Paella (serves 4)

Paella by The Fat Foodie

My partner recently bought me a paella pan. I’ve no idea why they bought it for me because I’ve never really thought of or discussed making paella before, but I suspect their motive wasn’t entirely altruistic due to the plethora of paella recipe suggestions that they began offering the minute I unwrapped it. However, I’m always up for trying new recipes so I thought it’d be good to try making a chicken and prawn paella in it.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘proper’ paella before, so this recipe is just my interpretation of what a traditional paella recipe normally entails, but it turned out to be very tasty and made a nice change for dinner that night. Although I made my paella with chicken breasts and prawns you could easily make a vegetarian, or even vegan, version of this by simply using a selection of low FODMAP vegetables instead, such as diced bell peppers, sliced oyster mushrooms and discs of courgette.

However you decide to make your paella you’ll be rewarded with a plateful of tender grains of rice that have been gently poached in vegetable stock and are well-seasoned with herbs and spices, accompanied by juicy prawns and tender chunks of chicken breast. It certainly does Spanish food justice.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 chicken breasts (diced)

200g cooked prawns

100g smoked ham (chopped)

300g paella rice or long grain rice

2 fresh common tomatoes (diced)

100g red bell pepper (diced)

2 vegetable stock cubes (make sure they don’t contain onion or garlic)

250ml white wine (optional)

1 tbsp paprika

1/2 tsp dried oregano

A pinch of saffron

1/3 tsp ground pepper

600ml boiling water (possibly more)

Method:

Prepare the vegetables as directed and use the stock cubes and the boiling water to make a vegetable stock.

Heat the oil in a paella pan or a large frying pan or saucepan and cook the chicken.

Add the vegetables, rice, spices and the vegetable stock.

Cook, stirring gently all the while, and once the rice is almost soft add the prawns and chopped smoked ham. (Add more water if necessary. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge how much water rice will need.)

Cook the risotto until the prawns are hot, taste and season if necessary, and serve.

Paella by The Fat Foodie

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Mediterranean Risotto (serves 2)

Mediterranean Risotto by The Fat Foodie

I never used to be a fan of risottos, thinking that a dish made out of rice simply soaked with stock must be stodgy and bland, but then I made a gorgeous mushroom risotto one day and realised how tasty risottos actually are. Risottos must be made with arborio rice because it’s a particular type of rice that steadily absorbs the liquid you’re soaking it in, becoming infused with a multitude of flavours until the plump little grains of rice are ready to be eaten.

One of the great things about risottos is that you can make them with loads of different flavour combinations. You can make them based on meat or fish, but I think they’re particularly good when made with vegetables because the fresh vegetables add lots of crunch and texture to the soft risotto rice. Plus, there are so many types of vegetables you can make a risotto with, you’ll never get bored!

Making this Mediterranean risotto doesn’t involve a huge amount of ingredients, but it tastes fantastic. It’s thick, gooey, cheesy and satisfying and only takes about 20 minutes to make. A traditional Mediterranean risotto would ask for onions and garlic in the base ingredients, but they’d make my tummy hurt so I’ve just left them out. I used oyster mushrooms in my risotto because they release a great deeply-flavoured stock as they cook and they’re the only low FODMAP mushroom. Also, Grana Padano is a hard cheese so it’s a great low FODMAP option, but you could use dairy-free alternatives instead, such as Violife’s parmesan.

If you haven’t tried making a risotto before then please give this one a go, but feel free to change the ingredients to your heart’s content (pancetta and fresh petit pois peas is a particularly gorgeous risotto combination) and let me know how you get on. You won’t regret it and I guarantee you’ll be making it again within a couple of weeks. It’s that tasty!

Ingredients:

100g of diced red and green bell peppers

A generous handful of parsley (finely chopped)

160g oyster mushrooms (diced)

2 vegetable stock cubes

1 litre boiling water

150g arborio rice

75g grated Grana Padano (or dairy-free alternative)

150ml white wine (optional, just add more stock to make up the liquid volume instead)

2 tsps capers

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 red chilli (finely chopped, but entirely optional)

Method:

Place a risotto pan or large frying pan over a medium heat.

Dissolve the vegetable stock pots into the litre of boiling water.

Add the butter into the risotto pan and once it’s melted add the rice and stir.

Add the white wine and let it be absorbed by the rice, stirring all the while. Once it’s absorbed add the mushrooms and the vegetable stock and keep stirring.

Once the rice has thickened a bit add the chopped peppers, parsley and capers and keep stirring until all of the stock has been absorbed and the rice is soft.

Remove from the heat and stir the grated Grana Padano through the risotto. Taste for seasoning, add chopped chilli if you like, and serve.

Mediterranean Risotto by The Fat Foodie

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