Cajun rice and beans

I had half a can of red kidney beans, and most of the other ingredients, so this seemed like a good winter supper. This is another recipe adapted from Waitrose’s ‘Harvest 2015′ booklet. Enough for 4 people:

  • 1 tbsp oilCajun_rice&beans
  • 1 leek (chopped)
  • 3 tsp ‘cajun’ seasoning
  • 1 chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 courgette (roughly chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (cored, deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • 200g parsnips (peeled and diced)
  • 60g brown rice
  • 60g Camargue and wild rice
  • 160g can of sweetcorn (drained)
  • 1/2 a 400g can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 a 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml vegi stock
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the leeks and gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the courgette, red pepper, parsnip and the rice, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the sweetcorn, the beans, the tomatoes and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes until the rice is cooked (add more stock if necessary). Season with black pepper to taste.

I served mine with avocado (mashed with a little lemon juice) and grated cheddar.

Asian salmon with brown rice and greens

I had some leftover cavolo nero and some salmon fillets in the freezer so I decided to make this – enough for 2:

For the salmon:Asian_salmon

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 salmon fillets

For the rice:

  • 100g brown long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 5 leaves of cavolo nero (roughly chopped, with any tough stalks removed)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • A dash of sesame oil

Cook the rice as indicated on the packet.

Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, lemon juice, honey and ginger, and the coat the salmon fillets, placing them in a dish that can be used under a grill.

Heat the grill and cook the salmon fillets for four minutes on each side, until the salmon is opaque and firm.

To finish the rice, heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a wok, and stir-fry the onion, ginger and garlic. After 1 minute, add the cavolo nero and stir fry for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, together with the soy sauce and rice wine. When thoroughly hot, mix in the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.

Serve immediately, pouring any remaining liquid from grilling, over the salmon.

Courgette and tomato rice gratin


This is an adaptation of a Jack Munroe recipe. Enough for 4 unless you’re really hungry:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely chopped/crushed)
  • 1 chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 120g brown rice
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Hot water (twice the volume of the rice – put the uncooked rice in a measuring jug before you start, and use double that amount of water)
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • 1 courgette (finely sliced)
  • Black pepper
  • 80g grated cheddar

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chilli, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the rice, mix well, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, the hot water and the stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the rice has cooked.

Turn out the rice into a shallow ovenproof dish. Cover the surface with courgette slices. Grind over black pepper to taste, and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 25 minutes (or until the cheese starts to brown). Serve.

Peanut rice luchbox


This used up some left-over brown rice.

Mixed the rice with spring onions, frozen peas and salted, roasted peanuts; and a dressing made from soy sauce, olive oil, a little hot chilli sauce, a little white wine vinegar and some grated ginger.

Also cherry tomatoes, beetroot, spring onions and carrot sticks.

Rice gratin


This is an adaptation (the ingredients have substantially changed) of Dish of the Month which appeared on the February 2014 edition of Waitrose Kitchen magazine. It was an Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. Enough for 4:

  • 275 g cherry tomatoes (peeled and halved)
  • 50g camargue rice (I used Waitrose LOVE life red camargue & wild rice)
  • 70g brown rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 stick of celery (finely chopped)
  • 250g spinach (washed and spun in a salad-spinner to remove any moisture)
  • 80g feta (I used Sainsbury’s Basics Greek style salad cheese)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80g Greek yogurt
  • 40g double cream
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 60g mature cheddar (grated)
  • 20g parmesan (grated)

Put the tomato halves on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 120C (Gas Mark 1/2) for about 1.5 hours until semi-dried.

Put all the rice in one pan and cook until tender (about 25 minutes). Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and very gently cook the onion and celery for 15 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the spinach, stirring constantly until it has all wilted. Remove from the heat, crumble in the feta, mix well and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, double cream and black pepper. Add this to the rice mixture, and add 2/3rds of the tomatoes. Make sure everything is well combined and transfer to an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle the remaining tomatoes and the grated cheeses over the top.

Bake in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 40 minutes until set and golden brown on top.

When I made this dish, I was in a hurry, so I used the microwave instead. Starting with a warm rice mixture, I microwaved it on ‘high’ for 8 minutes and then browned the dish under the grill. I don’t that the finished product suffered as a result.


Rice salad lunchbox


This used up the remaining red kidney beans and left-over brown rice from the chipotle prawns.

Rice salad made with cooked brown rice, red kidney beans, spring onions, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, harissa, olive oil and vinegar.

Also cherry tomatoes, beetroot and celery, and carrot sticks.



Traditionally a breakfast dish, I could eat this any time. Here’s my recipe for 2;

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp curry powder (amount depends on personal preference and strength of the curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp pilau rice seasoning (optional)
  • 120g brown long grain rice
  • 1/3 of a fish stock cube (or 1 tsp vegi-stock powder)
  • Hot water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g smoked haddock fillet (skinned and boned)
  • 1/2 a lemon (to squeeze)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • A few torn coriander leaves
  • Black pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, so that it is coated in oil and begins to look a little transparent.

Add water to cover the rice mixture and stir in the crumbled stock cube (or stock powder). Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer very gently, stirring and topping up with hot water as necessary. The rice should be cooked in about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile boil the eggs for 12 minutes (starting from boiling). Drain, hit them with a spoon to crack the shells in a few places (this makes them easier to peel), and cool in cold water. When cold, peel and chop roughly.

Cook the fish (with a squeeze of lemon juice) in the microwave (or steam over a pan of water (you could steam it over the rice)), on ‘medium’ for about 2 minutes. When cooked, divide it into flakes, adding any liquid to the (now cooking) rice.

When the rice is just about cooked, stir in the frozen peas; increase the heat and cook for 2 minutes. Then stir in the mango chutney, the flaked fish and another squeeze of lemon juice (more if liked), and return to the heat to make sure the kedgeree is piping hot. Add black pepper to taste.

Serve sprinkled with the chopped hard boiled eggs and the torn coriander leaves.

Lunchboxes with ham

When you’ve opened a packet of ham, you have to finish it. So here are two lunchbox ideas.Ham_Lunchbox1

Ham and coleslaw (made from shredded white cabbage, carrot and onion; with 50/50 mayonnaise/low fat yogurt, plus a squeeze of lemon juice and a dab of Dijon mustard):






Rice salad (made from brown rice, petit pois and spring onions, with oil and vinegar dressing:


As always, they both come with cherry vine tomatoes, beetroot, spring onions, carrot sticks and oil and vinegar dressing.

Fusion risotto


This is what happens when you don’t label the contents of your freezer.

I found a small pot of what I thought was semi-skimmed milk. Started defrosting it, and decided to sniff it – it was coconut milk – no good for the macaroni cheese I’d been thinking of making!

Anyway, I decided to make a ‘Thai’ risotto. I also had some leftover baby sweet corn and sugar-snap peas. I was the only one at home, so this recipe is for 1:

  • Oil
  • 1 stem lemongrass (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 onion (chopped)
  • 1 small clove of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (crushed)
  • 2 tsp Nam Pla
  • 75g brown long grain rice
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp green Thai curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp vegi stock powder
  • Hot water (for topping-up)
  • 4 baby sweetcorn (halved lengthways and cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 8 sugar-snap peas
  • A few coriander leaves

Heat a little oil in a saucepan (one with a thick base). Add the lemongrass, onion, garlic and chilli, and gently cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice, and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, the curry paste and the stock powder. Stir well and cook for 20 minutes (or until the rice is nearly cooked). Stir fairly frequently and top-up with hot water as necessary.

Add the baby sweetcorn and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Then add the sugar-snap peas and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Serve – sprinkled with torn coriander leaves.

Nasi Goreng


Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian rice dish – a kind of chilli/curry flavoured fried rice. I don’t think mine would get 100% for authenticity, and it’s not really fried (so it could be classed as low fat), but I think its pretty tasty. It’s also a good way of using up left-overs.

I had the pork belly and the baby sweetcorn left over from the Pork Belly Noodle Soup. I also had the end of a packet of small cooked frozen prawns.

For 2 people (would probably stretch to 3, and you could just add more rice/vegetables to stretch it further):

  • 150 g brown long grain rice
  • Oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 piece if fresh ginger (about 2cm square – chopped)
  • 1 chilli (chopped), or chilli flakes (exact quantity depends on taste, and the heat of the chilli)
  • 1 heaped tsp curry powder (or more/less to taste)
  • 1 egg (beaten with a few dashes of soy sauce)
  • 1 large pepper (cored, deseeded and roughly chopped)
  • about 12 baby sweetcorn (cut down the length and then cut into 2cm pieces), any other (non-starchy) vegetable will do
  • left-over, previously roasted spicy SE-Asian style meat/poultry (or tofu), cut into small cubes or slices
  • 80g frozen peas
  • 80g frozen prawns (thawed)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce and a good slug of chilli sauce mixed with 70ml of water
  • Chopped fresh coriander

Cook the brown rice as indicated on the packet, then drain and rinse.

Heat a frying pan with a little oil (if not non-stick, first ‘season’ the pan by smearing the inside of the base with oil and heating it until it smokes, leaving it cool for about five minutes – this will stop the omelette sticking). Add the beaten egg mixture and create a thin omelette (using a fork to draw the edges towards the middle, so that the surplus egg fills the space created, util all the egg solidifies). When the omelette is solid, turn it over using a palette knife (or toss it like a pancake) and briefly cook the other side. Turnout onto a plate and cut into small squares using a knife or pizza cutter.


Add a little oil to a wok. Heat, and when hot add the onion, garlic, ginger and the chilli. Stir fry for about 2 minutes and then mix in the curry powder and fry for another minute. Then add the pepper and the sweetcorn and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Then add the cooked meat/poultry and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add the rice, the peas and the prawns. Mix well and add the soy/chilli sauce and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 3 minutes (ensuring that everything is pipping hot).

Taste, and if you think it needs more flavour or heat, add more soy or chilli sauce.

Serve with chopped coriander.