Summer has burst into our lives and once again our thoughts turn to festive occasions and celebrating and enjoying life with friends and family. The last thing any of us want is to spend hours in a hot kitchen missing out on all the fun.

So this year, on my Christmas table, will be this festive Paella combining beautiful colours, flavours and seafood.

  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 1 red or yellow capsicum, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 15 raw prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left on
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups reduced salt chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups short grain white rice such as Arborio
  • 12 mussels cleaned and debearded
  • 300 grams chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup halved pitted black olives
  • 1/4 cup halved pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat
  • leaf parsley

Heat oil in a 13 inch paella pan or large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the capsicum, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softening, 5-6 minutes. Stir in broth, saffron and salt; bring to boil. Add rice, stir just to combine and spread to form a thin, even layer in the pan. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook the rice, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, gently fold the outside portions of rice into the centre of the pan to ensure even cooking. Continue simmering, without stirring, until the rice looks dry and is just tender, about 10 minutes more. Watch carefully and be prepared to shift the pan partially off the burner as necessary to keep the rice cooking at the same rate and prevent burning.

Meanwhile in a small frypan on medium high heat, cook the chorizo for a minute or two each side until golden, remove from pan and keep warm.

When the rice is almost done, lower the heat and gently fold in the peas and the olives, scatter the chorizo and then add the mussels and prawns. Cover with a lid or foil and leave for a further 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked and the mussels are opened. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy.

Recipe by Lee Faulkner | Images by Andrew Coates