Introduction – The Paella Plan
I think the worst thing that you can do when reading these posts is to speed read or skim over these ideas for making income, in the hopes that Blakie boy is going to come up with some whizzo scheme where you can sit on your a**, do nothing, and somehow get the money rolling in.
Anything and everything requires input and effort. These ideas may not float your boat, but the secret is to think about them, then by using ‘what if’ apply them to what you do, or to ideas that you have. You may then come up with another stream of income that you never thought about!
I do so wish there were 48 hours in a day. I am bursting with ideas, plans, and ways to make money. So I am confident that if we lost everything today, we would come out with a few chosen swear words, then pick ourselves up and get going. I certainly wouldn’t sit on my backside in front of a PC watching some has bene guru trying to sell his outdated program, after a 2-hour long webinar. That costs money. It doesn’t make money.
Here is one idea that I would dearly love to do and that you can take some suggestions from.
If you recall, I said that Karen is a fabulous cook – truly excellent. Indian curries, traditional Spanish food, English cooking, raw/vegan/vegetarian – you name it, she can do it.
Big favourites of mine are the renamed Tuna Pasta Blake, and paella. As you may know, we lived on and off in Spain for 18 years, until the pandemic eventually enforced us to break ties with the country, selling up and leaving for good.
But the one thing that we brought back with us is the love of paella, which apparently originated in the Valencian region, where we lived. Just briefly – it is said that the workers in the fields originally concocted this meal. It was rice from the Valencia rice fields (I bet you didn’t know that!) with freshly caught rabbit, and chicken. This was cooked in a large pan over an open fire. Everyone then simply used their dirt-stained hands to dig out some of the meal for themselves. It was obviously helped down with a glass of wine or two, followed by a siesta.
This is different from the so-called paella that you get on the coast, which is made for the tourist trade. Anything goes – prawns, fish, mussels, etc. The Valencians laughingly refer to that meal as ‘rice with bits’ as it is nothing like the original paella that they are so proud of. But you have to move with the times, and paella has taken on various guises over the years.
I must just tell you this funny story.
Every year in the small town where we lived they held a paella making competition, on the sports field. Now our friend Mark, who was from Leeds but lived in Spain for a while, loved cooking – especially curries. He decided to enter the competition and show the Spanish a thing or two, so he made a spicy paella, probably Madras strength, bordering on Vindaloo. What he didn’t know was that the Spanish were not used to spicy food at all.
The judges all gathered around his pan and tucked in. It wasn’t long before they all started to run around the field, trying to grab anyone’s drinks to put the fire out in their mouths!
Needless to say, he didn’t win any prizes and was banned for life from the competition…
Everyone, without fail who visits and has Karen’s paella raves about it. Others in our family cook this meal too, as it is loved by all. I personally like chicken paella and I fondly recall our late son Miles chomping away at his favourite when in Spain, which was rabbit paella. It often replaces the roast as a Sunday family lunch.
So here’s my plan, and one which I know without a doubt would succeed.
We would start from home, making different paellas – chicken, fish, vegetarian, etc. Expanding on this little, we could also make the Spanish ‘arroz al horno’ which literally means rice of the oven. This is done with belly pork, black pudding, sausages and cooking chorizo. Another rice-based meal, all in one pot.
A popular paella is shellfish paella, and you can buy frozen packets of shellfish from online catering suppliers. In fact, you can buy all of it from online suppliers – not the squiddly little packets in the supermarket. For example, the Tapas Lunch Company sells 5kg of paella rice for £12, which would do a lot of paellas. They also sell the paella seasoning etc.
We use both the Aga for cooking paella and electric paella pans. So we could make as many paellas as we wanted. It takes between 20 and 40 minutes to make a paella.
Advertising the paella plan
Where would we advertise them? In nextdoor.co.uk of course.
How would we distribute them?
In the foil containers like you get your takeaways in. These could be hot, or frozen that customers could take out of their freezer, to heat and eat when they wanted; or
Or in the paella pans, piping hot, for families to eat fresh. This would be at a premium. And we would cater for parties, weddings, and as an alternative at barbecues, etc.
So then we do a ‘what if’ on the project. What if we bought a catering van, and set it up at events, shows etc.? What if we handed out the small tester tubs of paella to people at these events with a wooden ice cream spoon so that people could try them?
I actually saw someone doing this in Norwich a couple of years ago, pre-lockdown. I noted the girl giving out the samples, then watched, fascinated, as the queue formed at the van as a result. Delicious, and got the taste buds going. How clever was that?
What if I don’t have money to buy a van?
Rent one…you can rent catering vans these days.
Look around your local area. Where can you do a pop-up paella stand?
So, back to the plot.
When (not if) we had established ourselves as fantastic paella people, we would then franchise the project out.
Why I know it would succeed
Paella is a great fast meal, extremely tasty, and very popular. Yet very few places do it, and even fewer do it well. Also, along similar lines, I wrote a post recently about a lady who needed to make money after losing her business in the pandemic, so she took to making pizzas at home, and doing local deliveries. It took off very quickly, and she has now turned it into a franchise operation.
Yes, there are various franchise operations available. But I guarantee that Karen’s done for you recipes and methods would knock those into a cocked hat, and our methods of operation would be unique with our paella and arroz al horno dishes with the fresh herbs that we grow, and her secret ingredients that make these dishes so special.
Furthermore, many people soon won’t be able to eat out. so there will be a huge market for people who want something different, for a special meal.
There you have it. Pick out the bits that you want from this post. Do ‘what if’ on the various ideas and suggestions and see what you can come up with. Then give it a go. If nothing else, you will have a freezer full of food that didn’t cost you retail prices….
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