I was a bit panicked this week as I didn’t have anything to write about. I was fearful that I had run out of products, (except for a different flavour of Ainsley cup soup but when you’ve tried one of them, you’ve tried them all). I took to twitter asking for suggestions and before I knew it the good people at Made From Scratch got in touch asking if I’d like to review another of their meals. It seemed like a good idea and the very next morning a king prawn and chorizo paella was waiting at the door.
I received it not looking my best; dressing gown on, hair unkempt, stubble remaining. I wondered what that snapshot of my life might say about me - a guy who writes a blog about celebrity endorsed food, awaiting delivery of a paella in his pjamas. It wasn’t a comforting thought so I tidied the flat and got ready for the day.
I’ve written about a made from scratch meal before here and it was really good. I said at the time that I would get round to writing about them all, but until now I have failed. Of all the meals in the range the one that excited me least was the paella, that’s no fault of Michel Roux Sr I just tend to find paella a bit boring. It’s one of those dishes that yields no surprises after the first mouthful, you know exactly what’s coming until you finish eating. It is however a good deal more exciting than a risotto, the most boring food on the planet – please Michel don’t go down the risotto route.
The aim with Made From Scratch meals is to create a meal for one that you cook yourself in under 8 minutes. It’s a good idea for those living alone as if you wanted to make paella for one at home you’d feel a right penis going into Tesco and asking for quarter of a chorizo, 4 prawns, a wedge of lemon and a bay leaf. Having everything measured out reduces waste and is cost effective. If you start multiplying up it becomes a false economy as it would be much cheaper to buy the ingredients individually than buying 4 packs, but that’s a moot point as it isn’t what the meals are about.
Anyway onto the cooking… you start by heating through some oil then adding the chorizo and onion, next add the rice, herbs and stock and a bit of water, after a couple of minutes add in the prawns and peas, a couple more minutes, a squeeze of lemon and it’s done. The packet reckons it takes about 7 mins, I think mine took 5 and a half. I’m not showing off I’m just telling you how it was.
The masterstroke with this meal was how lovely it looks. The colours are vibrant and it’s really appetising. In essence all I did was added heat but I felt proud of what I achieved.
As paella goes it was pretty darn good. The rice was cooked to a perfect al dente, the prawns had not gone rubbery and 6 mins of thyme and bay leaf really did make a difference. The chorizo was a little underpowered and an extra paprika kick would not have gone amiss. It also needs a bit of seasoning adding in at the end to lift the whole dish, the packet does say “season to taste” so just make sure you do.
I can’t pretend that this has totally redefined my feelings about paella, but putting my prejudices aside I think you’d be hard pushed to find a better one that you can make at home in less than 7 mins!
Michel Roux Sr Cook from Scratch King Prawn and Chorizo Paella £3.95 for 470g (although this was provided from Meals From Scratch) currently available at selected Sainsbury’s locals. Available from Waitrose from 13th Feb.