Perfecting the art of the paella...

Perfecting the art of the Paella! Food to enjoy when the sun shines.

We recently heard Simon Hopkinson on the radio talking about his childhood memories - with both parents keen cooks his foodie destiny was nurtured from an early age.

simon hopkinson the good cook whisk hampers Simon Hopkinson - our inspiration for cooking set hampers

He conjured up a brilliant image of his father preparing paella in their local market town of Bury. Before he had ever visited the shores of Spain (or correctly Valencia where this famous dish harks from) the smell of saffron rice bubbling away in a freezing market hall on a wet Sunday had proved irresistible. Even then, at a young age he knew this jeweled rice dish bursting with flavour was a remarkably tasty recipe.

It is a very similar to my own discovery of paella, my mother lived in Spain in her early twenties and was taught the traditional method of cooking paella. Still to this day she will only make paella if the sun is shining and we can enjoy it outdoors in the open air.

I have included below the paella recipe we follow at Whisk, I must admit it turns out beautifully time and time again. A great dish for entertaining to share with friends, and not too complicated as long as you start off with the right ingredients. As all good paella cooks demand, you cannot use any other rice it must be paella rice.

When Whisk Hampers was in the development stage there were some hero products we knew we had to include, and the Perfect Paella Kit was at the top of the list as we love the dish and it transfers into a gourmet gift so brilliantly.








So next time you are entertaining why not give it a go, although the cooks in Valencia only prepare Paella when the sun is shining, given our recent weather you might not want to wait that long!

How to make the perfect paella (recipe serves 2-3 people)

85g Chorizo, cut into thin slices
50g Pancetta, cut into small dice
1 Clove garlic finely chopped
½ Large Spanish onion, finely diced
½ Red pepper, diced
½ tsp Soft thyme leaves
¼ tsp Dried red chilli flakes
285 ml Calasparra paella rice
½ tsp Paprika
60ml Dry white wine
0.6 litres Chicken stock, heated with a pinch of saffron strands
4 Chicken thighs, each chopped in half and browned
9 Small clams, cleaned
55g Fresh or frozen peas
2 Large tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
60ml Good olive oil
½ Head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
6 Jumbo raw prawns, in shells
225g Squid, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. heat half the olive oil in the paella dish. add the chorizo and pancetta and fry until crisp. add the garlic, onion and pepper and heat until softened. add the thyme, chilli flakes and calasparra rice, and stir until all the grains of rice are nicely coated and glossy. Now add the paprika and dry white wine and when it is bubbling, pour in the hot chicken stock, add the chicken thighs and cook for 5-10 minutes.

2. Place the clams into the dish with the join facing down so that the edges open outwards. Sprinkle in the peas and chopped tomatoes and continue to cook gently for another 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil with the garlic cloves in a separate pan and add the prawns. fry quickly for a minute or two then add them to the paella. Now do the same with the squid and add them to the paella too.

4. Scatter the chopped parsley over the paella and serve immediately.

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