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
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55 Comments

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55 responses to “Mixed Vegetable Paella

  1. your food photos = works of art! 🙂 They look like they belong in a glossy hard cover professional cook book.

  2. Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipe and beautiful pictures!

  3. I agree very well presented and the food looks amazing great work.

    wishing you success and the best days

  4. 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 🙂

    • 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.

  5. This looks delicious! I’ve never tried paella before, and I’d probably leave out the olives, but sounds fantastic…

  6. Truly. Those are some amazing photos. Makes me want to try this recipe even more.

  7. Mmm…looks tasty 😀 great photos indeed.

  8. Sunflowerdiva

    These photos are amazing–did you take them?! Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  9. totally agree with bookjunkie!

  10. 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!

    • 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!

  11. Looks absolutely beautiful, I’m always a fan of a good vegetarian recipe;)

  12. wow it looks yummy 🙂 wish i could cook something like that too.

  13. oh my gosh it looks wonderful! great photos keep up the great work!!

  14. lenanozizwe

    I agree about judging a cookbook by its cover.
    It’s also a pleasure to see a veggie paella.
    I love repurposing classic recipes too.

    http://lenanoziwe.wordpress.com

  15. I second the compliment on the photos. Very user-friendly, fun blog. Great read!

  16. That looks yummy and your pics are great!

    Congrats on FP!

  17. The pics are great! nice job

  18. The color in the vegetables make this dish look especially appetizing!

  19. Looks good, love all the pics 🙂 Yes, I like the chopping board, don’t know that I would want to cut on it either.

  20. I applaud your experimentation, it looks great. And now you know how to tweak it for next time! I do that a lot in my baking, it’s fine the way it is, but next time…

    • 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…

  21. Ana

    I’m so hungry now! Gonna have to make that.

  22. Your pictures are beautiful! They made me so hungry. I may miss the seafood in the Paella though 🙂

  23. 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.

    • 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!

  24. WOW! This vegetable Paella looks amazing! Thank you for the pictures, it makes it even MORE appetizing

  25. The food, the photos!! Gorgeous! Please let me know if you would ever like a wine pairing suggestion.
    Cheers,
    wineguider
    http://www.wineguider.wordpress.com

  26. 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!
    Sammygskitchen.wordpress.com

  27. 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!

  28. I am not a huge fan of veggies but I would like to try this one, your pictures tells a thousand words I could even smell the food just by looking at it.

  29. Thank you so much everyone for your kind comments and encouraging feedback! So flattered to be featured on freshly pressed

  30. Ashe Clayton-Hornsby

    This looks divine meeni- would love the recipe! xxx

  31. Awesome, not just the look of the pics but sounds pretty tasty too. I have scheduled this recipe for my off-call cooking experimentation !!! Thanks for a different taste.

  32. You are very talented, keep up the good work. 🙂

  33. Great shots indeed! They look enticing and irresistable. Even those who are not-so veggie lovers will definitely try that recipe. Keep on sharing good recipes. Happy cooking!

  34. Ana

    Thanks for a beautiful paella that even a vegan could enjoy!

  35. Looks delicious, and your pictures are beautiful to boot.

    http://stovies.wordpress.com/

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