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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!

savoury rice

OnePotWonder: Chinese flavour ‘savoury rice’…

Today, I needed carbs. Just a bowl full of carbs.  I fried some chopped red pepper, a little ginger, a few spring onions… then threw in 225ml veg stock, 75g long grain Thai rice, a handful of spinach, a handful of cashew nuts, one small potato, quartered and sliced, a pinch of Chinese 5 spice, pinch of black pepper, pinch of ground coriander and a splash of tamari sauce.

Tasted surprisingly amazing! If you’re thinking the potato is a bit of a wild card, it’s really there to represent the slices of waterchestnut I would have added if I’d had them here… and to carb it up a bit more!

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: Sticky Peanut Noodle Stir Fry (gluten and dairy free)

I found some gluten free brown rice noodles at the supermarket (finally) so I had to make this! The great thing about stir-frying is that you can chuck in whatever veg you have lying around (or meat, if you’re that way inclined), make it as big or as small as you need, and it takes 15 minutes to make. What makes this one special is the peanut sauce!

Ingredients:

250g gluten free brown rice noodles (dry weight)

1 head brocolli, broken into small florets

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lazy ginger (or a 2cm piece of fresh ginger)

For the Peanut Sauce:

125g Whole Earth Smooth Peanut Butter

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce

1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar to make it vegan)

1 tbsp water

juice of 1 lime

50g sesame seeds

Method:

  • Put a large pan of water on to boil for the noodles, and meanwhile chop the veg for the stir fry
  • Pop your noodles into the boiling water, and add your veg to a hot pan with some oil (leave the chilli & garlic out for now)
  • Mix together the ingredients for the sauce
  • The noodles and the stir fry should both only take around 5 minutes, so at the last minute, add the garlic and chilli to the stir fry
  • Mix the peanut sauce in with the stir fry, then drain your noodles.
  • Add your noodles to the stir fry pan, and mix well (the rice noodles can be a bit sticky and stubborn, but persevere for a minute) then take off the heat and serve immediately!

This was supposed to make enough for me and OH tonight, with one dish left over for lunch tomorrow, but OH liked it so much he polished it all off tonight. So it must have been good :)

Recipe: Chilli Sin Carne – gluten, dairy, & meat free

This chilli is so easy to make – I don’t use any substitute for the mince, just veggies and beans so you can throw in whatever you’ve got lying around in the fridge and the cupboard!

This makes enough to feed 4 greedy hungry people.

Ingredients:

1 red onion

1 stick of celery

1 red pepper

1 good sized courgette

6 (ish) small mushrooms

1 400g can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

2 x 400ml cartons tomato passata (or chopped tomatoes)

1 large green chilli (finely chopped – I leave the seeds in)

1 or 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced / grated / finely chopped)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (hot)

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp mustard powder

Good sprinkling of crushed black pepper, and salt if you need to.

(for the rice and chips on the side: about 4 good sized potatoes, 300-400g rice, and a handful of frozen garden peas)

Method

  • Chop your veg into small pieces.
  • Get a drizzle of oil in a pan on medium heat, and add your onion, celery, mushrooms, pepper and courgette
  • Once they are softened, add the kidney beans, and let them heat up for a few minutes
  • Add the garlic and chilli, mix them through for no more than 30 seconds (it doesn’t take long to burn the garlic and burnt garlic is horrible)
  • Add the tomatoes (using passata just makes for a thicker sauce, but chopped tomatoes are fine) and mix well
  • Add the spices – cayenne, paprikas, mustard, black pepper – and the honey.
  • Give it a good stir and let it simmer, lid on, for at least 30 mins (use this time to make some rice & chips to serve it with!)

Rice & Chips (fries…)

  • Get your oven nice and hot around 200 degrees
  • Use about 1 potato per person, I don’t bother peeling them, just wash and chop into chunks of your choice, then place them on kitchen paper to drain excess water (this will make them crispier)
  • Toss them in a little oil, then place on a baking tray and pop them in the oven (depending on the size of the chips, they will take 30-45 mins, so keep an eye on them and turn them now and again)
  • Bring a large pan of water to boil, and add 75-100g rice per person.  I like to use a mix of long grain & wild rice which takes about 20 mins, but you can use any rice you fancy – just allow longer cooking time for brown and wholegrain rice. (it’s nice to throw in a handful of frozen peas while the rice is cooking – the peas add to the sweetness of the rice, and make it look pretty too…)
  • Take the chilli off the heat to rest for 5-10 mins before the rice & chips are ready, then when it’s all done, drain the water from the rice, take the chips from the oven, and serve!

Cooking isn’t an exact science.  Use what you like and omit what you don’t like.  If you want it mild, don’t use chilli and cayenne (you could chuck a bay leaf in for extra flavour).  If your sauce is too watery, adding a can of adzuki beans or about 30g dry lentils is a good way to thicken it up, just allow a little longer time for the lentils to cook and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t become too dry. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask :)

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