Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Ballad of Captain Papa-ella and his Seafood Quintet

"Another fairly old post but I'm feeling all degrees of foodie-nostalgia right now. So enjoy!" -uZ

The Ballad of Captain Papa-ella and his Seafood Quintet
'Twas the after-five evening and all through the house,
a large wok I was stirring with my ever-eager spouse,
For she came home from work, all bright eyed and beaming:
"I crave something hot, in a pot, all steaming!"
And with a wave of my hair and a flick of my spoon,
I said: "I'll whip up a dish to send you over the moon!"
"Tsk!" said she, "you tease me young fella."
"Not at all," I replied, "Let's cook some paella!"

'So we gathered our wits and started to cook,
Needless to say, we don't go by the book:
One onion quartered and sliced as thinly as can be,
And browned in a wok with oil of the olive tree.
Two cloves of garlic for luck and for love,
Chopped finely and added to the mixture above.
With the onion and garlic all golden and brown,
Add 1 tablespoon Worcester and turn the heat down,
2 Teaspoons of Paprika, all smoky and red,
1 Finely chopped chilli or (for milder) de-seeded instead,
1 Teaspoon of  cumin all earthy and brown,
Another of coriander (ground) and mix it around,
It needed some color and then came the trick:
With a gentle wave, we added some salt and a pinch of turmeric!
With the spices done, there was no stopping,
Bring on the veg, it was time to get chopping!
A red and green pepper, deseeded and sliced,
A handful of garden peas and a few carrots diced,
Into the Wok did these veggies go,
And we turned the heat up a notch from slow,
Two cups of lukewarm water in a pitcher did we lay,
Along with a few strands of saffron and a leaf of bay,
Then came the rice: two cups rinsed and drained,
And into the Wok did it go, just like mum explained

Then saffron water added and a further 2 cups and boil
The rice should be fluffy, we took care not to spoil,
On with the cooking, there was no time for yawns,
We added a handful of each: fresh mussels, white fish, calamari and prawns
Now for the secret, an ingredient supreme and not fickle
A splash of creamy seafood sauce from the lovely Quality Pickles
Now those guys at QP, they really know their stuff
So we added dash of garlic sauce cos we can't get enough!

Allowed this to steam and then a scattering of fresh chopped coriander,
A few wedges of lemon, some more chillies, or less if you prefer it blander
Then came the eating of our lovely cooked meal,
We savored and munched until no longer hungry did we feel
Our bellies were filled, our appetites whet
An ode to the ballad of Captain Papa-ella and his Seafood Quintet

By Uzair Parker


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