An attempt at paella

Living in Crouch End means living closer to the Ally Pally farmer’s market, a market I’ve heard many rave about yet I’ve never ventured the 4 miles north to visit.  So I dragged M along on Sunday morning to shop for dinner and see what all the fuss is about.

This week it was in Ally Pally itself (I think it alternates with another location?), a mere 5 or so minute wander from Crouch End towers, and on a lovely early autumn morning, a very pleasant wander at that.  It’s quite a small market, but perfectly formed.  I think it’s fair to say I’d happily eat from every food stall, and enjoyed having a nose about.  Being Ms Frugality (er, ish…) and with a very small kitchen and fridge in our current lodgings, I restrained myself and only bought some cheddar with blue from Keen’s (after trying their tasty toasties: sourdough with cheddar and red onion), a string of gorgeous smelling garlic from a lovely French man on a bicycle, and some fishy things, which kind of killed off my budget, but were just too lovely looking to resist.  So after spotting the squid, I added 4 tiger prawns and a handful of mussels to my order and started thinking paella.

Frying onions, chorizo and arborio rice

In downsizing to this flat while the big renovation takes place, I’ve had to sacrifice many things.  Most keenly felt are the gapings holes left by my blender, my bakeware and most critically, my cookbooks.  I only took three with me, and I miss the rest of the shelf!  So only armed with the Leon book, HFW’s Meat and Nigella’s HTBaDG, I am googling recipes more than usual.  I found one for squid, chorizo and  prawn paella, and pretty much followed it.  I was convinced I had paella rice in the cupboard, but couldn’t find it when I looked, so substituted arborio.

A kilo of squid.  Tasty, tasty squid.  With snack chorizo in the background 🙂
It was pretty simple to make, and the nice fish man cleaned my very inky squid, so it was a lovely simple supper.  Took a bit longer to cook than I intended but my fear of the squid going all rubberlike was unfounded.  I’m certain it won’t live up to Spanish standards, and nowhere near the famed paella of my friend Nik’s mum, but I was pretty pleased with it.

The final humungous paella in my favourite pan. (Is it sad to have a favourite pan?!)

My initial shame at splurging 12 quid on squid was mitigated when I saw how much food I made!  Turned out I had enough for 4 dinners, and then a packed lunch, not too spendy at all.

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