The last two weeks we have been on holiday: at home, down the beach hut. Well as you might have seen from my last post also doing a lot of decorating. My husband doesn’t like decorating and I have attention issues (self-diagnosed). Anyway all decorating complete – for now. The bank holiday weekend is certainly not a time for decorating and household chores, it’s a time for family, friends and fun. I had always wanted an excuse to cook a Paella on the barbecue down the beach hut and with our good friends Lisa and Joe visiting last weekend this was the perfect time. My Paella may not be authentic but it did mean I could prepare everything in advance and then cook and chat. I certainly don’t have attention issues with cooking and chatting. Beach Hut Paella (serves 8) 4 tablespoons olive oil 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks 2 onions, peeled and diced 4 large cloves garlic, crushed then chopped finely 2 red peppers, deseeded and diced 170g chorizo, diced 500g Paella rice 1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 2 good pinches saffron 125ml glass white wine 1.2l chicken stock, heated (2 stock cubes in freshly boiled water is fine) 2 handfuls of peas (frozen is fine) 4 large tomatoes, deseeded and diced salt and pepper 500g fresh mussels, prepared by removing any beards and discarding any opened or chipped ones 24 raw king prawns 1 handful of fresh parsley, finely diced 2 lemons, cut into wedges First of all you need a large paella or sturdy flat frying pan that can handle all these ingredients and check this can sit happily on your barbecue without tipping. Light your barbecue and once the coals have started to die down but are hot hot then place your pan on the heat and add the oil, once you can see the oil bubbling at the edges add your chicken to brown off. Once all nicely browned, remove and set aside to add later. Add the saffron strands to the white wine and allow this to infuse. Keeping as much oil in the pan as possible, fry the onion, garlic for 5 minutes until starting to soften but not colour. Add the red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes stirring from time to time to prevent burning. Add the chorizo and continue to cook for about 3 minutes allowing the chorizo to release its orange oil. This gives colour to the final dish. Add the rice and give every grain a good coating of oil. Add the paprika, thyme, saffron & white wine, toms, and salt & pepper. Add the hot stock and bring back to the boil. Give this a good stir and this will be the last time you will stir until cooked! Cook for 15 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan on top of the rice along with the peas and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add the mussels and prawns and cook for a final 5-10 minutes until the mussels have opened and prawns are pink. Allow everything to rest for 10 minutes before serving with a good scattering of the parsley and lemon wedges.