Here at Bondi Harvest, we treat our food as an adventure, whether you are tuning into our Tv show or coming into the restaurant to experience that flavour and journey first hand. As it was Winter in Australia, we thought it was fitting to send our chefs, Guy Turland and Taylor Cullen on an epic impromptu road trip, from Sand to Snow. Starting off in their back yard, Bondi, where the Chefs are usually found surfing, diving, climbing, and cooking. We hooked them up with a camera crew and Infiniti car, giving them a blank canvas to explore, forage and cook through the beautiful country they call home.
5.45 am, The ever so familiar start for the boys, trying to catch a couple of waves before the Bondi surf crowds overrun the ocean, this is quite often the time to discuss the day’s plans and recipes, not a bad spot for a meeting. Seafood the obvious choice, Guy wanted to produce a ‘Bondi style paella’, “there is something very enjoyable about taking a dish so traditional, and producing it in context to your environment and surroundings’ says Taylor.
There is a living abundance of edible plants close to the beach, and once you know what you are looking for, it’s easy to find, in Bondi, there are lots of native warrigal greens, and wild watercress, perfectly fresh and peppery. There is a couple of tricks to cooking a good paella, Guy and Taylor are all about getting as much flavour into food as possible, using traditions as a guideline, here are their tips.
Make, or select a stock full of flavour, Rice is absorbent, soaking up all the flavour of what it is cooked in, the liquid you use in dishes like risotto or paella is super important. Using a white chicken stock will give it a fresh light flavour while using a roasted chicken stock will give that intense roast flavour we all love. In this recipe they used beef stock, complementing the kombu and spices used in the dish, adding a deep complexity of flavour.
Cracking the rice or ‘Tostatura’ is a term that describes lightly toasting and coating the rice in fat, this seals the grain and is detrimental to the texture and flavour of paella. The rice used has a high concentration of the starches amylopectin and amylose (amylopectin dissolves easily during cooking, adding to the creamy texture, while Amylose is tougher, and soaks up the flavour). Arborio is the rice most popular in stores throughout the USA and Australia, but vialone nano and carnaroli do the same thing only with slight differences.
Selecting the right ingredients, you can actually add whatever you want to paella, however, if using seafood, fresh is best. Pick herbs to complement your spices, e.g, paprika and cumin goes really well with Italian parsley. Good chorizo will add spiciness and texture, especially when roasted with the rice, releasing its oil throughout the cooking process.
Season, season, season. Were not just talking about salt and pepper, the complexity of flavour comes from seasoning the dish throughout the cooking process, Salt brings out flavour, Acid balances salt, sweet balances acid and bitter, umami as the exception, in this recipe, Kombu is used during the cooking process to make the dish more savoury, merging traditional Japanese and Spanish cooking methods. Seafood will add a salty sea-like flavour, chorizo releasing salt/peppers and spices itself, all of these steps are designed to release flavour and season the dish. The finishing with salt and acid should only be to balance the dish, 90 percent of the seasoning should already be done once finished cooking.
The video to this recipe perfectly shows a good outdoor cooking setup to the dish. However, trading the coals to your stove is not an issue. The Chef duo cooked their Paella on the rocks over the breaking surf, walkers by watching and craving food from the sweet food smells, caught in the wind and taken on a journey of their own, if you do have the opportunity to get outside and cook this recipe, we recommend it, something about being in nature makes food taste better, as we said at the start, it’s about the journey of flavour, and the enjoyment of eating with family and friends, below we have attached the recipe and video of the first section of the Sand to Snow road trip. Happy cooking!