Cooking With Antonio Banderas

THIS talented 1.74m Spanish actor wanted to be a profession soccer player, but at the age of 14 he broke his foot and that was the end of his dream.

Lucky for us he had another one – being an actor. José Antonio Dominguez Banderas was born August 10, 1960 in Andulucia, Spain to, Jose Dominguez, a policeman and, Dona Ana Banderas, a school teacher.

At the age of 19 he moved to Madrid to pursuit an acting career. He worked as a waiter and accepted small model jobs to feed himself. It didn’t take long before Antonio shot to international fame in his role as Tom Hank’s lover in Philadelphia.

Following this Oscar winning film, Antonio starred in high-profile Hollywood films including Assassins, Evita, Interview With The Vampire, Desperado, The Mask Of Zorro, Spy Kids and the of course the Shrek sequels.

He also has worked opposite various actors like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Salma Hayek and Melanie Griffith – who eventually became his wife in 1996.

They have one daughter, Stella, from their marriage. Being of Spanish decent, Antonio loves making a big paella for family and friends.

Quote – “I get more attention as ‘the pussycat’ in Shrek The Third than I ever did as Zorro.”


30ml margarine
30ml oil
2 chicken breasts, skinned, de-boned and cubed
2 frankfurters, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic glove, crushed
1 tin tomatoes (410g), drained and chopped
1 red chilli, chopped and seeds removed
5ml salt
3ml pepper
5ml paprika
500ml raw rice
750ml water
15ml lemon juice
2ml turmeric
175ml frozen peas
250g prawns, cleaned
250g mussels, cleaned
125g calamari, sliced
15ml fresh parsley, chopped (optional)


Heat the margarine and oil in an electric frying pan or paella pan. Fry chicken and frankfurter pieces till brown and removed from pan. Fry the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Add tomatoes, chilli, salt, pepper and paprika and cook about 12 minutes.

Add the raw rice and stir constantly for about three minutes. Add water, lemon juice, turmeric and cover. Cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring now and them.

Add the peas, prawns, mussels and calamari. Stir lightly with a fork. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until cooked and all the water has evaporated. Once the rice is cooked, it is ready to eat. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve with a green salad.


Instead of buying individual seafood, rather buy the pre-packed frozen paella packs from your fishery. Rinse it under cold water before use.

Paella is very flexible, so you can substitute ingredients with something familiar or to your taste.

Try and handle the paella as little as possible so as not to stir the pattern (keep the fish on top and the rice at the bottom)

This is a great dish to feed a lot of people and doesn’t take long to cook.

Tags: antonio banderas, dinner, paella
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