Q Is there a shortcut to making good paella?
A If you’ve stocked up your larder with some good-quality tinned foods and frozen stuff, then making paella can be quite easy. Here’s a recipe that you could try.
Chop up 1 large onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion has softened. Stir in 1 tsp each of hot smoked paprika and dried thyme, and 300g of paella or risotto rice. Stir it all for a minute and then add about 3 tbsp of chicken stock. Stir and allow the stock to evaporate.
Now add 400g of canned chopped tomatoes with garlic and 900ml of chicken stock. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Let it cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rice is almost cooked.
Now add 400g of frozen seafood. It can be a mix of prawns, fish, calamari, or whatever you fancy. Stir and cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until the prawns and the rice are cooked through. Squeeze half a lime over and garnish with fresh parsley. Your fuss-free paella is ready to serve – and it took just 30 minutes to prepare!
Q I love mandarin oranges, but the ones I tend to pick at the supermarket are never juicy enough. How do I pick the right ones?
A The most common mistake we make while choosing mandarins is that we go for fruits that are shiny. That criterion alone does not guarantee the quality of the mandarin. Instead, ensure that the fruit feels heavy when you hold it, and that the skin is blemish-free, does not have soft spots and is not covered with any mould.
It is fine if the fruit has fluffy skin – it just means that it’ll be easier to peel.
If you live in a centrally air-conditioned house, you can store the fruit for about four days at room temperature. But if you won’t be consuming it all within that time, pop them into the refrigerator.