If you visit this blog regularly you’ll know I’m pretty selective about the products I recommend. But, when I do come across something I believe to be blog worthy I have no qualms in giving it a well deserved thumbs up – and this new (to me) soya milk brand most certainly warrants a pat on the back. Up until now we’ve had a pretty limited selection here in the UK when it comes to soya milk, with only one major brand being at the forefront, so it’s great to finally have more choice.
Whilst I love to mix up my plant milks I always have a carton of soya in the fridge – I refuse to give up my morning tea, I only have so many vices left! Obviously too much of anything is never good but i’m happy with the balance we have in our own diet. We tried two different Vivesoy milks – unsweetened and cappuccino (i’m sucker for anything coffee flavoured), and were super impressed with both.
My problem with most soya milks is the sometimes unpleasant aftertaste, even with flavoured milks. Genuinely, hand on heart, not the case with this one. I’m so ridculously over the moon with their cappuccino flavour soya milk (which I served over ice, ‘iced-coffee’ style and in an ‘ice-cream’ float – yes, I went there) I’m in danger of becoming addicted …..seriously could not stop drinking this stuff and will have to stock up the next time I see it in Tesco for sure. Not much can satisfy my iced-coffee cravings other than a Starbucks (feel free to wrap me over the knuckles) but this is as close as it gets.
The other big soya milk hurdle for me is how well it works in tea. Being a total tea drinking nut I need a milk that is sufficiently thick and pourable, and this brand ticks both boxes and more. Oh, and my Husband insisted I mention how easy to pour the carton is – a little bugbear of his (p.s. he didn’t want me to feature his hand – ha, too bad). So yeah, what can I say ….it’s a goodun!
Mexican , Soup , Uncategorized , Vegan , Vegetable side dish
What if I told you the main ingredient in this No’Quesa’dilla is, gulp, Brussel Sprouts. Would you scarper to the nearest non vegan blog faster than your little fingers can click? Hopefully it wont come to that and if I have managed to retain your attention until now then let me take this chance to say….Brussel Sprouts can taste good. Don’t believe me? One bite of these smoky toasty morsels and you’ll be eating your words. And your sprouts.
What you’ll need…
1 flour tortilla
5 brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp hummus
1 tbsp olive oil
What you’ll do…
Heat the oil in a pan. Slice the shallot and add to pan. Salt and soften for a few minutes.
Finely slice the sprouts, add to pan and cook for several minutes before adding salt and the sliced garlic cloves.
Cook for a few minutes more before sprinkling over the smoked paprika. Mix thoroughly and allow the flavours to infuse before stirring through the parsley and transferring to a bowl.
Heat the tortilla in a pan for a few minutes before spreading the dijon all over, the hummus over half and then topping with the Brussel Sprout mix.
Fold and cook in the already heated pan until toasty on one side before turning over. Once the other side is toasted, cut into three triangles and serve – particularly nice with a warming bowl of soup!
As you’re reading this I should be lying on a beach in Santorini, sipping on something cool, reading a book and just generally having a sweet time. Summer scarves will be far from my mind and I hopefully will be rejuvenating my blogging prowess, ready to get back in the virtual saddle with more food, fashion and usual rambling posts.
I wore this last week when we were invited to (a fabulous) dinner at our friends and was thoroughly disgusted at having to wrap anything around my neck in the supposed height of summer.
But if I’m forced to don ridiculous attire in July then it may as well be covered in polka dots, right?
What can I possibly say about London Fashion Week other than it was completely and totally mind blowingly awesome in every possible way. I don’t think I’ve properly digested everything so apologies if this post seems a little ramshackle – bits & bobs, highlights, favourite collections, outfits etc – too much to tell and too little brain power as yet to configure it neatly in my tiny mind.
I’m not exactly sure where to begin so let me tell mention the location first – Somerset House. Totally spectacular and a perfect setting for an inspiring week of design. The cobbles aren’t so great for walking in heels but the building is so utterly breathtaking, I can overlook that one tiny niggle.
Walking the gauntlet of photographers everyday was also more than a little intimidating. Funnily enough I was mostly stopped by Japanese Mags – which kind of thrilled me a bit, as I’ve always loved Japanese fashion and confirmed what I’ve suspected for a while now…….I need to visit that country!
People watching actually became one of the best aspects of fashion week – I find street style so inspiring and I wasn’t disappointed with the outfits that were rolled out. London has got it goin’ on!
Now, where do I start with the shows. Too many to mention really but my top picks have got to be Daks, Prose, Pam Hogg and for sheer unadulerated drama the award goes to Inbar Spector. Wow! I also keep thinking about how starkly beautiful the Antoni&Alison dresses were – those prints floated my boat big time. Would totally wear all of them.
The Daks collection was faultless, in my opinion, and all totally wearable. Classic British design (okay, the designer is American born but the house is British) with enough of a modern spin to make it feel fresh and totally new. The cut, the tailoring, the palate, all of it wonderful. Love, want, need.
Prose was another standout collection for me. The textures were unspeakably stunning and I love the fact she paired many of her standout pieces with a simple black polo – totally a look I rock, great minds think alike……
Attending the Pam Hogg show was like a frickin’ punk gig. Wild peeps in the queue as well as a show from Janice Dickinson and Jo Wood – could it get any more rock and roll?! Actress Jamie Winstone took to the catwalk in a magnificent dress and oversized bonnet. Despite her small stature she certainly lit up that runway as much as any of her leggy counterparts.
The week was made so much more fun by the fantastic company in the form of my fellow intern colleague, Francisco, and my lady bosses at the Express – fun times!
Of course, if it hadn’t be for the kindness of The Daily Express team, I wouldn’t have had the privilege of attending London Fashion Week at all, so to everyone there, thank you, thank you, thank you!
For me the most exciting discovery of the week was the lack of trends for next season. Yes! This could not make me happier. That may sound weird coming from someone who wants to work in fashion but I’ve always loathed trends – people should look unique and individual, not like clones, dressed head to toe in a look they’ve copied straight from a magazine. Rather a counter intuitive comment from a budding stylist perhaps but that’s how I feel.
If London Fashion Week has taught me anything, it’s that the UK is still a hub for innovation and sheer creativity that knows no bounds. The Central St Martins Masters show I witnessed was proof of that alone. Bizarre and brilliant.
From the catwalk to the cafe. The Peter Jensen print which adorned the Embankment Cafe was, to put it bluntly, perfect, and felt like it enveloped all the fashionistas in style whilst they sipped on champagne – free on the first day, wahoo, guzzle guzzle!
A shout out to a show and designer I didn’t have the fortune to see. Vivienne Westwood has long since been a heroine of mine and even though she’s currently in the dog house with the fashion press after saying ‘people have never looked so ugly as they do today’, she’s still my number one.
Her AW2012 collection was outrageous and perfect. It’s probably just as well I didn’t attend the show as I may have squealed with delight from beginning to end. Majorly heart.
All I can say is – bring on Spring/Summer 2013 baby! Bring. It. On!
Oh, and before you go I must urge you to head over to postcardsfromlondon for more Fashion Week fun – doooo iiiiit.
I have a second so let me quickly pass on this recipe from VeganYumYum. I made it today and I am so excited to serve it to my parents when they arrive in the next few minutes – eek! Christmas is happening people, it’s freakin’ happening!!!
I’ve since dusted it with icing sugar and it looks even better.
The fondant icing was a bit of a bugger and next time I won’t bother boiling it – there’s no need. Simply mix the juice of two clems with 1 1/2 cup of icing sugar. Beat well to ensure there are no lumps – the boiling seemed to create lumps. Curious.
Happy Holidays Lovelies xxxx
…..hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet. Still on tour and still not cooking and creating the way I’d normally do around this time of year, which is, to be perfectly frank, making me miserable. It is right about now that I want to be in the comfort of my beautiful Cornish kitchen and not freezing my butt off in some cottage in Scotland. As idyllic as a cottage in rural Scotland may sound, it is not all it is cracked up to be – believe me.
So I keep myself buoyant with thoughts of all the things I will be cooking, drinking and eating over the Christmas period. I’ve been slowly gathering in things like vegan fudge, vegan chocolate caramels and after dinner mints. I’m determined this is going to be one heck of a vegan Christmas - no holds barred, I’m going all out and then some. Sure, it won’t be perfect and I’m prepared for that but I’m going to give it a damn good try. After all this is our first Vegan Christmas and I’m still learning but that’s the exciting part- if nothing else I do relish a challenge!
For the big day itself I’m planning on a huge feast with all the usual trimmings, combining British and Stateside dishes because we thought this time last year we’d be spending this upcoming Yule in Chicago. It wasn’t meant to be, as they say, and here I am in Scotland and our new home in Cornwall is where we’ll be spending Christmas. I could let the fact this is the third year in a row I haven’t decorated my Christmas tree get me down but that’s the least of my worries at this stage – we’ll be lucky to make it home in time for Christmas Eve judging by the chaotic weather right now. I had so very many plans for this year, the first year I might add, my Husband and I will be celebrating the holidays together. I will miss my family, of course, but we felt it was an important thing to do.
Enough of my sombre musings. This is supposed to be a time of joy, happiness and peace. In reality I should be counting my blessings because I am a very lucky girl with a wonderful Husband and a fantastic family. Let me then cheer the mood by quickly telling you what I have lined up for my Christmas dinner. Whilst I had wanted to make a chestnut pie for the main I’ve now resigned myself, mainly due to time constraints, to sampling Redwoods celebration roast. What I’ll be serving alongside is sure to excite any true foodie, omni, veggie, vegan or otherwise. Of course there’ll be roast potatoes but also a sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, spiced brussel sprouts with pomegranate seeds, braised cabbage and apple, sage and onion stuffing balls, maple glazed parsnips and gravy. I still haven’t decided on afters but it’s a toss up between a Mont Blanc, an ice-cream bombe or cinnamon poached pears with ice-cream and brandy snaps. Maybe you could kindly help me choose? It would be much appreciated.
Drinks are very important at this time of year and aside from the usual mulled wine, on Christmas Eve we’ll be sipping on divinely festive glasses of Nigella’s Poinsettia Cocktail. Christmas Day itself will see us drinking Candy Cane Martini’s (I’m pretty excited about these!!), which is a recipe I discovered in this months free Sainsbury’s mag. You could grab a free mag yourself or save yourself the trouble and follow the recipe below – yes, I have been kind enough to type it out for you, you can thank me all later!
candy cane martini
Pour 50ml chilled vodka into a cocktail shaker. Add 3 drops peppermint essence and ice cubes and shake well, until the shaker frosts. Strain into a martini glass, top with *lemonade and decorate with a sprig of mint and candy cane on the side.
*US readers please note Lemonade in the UK is akin to Sprite – a sugary fizzy drink with a mere hint of lemon. Do not use traditional Lemonade.
Also, for those of you interested in spicing up your day and doing something a little different with your brussels then see the recipe below. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
spiced brussel sprouts with pomegranate seeds
10 brussel sprouts
1 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and pepper
Finely slice an onion. Heat a little oil and soya butter in a pan and lightly fry the onion until it softens – about 8-10minutes. Remember to season your onion with sea salt to ensure they don’t colour.
Slice the brussel sprouts – fairly thinly, you should get about four slices out of each sprout. Add to pan and fry for about 10minutes until they soften but don’t loose shape – we don’t want any mushy sprouts here;)
Sprinkle over the cumin and thoroughly mix allowing to infuse for a few minutes. Season. Before serving stir through the seeds from the pomegranate – you may have to encourage them out with a knife or just give the back of the fruit a hard tap with a wooden spoon.
And finally. I did make these odd little sweet treats one day when I was bored and desperately wanted to bake but had none of the relevant ingredients to do so. They are strangely moreish even though they are like a cross between chocolate covered cookie dough and a cake ball – neither one nor the other and kinda difficult to describe. Confused? I am. Hopefully, someone out there will appreciate it – they sure did comfort me when I needed cheering on a horribly cold and lonely day.
chocolate covered cookie cake balls
1 cup plain flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup soya milk
3 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 bar vegan dark chocolate
handful of vegan white chocolate buttons
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 fahrenheit.
In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Mash the banana and combine with the soya milk and agave nectar. Stir into dry ingredients and thoroughly combine. If it is too dry add a little more milk and likewise if it is too wet add more flour.
You should make a rough dough. Pull off small pieces and rolls between hands to make a ball shape. Place on a baking sheet and repeat. Bake in oven for 15-20minutes.
Allow to cool. Melt chocolate in a saucepan with a splash of soya milk. Roll the balls in the chocolate and top with each with a white chocolate button. Allow to cool and the chocolate to harden before eating. Keep in freezer and let them thaw for at least 20minutes before eating.
Okay, that’s all my news for now. I’m leaving you with an image of my advent calendar because I think it’s mega cute. It was a gift from my Husband – he got himself one too so together we could count down the days to our reunion (pass the sick bucket?).
It’s been great to catch up. I’m so looking forward to posting about some more magnificently seasonal delights very very soon. Just in case I don’t have an opportunity to update before the 25th let me take this opportunity to thank you all for being such wonderfully loyal readers and to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas x
Sooooooo, I’ve been a very bad blogger of late. An uber bad one if you will and it makes me very upset because I love this little blog and the wonderful readers and the lovely comments. I’m very lucky really because even though I haven’t been updating as regularly my views have remained relatively consistent, which has given me pangs of guilt because I know that some people must be logging on to see if I’ve finally written something.
I’ve not made any secret of the difficulties this tour has posed with regards to the upkeep of my blog but it has been taken to the next level over the past few weeks. Not only have I not been taking photo’s of my food but I’ve found myself so completely exhausted in the evenings that the thought of typing is just too much exertion.
I have managed to find the time to eat, of course! Breakfast and lunch are rushed jobs but luckily in the evenings I can take a little more time to prepare and enjoy some food – I need this for my sanity alone. For brekkie I’ve been having toast with peanut/almond butter and jam. I always use jam without added sugar – I’m a fan of St.Dalfour – and I never ever use peanut butter that contains palm oil! Another favourite is fruit, plain soya yoghurt, granola, chopped pecans and a squeeze of agave nectar – seriously delicious. Sometimes carbs are the only thing on my mind though and for those occasions when toast just won’t do I’ll allow myself a bagel or crumpet. Sainsbury’s own brand crumpets are vegan (says so on the packet – thankyou yet again Sainsburys!) and I like the cinnamon and raisin bagels from the New York Bakery Co.
Lunchtimes vary wildly and I could be having anything from leftovers from the night before to a hummus and carrot sandwich. What I do need after each performance though is a sugar fix and this is where my vegan sweet treats come into play. I know I’ve told you about Nakd bars before but they really are so good. My absolute favourite varieties are without a shadow of a doubt the cashew cookie and cocoa orange – totally yum, totally raw and not totally bad for you. If I’m feeling particularly naughty then only chocolate will do and being vegan doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of this most popular of confectionery. I’ve sampled too many vegan chocolate bars to keep track of but I was so thrilled to discover these vegan white chocolate buttons. Before my vegan days I was a white chocolate nut and these little Humdinger dairy free beauties really do hit the spot. This company make an array of amazing vegan snacks that make my life so much easier. The latest addition to the Humdinger food family is the fantastic reggae reggae nuts, which are insanely moreish – I love that Levi Roots dude too, he’s so cool!
Now I’m entering the treacherous territory of ‘may contain’ products so you decide for yourself where you stand and how you feel about consuming such foods. For me, I am reassured by The Vegan Society’s stance and I choose to enjoy these products. Many dark chocolate bars fall into this category and the one featured here is a Sainsbury’s own brand bar that was really very nice. Smooth and not too bitter and excellent for melting, so I’d recommend it for cooking. However, it pales in comparison to Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate Giant Buttons. Holy smokes, I cannot begin to explain to you how good these are. Phenomenally good. Extraordinarily good! Nope, it’s no good, you’ll just have to buy a batch to test yourself. Do it! You know you want to.
Lastly, I have a confession to make. I have a slight obsession with marzipan. Loved by some, loathed by others, marzipan is a curious treat but one I am an unabashed fan of. Ritter Sport do an excellent vegan bar but I’m afraid it doesn’t come close to the Organic Dark Chocolate Marzipan bar made by Lyme Regis. This bar out of this world good and my darling Husband brought me up a few on his last visit. Now that is love.
Risotto can be tricky. What perhaps makes it tricky is the fact that you pretty much have to stand over the stove from start to finish, which might sound tedious but in fact can be soothing and ultimately all encompassingly delicious.
In truth, it’s a balancing act. You don’t want to overcook the rice but at the same time undercooked rice is pretty vile. Al dente might be one of the most overused phrases in cooking at present but unfortunately I have no description at my disposal that can better explain the desired texture. It’ll probably be trial and error the first few times you cook it and your own personal taste also comes into it. I also hate any risotto that resembles or tastes like rice pudding – bleugh! My preference is not to use cream and instead get that velvety loveliness often associated with a good risotto through a different measure, namely: air!
I love Anthony Bourdain’s programme No Reservations:http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Anthony_Bourdain?fbid=uew4kIkZ3BL . He, of course, is the main attraction but the food and countries featured never fail to expand my cooking horizons. It was whilst watching the Venice edition of No Reservations, which focused on a restaurant that apparently makes thee best risotto in the world, that I discovered a fantastic risotto tip! Now, I can’t confirm the ‘best risotto in the world’ claim having not actually eaten at this establishment myself, however, it certainly looked impressive from where I was sitting. No Reservations isn’t exactly a cookery programme although if you pay enough attention there are some amazing tips, techniques and insights to be had. So, when I witnessed that Venetian chef flipping the risotto in the air a lightbulb went off in my head and ever since my risottos have been creamier than ever without having to compromise my waistline;)
I’m not brave enough and my wrist action isn’t adept enough to truly flip that risotto, so I have to rely on my wooden spoon. It’s almost a folding action I have adopted but the main objective is to keep it moving. Try not to leave it unattended for too long. Of course, the parmesan is essential but in my opinion butter is entirely optional. I think it’s important not to compromise taste at the expense of calories and I’m totally against substitutes – let it be known that ‘low fat’ is nonsense – yet if you want to enjoy good food every day of the week it’s not a great idea if it’s laden with fat. Again, it’s a balancing act, and so we finish where we began.
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen broad beans
1 cup arborio rice
2/3 large cloves garlic
chicken/vegetable stock cube
large handful grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the stock cube. Once it boils bring the temperature back down to barely a simmer.
Heat a tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan/skillet. Finely dice the onion and add to the pan. Season and allow to sweat for several minutes. Add garlic and cook very gently for another few minutes. Add pancetta and fry until throughly cooked before adding courgette.
Whilst the ingredients are cooking in the pan boil a kettle. In two separate bowls add the peas and broad beans. Pour boiling water over the veg until it is no longer frozen. Drain the broad beans and take the skins off each one – a little time consuming but believe me it’ll be worth it!
Add rice to pan and allow to cook in the oil and juices, ensuring every grain is coated. After a few minutes ladel on some stock. The stock should just cover the ingredients. Remember to get as much air in as you can through continuous stirring/flipping (however brave you are!). You could lightly lift it as you stir to achieve this effect. When the liquid has been soaked ladel on some more and repeat until the rice is almost cooked.
At this stage add the peas and broad beans – these just need warmed through. One more ladel of stock should do it but you will be the best judge of this. Taste and season throughout.
At the very end toss in the parmesan and stir through. Leave a little aside for sprinkling on top.
Season and serve:)
Cooking is like therapy to me. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or blue getting into that kitchen soothes it all away – for a while at least! Leeks, for me, are one of the all time great underrated veggies. You never hear anyone talking about the delicious leek they had for dinner or that fantastic soup, which just wouldn’t have been the same without the addition of that most straightforward yet complex of roots. It’s a crying shame really because they are truly gorgeous and they deserve their time in the limelight as much as any vegetable. Of course, one of the classic accompaniments to the leek is pork. It needs that saltiness to bounce off, don’t you think? Two of the dishes I cook most often that use this combination are my famous (well to my family anyway) Ham and Leek and my astonishingly good Pork Stroganoff.
Really, the only similarlity between this pork stroganoff and my beef one is that they both have a creamy sauce and I serve it with brown rice. The pork I’ve used here is organic, locally reared and is seriously tender. Yes, more expensive than your usual supermarket pork chops but I want to know where my meat has come from and I’m willing to pay for it. Unfortunately nowadays we expect cheap food, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to put a cost on my health or the environment. Okay, rant over;)
I used fromage blanc this time around because I’d never cooked with it before and whilst it did a decent job I think in the future I’ll stick to creme fraiche, as the consistency is a little thicker. I like to cheat a bit when it comes to the rice too and use a ricecooker – I honestly don’t know what I did before I owned one! Be warned though – this may taste phenonmenal but sadly doesn’t look much on the plate. I’ve tried every which way to try and make stroganoff look good in my photos but so far that perfect picture has eluded me. Maybe I just need to face facts – stroganoff ain’t pretty. Don’t judge it too harsely though, not every meal will look like the Kate Moss equivalent of dinners. Remember true beauty is on the inside so dive on into this creamy, leeky, porky delight.
2 pork chops
1 small tub of creme fraiche/sour cream or fromage blanc
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tsp dijon
1 tsp english mustard or equivalent
1 cup brown rice
Measure out 1 cup brown rice and empty into pot or ricecooker. The method is the same for both but the ricecooker just makes it that little bit easier because you can switch it on and leave it. Two parts water to one part rice. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer with lid on. Cook for around 20mins until all the liquid is gone – no need to drain. Fluff with a fork. Now in the time the rice is cooking you can have the rest of the meal prepared.
Finely slice the leeks – and I mean as finely as you possibly can without taking the skin off your fingers:) Heat a tablespoon of oil and the same of butter in a frying pan/skillet. Remember to rinse the leeks before adding them to the pan. Cook gently for around 10mins until they are soft but in no way coloured. If they are beginning to colour add more oil or butter and turn the heat down. Generously season.
Slice the pork into thin strips. Also make sure they aren’t too long as this can become problematic when eating.
Transfer the cooked leeks to a bowl. There should be enough oil left in the pan for the pork but if you’re worried you can add a touch more – but not too much mind! Turn the heat up on the pan, add pork and stirfry quickly. You want it to colour on the outside but not competely cooked through - the strips should be tender not tough as old boots. I know people worry about pork being undercooked but trust me it’ll be fine.
In a bowl empty the contents of the creme fraiche or whatever you choose to use. Stir in the different mustards and mix thoroughly.
Return the leeks to the pan and stir in the creme fraiche. Bring to an ever so gentle simmer and remember to taste and season.
By this time your rice should be cooked and all you have to do is serve up. I recommend bowls as it adds to the comfort food vibe we’re going for here:)
I’ve had terrible trouble sourcing chorizo here in the States. I excitedly thought I’d found it when I first arrived but when I got the confusingly similar sausage home I soon realised it was nothing like the chorizo I was familiar with. This stuff was the uncooked Mexican variety and it totally flummoxed me – well for a few minutes at least. Once I’d tried this wonderful meat though a world of possibilites opened up before me and I use it in so many dishes now.
Whilst I was thrilled at this new discovery it still didn’t solve my Spanish chorizo problem, so I’ve had to sideline a few dishes that I love to cook, which saddened me greatly. Jambalaya is once such dish but the other day I’d had enough. If I couldn’t have that smoky paprika infused cured pork then I’d just have to find a replacement. That replacement came in the form of streaky smoked bacon with an abundance of paprika sprinkled on top. My hopes were not high, I really thought the dish was going to be severely lacking in depth of taste and it was as much a shock to me as it was to my Husband when it turned out fantastically delicious…….we ate the lot in one sitting, which was no mean feat!
The brown rice made it easier to digest – I’ve pretty much sworn off white rice ever since my body made it clear it preferred whole grain. It might take longer to cook; and by longer I mean by at least forty minutes, so if you’re in a rush this is probably not the best recipe to embark upon.
By golly it is a fabulous dish though. I think my version hints more towards Creole than Cajun and it truly is a cacophony of flavours. Almost like a paella but in truth has more punch and I think I do prefer it to that very famous of Spanish rice dishes. It probably helps that I’m facinated by New Orleans and I can’t help but feel that I’m bringing a little bit of mardi gras to my kitchen anytime I cook it.
1/2 pepper pref. orange or red
3 rashers streaky smoked bacon
1 breast chicken diced
1 cup cooked shrimp
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
200g canned chopped or diced tomatoes
1 cup brown rice
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp paprika
1 red chilli
chicken stock cube
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
Heat canola oil in a large frying pan (skillet). Finely dice onion, add to pan and fry for several minutes. Season, add minced garlic and 1 tbsp paprika. Add pepper and fry until it begins to soften.
Chop bacon into small pieces and add to pan. Fry until cooked but not crispy. Stir in diced chicken, the rest of the paprika and chopped chilli. Cook chicken thoroughly. Season.
Add rice and allow it to absorb some of the flavours from the pan. Pour in chopped tomatoes, add tbsp sugar and season. Allow to cook for several minutes.
Boil a kettle of water, pour into pan along with chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep topping up with water – like you would do with a risotto but it shouldn’t be as frequent. It should take around an hour for the rice to completely cook and absorb the liquid - less if it’s white rice.
Empty peas and sweetcorn into a bowl and cover with boiled water. Let sit for 5 minutes or so and then drain. When the rice is almost cooked add the veg and shrimp. Let them warm through for several minutes but try not to overcook. At the very end toss in the parsley and stir through.
Taste, season (if necessary) and serve.