“Poor Man’s Paella” from “The Little Book of Lunches”

I need to admit up front that I didn’t actually eat this for lunch. I made it for dinner. But I would be surprised if you could find anyone who would be willing to get up 35 minutes early before lunch so they could make this and take it with them. Not me, that’s for sure.

It was decidedly delicious. We all loved it and I definitely will be making it again for dinner, not least because it’s a one-pot dinner, which makes cleanup spectacularly easy.

The inspiration for the dish, as explained in the introduction, was Ottolenghi’s paella. If I had to guess, it probably was this one, as published in the Guardian and the original was made by Kirstin in this very blog seven years ago, which you can read here.

Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing wanted to make Ottolenghi’s paella, but realised they didn’t have many of the ingredients so they boiled it down to the essence of the dish. Or, as Nicholas rightly pointed out, “Spicy rice with tomatoes.”

I added all of the optional extras, which I’m sure made it far more interesting and tasty: chorizo, peppers, frozen peas and parsley. Tim suggested the next time I make it that I also throw in some prawns at the end, which is similar to what Jamie Oliver did in Save Jame! (technically, “Save with Jamie”), which Kirstin also tested out and loved, which you can read here.

Clearly, paella for dinner is a winner. But getting up early to make paella for lunch? Very ambitious and equally unlikely for most people.

“Poor Man’s Paella” from “The Little Book of Lunches”

“Roasted Vegetable Paella” from “Cooking for Jeffrey”

Regular readers of this blog will know that Monday is Meat Free Monday in our house. But as much as I love Meat Free Monday, it’s not always easy. For reasons too boring and complicated to go into here, Mondays are always busy in this house. So when I look for a Meat Free Monday recipe, it’s got to relatively easy and quick.

This recipe was easy, but it certainly wasn’t quick. However, once I read the recipe again, I realised I could roast the vegetables in the early afternoon, before I had to head out (working from home does have its perks), and then I could make the rest of the paella upon my return.

The plan worked flawlessly. The recipe also worked. But the reception the dish received was less than enthusiastic.

I’m not sure why. I thought it was delicious. But the rest of the family was decidedly “Meh” about it. Given the effort involved to make it, I won’t be making it again, which is too bad for me, because I thought it was even better the next day, when I heated up the leftovers for lunch.

You win some. You lose some.

“Roasted Vegetable Paella” from “Cooking for Jeffrey”

“Paella de Cerdo con Chorizo y Espinaca” from “The Moro Cookbook”

IMG_6258Or to make it easier on you if you’ve never studied Spanish, Rice with Pork, Chorizo and Spinach

Maureen: I think you’re all going to love this. Rice with pork products. What’s not to love?

Tim: That’s not really the name, is it.

Maureen: Well, no. But it cuts right to the heart of the matter. It’s a Spanish paella with chorizo, pork and spinach, from this month’s cookbook. What do you think?

NIcholas (11): As noted on previous occasions, I am not a fan of spinach.

Maureen: Yes, I know. This is why I didn’t give you any spinach in your portion.

Andrew (15): Well, I like it.

Tim: So do I.

Maureen: Me too. I’m not sure it’s a massive improvement on the sausage and rice dish I make from Gordon Ramsay that we all like, but this is good time.

Nicholas: I think this is too spicy.

Maureen: Three out of four isn’t bad. I’ll take it.

Want to make this yourself? Click through this sentence to find the recipe from the Guardian, when the book was first published in 2001.


“Paella de Cerdo con Chorizo y Espinaca” from “The Moro Cookbook”

“Chicken and Chorizo Paella” from “Save with Jamie”

Kirstin: We’re having a paella tonight.

Tom: Or as they say in Spain, paella.

Georgia: It’s so yummy!

Tom: Hmmm.

Kirstin: And what do you think Ella?

Ella: I like the prawns!


Kirstin: What about the other ingredients?

Ella: I don’t know. I just like the prawns…

Georgia: The chorizo is really yummy too!

Ella: Making mathematical puns is the first sign of madness.

Tom: Oh no! Ella, you need to be quiet and eat your Pi-Ella.

Kirstin: This is just delicious and I would definitely consider making it again.

Ella: Yes, let’s have this again!

“Chicken and Chorizo Paella” from “Save with Jamie”

“Multi-vegetable paella” from “Plenty”

Kirstin: This looked so fantastic in the book, I had to try it. As expected, it was a real faff to make. There were lots of stages and lots of ingredients, including shelling broad beans. It said it served two, but it could have served four.

Tom: Would it have served two as a main course?

Kirstin: No, even then it would have been three. We had it with barbecued meats.

Mark: It was a riot of summer colour, with all the taste of the southern Mediterranean. What was really nice was that it was lighter because it didn’t have seafood. So it was the perfect complement to the meat we were having. Seafood would have made it too rich.

Tom: I’m not sure what the definition of a paella is, but this had that creamy richness that I associate with paella, even though it didn’t have seafood in it. It was a lovely accompaniment to all that meat.

Continue reading ““Multi-vegetable paella” from “Plenty””

“Multi-vegetable paella” from “Plenty”