It seems like a while ago already, but a couple of weeks back my daughters and I spent half term in Spain visiting my mother, Cheryl, who is lucky enough to live in the beautiful city Cordoba in Andalucia.
We left Bristol Airport amid severe winds and rain and arrived in Spain delighted to find ourselves in glorious sunshine. It felt like an Indian summer to us, so we found it quite amusing that the Spanish were all complaining about how chilly it was getting.
My mum works as an art teacher in the British School of Cordoba, where unfortunately they don’t get half-term breaks, although the fabulously long summer holiday more than makes up for this. When mum went off to school in the mornings, the girls and I would have a lazy breakfast in her apartment before idling around the city. A favourite spot to while away the hours was the courtyard outside the city’s famous Mezquita, a stunning mosque converted into a Catholic cathedral in the 13th century.
Despite the throngs of tourists, this is a truly magical and serene spot, where we’d enjoy our lunch sat on the stone steps, and then I’d simply sit back and watch the children play together in the shade of the orange trees.
Then we’d make sure we were back to the apartment in time for when my mum got back from school so we could spend the rest of our afternoons together. The girls always nag their Nana to take them to La Ciudad de los Niños – the City of Children. It’s their favourite place whenever we visit. It is one of the most incredible play parks I have ever been to, and the children could spend hours, if not days, here. If you ever visit Cordoba with children, you must pay it a visit.
Then we’d spend our evenings trying out different restaurants and tapas bars, and there are lots to choose from in Cordoba. Jess and Mia found it enormously exciting they were allowed to stay out late. Most places only starting service at 9pm, yet they’d still be full of families. It’s just something you don’t see when you go out at night here.
We enjoyed lots of wonderful tapas and seafood eating out in Cordoba, but to be honest my culinary highlight has to be the fantastic paella cooked at home by my mum. It’s a brilliant one-pot wonder and mum adds a little red chilli to her version, which I reckon is a marvellous addition. Mum’s like me – she says chilli improves pretty much any dish. I clearly inherited my love of chilli from her.
I got my mum to write down her recipe, and here it is:
Cheryl’s paella with chicken and prawns
pinch of saffron
1 tsp paella spice mix (or a combination of paprika, onion and garlic powder and cayenne)
2 litres hot chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
6 skinless chicken thighs (with bones), quartered
500g paella rice
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
salt and pepper
10 king prawns
Dry fry the saffron in a hot pan and then place in a measuring jug with the paella spice mix, hot stock and a squeeze of lemon juice.
In a large, deep pan heat the olive oil and fry the onion, garlic and chilli until soft.
Add the chicken pieces and brown, before stirring in the rice. When the rice is well coated in the oil, add half the parsley and diced tomato. Stir well and then pour over the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, give it all another stir and cover with a lid.
Gently simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the rice is almost cooked, lie the prawn on top, replace the lid and cook until the prawns turn pink.
Serve garnished with the rest of the chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.
As my mum’s paella features chilli, I’m entering it into The Spice Trail, my new blog challenge, which this month has chilli as its theme.
As it’s also a wonderful one-pot wonder, this paella is also perfect for November’s Four Season’s Food, hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux.
And finally as chilli is the theme for this month’s Taste of the Tropics at Chef Mireille’s Global Creations, I simply have to enter it into that challenge too!
20 thoughts on “A trip to Cordoba for Cheryl’s paella”
Yummy!! And love the picture of the two girls chatting away in the grounds of the Mezquita xx
Thanks El. You must get Mum to make it again for you and Louella when you’re over for Christmas! 🙂
I really enjoyed reading your post, so beautifully written and your girls are gorgeous.
I often see paella that is dry, or loose. Yours doesn’t look like that at all, I’m tempted to do a veggie version xx
Thanks Deena for your lovely comments. Mum says it can be hard to judge exactly how much stock to use – she quite often adds a bit more towards the end of the cooking if she thinks it’s looking too dry, until she gets the slightly wet consistency she likes.
How gorgeous to see a lovely colourful post and so much sunshine when we’re having far too many grey days here. That paella looks just the thing to bring some sunshine into the kitchen, especially with the heat from the chilli.
Thanks Andrea. Think I’ll have to make another one soon. Finding it quite hard coping with this frosty weather – would be good to cheer myself up with some more sunshine food!
Great-looking paella and I too would love the extra kick from the chilli. So pleased to have discovered your blog!
Thanks so much Antonia and I’ve just been checking out your blog too – love it! Have signed up to it via Bloglovin.
Looks like a fab holiday, great time of year to go away and get some sunshine. Cordoba sounds like a wonderful city. I managed a night over in Spain when I went to France for half term, a night in a wee little Pyrenean mountain village…and even there the kids were all still out at midnight eating tapas with their parents. So much more fun than boring France and England! And I’m a sucker for paella too. Recently bought a paella pan but it lies unused….as yet.
Wow – love the sound of the village in the Pyrenees! Yes, I could so easily get used to the Spanish lifestyle, and the weather too. That gorgeous sunshine feels like quite a distant memory now that the properly cold weather has arrived here in dear old Blighty. Especially when I’m scraping the frost off the car in the morning…
Loving the photos, it looks like a gorgeous place! And the recipe sounds good, oddly my husband has just asked for a paella to go on the meal plan so perfect timing for me!
Thank Sian. Not sure why, but I never make paellas at home. It’s always something my mum makes when we’re in Spain or when she comes to visit us. But now I have her recipe, I think it’ll be a regular on our meal plan as it is so incredibly easy. Hope you enjoy yours!
I spent the half term in Spain with my Mum and kids too! And it was glorious and such fun. I didn’t eat Paella although you make me wish I had. I do love it though 🙂 A bit of chilli sounds like a great addition. A really lovely FSF entry – cheers x
How funny! Which part of Spain were you in, Anneli? And I really like the look of your Spanish tortilla over on your blog. Will be trying out your version with black pudding very soon!
I was in Platya de Arro. It only takes us 3 hours to drive there from here in France so we often go down to that stretch of coast for a few days in school holidays. xx
Yay, My paella is going to be famous! Made another one, this time in the same way with the lemon and parsley in the cooking stage but served with lime and coriander! All my love, Mum
Good to see you here Mum! Love the sound of paella with lime and coriander – that’s how I’ll do it when I next make it here. Bet it won’t be as good as yours though… 😉
one of my fave dishes and let’s face it – anything cooked by mom always tastes better