My friend Cé, or my “sister from another mother” as her husband would say, is one of the best and most relaxed cooks I know. She can just quickly look in her cupboards and fridge for a minute and come up with something delicious, with no faff or stress. She is a natural, and she clearly loves cooking for others.
Here is one of my favourite photos of the two of us together, on a girly trip to Madrid.
Tell us about you.
Hi I am Cé, Mel’s friend. I am a mum to a gorgeous toddler and part-time teacher. I am also French but very happily settled in the UK. I try to make the most of every single day, even when life throws me lemons.
I love cooking: alone, with my little girl, for 3 or 12 people. I don’t mind. I find it soothing, calming and invigorating at the same time, with music in the background and sometimes with a glass of wine.
Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?
Everywhere from a good cookbook to recipes online to magazines. My favourite cheesecake recipe was found in OK magazine! My mum, a friend , a neighbour and Mel of course are also sources of inspiration.
Is there anything you would not touch even if you were given £1000 to eat it?
Dog meat… no need to explain.
What recipe did you chose today and why?
When Mel asked me if I fancied sharing a recipe, I knew it had to be my mum’s paella recipe. My mum is the best cook I know. Nothing is too much for her. When I was younger and had a friend over, she used to ask them what their favourite meal was and by dinnertime, it was ready to be served. Amazing, huh?
We used to spend our holidays in Spain so mum asked many cooks how they made their paella and after years of fine tuning, she put together the Winner recipe. It might be a bit of a tedious process, but believe me I do not know one person who did not ask for the recipe after trying it. It is simply perfect!
Photo credit: Cé
Due to sad circumstances, my mum cannot cook anymore. I have asked her to show me the ropes and wanted to share a bit of her legacy.
Photo credit: Cé
Could you share a couple of tips that make your life easier in the kitchen?
– Get a good knife and a good peeler! Nothing more annoying that a blunt knife!
– I bought a four way timer a couple of years ago and could not live without one now.
– Good bakeware products are crucial for great results.
1 thing no one should ever do in the kitchen:
Not trying the food as you go along is a bad mistake (new spoon each time of course). How are you supposed to know what it tastes like if you don’t try it?
Thanks Cé and Catherine. You two rock! When it comes to ‘free from’ food, paella certainly comes as a treat for those on a wheat, gluten and egg-free diet.
I have been lucky enough to experience the full ‘CatCat Dining Experience’ on a few occasions. On my first ever visit to Cé’s parents, I requested her ‘Seabass in a Seasalt Crust with a Sauce au Beurre Blanc’. Oh. My. Goodness! To this day, it is the best meal I have ever had. On the day she cooked it, CatCat was at work. She just sent us to the fishmongers’ and dealt with the rest after work, having to make the Beurre Blanc sauce twice because we were distracting her and it curdled the first time round.
Merci Catherine for being such an inspiration in the kitchen!
Fancy seeing your recipe on Feature my Food Friday? Whether you are a keen baker, a blogger, one of my friends or a reader who would like to see their creation online, I would love to feature you! Just email me a recipe (written in your own words), a landscape photo of your creation as well as the answers to the questions above.
Oh, and before I forget, here is CatCat’s Paella recipe!
Easy to Follow Paella Recipe by Cé
- 40 cm paella dish
- ½ glass olive oil
- 300 g pork streaky rashers cut into cubes
- 700 g chicken thighs, drumsticks, breast cut into 4cm cubes
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Half a chorizo sausage cut into slices
- 2 g saffron
- A pinch cayenne pepper or more
- 300 g calamari rings
- 2 peppers 1 red and 1 green, cut into strips
- 3 onions in a food processor if possible, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 300 g prawns
- 3 carrots cut into sticks
- 700 g paella rice
- 6 tomatoes seeds removed, quartered
- 200 g frozen peas
- 300 g mussels cooked
- 8 langoustines to decorate
On low heat, warm a third of the oil in the paella dish.
Cook the pork and chicken together for about 20 minutes, stirring so that the meat does not colour too much.
Add salt, pepper and the chorizo. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
Dissolve the saffron in a glass of warm salty water and add the cayenne pepper.
While the meat cooks, I usually prep all vegetables. You can also do it the previous day to gain time.
Remove the meat from the dish. Keep it aside, covered.
Add the rest of the oil to the paella dish over a high heat. Add calamari and peppers and stir. Bring the heat down to medium. After a couple of minutes, add the onions, garlic, prawns and carrots.
Stir and add the rice. When the rice is creamy, add the tomatoes then the peas.
Put the meat back in and add the glass of cayenne pepper and saffron water. Stir and taste to check whether you need more salt or pepper.
Cover with water, bring to the boil then reduce to low heat until the rice is soft and the liquid has been absorbed.
In the meantime, cook the langoustines in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes if frozen, 3 minutes if fresh. Let them cool down.
In a separate pan, stir fry the mussels in a splash of olive oil. Do the same with the langoustines. Add them to the dish.