wild rice pilaf

Pilaf is a rice dish that is cooked in stock or broth, adding spices and meat or vegetables. I think quite similar to a fried rice, without the egg, obviously.
For this dish I cheated a bit and bought ready-to-eat wild rice that I added to my fried vegetables. This really saved me a lot of time that allowed me to focus on other things like dessert and a bottle of good red wine.

I used vegetables that I had in my fridge, making this a fairly ‘rule-free’ recipe. I don’t, however, suggest using root veggies here. Keep it simple with ingredients that cook fairly quickly, similar to stir fry vegetables.

A delicious side dish or light meal.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
250g cooked wild rice
2 carrots, julienne
2 zucchini, cubed
200g button mushrooms, quartered
1/3C slivered almonds, toasted
3T soy sauce
handful fresh parsley & coriander, finely chopped
1t ground cumin
1/2t ground coriander
2T olive oil
3T butter
1 spring onion, sliced (optional)

how to
In a large skillet, melt the olive oil & 1 tablespoon butter. Saute the onion & garlic until translucent. About 4 minutes. Add the ground cumin & coriander, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, zucchini & mushrooms and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and julienne carrots, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and almonds and cook for a further 3 minutes while stirring.
Stir the parsley & coriander through the rice mixture.

Garnish with sliced spring onion or coriander leaves.



smoked haddock ‘arancini’

Arancini is a very popular and favourite Italian snack, which is made of risotto & mozzarella with the addition of beef and peas. It is shaped into a ball, crumbed and deep fried.
I love haddock and had plenty of rice in my freezer so this is my version of arancini, which is fairly different to the original but I promise you, just as delicious!

These freeze really well, so pack it onto a tray, place it into the freezer for a couple of hours and then bag them in freezer friendly bags. Thaw overnight before dredging in flour, egg & crumbs and deep frying.

Serve these with a salad or sliced avocado and a dipping sauce of your choice.

ingredients | makes about 18 | a little effort
300g smoked haddock
1C milk
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
2 1/2 C cooked long grain rice
1C grated white cheddar
1C frozen peas
bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
handful chives, finely chopped
1t dried dill
1T fish sauce
1/2C fine breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
1T olive oil
1T butter

to fry
2C panko crumbs
2 eggs, whisked with about 3 tablespoons milk
1/2C plain flour
cooking oil, for frying

method
In a small skillet, heat the milk and poach the haddock for about 8 minutes, turning halfway. Remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a small pan and sauté the onion & garlic until cooked. About 3 minutes. Add peas, stir to coat and cook for 1 more minute.
Tip the cooked rice into a large mixing bowl. Add a 1/4 cup of the poaching milk to the rice.
Add all the remaining ingredients to the rice except the frying ingredients.
Flake the cooked haddock into the rice mixture, add the onions and peas and now mix well, using your hands. The mixture must just come together to hold its shape. If you feel it is too wet, add a little more of the fine breadcrumbs.
Shape into golf size balls. Set aside.

In a deep, medium sized pot, heat enough oil to come about halfway up the rice balls.

In three separate bowls, prepare the panko crumbs, beaten egg and flour.
Roll each ball into the flour, then in the beaten egg and lastly coat with the panko crumbs. Repeat until you have coated each rice ball.

Carefully drop the rice balls in batches of about 4 into the hot oil and fry for about two minutes a side until beautifully browned and crisp.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel paper.

Serve warm.




chicken & rice tray bake

This is my idea of a simple, delicious, no-fuss family meal that can be on the table in almost no time at all. It is, undoubtedly, a firm favourite in our home. Just an easy, deletable home-cooked meal that goes in the centre of the table so that everyone can tuck in at their leisure.

I like to use leg quarters for this recipe but really, any part of the chicken is just as delicious. The meat is tender and juicy with a lovely spice. The skin is gorgeously browned and crispy and the rice deliciously fluffy, flavourful and buttery.
Make sure to coat the chicken liberally with the spice rub so that the flavour soaks into the rice.

You can combine all of the ingredients in a roasting tray and put it straight into the oven although I like to brown the chicken first to ensure an extra crispy skin. I then cook the onion & garlic in a little oil and butter before adding the rice and mixing everything together.

Everything you need is in this dish but if you want to serve something alongside, opt for something minimalistic like a tomato & avocado salad.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
for the spice rub
1t onion powder
1t garlic powder
1t paprika
1t salt
1/2t pepper
2T olive oil

Combine all the ingredients together except the oil. Mix and set aside.

For the tray bake
4T olive oil
80g butter
4-6 chicken leg quarters
1 white onion, chopped
3t crushed garlic
120g long grain or basmati rice
1t cumin seeds, crushed
1t dried thyme
1t dried oregano
1t fine salt
1t black pepper
400ml chicken stock
1C frozen peas
fresh cilantro / coriander leaves, garnish
fresh parsley, chopped, garnish

method
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Drizzle the two tablespoons olive oil over the meat. Using your hands, rub the spice rub into the skin.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Set aside.
In the same pan, without wiping it clean, heat the remaining two tablespoons olive oil and about 30g of the butter. Sauté the onion & garlic until glossy and fragrant, while stirring. About three minutes.
Add the remaining butter, crushed cumin, oregano & thyme to the skillet / roasting tray and add the rice. Stir to melt the butter and coat the rice and then season with the salt & pepper.
Tip the mixture into a roasting tray or ovenproof dish if needed.
Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice and then pour the stock into the dish, around the meat.
Cover the roasting tray or dish with tin foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and carefully remove the foil, taking care the steam doesn’t burn your hand.

Test the rice to see if it is cooked. If it is not perfectly tender, cover with foil again and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Now remove the chicken pieces and set aside.
Stir the frozen peas through the rice, replace the chicken pieces and place the dish back into the oven, uncovered, and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, garnish with the fresh cilantro and parsley and serve.






rice & vegetable croquettes

Making use of beautiful food that was cooked but not eaten is high on my list of kitchen priorities. Wherever and whenever I can, I try to not waste food by ‘recycling’ it into yet another beautiful and delicious dish. These croquettes were so moreish, I was hoping I had space for more.
I again had some leftover rice, in this case Jasmin rice, which is not ideal for fried rice but works brilliantly when mixed together with a few extra ingredients and vegetables, shaped and shallow fried in oil.
Any rice grain will work well here and if you don’t have any leftover rice, simply cook fresh rice, let it cool and follow the recipe.

Although it may seem like a bit of effort I can assure you that it really was very simple to put together and cook. The eating part was, of course, by far the easiest and most enjoyable.
I made a simple sweet soy dipping sauce and served it only with sliced avocado although a fresh tossed salad will also make this a very tasty meal.

ingredients | makes about 12 | a little effort
2C rice
1T olive oil
2T butter
1 large carrot, grated
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 white or red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
1C finely grated Parmesan cheese
3T fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, thyme, cilantro)
2 1/2 C panko crumbs
3 eggs, beaten
about 4C sunflower / canola oil for frying

method
In a skillet, heat the olive oil & butter and saute the onion & garlic until glossy. About 5 minutes.
Add the carrot & zucchini, stir to coat and cook for a further five minutes. Set aside to cool for about ten minutes.
Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and mix to combine.
Now add the salt, pepper, cheese, herbs, half cup of panko crumbs and eggs and mix well using your hands.
Place the remaining panko onto a plate. Heat about 4 cups of sunflower or canola oil in a pot. (The oil must come halfway up the croquette)
Using your hands, shape the mixture into the desired size.
Very carefully drop the croquettes into the hot oil and fry for about three to four minutes a side or until beautifully browned and crisp.
Remove the croquettes using a slotted spoon and place onto towel paper to remove excess oil.

Serve warm with a sweet soy dipping sauce or mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce.

Yours in food






vegetable fried rice

I have very fond memories of delicious rice dishes in both Thailand and Bali during my travels. Unlike my mother, I love rice and can eat it with almost anything.
This is a delicious, healthy meal and a great way of using any leftover rice and extra vegetables you may have in your fridge. Perfect fried rice is best when using cold, leftover long grain rice. A very hot wok is ideal but a large skillet will also do.

To simplify things and ensure even cooking, I like to grate some of the vegetables that would normally take longer to cook.
Great on its own or served as a side dish, you will most definitely return for seconds.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2C long grain rice, preferably a day old
2T olive oil
2T butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large carrot, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1c broccoli, florets
1c mushrooms, sliced
1/2c frozen peas
2t grated ginger
1/4c soy sauce
1T sesame oil
2t fish sauce
1/2t red chili flakes, optional
3 eggs, beaten
1/2c spring onion, sliced diagonally
bunch fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
salt to taste
black pepper
sesame seeds, garnish (optional)

how to
Heat olive oil & butter in a large wok or skillet. Fry the onion until glossy. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the carrot, zucchini, broccoli & mushrooms and cook for three minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the ginger & soya sauce, toss and cook one minute.
Add the rice, stir and toss as you cook for a further three minutes, then adding the peas, fish stock, sesame oil and chili flakes if using. Toss to coat and cook for three minutes.
Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Leave the eggs to cook for about a minute and then gently start folding the vegetable mixture through the eggs.
Season with salt & pepper and keep folding while the eggs cook.
Once the eggs are cooked, remove the wok / skillet from the heat.

Stir the cilantro through the mixture and garnish with the sliced spring onion & sesame seeds.

Serve warm.