Posts Tagged ‘rice’

Jamaican “rice and peas”

Heavens! I mean- heaven! I mean- this is one gosh-darn good plate of food, and it is SO simple! Again, this was lunch one day because the girls “hate” coconut. Amelia will eat coconut oil chocolate and has even been known to ask me to make some when she has a stash of Christmas Cadburys “because I love your healthy dark chocolate”. These words are a beautiful sound to fall on the ears of one such as I. But in any other shape or form, they won’t go near it. Lunchtime, and my fridge is empty until tonight. I mean, I could have made a salad….of grated carrot and nothing else. Store cupbard it was then!

Jamaican rice and peas, delicious with fish, or just as it is. Or- with a lime and coriander salsa that I will post tomorrow.(Because I haven’t bought the ingredients yet!)


  • Jamaican rice and peas is traditionally made with kidney beans. Most beans taste the same to me to be honest, I think it’s all in the sauce or additions. A tin of black-eyed beans did just dandy.
  • The recipe calls for coconut milk, which I never have in, but I DO normally have this:

Patak’s “Creamed coconut”- 100% coconut, with nothing else at all. 4 sachets for less than ÂŁ1, and you dissolve it in warm water for a kind of coconut milk. There was no box (and therefore no instructions) but I dissolved HALF a sachet in about 700 mls of water; the other half I refridgerated and will need to be used within a couple of days I would think.

  • I used “easy cook” Brown rice. Be aware that your cooking time and liquid amount will vary depending on what rice you use. As always, check the package instructions, cook it slowly rather than fiercely, stir and test frequently, and add more liquid if required.
  • The recipe also called for fresh coriander or fresh thyme to finish. I didn’t think grated carrot would work, so no fresh garnish today……


  • Gently saute an onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic until soft
  • Add 1 tin of beans, rinsed well
  • Add 1 cup of rice
  • Add 2 cups of coconut milk (see above) You may need to add more as the rice cooks
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Again, cooking time will vary with rice types. Mine was on a low heat and took maybe 30 minutes plus sitting time. So, so delicious.

Yes, it is more delicious than it looks!

I ate something really similar with a piece of freshly caught fish in Africa, on the day I renounced 8 years of eating vegetarian. But that’s another story 🙂

Namaste: Non-yogic Leek and Mushroom Basmati Rice

Alfredo put a yoga DVD in my stocking last Christmas, even though I insisted that something that “slow” would never interest me. I was slightly hooked before  January was over. I totally love it, and contrary to what I previously believed, it tones, relaxes and works you (honestly!) As for the typical yogic/ayurvedic diet though, while I concur with many of its principles, we part company here: they abstain from onions, garlic, and mushrooms. ( I once saw a yogic food “wheel” and onions and garlic were in the same section as  French fries, alcohol, and burgers. I found that pretty wierd)

So, this dish is decidedly a less-than-yogic dish, despite using wholesome brown basmati rice.  

It’s nothing fancy, just a rice dish we sometimes have at home. It would probably be nice with more herbs in? 


  • My mother in law taught me: 2 handfuls of rice per adult, 1 per child. On the rice instructions it says: Allow 80grams of rice per adult. Who would have thought it? 80grams of rice = 2 (of my) handfuls. Cool!  So for 2 adults and 3 children I did  250 grams.
  • 350 mls of water per 80 grams of rice. So I used 1 litre of liquid. Adjust according to the quantity you want to cook.
  • After lightly sauteeing the leeks, I blended them in the mini chopper. It all helps for a harmonious mealtime if there are not huge pieces of allium in the rice. Feel free to omit this step.
  • Dried mushrooms are sometimes dear but give an amazing deep, woody, earthy flavour (you see- I pay attention to Masterchef) Sometimes I buy fresh wild mushrooms when they are reduced and dehydrate them for later use. On this occasion I got a random pleasant surprise in B&M Bargains of all places, of small packets of dried shiitake mushrooms- 4 packs for ÂŁ1.20! Don’t ask me why they were that cheap- don’t even cause me to wonder….. They tasted great, anyway, and nobody is sick yet  🙂
  • Brown basmati rice is great! Wonderful flavour, cooks more quickly than regular brown rice. It’s more fluffy than heavy, and Asda sell it for ÂŁ1.58 a kilo.

Here come some more bullet points. You need:

  • 2 medium leeks, chopped (about 150grams)
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • extra virgin for olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 1-2 handfuls of dried mushrooms
  • 150grams of “regular” mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder (or more to taste)

Now for some numbers, I think.

  1. Cover your dried mushrooms with 1 litre of boiling water and leave.
  2. Meanwhile, chop and sautee the leeks , mushrooms, bayleaves and garlic  in the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sea salt.  (optional for younger kids- blitz leeks once soft, in which case, it may be easier to sautee them first so you dont need to pick pieces of leek out of the mushroom)
  3. Once soft, add the mushroom “stock” of the soak water and bouillon powder,and dried mushrooms, to your leeks etc and bring up to heat.
  4. Once your stock mix is hot (though no need to leave it till boiling) add the rice.
  5. Once boiling reduce to a happy simmer (no higher than 3) for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. After 25 minutes if you haven’t had it on too high a heat, you should have some liquid left. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Season additionally if desired, serve immediately.
  8. Top this with what you will…. and stir in some soy milk or even some cashew cream for a creamier dish. My friend Sarah does this delicious chickpea stew, and she does this kind of spicey mojo to spoon on top- (she blitzes almonds, raw garlic, wholewheat bread, extra virgin oil and some herbs) See her recipe here for further details. I did something similar, and it gave it a really awesome kick.

P.S. Namaste, the traditional yogic Sanskrit greeting, means, loosely, The divine in me salutes and reverences the divine in you.  I think that’s absolutely beautiful, and  a definite keeper. Onions or no onions.

“Poor Man’s burger” with coriander salsa

Poor man’s meat; that’s what some people call beans and brown rice. It is a dish rich in complex carbs and proteins, containing all the amino acids on one plate, but with added benefits of fibre not found in meat. It is also very rich in B vitamins from the brown rice, has virtually no fat at all, aids in the lowering of harmful cholesterol, and is a great weight loss meal.

And even better- this burger comes with a relish! Lime and coriander is a favourite combination of mine since I spent a year in Ecuador.I realise coriander is a great divider, you either love it or hate it. (I even happened upon a website called  “A growing community of anti cilantro advocates and pioneers aiding the fight to ban the most loathesome garnish of our time“) If you don’t like it, you could still make the salsa without it; it is still delicious. It adds a new dimension to the dish, and I love it especially, because I always try to eat some raw food with a cooked dish.

Coriander has tons of Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein in; Lutein is concentrated in the retinas of your eyes and is necessary for good vision. Raw onions, raw tomatoes, raw garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, my cup runneth o’er! More details on these ingredients in other posts due to time restrictions today. Suffice it to say, all of these will love your body.

My husband used to say “we should have a salad at every meal, even if it’s a soup meal” I remember thinking (and saying) “You can’t have a salad with a stew, that just doesn’t GO together!” I recalled my words when I was eating this for the first time, my raw salsa-salad, piled all over the black beans .It just works! I always make this when we have black beans now. For me, it’s missing something without it. Definitely one occasion when the sum of the two halfs are more delicious than the individual components. So…

Little-bit-Spicey Black Beans 

I did my beans in the slow cooker over night. I did not even soak them (it is however recommended that you soak beans and discard the water usually, to get rid of the tannins that inhibit nutrient uptake) On this occasion though, I just put them straight in, 2 handfuls per adult, 1 per child (total,7 handfuls)

Then I blended, until thoroughly lump-free in the liquidizer:

  • 1 and a half litres of water
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 small celery sticks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 sundried tomatoes

 It saves a lot of chopping, and mainly because I can put things in that my children would not like to find a-floating. Like….pretty much everything on that list. Then you can pre- sauté all that gazpacho-like base in olive oil, to bring out the flavours, but you know what? It was bedtime, and I just threw it in. I added another generous half-blender full of water to the slow cooker just in case and added some extra virgin to the slow cooker, a very little.


  •  1-2 bayleaves 
  •  2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • No salt yet. Apparently it slows down cooking time. (is it true? I don’t know)

Why did I put in onion powder as well as an onion, and garlic powder as well as fresh garlic? I really don’t know. I wasn’t following a recipe and there seemed to be so much water, that I was worried that it would not be punchy enough. I left it on low all night and the next morning they were done.

 I left it on high for a while longer to reduce down the water a little more. I like a thicker consistency in beans stews. Finally I stirred in salt to taste and 2 tablespoons of ground cumin, my most favourite spice for beans.

 MOJO de Cilantro (Coriander salsa)

 The original ingredients are: white cabbage, white onion, tomato, 1-2 raw garlic cloves. Dice all ingredients, in proportions that you feel happy with (it really doesn’t matter) and add couple of liberal glugs (great word) of extra virgin olive oil, the juice of half a lime (or a whole lime, if teeny), to taste, and plenty of chopped coriander.

Leave to sit for a few hours for flavours to meld (another nice word). Having said that, you can substitute the white cabbage for cucumber if you like, which is what I did this time. Obviously they taste nothing like each other but it’s just a nice crunch to offset the onion. You could also sub red or spring onion for the white onion, a little less harsh.Once I added celery too, and it was very good.

 (I am really sorry, but for things like this, I simply cannot do “half a cup of onion”, “2 cups of tomato” or “3 tablespoons of chopped coriander” Recipes like that drive me mad. How much tomato is in that cup depends on how it is diced, and whther it is packed down. So I just dice up whatever I think. It’s only a salsa after all, which is basically, a very well diced salad.)

I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how to cook brown rice. Just a tip, When the rice is pretty much done, add a little more boiling water, and leave it off the heat, covered, to further soften and swell. Brown rice takes much longer than white so I normally do it in the morning, and just re-heat it at dinner time. It seems to work fine.

Final step- assemble and enjoy!

Part 1Part 2


Splendid finale…..

Here’s to your health,friends!

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