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30 Minute Soul Food – Spicy Rice & Beans…

New home & new job has left my kitchenware feeling rather unloved.  My food processor is gathering dust and my matroyshka measuring cups have become mere ornaments to pretty up my kitchen.  My foot’s on the mend which means I’m out and about more now, and have less time to poke about in the kitchen like I did a few months ago.

Anyways, when there isn’t enough time to spend all day cooking, this one pot wonder is a life saver; throw everything in a pan, put the lid on it for a bit, then serve.  This is a real hug in a bowl, or a bowl full of hugs… Spicy, hearty, warming, stomach filling… I could go on!  And the end result is always delicious – slightly different every time I make it, but that’s the fun of it – it’s definitely food for the soul, and satisfying enough for times when you’re feeling greedy.  Enough rambling, here’s (roughly) how I make my Spicy Rice & Beans…

One Pot Wonder!

totally warming food for the soul!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed / finely chopped
  • 1 400g tin red kidney beans – drained & rinsed
  • 1 400g tin black eyed beans – drained & rinsed (or any other bean you fancy! Adzuki works well!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced green beans
  • 225g long grain rice
  • 750ml vegetable stock (preferably hot)
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep pan and add the onion & pepper – fry on a fairly high heat for around 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown
  2. Turn down the heat, add the garlic, chilli, paprika, smoked paprika & chilli powder and fry for a further minute
  3. Throw in your canned beans, frozen beans, hot stock, tomato puree and cayenne – mix well and bring to the boil
  4. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes (until water has been absorbed and rice is tender)
  5. That’s it – serve, and enjoy!

See, I said it was easy.  If this isn’t comfort food then I don’t know what is.  Best of all, it lends itself to whatever fresh/frozen ingredients you’ve got lying around – perfect for one of those ’emptying the fridge’ days.  If you’ve only got one tin of beans, add more veg; I’ve made it with carrot, courgette, sometimes mushrooms – and I’ve even been known to throw in a diced potato.  Yes, I make it that often!

The above quantities will make 3-4 portions (generously) as a stand-alone main dish. Use common sense; if you need to feed more people, add more stuff! If anyone tries it, I’d love to hear how yours turns out!

MealForOne: Tasty Thai Style Rice (gluten & dairy free)

This is pretty much effortless to rustle up when you’re just cooking for yourself – but would make an awesome side dish too. It’s a one-pot-wonder that’s healthy and tasty. Quantities below are for one person, scale up if you’re feeding more mouths.

Ingredients:

75g Jasmine Rice (dry weight)

1 red pepper (chopped)

1 stick of celery (finely chopped)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

2tbsp green peas (I used frozen)

1 lemon grass stalk

225ml (approx) hot vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp GF tamari sauce

To Make:

  •  In a small saucepan, heat the pepper, celery, ginger, peas and lemongrass in a little oil for a few minutes until everything begins to soften
  • Add the stock, followed by the rice
  • Stir, then cover and allow to simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until all stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender
  • Stir in the tamari sauce, and serve

I used Jasmine rice because it tastes amazing, and cooks really quickly.  You could make this with another type of rice, but remember to allow longer for it to cook.

Recipe: Sexed up Lentils! (gluten & dairy free of course)

Puy Lentils are so sexy. If you disagree, it’s probably because you’ve never cooked them like this. With very little effort, puy lentils can be your go-to ingredient for comforting PJ food – and what’s sexier than that? ;)

OK, they’re not much to look at, but they are so tasty (pictured below in an oven-baked potato, and some red cabbage & red pepper on the side)

Ingredients:

225g puy lentils (dry weight)

2 cloves garlic – peeled and minced / grated

1 red chilli – finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely diced

2 tbsp red cooking wine

600ml veg stock

Method:

  • Heat the celery in a little oil on a low heat for around 10 minutes, until it is soft and smells fantastic
  • Add the garlic & chilli to the pan and mix through – leave for a matter of seconds, before throwing the lentils in
  • Add the wine to the pan, and turn up the heat, keeping the lentils moving for about a minute while the alcohol evaporates
  • Add the stock (preferably hot) to the pan, give it a stir, then cover and let it simmer gently for about 30 mins, until the stock has been absorbed and the lentils are soft (you want them soft but not mushy)
  • That’s it – serve, in a baked potato, on a salad, with a piece of meat or fish… or just in a bowl all by themselves!

As a rule of thumb I allow 75g (dry weight) of lentils per person. The above was enough to fill 3 potatoes generously.  Be warned though, once you’ve cleared your plate, you will probably wish that you made more. And you will want to make it again. Because it’s so easy, so healthy, and so damn sexy.

Recipe: Easy Peppercorn Sauce (gluten and lactose free)

I made this Friday night with steak & chips (and the mandatory mushrooms of course) but was too busy stuffing it in my face to take a picture. This recipe isn’t dairy free because I make it with lactofree (treated) cows milk, but give it a try with whatever substitute you would normally use and see how it turns out (if you can tolerate goat’s milk I’m sure that would work, or soy milk… if using rice or oat milk then you may need to use a bit more flour to thicken).  

It’s stupidly easy to make, in 10 minutes or less.  It’s not heavy or too creamy like other recipes, and it tastes gorgeous.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and minced/grated)

1tbsp dairy free margarine

175ml skimmed milk (lactofree or any alternative)

drizzle of olive oil

1/2tbsp gluten free flour (I use Dove’s Farm all purpose)

1/4tsp mustard powder

1tsp ground mixed peppercorns (add more or less to your taste)

Method:

  • Heat the oil in the pan with the garlic (gently! – burn the garlic and it’ll be bitter)
  • Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt (still on low heat)
  • In a measuring jug, add a drop of milk to the flour and whisk until there are no lumps, then add the rest of the milk
  • Add the flour/milk and mustard powder to the pan, and heat very gently until it boils, stirring with a whisk or a fork to stop a skin forming
  • The sauce will thicken at boiling point, so keep stirring, and now add the peppercorns, and allow to cook for about a minute
  • That’s it – serve it ASAP!

See, I said it was easy. Done in less than 10 minutes. The above makes enough for 2 generous servings.

Lazy days! Made up a Hale & Hearty quick pizza base. Smothered it in Tiger Tiger gluten free BBQ sauce.  Grated a load of lactofree cheese over it. Threw on some sliced mushrooms & red pepper. And shoved it in the oven with some chips. Score!

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