I do try and sneak in a vegetarian dinner at least one night of the week. Sometimes it goes unnoticed and other times I get a remark along the lines of 'Where's the meat?!' or 'Whats all this green stuff on my plate?' or I find him simply grilling a bit of fish or chicken on the BBQ (with enough garlic to kill a vampire) and get the polite question if I would like some too. Most of the time when the name of the dish has vegetable or vegetarian in the name then it definitely gets a reaction, just like last nights dinner.
Multi-vegetable Paella from Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook PLENTY. But this time it wasn't just him...throughout the entire meal we both kept imagining how good it would be with chicken and fish and calamari and prawns and mussels and baby clams and chorizo throughout it.
The Multi-vegetable Paella had a variety of vegetables in it but I couldn't help myself and did a little fridge empty in there. This dish would be great to do that with at the end of the week before the next grocery shop or have it as a store cupboard staple because there was a fair bit of frozen or jarred vegetables in it. And yet again this week, somehow I messed up the meal planning and there was no red capsicum in the fridge when I came to make this on Monday night but what I did have was left over jarred peppers in the fridge from Jamie's sausage fusilli I made the other weekend. YAY! I added some leftover baby spinach and a couple of carrots which are always floating around in the bottom of the fridge.
I actually own a paella pan and love any excuse to use it but after I had climbed on top of the kitchen cupboards and retrieved it and placed it on the stove it was total over-kill. It covered 90% of the cook top. I could almost have all four burners on at once and use it, so for two people it went straight back up to the top of the cupboard again and out came my trusty crock pot. You must think that I don't own any other pots but I do own the standard ikea set which does the job perfectly as well, I just have a soft spot for 'Bessey' my red crock pot.
PS. Happy Birthday big sister if you're reading this :)
Multi-vegetable Paella by Yotam Ottolenghi from PLENTY.
(serves 2 generously)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 spanish onion, finely chopped
1 small capsicum, cut into strips (I used 3 jarred peppers instead)
1/2 fennel bulb, cut unto strips
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
150g aborio rice (or Calasparra)
100mL good-quality medium sherry
1 tsp saffron threads (if your a millionaire!... I used a pinch)
450mL boiling vegetable stock
200g shelled broad beans (I used frozen)
12 mini plum tomatoes, halved (I used a handful of cherry tomatoes)
5 small grilled artichokes in oil from a jar, quartered
15 pitted kalamata olives, halved
2 tbsp chopped parsley
4 lemon wedges
- Fry onion for 5 minutes in olive oil over a medium heat. Add the capsicums (if using jarred like I did, save them till the end) and fennel and fry for a further few minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add bay leaves and spices stirring well. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes. De-glaze the pan with sherry and then add the saffron along with the stock. Season and then simmer gently for about 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Make sure you remove the skin from the broad beans. To do this pour boiling water onto the beans and allow to sit for a couple of minutes then drain and allow to cool. Squeeze the broad beans from their skin, discarding the skin.
- When the rice is cook add the skinned broad beans, tomatoes, artichokes and olives (and jarred peppers if using them). Place the lid on and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Take the lid off, squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle the parsley and serve.