FOOD DIARY: Saturday, November 17th.

As I have noted, the climate is cooperating superbly and therefore tonight called for a BBQ but not just any BBQ, oh no, Diane makes her signature paella on the barbie as it is made in Spain–a BBQ dish in the outdoors surrounded and infused with the fresh air; as good for BBQs as it is for humans.

Our first course (even BBQs have courses) was a serve of migas with her olives which is one of my favourites especially after smelling the migas being fried during the afternoon.

The setting of the fire is an act in itself because the panella pan must be balanced carefully to assure the even cooking of the dish as well as avoiding hot-spots on the pan.  If it is not balanced carefully then the rice will not cook evenly and hot-spots are to be avoided for the same reason.  Also the fire must be even: the stock when added to the rice must boil evenly throughout the bottom of the pan to ensure even cooking (again no hot-spots).  The cook must be ready to stir the paella continually to ensure, again, even cooking.  Heated stock must be added periodically to the rice as the original is absorbed but it must be added slowly so as not to have the rice end up soggy.  Just before the cooking is complete, perhaps minutes, the fresh peas and the shrimp are added.  When the cooking is complete Diane removed the pan and covered it with a heavy cloth to allow final absorption and resting.  Only then can the feasting begin!

As to ingredients, we have experimented over the years and it comes down to a combination (not carved in stone) of chicken pieces (we use boneless breast meat and thigh meat), large shrimp or prawns, rounds of chorizo, sweet peppers in slices, peas and/or olives. Other ingredients are up to your tastes; Spaniards away from the coast substitute snails for the shrimp and green beans are included.  The best thing to do is just experiment!

As a beverage, we enjoyed a delicious Marques deTezona Tempranillo.

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