Paella perhaps is the most popular dish ordered in Spanish restaurants. It must be the various vibrant flavours, the different textures and vivid colours that can be experienced in this dish. It is one food that is very dear to me. Whilst growing up in the Philippines, our family gatherings would normally include Paella Valenciana and Lechon (suckling pig). Paella is also something I would cook nowadays on special occasions.
What may seem very grand and intimidating to cook can now be easily
re-created at home! Thanks to Extra Virgin Fine Foods Restaurant’s Paella Cooking Class, they have made paella cooking easier. They have formulated a method and recipe to make cooking paella almost fool proof but without compromising the great taste of excellent paella.
Extra Virgin Fine Foods is an award-winning tapas restaurant in Crows Nest, Sydney. It is named after the Extra Virgin Fine Foods brand that sells a range of homemade sauces, sangria syrup and olive oils, which are all based on traditional family recipes. The managing director, Mauricio Moreno and Head Chef, Vincent Girardin are the two driving forces of this magnificent restaurant. The restaurant’s décor is very Mediterranean in style. The one thing I’ve noticed most is that they are very unpretentious considering they were crowned “Favourite Spanish Restaurant in NSW in the Lifestyle Channel’s I Love Food Awards 2012”.
Back to the class, a few other fellow bloggers and I were privileged to participate in their paella cooking class and honored to have cooked in their kitchen. Chef Vincent started by welcoming us to the class and gave us a brief background on paella and the process involved in creating it. A recipe was provided before we started. We then entered the kitchen and were each provided with ingredients that were prepared beforehand and cooking utensils. Chef Vincent and his cook were there to guide and assist us through the whole process.
We started infusing the flavours from the chorizo (house made), prawns, calamari, and mussels (with wine and covered to steam cook) into the pan by slightly cooking the ingredients.
All the above ingredients are then set aside and in goes other sofrito (house made). The rice is later evenly poured into the pan. A warm saffron stock and veal stock (house made) also goes into the pan. The rice is pushed around side to side to let the stock penetrate the rice. Seasoning and paprika are added to intensify the flavour. All the ingredients that were set aside in the early stages of process are returned into the pan and rendered.
At the end of the class, we enjoyed the fruits of our labour with some sangria, croquetas de queso and tortilla con boquerones y mojama.
The paella is very smoky and rich in flavour. The rice is very moist and almost sticky in consistency. The rice bottom is also toasted. This is probably one of the best paellas I’ve had in Sydney.
The croquetas de queso is a three-cheese croqueta, crumbed then fried. The outer layer is has panko crumbs cooked to perfect crisp with flavourful mushy cheese innards.
The tortilla con boquerones y mojama (Potato tortilla, topped with white anchovy & shavings of cured tuna).
|Complimentary sangria mix|
This class (worth $95pp) is suitable for cooks of any level. The techniques, ingredients and process are properly explained. By the end of the class, you will be equipped with basic paella cooking skills and knowledge to make your own homemade paella. The class runs on a Saturday from 3pm – 5pm. For more information, visit http://www.extravirginfinefoods.com.au/classes.html.
Ramen Raff participated in the Paella Cooking Class and dined as a guest courtesy of Extra Virgin Fine Foods and Helen Lear.
Extra Virgin Fine Foods
17 Alexander Street,
Crows Nest, NSW 2065
(02) 9436 0733
Brunch – Saturday and Sunday, 9.30am – 3.30pm
Lunch – Friday to Sunday, 12pm – 3.30pm
Dinner – Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm – late