Mixed Vegetable Paella

I am very fussy when it comes to cookbooks.  I know that they say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but with cookbooks I think the overall presentation and photography are just as important as the recipes themselves.  Fabulous photos of food inspire me to cook, blog, and most of all to improve my own photography, if only to share my delicious creations with all of you.

In view of this, I’m sure that you can see why I was immediately drawn to the latest cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty.  The cover has a beautiful design and luxurious feel, and the photographs on the interior are phenomenal and make me want to cook all day long (although I find a guilty pleasure in reading cookbooks in bed and just staring at the pictures).

So of course I was very excited to get stuck into my new cookbook, but with almost 300 pages of vegetarian recipes I just had no idea where to start.  In the end I chose something a little foreign to me, paella.  I have only eaten paella once or twice, during our travels in Spain, yet I have never attempted to cook it.

Though not a traditional recipe, it looked rather appealing, especially considering it was topped with olives and artichoke hearts.

Of course, in my usual style, I didn’t have all the ingredients to hand, and had to switch out the paella rice for aborio, sherry for red wine vinegar (not even sure if that was comparable), and leave out the broad beans and saffron.

Do you like my new chopping board?  I love it so much I don’t even want to cut on it… is that weird?

I have never really cooked with fennel, but I read somewhere the other day that a great way to try new things is to buy something new every time you go to the greengrocer, so what a perfect way to start.

Red and yellow capsicums were cut in thin slices.

Thankfully my housemate swooped in to the rescue with some paprika as I didn’t have any and it is the essential spice in paella.

Ideally, a paella pan is large and shallow, but a frypan was all we had and I had a bit of a problem getting the rice to cook evenly. I eventually realised that a switch to our bigger burner would work much more efficiently and finally got the paella finished.

I think I went a little overboard on the olives and artichokes as the saltiness overpowered the more subtle flavours of the paella, but overall I was rather impressed with my first attempt (though I can’t say the same for Kris, it was too much for his tastes).

Note to self: less olives next time and there is definitely no need to add salt.  I would even use half a veggie stock cube instead of a whole one.

From Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty
Photos from: my camera

55 thoughts on “Mixed Vegetable Paella

  1. Erica Scime

    Great photos! You have inspired me to cook up a storm tonight – and perhaps I’ll even take some photos! Beautiful cutting board by the way! Never though I would hear myself say that :)

    1. jazziefizzle

      Thank you so much! Hope your cooking went well and you got some good photos! I always find it takes about twice as long if you are taking photos especially if you are a messy cook like me! haha yes I love that chopping board far too much for an inanimate object.

  2. Jenna

    I agree with the comment above–I’m so impressed with your food photographs! And yes, I think in a cookbook the pictures are uber important, because they do inspire me to cook a recipe–or not–as the case may be.
    Your paella looks great!

    1. jazziefizzle

      Ohhh thank you so much! I have been trying to improve my photos with the help of my incredibly talented boyfriend and was really proud of them this time so it is so nice to have good feedback!

    1. jazziefizzle

      Thanks for the comment! You are very brave experimenting in baking… so often it results in disaster for me so I try to stick as closely to a baking recipe as possible. Often it is so hard for me as the way I tend to cook is just throwing things together until it looks right…

  3. Samuel Jimenez

    I have lived and traveled through Spain extensively, and im sure if you look hard enough (and by that I mean eat as much paella as you can find, their are worse fates) im sure you will come across this recipe. It looks GREAT, I wouldnt worry about the lack of originality.

    You can substitute Anatto for saffron. Not the same but much cheaper. You can find this as an ingredient in Sazon (check your spanish, NOT MEXICAN, isle at the super market. Thanks for sharing.

    1. jazziefizzle

      Excellent thanks for the tips, unfortunately in Australia we don’t have a Spanish aisle in the supermarket so I suppose I would have to try in a specialty gourmet food store. I couldn’t even find paella rice at my grocery store!

  4. sammyg518

    I love the fresh ingredients and vibrant colors. I love traditional spanish paella with seafood and sausage but this is definately one I will have to try!

  5. Mrs. Briteside

    What time is dinner? I’m coming over…

    Nice work–I love photography too….and work hard at creating pictures that speak to the heart. Your pics are great and speak to my tummy.. Thanks for sharing!


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