We've really seen summer arrive this past week in the UK. I hope you have managed to enjoy it (and get some sleep!).
We've been eating outside as much as we can. The BBQ, pizza oven and firepit have all been out at various points. Our favourite has to be paella made over the firepit. We've made it a few times now and having improved things each time, I have some tips to share with you.
Do all the Mise en place* before you head outside to cook. You will need to have everything to hand, you can't be diving back into the kitchen to chop a pepper or crush garlic!
Find a way to adjust the heat up and down. Our firepit came with a tripod and a chain so we can hoist the cooking pan away from the fierce heat or drop it down when your fuel is cooling.
Don't use your best cookware. My beloved paella pan is no longer in a pristine condition, but I'm calling it seasoned 😀.
Be careful! Have oven gloves to hand and plan where you will put your cookware to avoid damaging or cracking any surfaces.
Make it a family affair. There were definitely 3 of us making this, although one person was on photography duty. An extra pair of hands will be super useful.
Choose a great recipe. We went pescatarian with our paella. I always use the Jamie Oliver recipe which came with my paella pan as I reckon the quantities are perfect for the pan size. We subbed out chorizo and chicken for sundried tomatoes, prawns, mussels and squid.
As well as the heat going up into the paella, remember it also goes down. Put something under the firepit pan to protect your grass or patio. I've heard from friend who have used a paving slab only for the intense heat to crack it. We've had success with a foamex board with the lid of a wooden barrel on top - it's all about layers!
I haven't been able to find the exact recipe I use online but this one is similar. The one I use serves 8 so simply double the quantities if that's what your pan demands 😁
* Mise en place is a French term for having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, etc. before you start cooking.