I had one of those Sundays where I longed to lie in a hot bath but felt that 3pm (and 4pm) was too early. So, the minute 5pm came around I was in! A full hot bath, Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘ to read, a piccolo of champagne (I’d love to tell you it was Moet but let’s face it, I know as much about wine and champagne as I do about football) and the music from ‘A River Somewhere‘ on the iPod dock. The door was locked so no stray kids could wonder in. Pure heaven.
As I lay immersed in chocolate salted water (I forgot to mention this earlier – it was a birthday present from my very thoughtful 17 year old daughter and not so thoughtful 14 year old son – he just signed the card) the most amazing smell wafted through the bathroom window; onions, chicken, bacon and chorizo sausage, frying. I confess I thought it was coming from our neighbours house.
Emerging from the steam-filled bathroom I discovered The Slow Chef quietly working (slaving?) in the kitchen. He looked peaceful. Just him, Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food and a huge bubbling pan of paella on the stove. I loved him even more in that moment. After all, the way to a woman’s heart is around her diet.
We had received a sachet of Tas-Saff saffron from my sister, Jo Cook from C & C Cupcake Factory, as a gift one Christmas. Knowing that we are a bit daft about cooking, Jo kindly included some notes explaining how to use saffron. We should have read them. As a result, The Slow Chef took Jamie’s advice and dropped the saffron filaments straight into the dish. No harm was done but we missed out on the seriously yellow colour and aroma achieved by its correct use.
Jo and Tas-Saff suggest that saffron be infused in liquid prior to cooking to activate the colour and flavour. Activation can be achieved in anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours: 60 milligrams of saffron to 2 tablespoons of boiling water in a covered light-proof dish. The longer you leave it, the more intense the colour and flavour. We will definitely use this method next time.
I was amazed how quickly this meal came together (especially for me as I didn’t have to do anything). After only 30 minutes, Nick produced a meal that I would have raved about if served in a restaurant, yet here I was at my own dining table!
Jamie’s recipe states the quantity serves 6 but I think 8 would be more realistic.
17 year old daughter was out babysitting and missed the meal-of-the-year but 14 year old son gave a solid score of 9, 10 year old daughter a 9 (incredible considering she lives on air) and my score: 9.5.
This is the perfect dish to impress friend’s at your next dinner party. Now, who’d like an invitation?