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After a couple of weeks off due to grad festivities (the few that could be had during these pandemic days) and an insane record breaking heat wave, we are finally back at it! Though honestly it was nice not slaving over the oven, I missed the food, facts, and experiences.

For our first meal back at it came from Spain and thankfully it eased us in with an easier meal for our still hot weather. Our dinner was a Chicken Paella. Although it appears that many have seafood in them I opted to stick with the chicken for those who aren’t fond of the seafood.

To start we cooked some onions, garlic, and peppers in some olive oil until the onions were translucent. This already smelled good before we added the tomatoes, bay leaf, saffron, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. After cooking for about 5 minutes we added some white wine and cooked another ten.

Onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, saffron, paprika, salt, and pepper simmering away.

It was at this point we added the diced chicken thighs, parsley, and calrose rice and cooked for one minute before adding chicken broth. This then simmered away for about 18 minutes where we jostled the pan a couple of times during cooking, not stirring. About ten minutes before the end we added frozen peas, allowing the pan to rest before serving.

To finish it off we had fresh parsley and lemon slices to use as desired. I honestly was a little uncertain about adding the lemon but it was surprisingly good! It added a freshness to the dish that was unexpected.

Paella enjoyed by all!

This dish was definitely a hit with the large pan rapidly disappearing with everyone enjoying seconds. We enjoyed the flavours with the saffron and paprika rounding it out. This will definitely be made time and again.

Dessert was an easy Spanish Flan with caramel sauce. This too was fairly easy, though not as widely enjoyed. The caramel portion took a couple of tries, but other than that it was quick to prepare.

Caramelizing the sugar for our flan.

We began by heating up the sugar into caramel and placing the the bottom of our ramekins. As this was caramelizing we scorched some cream and beat eggs with sugar. Once the caramel was on the bottom we mixed the cream into the egg mixture slowly so not to cook the eggs.

Filling the ramekins.

Once in place we filled the pan the ramekins with in with hot water, and 3/4 up the sides, and the placed them in the oven until golden and a knife in the centre came out clean. These were then cooled before flipping out onto plates and topping with fresh mint.

Easy Spanish Flan with Caramel Sauce.

I enjoyed the contrast of the sweetness with the slightly burnt caramel flavour though not everyone did. This will be made again, though only when there are others to help me eat it all since most of my family won’t!

Did you know that Paella is not actually considered a national dish by many Spaniards? Instead it is viewed as from Valencia by locals.

Spain is a constitutional monarchy under King Felipe VI and is home to the world’s oldest restaurant which has been running since 1725 as well as the oldest still operating lighthouse. The Tower of Hercules, or Farum Brigantium, is not only a lighthouse but also a landmark, having been established in the late 1st century AD.

The country’s life expectancy is higher than many at 82 and 85 years. Wind is their greatest source of energy and Spanish is the second most widely spoken language (fourth most spoken language). At 12,198 feet, Tiede Peak on the Canary Islands is Spain’s highest peak.

Finally, Spain is home to the largest food fight. Taking place during the festival La Tomatina participants throw more than 150,000 tomatoes every August.

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