Mouth-Watering Paella by the Cockney Critic

Otherwise known as the cockney critic or Mr Happy Days, Jerry Mullan’s culinary journey has been as diverse as the countries he’s lived and cooked in, whether it was running Charity events at St Paul’s Cathedral or Hog roasts at Hampton Court, he’s always smiling. Currently, Head Chef of an award-winning West London gastropub, his influences and passion are irresistible whether on a plate or being read.

Jerry Mullan

Paella Serves 2-4 people

Thank you, Spain! When I was living there, this is one dish that smashes it for me, full of amazing flavours and every barrio in Spain puts their own twist on it. It’s such a personal thing as well, with recipes being passed down from generation to generation and still going strong to this day. I’ve been very lucky in my travels, to come across an amazing chef and friend, Mr Borja the explorer. Originally from the Basque country, now residing in Barcelona, competing with Michelin Stars. I worked with this amazing man, in a little restaurant in Chiswick and the man’s passion and personality just screams from the plate, I loved it.  From whole suckling pigs to award winning paellas, and all from his nans style of cooking, fresh bread and pastry, cooking at its best. His paella always had a rich tomato and pepper sauce, called a Sauphrita sauce, this gives the deep flavour that takes your taste buds back to the ports of Vigo, which I don’t see in many recipes. So here is my twist on this Mediterranean classic.

Sauphrita Sauce

  • 1 Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Peppers, Red or Green (Small Diced)
  • 1 Onion (Small Diced)
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Demerara Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Dried Mixed Herbs


  • 1 Lemon Juice (fresh)
  • 1 Leek (sliced)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 300g Arborio Rice
  • 1 Litre Hot Fish Stock (if not fresh, one 1/2 stock cube)
  • 200g Frozen Peas (Garden or Petit Pois)
  • 350g Seafood Mix (thawed)
  • 100g fresh mussels

This is an easy recipe, but the Sauphrita takes a little time, so patience is a virtue on this beauty. Dice the onion and pepper in small dices, roughly just under a centimetre, it doesn’t need to be perfect, ‘this is rustic like Nan’ as Borja would say. Add the diced Onion and Peppers in to a pan with a little oil, place on a medium heat and you need to cook them for about an hour, while occasionally stirring and checking if you need a little more oil, and that they haven’t stuck. Once done, get your spices and garlic and place them in and stir constantly for approximately ten second, before adding the tinned tomatoes. Give a stir, bring to the boil and then let simmer for a further 30 minutes. Keep an eye on this, tomato sauce is like a ticket inspector, it will catch when you least expect it, so make sure you stir and the heats not on too high.

Top Tip“Fresh is best” yes this statement gets used in almost any cooking programme on TV, and yes it is true, but I don’t live anywhere near an ocean, and so I know a large portion of fish would have been frozen at some point in the journey, but to keep that amazing sea salt flavour, allow to defrost naturally in a fridge and not aided by water

Amazing now we can work on the rest.  Cook your chopped leeks in a little oil until there nice and soft and have lost that crunch. Add the rice and turmeric and stir until combined throughout. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then lower and allow to simmer for 8 minutes. Add the amazing smelling Sauphrita sauce and your cleaned mussels (CC Mussels (link to the mussels page) to the rice , stir and carry on cooking for a further 5 minutes, add the seafood and cook through for another 5 minutes until piping hot. Squeeze over the lemon and serve.

There we go, get the San Miguel on ice, sangria on the table, and serve with a sliced baguette and a mixed salad straight from the bag. Feliz Diaz, Gracias y Asta Luego!!! Provecho!#

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