Enjoy a Home-Cooked Meal Anywhere in the World



Miriam showing the finished paella with Yvonne and Sonia waiting for a delicious lunch

If you want to experience a home-cooked meal, anywhere in the world, then you’re in for a treat with

It all started with Yvonne, my new friend from volunteering at Vaughan Town in Spain. She invited me to join her at Miriam’s apartment in Madrid, so we could learn how to cook an authentic paella.

We shared a taxi to Miriam’s place, and were greeted by a smiling lady who invited us into her comfortable suburban apartment and introduced us to her two small dogs. She made us feel welcome, and offered aprons with “La Cocina de Mirinda,” written on the front.

Yvonne and Sonia leek

Yvonne and Sonia busy at work


After a nice cup of coffee, and a detailed description of how to cook paella from scratch, we were asked to participate in the peeling of shrimp. Both the carcasses and the shrimp heads were tossed into a pot to make the most important ingredient of the recipe: the stock. Miriam emphasized that the secret to a fabulous paella, is to make your own stock.

Shrimp stock

Shrimp stock with a leek for flavor

Now that we had finished peeling the shrimp, we were exhausted! So time for a delicious specialty: a smoked cheese, thinly sliced from,I believe, the Basque area. (Sorry but I cannot remember the name, except Miriam said you have to leave it out for an hour or so, before eating it.)

Miriam cheese


Miriam asked us to chop some red and green peppers and wash some tomatoes for a gazpacho soup, she wanted us to taste.I love that fresh cold soup which is so refreshing on a hot day, (32C) in Madrid on that day.

gazpacho and sonia

Enjoying a freshly made gazpacho

Time to get serious with the paella, so the toughest part of the paella preparation for me, was sifting the shrimp stock through a coffee sieve, after it had been through the food processor. This was a time-consuming process, but very important in the preparation of a delicious home-made stock as the base for simmering the bomba rice, which is the kind you need for a paella. Risotto rice does not work for paella.

After pre-cooking some chicken pieces, and peppers, it’s time to add the stock to the rice and simmer. You do not add the shrimp until the very end.

shrimp and garlic cooking

Miriam cooked the shrimp separately in olive oil and lots of sliced garlic.

Yvonne and I received a copy of the recipe to try at home, and Miriam, has been wonderful, e-mailing us other recipes for gazpacho, and following up with our travels back home. Oh, I forgot to mention, she even took the time to drive Yvonne to the airport to catch her flight after our meal, and then drove me to downtown Madrid.

This was more about sharing a cultural experience with someone from another country, than about learning to make a delicious paella.

Next time you’re in Spain, ask Miriam to share her cooking and hospitality with you. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s how you reach Miriam through


Comments (3)

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  1. What fun! Mouth-watering pictures. Love gazpacho. Great looking paella. Looks like you’re having a wonderful European – what should I call it? – stay, jaunt, trip? Will be interested to know what you liked best about it – on your return.

  2. Sonia,
    Would love to chat. Let’s make a date.

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