All About Paella

Paella is the rice dish Spain has given the world that is becoming very popular and it is known around the planet. It originated around the fields of  Valencia, eastern Spain. The Valencian people create the dish by using whatever ingredients they’d on hand – rabbit, snails and veggies.

I’ve made many friends in my time in Spain and most of them have a family paella recipe, the one they ate at their mother’s kitchen table. The nature of the dish is that it was a way that families could feed themselves nutritionally and cheaply with pretty much whatever they had at hand. Of course, nowadays you will find many stylised variations in restauraants throughout Spain.


Today paellas are spread to each and every region of the planet, using just any ingredient that will go well with the rice! Actually, there tend to be as many variations of the dish as cooks. It could have chicken, pork, seafood, fish, eel, calamari, beans, or all kinds of peppers. Saffron grants the rice an excellent golden color and is central to the actual dish.

As I said earlier, you will find as many variations as cooks. One of the most well known is the de Mariscois, a recipe that includes exciting flavors . If you haven’t watched someone prepare the dish, it is recommended that you start by having a look at the video below.

You will want to have a good idea about the process from beginning to end. The dish is believed to be an ideal union between two cultures, the Romans and their pan and the actual Arabs, that introduced rice. There is definitely an old story associated with how a Moorish king’s servants had created dishes by combining left-overs that came from their regal banquets in big pots.

Some say that the word paella does originate in the Arab word “baqiyah”, or left -overs. The name actually really refers back to the pan that it’s cooked in. It is traced completely back to the actual ancient Sanskrit vocabulary and the term means to consume, and the Romans, for whom it may mean a drinking, or even cooking dish.

It appears to be a natural meal, since rice is actually grown in the country, and all meat, and seafood are abundant in certain regions, so this meal would be an all natural choice for the Spaniards. Since there are lots of workers in the actual fields, cooking this over an fire also would prove most practical. The country is not noted for forests and plenty of timber, so the twigs as well as branches from trimming create a fast hot fire rather than a slow burning type of fire, like from logs.

Over time, the size of the actual pan grew rather than the depth, so you have access to a hot fireplace and maximum water loss. Most experts concur that the meal was developed by people from the Spanish city Valencia. Many people say the greatest Paella and the by far most authentic one still originates from Valencia.

The Islamic Andalusia and the symbolic dishes of rice and various meats and veggies that were cooked like a cookie sheet at special occasions are a very similar in concept dish. A few of these dishes may function as the roots of a few of the original Paella recipes. The actual pan would be characterized as round with a set bottom.

The skillet can be between a 12 inch diameter, and grow up to over a meter and up. The part that doesn’t alter is the side . It is half a thumb deep is what the Spanish would state, so that the actual rice has optimum contact with the foot of the pan.

Over time, the dish evolved, starting with the rounded bottom, made to hang over a fireplace . As soon as grills or burners had been invented that the actual pans started being more flat at their bottoms. Do not be mistaken that this is a Spanish version of Italian Risotto, or even Jambalaya. While there are commonalities, they really are very different. Traditionally Jambalaya is prepared in a spherical pot over a fireplace, and Paella is actually cooked in a set pan over high temperature .

Many people ask about the cavities in the pans. The actual dimples serve a number of functions. They snare small bits of the liquid and therefore promote even cooking of the food, they make the actual pan rigid, plus they prevent warping. Fortunately they are a nostalgic indication of the times when paella cookware were hand created. Some people say that the dimples keep your rice from sticking with the pan, however, I’m not convinced. To begin with, rice sticking to the actual pan is not really something you wish to avoid, since it will help foster one of the very succulent aspects of paella, the socarrat ( the curmudgeonly bottom rice layer).

Learning Spanish Tips

If you are looking to learn a new language fast, there are many courses that you can benefit from. With a good selection of lessons that don’t take long to complete, it is no wonder that people are turning to the internet. Here are some learning Spanish tips that you can take advantage of.

spanish flag

It is not always necessary to join a language class, especially if you do not have the time to attend one. Unexpected business meetings with your clients in Spain or a last minute holiday there does not warrant the need for college language courses. You can easily learn Spanish in the comfort of your own home as long as you have access to the internet.

Some people think that they can master a new language just by buying a few books from their local book store. Learning a new language is actually harder than you think and you will need a lot of determination and motivation. If you set yourself unrealistic goals, you will not be able to reach them.

Being able to speak Spanish fluently can take at least 6 months or more. So it is better to be realistic with your expectations and not set unreachable goals. There are hundreds of different courses that are offered by colleges, however, they can be quite expensive and not cater to your learning level.

The method of teaching is as important as the quality of information that is offered by the course. Look for lessons that let you try them out before buying. Take the time to browse through the Web to find forums that discuss the resources that other people are using to learn a new language.

You will also want to look for courses that let you study in your own time. This way, you can study whenever or wherever you wish and complete a course within a few weeks or months. The online learning sources allow you to choose your level and progress forward.

There are basic tips that will help you learn Spanish quicker. One way is to buy the relevant books. The other way is to practice online. Students who study a new language in their own time have generally performed better as they still have a tutor’s support just like in a real classroom. You can take advantage of live tutorials that are offered by many credible online sources.

Choosing the right course requires some extensive research. Once you shortlist all those that you find useful, you will be able to prioritize each one. Grammar is one of the most important aspects of any language as well as vocabulary. However, people spend too much time on learning and memorizing grammar rules that they often lose sight of the language and the enjoyment it can bring.

You will enjoy your new language much better if you manage to put together a few sentences every week or so. Don’t spend too much time trying to learn the indefinite article, pronouns, verbs, and other grammar rules. Your initial study time should be spent on getting the hang of the vocabularies and how to speak in the local dialect.

One of the easiest and most constructive ways to learn the alphabet and vocabularies is to make your own flashcards. You do not have to buy them as they can easily be made at home. This is the cheapest way to create cards with words that you want to remember. You can make such flashcards out of cardboard cut-outs. Once you have cut up enough cards, you can begin writing each word in both English and Spanish on each side of the card.

Another effective way in mastering a language is by becoming involved in your local Spanish community. If you know such people living in your neighborhood, try to socialize with them as much as possible. Not only will this benefit your studies in the long run, but you will also get a lot of encouragement to learn the language as well as make new friends.

Lastly, use the online resources that are available for free. By watching TV programs in Spanish, you can pick up new words. Use the internet and join chat rooms that are open forums for anyone wishing to learn a new language. Interacting with native speakers will help you practice your vocabulary and learn new words. These online resources are available to people 24 hours a day 7 days a week and most are free to join. However, if you want to learn a new language and use it for professional purposes, you may opt to sign up for online courses instead.

Minimising Difficulties With Local Builders

One of the most common bugbears I hear from ex-pats living in Spain is the problems in finding reliable tradesmen. Spainish builders have a reputation for doing things manana (and sometimes the manana after the manana), and getting workers to follow your timetable can be a source of great frustration.

spanish houses

In many ways these difficulties are always going to be present. Take away the obvious difference of language and what you’re left with is something even more problematic – the meeting of two distinct cultures.

In the UK we expect a workman to give us a time and to stick to it. And lets be honest, how many times have you waited and waited for someone to arrive who never shows up with not even a phone call. So, let’s accept that in the UK things are not perfect either.

However when it comes to the Spanish they experience us as hurried, uptight, stressed and too ruled by the clock – which is true in many ways. The fact these are alien concepts in Spain is one of the reasons that makes the place so attractive for us stressed out Brits in the first place!

So, when in Spain… let go of your expectations of how you think things “should” be. You’ll be a lot less hot under the collar and won’t antagonise your tradesmen. In the Spanish culture the concept of respect runs deep and being disrespectful of others is seen as very, very offensive, and also is seen to diminish your own standing.

stairs spainIn Spain, money is not king. Even though the country has struggled economically over the past few years people are more motivated by the quality of life and of taking time to appreciate it. So, let go of the clock and listen to what your builders and local officials are saying.

That being said, the best way to find good builders, plumbers, painters, electricians and the like is to ask your neighbours, and other Brits in your chosen area. Word-of-mouth goes a long way in giving you confidence and also if the worker knows how they got your business they are a little more inclined to give you good service.

Just as in any country there are good and bad workers, but it can appear more daunting as you will be in a foreign country and not on your normal turf.

The good news is that there are various agencies which can help liase with local tradesmen. So many expats have built properties in Spain that some of them now have companies helping make the whole process smoother for other.

You could also do what I did and bring a UK company out to do the work for you. I sourced the materials they were going to need at in Tarragona (they have branches throughout the country), and flew the guys in to do the garage floors with resin coat and swimming pool with a nice lining. One of my friends is an industrial contractor and his workers were glad of a few days in the sun, and they stayed on-site which helped keep the costs down.

If you do decide to go down that route then I would suggest that you make sure that the work they carry out is guaranteed and that it passes any local regulations. Some towns and districts have very specific ideas on what you can and cannot do, so do your due diligence before committing to any work. Local builders, of course, will know exactly what the regulations are (and often creative ways to get around them).