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Only a week and a bit until we’re jetting off to Spain, so I’m getting in the spirit of things by cooking up a suitably Spanish meal tonight. I’ve not done this one in a while, so I hope I can remember it rightly!

Veggie Paella

You will need:

1) 4 Quorn sausages (meat lovers don’t panic, normal sausages or even chorizo is fine)

2) 1 onion, peeled and chopped.

3) 2 peppers, seeded and sliced.

4) 2tbsp olive oil.

5) 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped.

6) 250g vine ripened tomatoes, chopped. (chopped tomatoes are fine for budget meals)

7) Other green veg, peas, green beans, whatever you have in the freezer/ fridge that needs using up!

8) 200g rice

9) 2 tsp paprika

10) 1 tsp turmeric

11) 1 tsp mild chilli powder

12) The zest and juice of one lemon

13) 700-800ml (roughly) vegetable stock

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How to make it:

1) Heat the oil in a small frying pan and cook the Quorn sausages according to packet instructions. If you are having meat ones, do likewise.

2) Meanwhile, ifyou haven’t already, prepare all your veg by chopping, peeling etc and set to one side. (tomatoes can wait til a bit later if you’ve run out of room on the chopping board!)

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3) Whilst the sausages are still cooking, start frying the onion and garlic in some oil in a big saucepan, until soft. Then add the peppers and cook for another 5 mins or so. (chop the tomatoes now, if you haven’t already!)

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4) Add the tomatoes and any green veg. Cook for another 5 mins. Whilst doing so, boil water for stock.

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5) Add the rice, spices, lemon zest and juice and give it a good stir, then add the stock (I recommend not adding all at once, so you can get the consistency of the rice right; it’s easier to add more than take it away!) Simmer for 15 mins.

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6) Meanwhile, chop the sausage into smallish chunks.

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7) After 15 mins simmering, add the sausages and cook for about 5-10 mins more, or until rice is cooked. Remember to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t dry out. (burnt rice is a cow to clean off saucepans…I know from experience!) Add more boiled water if it looks undercooked/ dry.

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8) Taste the rice to check it’s cooked, then serve! A sprinkle of dried parsley looks nice on top, but it’s not a problem if you leave it out.

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Total Cost: A bit more expensive, this one, because I opted for fresh tomatoes, which are about £1.20 more expensive than tinned! But on this one occasion, we enjoyed the indulgence, as fresh vine tomatoes this time of year are gorgeous! It was about £6.00, so £1.50 per person.

The Verdict? A massive thumbs up from me, I ate it, wondering why on earth I didn’t cook it more often! The fresh lemon flavour is so tasty with the spices…mmm! The boys were pretty keen on it too, though more intent on picking all the peppers and sausages out and eating those. They both had a few good mouthfuls of rice though, which for Db1 especially is a major step forward.

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