Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Last Minute Eleven Plus Swotting

Last weekend we have the privilege of being able to entertain Paul and Wendy Wright. They are very well known for their jewellery making and theirs stocks of fine jewels. We were joined by my brother Michael and his wife Angela who came over from Spain especially for the weekend.

Paul said that he would stay with us over the weekend if we would allow him to make a paella. We knew that he was serious when he carried his paella pan into our kitchen before his suitcases.

Now all of you who go to Spain on a regular basis know that paella is the name of the pan in which the rice is cooked. The rice used in the pan is usually of the short-grain variety. This is to allow the rice to absorb more liquid.

It is then up to the individual genius of the cook to determine the ingredients. Some use a variety of fish – along with eels and snails. Other cooks swear that there is a need to add quantities of chicken to add bulk and substance. Paul added the rice after the food had been simmering for about twenty minutes.

So all year you have been adding the ingredients that your child has needed as the Eleven Plus examinations have approached. You have been adding a little verbal reasoning and some non verbal reasoning. You have been working through papers purchased from the great books shops of the land. You have been buying papers off the internet and down loading free papers. You have been listening to other parents and adding your ideas. You have chatted to your teachers and the head teacher. Some of you will have provided your child with extra lessons. At other times the whole family will have united to solve problems and move the preparation on.

When you have a short time left to go to the examination don’t try to add anything extra. Just let it all simmer in your child’s mind. Don’t be tempted to do just that little bit more because whatever you do at the last minute may come of `half cooked’.

You have heated the big pan. You have given your child the best possible preparation. Just let your child rest for a short time before the actual day of the examination. After all every cook knows that you leave paella to rest for about five minutes before serving with wedges of lemon.

Find Paul and Wendy on:

Find Michael and Angela on:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


1/2 pint of olive oil

10 mussels

10 clams

2 oz boneless pork, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

6 oz onions, chopped fine

1 medium tomato, skinned, seeded and chopped

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

32 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

24 oz lobster claws

24 oz rice

3 cups (48 fl. oz) chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon saffron

2 chorizo sausages, cooked and cut into chunks

10 uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 oz peas

4 tablespoon capers

Lemon wedges, to garnish.


Scrub and debeard the mussels and clams, discarding any that don't close when tapped sharply. Set aside.

Heat 1/4 cup (2fl. oz) of the olive oil in a skillet. Add the pork, and brown all sides. Mix in the garlic, onions, tomato, and bell peppers, stirring constantly until cooked. Set aside.

In another skillet, heat a further 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz) olive oil and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, thyme, and cumin. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, cook the lobster claws overt high heat for several minutes until its shell turns pink. Set the skillet aside.

Preheat the oven to 200 ºF. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, and sauté the rice until it's translucent. Pour in the chicken broth, and combine well. Add the pork mixture, stirring constantly. Sprinkle in the saffron and continue to stir until well mixed.

Transfer the rice into a paella pan. Mix in the lobster claws, chicken, chorizo sausages, mussels, clams, shrimp, peas, and capers, combining well. Bake the paella, uncovered, and on the lowest oven shelf, for around 25 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Discard any mussels and clams that have failed to open.

Serve the paella straight from the pan, garnished with lemon wedges.