Recepi: The rice and fall of a paella pan spoon

THIS week's recepi comes with the La Barraca paella dish, on sale at Le Cookshop, 84 Stoke Newington Church St, London N16 (from pounds 8.50, according to size).

Valencian Paella

100 grams of rice per ration

Ingredients: Tender chicken, crawfish, mussels, mountain snails, peas and ripe tomatoes, condimented with salt, pepper and saffron, in sufficient quantity depending on the number of rations. Although the Valencian Paella is prepared with all these ingredients, it is none the less delicious if some are missing because of difficulty in acquiring them, due to the season in which it is prepared.

Preparation: Oil is pouret into a paella-pan 'La Barraca' procurin to cover the bottom scarcely and when it is really hot, the necessary satl and the chicken, cut up into parts, are fried slightly together. Once it is golden, some pieces of tomato, peas or tender French beans, depending on the seasons, are added; afterwards a little red pepper and water are added for cooking. Allow to boil for some minutes and add a little by little to the paella-pan 'La Barraca', making a little ridge which rises a finger above the water; once this is done it is spread all over the area.

In order to know if there is the correct amount of water and rice a wooden spoon is placed in the centre of the paella-pan 'La Barraca', if it stands up lightly, the consistancy is correct, if on the other hand, it hods is rigidly, there needs more water, which must be added slowly, and if the spoon is noted held at all, a little water mus be taken out with a table spoon, or some rice added. Afterwards add some mountain snails, which give a very good taste. Leave the rice to cook in this state, maintaings the fire the some all over. Be very careful not to add more water once it has begun to boil; if it is noted that there is not enough water to complete the cooking, lower the fire so that it can cook with what remains. If, on the contrary, it is noted that there is too much water the fire must be livened up so that the increase in the flame consumes the stock until there is a correct proportion. Once the rice is golden, cooked crawfish or mussels can be added, if desired.

When the rice is cooked, it is removed from the fire and left for about 10 minutes on the ground, avoiding leaving it on pavement or stone, an it will then obsorbe the little stock which remains and it will be ready for serving.

Those who want to make this rice must adjust themselves completely to the given instructions, as sometimes carelessness, although appearing to have little importance, will spoil it. It is preferable to cook this hind of rice always with fire-wood.

READERS who send in the best examples of recipes or serving suggestions translated to the same standard will receive a paella-pan 'La Barraca'. Entries to Recepi, Weekend, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.