one I’m cooking is a seafood paella / chicken & chorizo paella / mixed mushroom & truffle oil paella.
How is it supposed to be pronounced?
The Spanish say ‘pie-eh-ya’
Is this an authentic Spanish paella*?
The original paella is actually the Valenciana, made with chicken, rabbit and beans. Our recipes are a bit different but they are based on traditional cooking methods.
There are so many interpretations of this dish so it’s hard to say if there is a single definitive paella – it began during the Moorish occupancy of Spain over 1000 years ago and over that time it has evolved and gained many interpretations. Ours is strongly rooted in traditional methods but of course every restaurant or household has it’s own special ‘brand’ of paella, as do we.
*You may occasionally get a Spaniard who grills you about our paella – generally they have a very good sense of humour and if they ask why your paella is not the way their mother does it, simply explain that this is our interpretation, based on traditional methods.
Should the paella not be mixed? Is that not more authentic and traditional?
There are many different versions of paella today, so it I shard to say if there is an ultimate definition. In Valencia, where paella originated, they do not mix seafood and meat paellas. However, mixed paella is very popular in other parts of Spain. We prefer to keep them separate, as not everyone can eat seafood and some people do not eat meat.
What type of rice do you use?
We use a medium grain rice – as close to a short grain as we can get. We get it from our supplier.
Is it Spanish rice?
No - it is very difficult to get the quantities we need in Spanish rice. There just isn’t a big enough demand for distributors to bring in large quantities.
What spices do you use?
Sweet paprika (and smoked paprika for the chicken)
Do you use saffron?
No we do not – the cost would make our paella too expensive and we do not believe in using substitutes such as fake colourants or turmeric, which would be quite wrong for the flavour.
Do you cook everything yourselves?
Yes. Everything is cooked from fresh, right here, by us. We don’t believe in pre-cooking.
Is there any alcohol in the paella?
No, none at all.
Is there any meat in the seafood paella?
No, none at all. It is just seafood and we use a vegetable stock.
Is the paella spicy?
No, traditionally paella does not have any chilli in it.
What is in the seafood paella?
Prawns, calamari, baby clams and local mussels, and we finish the dish off with peas, parsley and good quality olive oil.
What is in the chicken paella?
We use free-range chicken, best quality chorizo, sweet red pepper, green beans and artichoke.
What is chorizo?
It is a type of cured Spanish pork sausage that is flavoured with a mix of herbs and spices.
What does cured mean?
It means it is preserved with salt and hung to dry, which helps the flavor to develop.
What is in the mushroom paella?
Mixed mushrooms (such as portabelllini, shimeji and oyster mushrooms), char-grilled fennel and truffle oil. We finish it off with fresh fennel fronds.
Why is the rice so brown/burnt looking at the bottom of the pan?
That is what the Spanish call the socarrat. Traditionally paella is meant to have this toasted, caramelized rice at the bottom of the pan. It is seen as being the best part of the paella and everyone fights over it.
Can I pay now and come and collect later?
Unfortunately we don’t do pre-orders as it becomes difficult to keep track. (If it is very quiet then it’s fine to take a few pre-orders).
Can I have more prawns?
(If at the market) – No I’m afraid not, we calculate all our ingredients according to our number of portions.
(At a private event) – I’ll be glad to dish up some more for you once I have served the other guests.
Can I have just the seafood and no rice?
(At the market) – No, the rice is a very big part of the dish so I’m afraid not.
(At private events it is fine but again we need ot make sure there’s enough for other guests)
Do you do catering and if so, how does it work and how much does it cost?
Yes, absolutely. Please visit our website for more info.
How long does it take to cook a pan?
About an hour and 15 minutes.