La Tasca channels its inner Elf with sweet paella!

¡Hola tapas lovers!

This Christmas, we got into the festive spirit by unveiling a sweet paella inspired by Buddy The Elf! Taking inspiration from the festive favourite, ‘Elf’, the team at La Tasca has developed a sweet paella for the film’s fans to try over the festive season.

Antony Bennett, Executive Chef at La Tasca, commented: “As all good Christmas elves know, it’s best to stick to the four main food groups – candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup – and so – I have created a very quick and simple bonkers recipe for a sweet ‘no cook’ paella, which incorporates these foods but no rice. You will just need a large pan, some sweet stuff and you’re off. Why not try it, put Elf on the TV and sing loud for all to hear – the best way to spread Christmas cheer!”

You can also see what happened when La Tasca’s Executive Chef, Antony Bennett, faced off against a naughty Spanish elf in a festive cook-off here:

If you want to give the Elf style paella a go yourself, then follow this simple recipe – not including the rice or milk… Elfo is just too mad!!


Serves as many as you want it too!

INGREDIENTS Candy (your choice) Candy Corn Candy Canes Syrup (your choice)

CROCKERY/KITCHENWARE 1 large/paella pan – the bigger the better!


1. Sprinkle the candy into the pan 2. Mix in the candy corns and hide some of them so it’s even more of a surprise! 3. Decorate the pan with candy canes 4. Drizzle over as much syrup as you would like, (like squeezing the lemon onto a fresh paella!) 5. Enjoy! Want to make Antony’s paella from the video at home? Here is the recipe:

Want to make Antony’s paella from the video at home? Here is the recipe:


Serves 2 – 4 people Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 35-40 minutes


200g of spanish paella rice such as bomba or calasparra

2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil

1 tsp pimentón de la vera dulce (smoked sweet paprika)

1g of saffron (or turmeric if you don’t have saffron)

675ml good quality fish or lobster stock

1 small glass white wine

150g tomato passatta

2 medium sized shallots, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, sliced

1 small bell pepper, seeded and diced into 2-3cm chunks

4 whole large wild prawns, shell on, head on

200g prepared medium-sized squid, cut into 2cm thick rings

1 small skinless fillet of white fish, such as cod, haddock or whiting

4 large raw peeled tiger prawns with the tails on

6 fresh large mussels, cleaned and pre cooked

40g fine green beans, top, tailed and chopped into 2cm

30g frozen garden peas

pinch salt & pepper

1 roasted red pepper, cut into 2 quarters to garnish

2 roasted long slices of aubergine to garnish

1 lemon cut into wedges


1 paella pan or a 30cm large heavy bottom frying pan 1 small saucepan


Place the paella pan over medium-high heat and pour in most of the garlic infused olive oil. When hot add the whole prawns and the mussels and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally so they do not burn. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and generate some steam, place a lid over the pan and continue cooking until the mussels open up. Remove the prawns and mussels from the pan and set aside.

Add in the remaining garlic olive oil to the pan and stir in the peppers, the shallots and sliced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened and sweet.

Stir in the tail on prawns, white fish and squid, cook for 3-4 minutes until the squid is white and opaque in colour. Mix all together.

Mix in the green beans.

Add the tomato passatta, almost all of the fish stock (leave 50 to 75ml back), pimentón and the saffron and the peas, once the broth is at a rolling boil and the seafood is cooked through, taste the broth to make sure you are happy with the flavour (at this point you are looking for a strong flavour of Smokey paprika, fragrant saffron and a fish stock kick) – season with salt and pepper if required.

Add the paella rice, making a cross in the pan with the rice from one side to the other.

Share the rice around the pan carefully using a spoon stirring briefly to distribute the rice into the 4 sections making sure the rice is even throughout the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Turn the pan around and arrange the mussels and the whole prawns in the pan, push them down slightly. From now on remember this rule…move the pan, do not stir the paella.

If you are cooking the traditional way on a gas stove, reduce the heat to medium and place the roasted red pepper quarters and the aubergine slices on top of the paella – let it cook for 15 minutes, moving the pan around from time to time until the broth has been totally absorbed by the rice. If you are cooking on an electric hob I recommend you transfer the paella to a pre-heated oven set at 180c for the final 10 minutes of cooking (but remember to add the mussels and whole prawns towards the end of the oven cook, so they do not dry out!) *I always suggest this cooking method because I find that most electric hobs are just not big enough to spread the heat evenly across the bottom of a 30cm pan.

Have the remaining fish stock on hand to gently ladle over the rice if required at any point within the final 5-10 minutes of cooking. (if oven baking at this point, pop the mussels and whole prawns onto the paella too before putting back in the oven)

Once the broth has totally disappeared, check that the rice is al dente – cooked but with a slight bite, then turn off the heat or remove from the oven and let it rest!

A Rest is so important: 15 minutes is my golden rule, however if you have the luxury of waiting up to 45 minutes you will see a notable difference in texture and condensed taste. If you choose the 45 minute wait, make sure you cover the pan loosely with a clean kitchen towel or kitchen foil.

Great paella should have a layer of rice caramelised on the bottom of the pan together with looking compact and caramelised on top; add the lemons just before serving! Only fluff up the paella when you are about to serve!

La Tasca love! xx