Para ella


It is tremendous fun to be a amateur food blogger as opposed to a professional food writer. Mainly because amateur food bloggers aren’t subject to publishing pressures and we already have a day job.

Blogging: never before have so many people, with so little to say, said so much to so few

I was invited to a dinner organized by Solymer specially for a photo shoot and write-up by Appetite magazine. Due to scheduling difficulties, I was, to my horror, requested to be the photographer for the shoot. To my absolute relief, Appetite was able to send their photographer and the rest of us could enjoy the spectacular spectacle of cooking paella on a wood fire.

There are many stories about the origins of Paella but here’s my favorite.



Long before your time, the Queen of Spain was traveling through the country and decided to stop at a small village. Having received this news, everyone in the village panicked because like all villages in vaguely fairy tales, this village was poor.

Horrified at the fate, 3 of the villagers set out to find a group of masterless Samurai to defend the village from the bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops. No! Wait! That’s the plot to the Seven Samurai. What happened was, as is always the case in fictional accounts, a villager shouted “I shall give my freshly hunted rabbits for her!” Another volunteered “my Olive oil for her!” And it turned out that the villagers had quite a bit of grub lying around which meant enough egg in the face for everyone who panicked.

As Ferran Adria wasn’t born yet and there was no access to the Interweb, thus without the benefit of a recipe, the villagers simply got a large cast-iron pan and Bam! Everything went into the pan, Emeril-style.

As is so often the case with heartwarming stories of efforts to quell republican uprisings, the Queen of Spain loved the collaborative community effort and declared the pan (the contents, not the cast-iron cookware) “delicious”. In response, the villagers named the said dish “Para Ella”, which is, literally in Spanish, “For Her”. Which over many years got shortened to “Paella”.

At least up to the point when some wise guy points out that people spoke Catalan and not “Spanish” in those days. And everyone gets egg in their faces.


Apparently Ferran Adria uses the same brand


Browning the chicken with garlic




Frozen Peas!


Spanish Chorizo amongst the other good stuff




Toasted Saffron broken up


I may use this as a wallpaper


Feel free to add an allegorical caption







Finally, we get to eat


Lomo Iberico Bellota (Pork Loin) with Cheese

Lomo del Iberico and Spanish Cheeses



Waiter, there’s a prawn in my Gazpaucho


Empanada with Szechuan Chicken!




Posted on 22nd Feb 2010 in Food and Drink, Old School, Spanish


There Are 3 Comments


ming commented on February 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I love paella! Where did you eat? Your photos always make me hungry 😛


ivan commented on February 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I had it at Solymer’s offices. It’s available to the public at the Loewen Garden Farmer’s Market, first Saturday of every month. | 2010 in review commented on February 1, 2011 at 8:52 am

[…] This blog celebrated a friend’s birthday with a new menu from Wo Peng, fell in love with deep-fried oysters at the Ootoya Teishoku-Ya (which was removed from the menu subsequently), got to know about gluten-free baking from Sweets by Vicky and walked into the long and windy halls of Forlino’s for a fun lunch with an acquaintance. This blog was also treated to a first-hand experience of cooking Paella by an expert. […]

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