Dirty Rice, Mexican Style (v)

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This is one of those wonderful chuck it all in and the magic happens recipes. It might take 45 mins or so to cook, but apart from the initial sauteeing and an occasional prod here and there it’s low maintenance. You can use whatever you have to hand to make it, the magic ratios are the rice and water. You do need to let it sit for 10-15 mins before eating to allow the rice to fully absorb all the liquid.

For four portions you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1/2 leek, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 250g brown rice
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, dried oregano and sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g tenderstem broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Begin by sauteeing the first six ingredients in a large, deep, non stick lidded pan. Cover with the lid to help them sweat and cook for 10 mins.
  2. Add the rice and spices/herbs. Turn up the heat and cook the rice out for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the stock, bring to the boil then cover with the lid and turn the heat right down. Cook for 15 mins.
  4. Add the pepper, sweetcorn, broccoli and kidney kidney beans and cook for a further 10 mins.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins further then turn off the heat, keep the lid in place and allow to steam for 10 mins. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with the parsley.

Vegetable Biryani with Chapatis (v)

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I’ve been craving this for a while now, but have been reluctant to make it as I never end up with perfect rice. Determined to succeed this time, I dug deep into google and came up with two recipes that looked promising. I liked the idea of soaking the rice from this Instant Pot recipe but not the soggy veggies you usually get from pressure cooking. I also liked the idea of roasting the vegetables and cashews first to char them a little in this BBC recipe. So I combined the two and the end result was very pleasing. Woohoo.

For 4-6 portions you need

Biryani

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3-4 broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 8 sprouts, peeled and cut in half
  • Handful cashews (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp each:
    • garam masala
    • ground cardamom
    • ground allspice
    • ground cumin
    • ground coriander
    • ground turmeric
    • chilli flakes
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear then soaked in 2 cups of water for 20 mins
  • 1.5 cups water

Chapatis

Makes 4 small chapatis

  • 70g wholemeal flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 90ml (or thereabouts) of warm water
  1. Begin by placing the vegetables, cashews, seasoning and oil into a large oven proof pan and roasting on 180 degrees for about 20 mins. Stir a few times but you want to let the cashews, broccoli and sprouts begin to char a little.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the rice and leave to one side.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the dry spices. Cook for 15-20 secs then add the onions. Sautee for 5 mins until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
  4. Add everything to the ovenproof pan and mix well. Cover with foil or a close fitting lid and cook for a further 20-30 mins. Once the rice is done, remove from the oven and allow to steam gently whilst you cook the chapatis.
  5. Combine all the chapati ingredients and knead into a smooth dough (about 7 mins). Be careful not to add too much water!
  6. Divide into 4 balls and roll each out on a floured surface
  7. Heat a pan until smoking hot, add a little oil and fry each chapati until cooked. You can tell when your pan is hot enough as the chapati will puff up like this when it hits the pan. Make sure you have your windows open as it will smoke a lot! We served ours with some dhal from the freezer. Delicious.

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Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers (v)

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The last pressure cooker I used blew up on me. I heard an earth shattering kaboom and came back into the kitchen to find lentils dripping from every available surface. It was armageddon. I have been too scared to use one since, even tho I know that they’re ace for quickly cooking pulses and making all sorts of yummy food. The Instant Pot has been growing in popularity recently and I took advantage of the Amazon Black Friday deal to get one and assorted accessories as my Christmas present from the teenager. How thoughtful of him 😉

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After doing the initial water test I asked said teen what he wanted for tea and stuffed peppers was the response. So here is my inaugural attempt, and a resounding success it was.

For four portions you need:

  • 4 peppers, tops sliced off and insides removed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 2 instant pot cups of paella rice (the instant pot cup is only 160ml so is smaller than a US cup…)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • new potatoes
  • (the spiced tomato sauce I made on the stove)
  1. Put the instant pot onto saute mode and add the oil and onions. Saute for 3-4 mins and then add the garlic and rice. Cook for a further 1-2 mins.
  2. Turn off saute mode and add the wine and stock. Cover with the lid and using manual cook for 4 mins, leave to stand for 10 mins then Quick Release (QR).
  3. Add the parsley and drained beans to the rice mixture and season to taste. I also added a little more liquid at this stage to make them a little looser.
  4. Put the peppers into a pyrex bowl (that will fit inside your IP!) and fill with the rice mixture. Cover with foil. I also made a handle out of foil to make it easier to remove the dish once they’d cooked.
  5. Place on the trivet and add 1.5 cups of water to the pan. Put on manual for 20 mins. I did a QR as I needed to cook the potatoes as well.
  6. For the potatoes, place on a steamer trivet and add 1 cup of water (I have a second pot so that made it easier). Steam for 8-10 mins depending on size and then QR as a Natural Release (NR) might overcook them.
  7. Serve with the spicy tomato sauce and be amazed! The potatoes in particular were delicious due to being steamed. I’ve never done that before as they always take too long in a conventional steamer.
  8. Dream up what your next recipes will be…

Steamed Tofu with Ginger Chilli Sauce (v)

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One of my friends blogged about still eating Christmas food a few days ago. It prompted me to think of different ways to use up the nearly-but-not-quite-finished bottle of cream sherry and the chilli jam I make every year but never seem to eat…

For three portions you need

  • 1 pack firm tofu, drained and cut into 6 equal slices
  • veggies of your choice – we had broccoli and carrots
  • rice or whatever starch you want to use

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/2 cup sherry (or mirin)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chilli jam
  • large handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, grated
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together, check the seasoning and adjust to taste
  2. Cook the rice as per instructions on the packet
  3. Steam the veggies and tofu for 5-6 mins
  4. Serve

Butternut Squash Risotto with Smug Bastard Homegrown Salad Leaves (v)

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A quick rifle through the contents of the fridge yesterday provided an oddment of vegetables needing to be used: a leek, some broccoli and a butternut squash in the cupboard. The salad leaves in the greenhouse have burst into life – despite being cut three times in four days, there was still a glut of deliciousness begging to be eaten.

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I was banned from using any of the teeny tiny courgettes for another week to let them mature. The flowers are so pretty however so here’s a gratuitous picture…

Unfortunately the boy didn’t like the risotto, but Fuz and I did and there were leftovers for my lunch #win.

For six portions you need

  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1 litre veggie stock
  • 1 head brocolli, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper
  • vegan margarine (or butter if you’re not vegan)

Begin by sauteeing the leeks and onion in oil for about 5 mins. Then add the squash and garlic and cook for a further 3-4 mins. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 mins. Once everything is searingly hot, add the wine and allow the bubble furiously for a few mins to reduce. Then add the stock, all in one go, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins. Yes I know this method is sacrilege but I don’t care. It works.

After 10 mins, add the broccoli to the pan and stir. Cover with a lid and cook for a final 5 mins. Check the rice is cooked through and not too chalky. If it’s underdone leave simmering for a final 1-2 mins. Add a generous knob of margarine or butter to the pan and leave to melt into the risotto for 2-3 mins.

Serve with salad leaves on the side and a large glass of it’s-nearly-Friday-so-sod-it-and-it’s-open-now-anyway-so-it-needs-to-be-drunk-wine.