- Nicolette Stathopoulos
How to throw the best Paella Fiesta!
All my favourite tips and tricks to throwing the best paella fiesta. I absolutely love cooking for friends and family when I can so this time I thought why not add a theme to it and go a little over board. As you all know I already have a recipe on the blog for my paella. Together with this I thought of the theme Paella Fiesta, think all things Spanish, Latino, South American, tequila and all things in between. Once I’d come up with my theme I brainstormed a little. Menu, flowers, drinks, decorations, table setting and all the rest. I hope you all enjoy how I put together my Paella Fiesta and would love to hear how you go with all my tips and tricks.
The first step in my fiesta planning was thinking up of my menu. I wanted to have a couple other dishes that complimented the paella as entrees. I thought of a few dishes that would be light and fresh as a starter as well as a few traditional Spanish dishes. The first thing that came to mind was a Spanish inspired grazing board. Jamon, manchego cheese and all the rest. I knew this would go down a treat, and I knew just the place where to get one from, as I knew I’d be time poor on the day. A little delicatessen in Yarraville called Rocco’s Deli was able to put together the most incredible platter for me. They added so many beautiful cheeses, dips, cured meats and crackers, topped off with a heap of fresh fruit, it looked amazing.
Next up for my starters I knew some seafood entrees would be light and fresh to go down well with my paella. The guys at Tim & Terry Oyster Supply are supplying Melbourne with some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever seen. Honestly I’ve had some strange smelling fish at restaurants I’ve been to in the past. And when I saw the piece of kingfish from Tim & Terry it was so fresh, plump and delicious. I decided to make a ceviche with the kingfish, cure it in a little bit of lime juice and serve it with a little salsa of tomato, avocado and coriander. You can find kingfish at any good seafood store, make sure you ask for it to be sashimi grade and okay to be eaten raw. At times kingfish can be a little pricy, if this is the case ask your seafood specialist for any other white flesh fish that can be eaten raw as sashimi.
As well as the kingfish I also served some delicious Spanish inspired oysters from Tim & Terry. For the oysters I made a cava dressing. Cava is a sparkling wine, made in Spain, like Champagne. For the dressing I put together some sparkling wine, sherry vinegar, red onion and parsley. Together with this dressing I topped the oysters off with some crispy pan-fried jamon.
A couple more traditional dishes I made as well for the entrees included some flamed padron peppers and mini capsicums, on the barbeque. Generous bowls of patatas bravas, these are fried or roasted potatoes cut into small pieces and topped with a traditional tomato sauce that is spicy and filled with lots of paprika. And lastly some chorizo croquettes that were to die for.
Next to organise was my table settings and decorations. I knew I would be able to find a lively assortment of flowers at Van Gogh Flowers in Hawthorn East. I got a few colourful bunches of flowers that I just loved and put them all together myself. A couple flowers to look out for are dahlias, roses, chrysanthemums and gypsophila. For water vases I used empty tomato cans to give my décor a little rustic look. For my table setting I went through Kmart, Big W and the Reject shop looking for all things fiesta, tropical and Spanish looking. I found the cutest placemats at Big W in the shape of pineapples that I just loved, and only for $2 each. Party garlands and paper decorations I also found at Big W and Kmart. For my place cards I hand decorated wooden horses with glitter glue, and wrote my friends names on them with a marker. I found the cutest little wooden horses from Art Riot and decorated these at home. I also loved the piñatas from Kmart and used a few of these to decorate the table and the house with, these are about $12 each which is a bargain, and you can also find mini ones from the Reject shop from $4.
Lastly for my fiesta I had to organise a range of beverages for my friends. I decided to go with a range of three different alcoholic drinks, incase anyone didn’t enjoy one of the other options I knew I was safe with having a few different options. My first option was my Espolon Tequila Watermelon Margaritas, made from Espolon tequila, lime juice and fresh watermelon juice this drink was a winner. Next option was Aperol spritz, because really who doesn’t love Aperol. Not only do they taste delicious but they also look delicious too. And lastly was my rose sangria, I put this one together in a big drink dispenser and allowed my guests to help themselves. I used rose in the sangria because I wanted it to be refreshing and sweet without the addition of too much sugar. The straws in my drinks I sourced from a few different places. The fiesta straws I got from Big W which were a bargain at $3 a pack. And my other paper striped straws I usually get from Astoria Paper Products in Balaclava.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of my tips and tricks to throwing the best paella fiesta. I will be posting all of the recipes individually soon so stay tuned. If you have any questions please email me, and I look forward to seeing how your Paella Fiesta’s turn out xx
Tim and Terry Oyster Supply
Van Gogh Flowers
5 Mayston St, Hawthorn East VIC 3123