Saturday, August 31, 2013

The remains of a paella. And one of the best roast pork I've had in a long time.




Yesterday, I invited five friends over for dinner, to make a merry party of six.

I'd been away for so long, and I was hankering to try out my new paella burner that had stayed in its box since I'd bought it a few months ago.

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FIVE FRIENDS BRINGING VERY GOOD FOOD

So I got five friends over, and they all very graciously volunteered to bring a dish and a bottle of wine over for the party.

A guy from Barcelona was supposed to join us as well, but something happened to him at the last minute.



A PRAGUE GROUP REUNION

Four of them formed part our group that had met up in Prague last year for a wonderful dinner by the river, at Hillary Clinton's favorite restaurant in Prague.

I'd traveled with one couple all over the Czech Republic and Germany, and we'd met up with the other couple in Prague.

Since then, we've been to a couple of other places together on a never-ending Travelife.

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MR. JADED CAN ACTUALLY COOK

Then I'd invited Mr. Jaded to join us because we'd traveled to lots of places together as well. And in one destination, the six of us had actually done a Travelife with a bunch of other really fun people.

Mr. Jaded volunteered to bring some food, too, which was very surprising to all of us.



None of us knew he could cook. He always has parties in his house that can seat 500 people for dinner, but I've never seen him at work in the kitchen.

"I'll bring roast pork to go with your paella," he said to me.

UPDATES ON FACEBOOK

Work in progress. This is what I posted on Facebook.


Then yesterday afternoon, I posted a photo on Facebook of my paella in progress.

Perhaps similarly inspired, Mr. Jaded posted his own photo of a blackened roast pork, with a typical -- at least very typical of him -- self-denigrating caption to accompany it.

I hadn't seen it because I was too busy yesterday afternoon to go on Facebook for a long time. But one of the other guests had, and apparently she'd said to herself: "Looks like that's dinner tonight."

SURPRISE, SURPRISE

Wow. What a revelation Mr. Jaded's roast pork was.

When he brought it over, the first thing he said to me was: "It doesn't look much. And if it doesn't taste good, we don't have to eat it."


See how black this pork is?


I didn't know about his cooking prowess, so I took him at his word.

The roast pork was honestly so black that I thought it was burned and I was almost resigned not to be gushing over it.

Well, it was the most wonderful roast pork I've had in a very long time. And it really went well with the paella, as he said.

CRITIQUING MY OWN PAELLA

Work in progress.
That's the rice getting fried in oil and spices.


As for my paella. It was good enough, but it could've been better. I had high hopes for it because I'd done everything from scratch, including the soup stock.

You really have to watch over the paella as you make it.

Unfortunately I'd left the preparations too late and even had a massage in between cooking. So by that crucial time that I should've been watching over the cooking, my guests had arrived.

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A BURNER GOES AWRY

Then something went wrong with my burner, leaving my household staff to manage the cooking on the regular cooker.

The burner has evenly positioned flame whereas the regular cooker has a hot ring in the middle. This makes a world of difference to cooking paella.

THE MORNING AFTER



And guess what?

We'd ended the dinner at 230 AM so I had a very late breakfast. But this morning, I tasted the remains of my paella. It was fantastic.

Perhaps it just needed some time for the flavors to sink in more, to really make it come into its own.

Now I know what to do better.

And just in time for another dinner, before I get back to my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.





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