Celebrating them.

A few weeks ago we celebrated Fathers’ Day with our immediate family. It was a seemingly low-key lunch at home, but there was a little extra TLC added in to show Alex and my Father-in-Law how much we appreciate and love them.

So onto the menu.

My in-laws provided the entree. They had been to our favourite Spanish Deli in Fitzroy, Casa Iberica. If you haven’t been there, you simply must. They brought with them a simply spectacular Jamon Iberico de Bellota and a very moreish manchego which had been aged for 12 months. A superb way to start the afternoon.


I decided to make a paella as the main dish for the day. It was loosely adapted from Frank Camorra’s recipe.

Chicken and seafood paella

  • Servings: 6 adults + 1 hungry toddler
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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  • 6 chicken thighs, chopped
  • 200g squid rings
  • 6 whole baby calamari chopped into 3 segments (we left the squid ink in)
  • 6 prawns
  • 3 tomatoes, deseeded and grated
  • 100mL extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • A good pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 250g of red/green capsicums, diced
  • 2-3 tsps of smoked paprika
  • 225g bomba rice
  • Approximately 850mLs of chicken stock (we used homemade)
  • Lemon wedges to serve


  • Preheat oven to 160C.
  • Heat 30mLs of olive oil in a 24cm paella pan over high heat. Add squid rings & calamari, season with salt and pepper. Stir continuously until firm and caramelised (approx 2 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Wipe the pan to remove excess squid ink, add chicken to the pan, season with salt and pepper and stir continuously until lightly browned.
  • Push chicken to one side, reduce heat to low-medium and add onion, garlic, saffron, bay leaves and remaining oil. Season and stir continuously until onion is golden (4-5 minutes).
  • Add capsicum and cook until soft (8-10 mins). Then mix chicken in.
  • Using a sieve, drain all liquid from tomatoes and then add to the pan alongside smoked paprika. Increase heat to medium-high and stir occasionally. Leave until mixture is looking thicker (15-20 mins).
  • Add chicken stock, stir to combine and bring to simmer.
  • Return squid rings and calamari to the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in rice and stir through evenly. Do not stir the rice again!
  • Continue cooking until rice begins to show, adding prawns after 12 minutes. Take dish off stove after 15-20 minutes.
  • Place paella dish into oven and leave for 15-20 minutes until golden and rice has absorbed most liquid.
  • Serve with lemon wedges.

I served this with a roasted fennel and beetroot salad. Not typically served with paella but I had bought the most spectacular fennel and beetroot from the Kingston Farmer’s Market and couldn’t wait to use it. I had the leftovers of this salad with a can of tuna at work the next day and it was just as delicious!

I was inspired by this recipe, however I made a few minor adaptations.

Roasted fennel, beetroot and feta salad

  • Servings: 6 adults
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print



  • 1 bunch of beetroots
  • 1 fennel (including fennel leaves)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsps garlic powder
  • 2-3 tsp onion powder
  • 125g feta
  • 1/4 cup of pepitas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Peel and cut beetroots into halves or quarters depending on size.
  • Cut fennel bulb in half, reserve leaves for assembly
  • Coat vegetables in olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender (I found the fennel took longer than the beetroot).
  • Toast pepitas in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove once they start to ‘pop’ and are golden in colour.
  • Slice fennel into thin strips.
  • Add beetroot, fennel, fennel leaves, feta and pepitas into serving bowl.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, toss and enjoy!

Now to dessert. I made this lemon and ricotta cake with cream cheese frosting, using lemons from our Uncle’s tree. I topped this with some candied lemon peel and lemon meringues. My decorative skills are a work in progress, but practice makes perfect right?


Decadent? Yes.

Delicious? Absolutely.

Time consuming? Certainly.

Over the top? Not at all.

I bake to show my loved ones how much they mean to me. So here’s to you both. Incredible fathers and role models for my darling daughter. How lucky we are to have you in our lives. Thank-you for all that you do for us. We love you so much xx


Tessie xoxo

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