One of the joys of travel is coming home with a greater appreciation of other cultures, their traditions and their food – and where better to throw yourself into the gastronomic delights of a region than in Spain!
Gate 1 Travel’s Discovery small group tour, 14 Day France & Spain: History, Culture & Wine, offers an intoxicating blend of these two delicious countries and in Barcelona you get to enjoy a truly memory foodie exeperience – you get to take part in a step-by-step paella cooking class to prepare a meal in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Then for lunch, savour your own creation!
This photo by Tom Regner was his Gate 1 group in action and in his words “It was so much fun!”
This internationally-renowned Spanish dish could also be considered an equality trail blazer in the kitchen, because traditionally it was prepared by men. The male of the household would often cook up this dish on a Sunday to give his wife a day off from cooking!
If you can’t wait until you get to Spain for an authentic cooking class, then here’s a traditional receipe that you might want to try this weekend and imagine yourself eating it in Barcelona, or Valencia, where it originated.
Paella a la Maestre – from Australia’s favourite adopted Spaniard, Miguel Maestre:
500g marinara mix (mussels, fish, calamari, prawns, scallops)
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
500ml chicken stock
220g Bomba rice (short grain Spanish rice)
50g fresh or frozen peas
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
½ bunch chives, garnish
Aioli and Sangria, to serve
For the sofrito:
2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
6 piquillo peppers
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
½ bunch parsley
1 bunch chives
25ml extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch saffron threads
1 tbsp smoked paprika
To make the sofrito, place all the sofrito ingredients in a food processor and process until chunky. If you don’t have a food processor, roughly chop the tomatoes and piquillo peppers and finely chop the garlic, parsley and chives then combine with other sofrito ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Place a 30-centimetre-wide frying pan or paella pan over a high heat. Add the marinara mix with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and cook for one minute. Add sofrito and cook for a further three minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Stir in rice and bring to a simmer on medium to low heat for 15 minutes until stock has absorbed.
Add peas and cook for a further two minutes to achieve “soccarrada” (crust on the bottom of the pan).
Season to taste with salt and garnish with chives. Squeeze over lemon juice just before serving. Serve with aioli and sangria, the Spanish way. Ole!