Villa Ardilla: home made paella

We bought the villa in Spain from the most lovely people. Not only did they leave the house in immaculate state for us, including fresh sheets and towels and cava in the fridge (they won me over right there and then!), they also spend a lot of time with us pointing out all the ins and outs of the house and garden. They insisted they cook a paella for us, when we were there for the first time as a family. Now who am I to say no? I LOVE FOOD! Even better when a local cooks it for me!


Most Spanish country homes have a paellero. Definitely in Valencia, home to the best paella (as they say). It's an indoor BBQ (by law they need to have at least 3 walls, else they might set off bush fires in summer), usually next to an outdoor or summer kitchen. We have both in Villa Ardilla. Lucky us! So the lovely Luis and Maria Carmen came to cook for us, in the outdoor kitchen. Traditional paella is with rabbit but given our daughter is pescatarian we went for the seafood option instead (I was happy to blame my daughter as have to honestly admit that I am not into the rabbit eating thing).

To make life more complicated for Maria Carmen, hubby is allergic to squid and shell fish, so we didn't add those either (instead she cooked them for me separately in white wine and garlic - HEAVEN!!). So prawns it was! And what kind of prawns! As if an angels peed on your tongue. Seriously. The whole paella rocked actually. And I was so excited to document the whole thing, as seeing it made, the traditional way is simply über cool. I wish you could smell on screen (or maybe not as you'd get very hungry). Anyway, check out these pictures! And for those who are keen, click here for the recipe!


Maria Carmen's Prawn Paella Recipe


Fish broth (twice the amount of broth than rice)

Paella Rice

A diced onion

A grated tomato

One tablespoon paprika (powdered)

Pinch of Saffron

Prawns or shrimp (frozen and fresh whole)


(Obviously you can add squid, shell fish and other vegetables, but we didn't that day. Adding artichoke is yum!)

To Prepare:

Fry the whole prawns, reserve them on a plate.

Sauté the onion and then the tomato. When it is fried, add the garlic, frozen shrimps and dry beans (habichuelas) and the rice. Give it a few turns and add the paprika and saffron. Then add the hot broth. The rice will take ~ 20min to cook.

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Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

I am Marieke, a Dutch Australian interior designer, business executive, tutor, content creator and social media influencer.


I also write blogs on styling tips, makeovers, interior designs and instagram insights.

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