Monday, September 26, 2016

Taste of Spain, Spanish Cooking Class by Dona Elena

Two exceptional name in the culinary world joined hands to bring us a fun way of learning about Spanish cuisine.  Imagine yourself serving colorful, festive dishes such as Paella, Gazpacho and Sangria to your family or to a group of friends.  Amaze them with rich tasty dishes you can only get from expensive restaurants and tell them stories of how you have learned to prepare them, but first you need to get enlisted to  Cooking By The Bay at New World Manila Bay Hotel, the home of Modern Oriental Hospitality.

I was one of the chosen media representatives to see and taste true Spanish cuisine while I don the green apron and indulge in using Dona Elena Olive Oils and other Dona Elena products last September 15, 2016

New World Bay Hotel and Dona Elena hosted this Spanish Cooking Class and made sure we get to really dig in the mess and experience a hot kitchen in one of the hotel's venue halls.

I never really cook Spanish dishes per se, but I do know to a certain extent that some Filipino dishes we were accustomed to were originally Spanish.  However, Paella never really reached my list.  I never imagined cooking Pealla, since I know how laborious it is to prepare this.

Another Spanish dish I'm interested in was the cold and refreshing soup, Gazpacho.  The best pairing for every plateful of Paella is a cold Sangria. Who knows, I'd be able to learn all three on them in one event.

The gorgeous and health-enthusiast, Bianca King gave light as she hosted the event.  Here Chef James Williams, the hotel's Executive Chef welcomed the attendees and introduced the partnership and their cooking class.

Like any cooking class, ingredients were already pre-measured and prepared, hotel chefs were present to guide us through and a recipe booklet in tow.

Our group strictly followed the instructions making sure, we will be able to like what we cooked.  After all, we will be eating them as lunch.

While everyone were diligently following the directions in the recipe, event host, Bianca King, Chef James Williams and Fly Ace Corporation President Mr. Jun Cochanco, joins each group to see how everyone was doing and to answer everyone's questions regarding Dona Elena and it's products.

Sharing you now the recipe of the first dish we prepared, Paella Mixta.  It's chicken and seafood flavor weaved together in one pot and held up by heirloom rice goodness.

Paella Mixta


75     ml     Doña Elena olive oil
200   g       chicken thighs, marinated in:
1/4   tsp.     paprika, 1tsp. olive oil,
salt and pepper
1      pc       onions, finely sliced
4      pcs     garlic cloves, finely chopped
1      pc       capsicum, cut into strips
125  g.        tomatoes, crushed
50    g.        tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
600  g         bomba rice, washed
15    pcs     saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water
1      tsp.    smoked paprika
1.2   Liters of boiling hot chicken and/or seafood broth,
mixed with 1 tsp. paprika, salt and pepper
150   gms   squid, sliced in rings
10     pcs     prawns
3       pcs.    cooked whole crabs, cut into bite-size pieces
15     pcs.    cooked clams or 16 - 20 pieces fresh clams
15     pcs     cooked mussels
35    g.        green peas
40    g         olives
10    pcs     lemon wedges
2      tsp.     Italian parsley, finely chopped


In a paella pan, heat 50ml olive oil and saute chicken until skin turns brown. Set aside.

In the same pan, sauté onions, then add garlic and capsicum, cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, then sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add in tomato paste & stir until all ingredients are coated. Add olive oil if needed.
Tomato paste must be cooked until color darkens but not burned.
Sprinkle smoked paprika. Mix until it is evenly distributed. Season with salt
and pepper.
Place rice & saute until translucent, stirring constantly for a few minutes.  

Control your pan temperature. This will take a while
Pour saffron liquid first and mix. Then add the broth.
(Note: Don’t worry if all the broth cannot fit at this point, the balance can be added later.)
From this moment, the cooking time is approximately 20-25 minutes until all the liquid
has been absorbed. At this moment, do not stir. From high to medium heat, turn heat
to low once liquid has evaporated.  

Once rice is almost cooked, add the squid and prawns. Cover with foil and cook until
prawns and squid are cooked.  
Add remaining ingredients evenly & decoratively throughout the skillet in the
following order: clams, mussels and crab, olives and green peas.
Let it sit for 15 minutes.  
To serve, remove foil, sprinkle with parsley and decorate with lemon wedges.

 Next in line is making the easy, peasy Gazpacho.  It's a tomato based cold soup.

Sasha of Yummy Magazine on our team, mixing the ingredients 

Once all the ingredients were mixed together in one bowl, the hotel staff brought it to the kitchen to be osterized or blended.

Lastly, we taught ourselves how to mix our own Sangria.

The fruits to adorn our booze

Our Sangria! Tadah!

 After everything were done, we were asked to transfer to the dining hall and we waited for the food to be served.

Our Team's personal serving of Gazpacho

Paella for the win!

Look how glorious this paella pan was...

To know more about how you can score passes to this kind of cooking class, check out and follow Dona Elena in FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

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