Friday, 23 January 2015

Word of the Week - 23rd January 2015

This weeks word of the week is...


This week it feels like we are making progress on making hopes for our house a reality. This year we hope to have an extension built at the back of the house to create a large open plan kitchen/dining/family area. We started thinking about the extension last year. We have had so many ideas and thoughts but so far they have just been dreams. This week we have made an appointment with an architect to come and have a look at the house. It will be good to finally know that ideas will be feasible and which are simply not possible.

We have also made progress on getting a drop curb fitted to the drive. We were messed around by a company and left waiting so we have contacted a different company who were out the same day to measure up. We are just waiting for a quote now but again, this is more progress.

It is all very exciting on the house front. This year will be a big year. This will be the year we make our house perfect for us!

As always I am sharing my Word of the Week with the lovely Jocelyn from The Reading Residence.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 22 January 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow? Week 3

This week has seen the preparation of the vegetable plot. Not only has the hubby got a plan for the year, a list of vegetables that we are going to grow and seeds ordered but he has braved the cold and has been hard at work preparing the beds. We now have deeper raised beds, the compost bins moved and even new area that is ready for some fruit trees.

Last year we did not have the opportunity to plan the vegetable patch. Everything was planted last minute. This year we are determined to do things differently. We want to grow more this year and as many varieties of vegetables that we are able to. We aim to be as self sufficient as we can throughout the year by growing and nurturing our vegetables. There is no greater satisfaction than watching the vegetables grow until they are ready to harvest, collecting fresh vegetables ready to cook and serve.

Elsewhere in the garden there are signs of new growth. Buds are becoming visible on so many plants. I love seeing everything come back to life as springtime arrives. We have found that many plants are ahead this year due to the mild end of last year. My parents even have daffodils that are in bloom!

This is how our garden has grown this week...

Patch ready for new fruit trees
Higher raised beds

Yay our chickens are laying again!
As always I am sharing how our garden has grown with the lovely Annie from Mammasaurus.

How Does Your Garden Grow

Easy Paella

When I lived in Gran Canaria I fell in love with the Spanish/Canarian cuisine. There was always plenty of fresh fish available, having churros and coffee for breakfast, eating bocadillos (mini french sticks) with ham and cheese for lunch, tapas for a mid afternoon snack and eating late at night. I fully embraced the lifestyle and loved their meals.

There was nothing better than a get together with a fresh paella cooking in the sun whilst sipping Rioja. Just writing this I am longing for summer to arrive, investing in a paellera (paella pan) and cooking one al fresco.

Last week I finally got round to cooking this much loved dish. However as I am the only one who eats shell fish I had to leave out the clams, squid and mussels. But I did include king prawns and chorizo.

This is how to cook my easy paella...

Easy Paella


350g arborio rice
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 mini yellow peppers, chopped
1 courgette, quartered and sliced
200g cooked chorizo, chopped
100g fine beans
50g florets of tenderstem broccoli
1/2 tsp saffron, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
160g cooked king prawns
6 spears of asparagus
1.3 lt vegetable stock


1 - Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a deep saute pan or paellera and gently cook the onions and garlic over a low/medium heat for about 10 minutes or until starting to soften.

2 - Add the peppers, courgette and chorizo and cook for a further 10 minutes stirring regularly. As the chorizo heats it will add colour and flavours of garlic and paprika to the vegetables.

3 - Add the arborio rice and heat for 2 minutes then pour over the saffron infused water and stir thoroughly before pouring over 750mls of vegetable stock. 

4 - Sprinkle over the smoked paprika, stir and bring to the boil.

5 - Reduce the heat to a low/medium heat, add the green beans, tenderstem broccoli and king prawns.  Cover and allow the flavours to combine together and the rice to soften

6 -Regularly check the paella and add extra water when needed. The rice should be cooked to al dente.

7 - Finally lay the spears of asparagus over the paella, re cover and cook for a further 3 minutes.

8 - Remove the pan from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

This paella is full of authentic flavour and really does take me back to hot sunny days with Joseph's late God mother Anita at her house in the mountains of Gran Canaria. These were some of the best times that I had there and they are deeply missed as is Anita.

Paella may seem a daunting dish to cook but this really is an easy recipe. The beauty of paella is that you can add or remove ingredients depending on taste but as long as you have the basic flavours you can create a delicious meal.

Enjoy x

I am sharing my recipe with Supergolden Bakes - Cook, Blog, Share