Saturday, September 7, 2013

A paella perfected for a dinner at home with friends



Tonight I finally made a paella that I was very satisfied with, after a so-so experience last weekend.

This was my second attempt to make a good paella for my friends since returning to Manila.  I'd asked two sets of friends over to dinner two weekends in a row.

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TRYING TO GET IT PERFECT

Last weekend, five good friends came over for a meal.

My paella last weekend was okay but it was nothing to rave about. Something had gone wrong with my paella burner, you see, and I'd been quite laxe about watching over the cooking since I had something else on my mind.

I even got a massage sometime while the paella was cooking.

A PAELLA STATE OF MIND

Tonight, I was in a better frame of mind to make a paella -- so I knew what to do better from last weekend.

Plus my paella burner was working properly at last.

It also helped that I was able to get some "Me Time" into this eventful day.

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A MASSAGE AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL MANILA

Today started out with a great "peace of mind" massage at the spa of the Mandarin Oriental Manila.

I was there for lunch yesterday at the Tivoli, and this was when I got reminded of how nice it is to take a break by getting a massage at this spa.

Foyer leading to the Mandarin Oriental spa in Manila

So I booked a massage for first thing this morning, and it was really wonderful. Talk about stress melting away.

MAKING A PAELLA FROM SCRATCH



And by mid-afternoon, I'd bought all the ingredients for the paella myself and was ready to start cooking at 5 PM.

In addition to the paella, I made a nice salad, and a very good duck with potatoes and carrots. I'd fried the vegetables in duck fat just to make these tastier.

It's only once in a while that I make potatoes fried in duck fat anyway, I reckoned.



FLOWERS FOR A TRAVELIFE

Then, just because I was in the mood to have a casual but proper dinner, I bought some flowers and arranged these myself all over the house.



I decided to use some very interesting flower vases I'd bought in Tel Aviv for a center piece, combining these with some tiny brass lamp burners I'd bought in Sri Lanka.



Then I'd done a very simple arrangement of tiny white flowers using these Israeli flower vases.



For the hallway I placed some inexpensive orange flowers in an antique vase from Japan.



By 7 PM I was ready, and my guests started arriving.

It was really an enjoyable dinner.

We all sat around the dining table until close to midnight, talking about Travel and Life, and about the joys of a never-endingly, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.




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