We spend any spare holiday, when we are not catering for corporate events, parties or weddings in the small Spanish town of Mula, in Murcia, Southern Spain. It’s not only the home of the Calasparra rice we use in our paellas, but for us it is also a retreat into a quieter way of life as well as a chance to explore our love of Spanish food.
Our Spanish neighbour, Teresa, is a font of all local cooking paella knowledge. It is Theresa who taught us how to make the best churros batter with fresh yeast and egg to deep fry in tempting spirals, then cut into bite size lengths; it is Teresa who gave us her recipe for the best chocolate a la taza to dip the churros in.
When a local hunter turned up at our door with a leg of wild boar he had just shot, it was Teresa who showed us how to butcher and then slow cook it in wine with bay leaves and rosemary. And finally, it was Teresa who showed us how to cook the traditional Sunday paellas over log fires, using wood from our orange and lemon trees.
Murcia’s local paella speciality of conejo con caracoles – rabbit with snails – might not be to everyone’s taste, but our initial reluctance gave way to utter delight once we tasted it. And it’s a paella we’ve adapted for our English palate with our wonderfully rich rabbit and almond and rosemary paella.