rice

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY/ LAYERED RASPBERRY RICE PUDDING

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY/ LAYERED RASPBERRY RICE PUDDING

Valentine’s day. Every recipe blog has a chocolate recipe. Sadly I have none in the house. I KNOW, NO CHOCOLATE!!! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??? At least I have frozen raspberries. Red fruits go with Valentine’s nearly as much as red roses and CHOCOLATE.

I had something tall (a glass), creamy with raspberry ripple in my head. I thought a rice pudding would do nicely. My husband loves rice pudding. However, as I started to layer it, he told me he doesn’t like his rice pudding with fruit... hm I guess this could be bit of a failure, especially since I put apple juice into the cooking liquid. Yes he wasn't impressed. I guess I will have to come up with another Valentine’s recipe for him...

Luckily my son does enjoy fruit with his rice pudding. If he had a tongue like a giraffe he would have licked the glass clean. Therefore if you like fruit with your rice pudding than this is a recipe for you, if not you could make my chocolate pot I made couple years ago.

raspberry-rice-pud


LAYERED RASPBERRY RICE PUDDING

ingredients
1/2 cup (100g) arborio rice
1/2 cup apple juice
2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs coconut nectar sugar

2 cup raspberries, I used frozen
2 tsp coconut sugar
1tbs water

  1. In a medium saucepan combine rice, apple juice, almond milk, vanilla extract and coconut nectar sugar.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30min until the rice is very soft and sauce is thick. Stir occasionally.
  3. To make the raspberry layer in a small sauce pan heat the raspberries with coconut nectar sugar and one tablespoon of water. Cook until the raspberries collapse into a thick chunky sauce (I do like the seeds in but you can strain the sauce).
  4. In a tall glass layer the creamy rice with raspberries, finishing the glass with the raspberry layer.

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COURGETTE KUGEL

COURGETTE KUGEL

Foolishly I have trusted the weather forecast. Who wouldn’t want to trust the promise of summer’s last attempt to stick around? The reality is that the freshly washed clothes that I left (ok forgot) outside overnight got even wetter than they were from the washing machine. I guess I have to admit that the autumn has taking its rightful reign. At least last two days were mild enough to sit outside in the afternoon.

Autumn also means I will have to get myself organised for my final year of college. Exciting as it is I am also a bit nervous (understatement) about taking clients for the fist time. Last year we were the observers in the back of the classroom, this time we will be in the hot seat. My plans to revise over the summer didn't seem to materialise too well so I am trying to catch up now.

Part of the being organised is getting food prepared for the weekend so that it is easy for my husband and kids to cook a meal when I get back from college in the evening. My courgette kugel is such a recipe. You can make it ahead and just simply stick in the oven when needed.

Kugel is a traditional Jewish bake, pudding or casserole, usually made with egg noodles or potatoes, sometimes rice. It can be sweet or savoury. I like the comfort of such food. This is a vegan version of a kugel. It is creamy, rich and comforting as if made by a Jewish Grandmother.

I have also made this recipe with four courgettes instead of the 2 leek/2 courgette combo. It was as good. Nice thick tomato sauce complements the kugel perfectly. And of course salad and green veggies. This makes a big batch so any leftovers should be cooled quickly and reheated thoroughly. Enjoy!

kugel

COURGETTE KUGEL
Serves 6

ingredients
kugel
2 fat leeks
1 1/2 cup basmati rice
2 courgettes
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 pack of silken tofu (300g, 10oz)
1 Tbs tahini
4 sun dried tomatoes
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste

method
  1. Thinly sliced the leeks and place together with rice into a large sauce pan. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and leek mixture and set aside.
  3. Grate the two courgettes and mix with the rice and leeks.
  4. To make the sauce blend together the water, cashews, tofu, tahini, sun dried tomatoes and nutritional yeast. Season.
  5. Place the rice mixture into a large baking dish, add the sauce and mix well.
  6. Bake at a 180C oven for 40-50 minutes, until set and golden brown on the top.
  7. Serve with a tomato sauce, salad and some green veggies.

kugel-detail

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FESTIVE STUFFED PEPPERS/SQUASHES with MARSALA CREAM SAUCE

FESTIVE STUFFED PEPPERS/SQUASHES with MARSALA CREAM SAUCE

Christmas presents wrapped. Fridge and pantry bursting with food. The house is looking very festive. We are ready for some chilling, celebrating, eating and socializing. Christmas Eve day will be all about cooking for the evening. I love spending hours in the kitchen, pots on the cooker, gorgeous smells coming out of the oven. No rush. Yes I cook loads on Christmas Eve and just reheat and scoop on Christmas Day. Just as we did at home.

Kids love it, they can enjoy their presents without much of an interaction, me and my husband love it as we can spend time with them. And there are no mountains of dishes to wash and no feeling too stuffed to move. Perfect.

If you are still struggling to decide what to make for a veggie festive meal here is an idea. My stuffed peppers or if you prefer individual squashes. Nuts and cranberries with a hint of orange make a perfect festive combination! To make it easier, you can go for a wild rice mix, however those are usually made with white rice. I prefer brown rice therefore I went ahead with cooking my own wild and brown rice separately. The sauce is so yummy, my daughter said she could drink it! I will admit there was a bit of a fight over the last spoonful. it feels very luxurious. The best thing this meal will not make you feel heavy at all. Enough room for pudding.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xmas-stuffed-peppers


FESTIVE STUFFED PEPPERS/SQUASHES with MARSALA CREAM SAUCE

Serves 4-6

stuffed peppers/squashes
80g (1/2cup) wild rice
90g (1/2 cup) brown basmati rice
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp dried thyme (2 tsp fresh)
60g (1/2 cup) macadamia nut halves
60g (1/2 cup) dried cranberries
40g (1/2 cup) flaked almonds
1 orange, zest and juice
3 large bell peppers, red or yellow
or 4 small squashes

marsala cream sauce
125ml (1/2 cup) Marsala wine
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbs tomato puree
sprig of fresh thyme
125mml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
70g (1/2 cup) cashew nuts
250ml (1 cup) water

baby spinach 100g per person

  1. Cook the wild rice and brown rice according to package instructions in separate sauce pans.
  2. If you are using squash, slice the tops of and scoop out the seeds and fibres. Wrap them in some aluminium foil, leaving the top opening exposed. Place in a 180C oven for 30min.
  3. Next prepare the stuffing.
  4. In frying or saute pan heat about 60g (1/4c) water, add the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and thyme. Saute till softened about 10min, adding more water if needed. Place in a bowl.
  5. Add the nuts, cranberries, juice and zest of the orange and both the wild and brown rice. Mix together.
  6. If using peppers, cut them in half lengthways, remove the core, membranes and seeds.
  7. Stuffed the peppers, try to get couple of flaked almonds or macadamias on the top.
  8. Place the peppers in a baking dish, add 80ml (1/3cup) of water to the dish, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 25min at 180C. Uncover and bake further 5min to get the nuts on top browned.
  9. If using the squash: after baking them for 30 min remove from the oven, stuff and cover in aluminium foil. Place back into the oven and bake for 20 min, uncover and bake further 5 min.
  10. While the peppers or squash are baking prepare the sauce. In a medium saute pan, bring the Marsala wine to simmer, add the thinly sliced onion and a thyme sprig. Cover and cook for about 20min or until the onions are soft.
  11. Add the tomato puree, cook for 1 min. Next add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer. Switch the heat off.
  12. In a high speed blender combine the onion mixture (thyme and all), cashews and water. Process till smooth. Pour back into the sauce pan and bring to a boil, turn down and let the sauce thicken, adjust seasoning. Don’t let this cook too long the sauce will thicken too quickly.
  13. Wilt the spinach in a large saute pan.
  14. Place a portion of spinach on the plate, top with the pepper and pour some sauce around (or over the top of the pepper). If serving the squash, serve the spinach on the side.
  15. Enjoy :)

xmas-stuffedpumpkin


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FRANKENSTEIN FOOD/ROASTED ROOT BURGERS

FRANKENSTEIN FOOD/ROASTED ROOT BURGERS

Science is indeed incredibly fascinating. Over our human history, science has shaped how we live our lives. We may take the results of science for granted but can we imagine our today’s world without penicillin, x-ray or the latest smart phone technology?

On the other hand some science leaves me baffled. For example, do we really need bread that will stay mould free for 60 days? Scientist have indeed discovered a method (microwaving) that will do just that. And it is not just bread they tested this on, anything from pet food to jalapeno peppers was put "under the waves".

Originally this device was manufactured to zap pathogens like E-coli or MRSA... That may sound like a good thing but I really do have an issue with what it must do to the food. Can we believe this is safe? If moulds won't touch the food I am sure humans shouldn't either. It reminds me of the old "McDonald's hamburger doesn't get spoilt" YouTube video.

I cannot find a good reason for having bread that lasts 60 days, maybe in emergency situations, delivered to disaster areas, but for everyday use? Whatever happened to buying what you need? Or just stick your bread into the freezer! If you are making sandwiches, freeze bread in 2 slice batches and take them out as you need them. I find that making sandwiches with frozen bread keeps kids lunchbox cool and they are defrosted by lunchtime.

Growing up I don't remember bread getting mouldy. It went stale and rock hard first. Today’s over processed bread goes mouldy before it goes hard. Stale bread has great uses, it is especially great for making breadcrumbs. We used to have a large box of them in the pantry (I now keep mine in the freezer), it was used to make meatloaves or for breading various foods (the Czechs will bread and fry just about anything). I never remember any mould in our box of breadcrumbs.

No, this is not a scientific discovery I will be celebrating and i do hope it will not become a mainstay in our food preparation. If it does you should know that cantaloupe seems to be one food that didn’t do well in the process :)

http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13339/20121130/best-thing-sliced-bread-special-microwave-keeps.htm


ROASTED ROOT BURGERS
I served these as a starter with salad but will work great in a wholemeal bun with yummy toppings. Salad and oven fries on the side of course.

Makes 4

roastedrootburgers2

ingredients

125ml (1/2 cup) of brown basmati rice
440g (1lb) parsnips
440g (1lb) carrots
2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp celery salt
freshly cracked black pepper

method
  1. First cook the brown rice in 375ml (1 and 1/2 cup) of water for about 30 min.
  2. While the rice is cooking, clean the parsnips and carrots, cut into about inch pieces. Place into a roasting dish, mix with 2 tsp rapeseed oil. Roast at 200C for about 35min. You can roast without any oil if you wish.
  3. Finely chop the shallots, place into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place the roasted vegetables into a food processor and process till you get a coarse mash (still with some texture).
  5. Add the mashed roots and rice to the shallots. Next add the paprika, celery and black pepper.
  6. Shape 4 burgers out of the mixture. Place onto a baking paper lined baking tray. Bake at 180C for 30-35 min or until golden brown.

roastedrootburger
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RICE PUDDING WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

RICE PUDDING WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

Today a headline in Daily Mail caught my eye: The white stuff: Drinking just one glass of milk a day could boost your brain power. Apparently a study shows that drinking at least a glass of milk a day will improve your memory. Now I am sure I was going to say something about that..... oops can’t remember.... must be my non-milk drinker’s brain ....fried. By the way the journalist forgot to mention this study was sponsored by the MILK BOARD (USA). Very reputable, independent study indeed.

It took me quite a while to figure out why I couldn’t ever eat porridge, rice pudding or even muesli made with milk without feeling nauseaous, I couldn’t get through the bowl. Yes it was the milk! I never drank the stuff on its own, even when in nappies I found the taste utterly repulsive. I don’t have an allergy, maybe just a slight intolerance, but there are many more reasons while I took a step back from dairy.

With non dairy milks I can finally enjoy porridge, rice pudding and muesli. No memory loss so far. My kids never took to drinking milk either, but they did like it in their cereal. Now they enjoy almond and coconut (not tin) in their breakfast, and they actually prefer it. The only problem is when a guest wants an proper English cuppa I GOT NO “NORMAL” MILK at home...
rice-pud

RICE PUDDING WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

This rice pudding contains no refined sugar, it is sweetened with date syrup and the blueberry compote with the Good Taste award winner Sweet Freedom. Both are available online or in health food shops. The date syrup has a very concentrated date flavour hence a bit overpowering for the blueberries. Beware it will turn your rice brown!

The non dairy milk of choice here is oat milk. I find that is compliments the rice beautifully. Make sure to shake the carton first.

We do like to eat our rice pudding warm, not too stiff, if you prefer less creamy and runny consistency just cook it a few minutes longer.

Serves 4 (very filling!)

ingredients

rice pudding
100g (1/2cup) sushi (or arborio) rice
3-4 Tbs date syrup
750ml (3cups) oat milk
blueberry sauce
500ml (2 cups) blueberries
juice of half a lemon
1-2Tbs Sweet Freedom (or agave)
2 Tbs water
pinch of cinnamon
garnish
toasted almond flakes
lemon zest

method

  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pen, combine the milk, rice and date syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer gently for about 30min, or until desired consistency. Make sure to stir every so often, and very often towards the end of cooking time.
  2. For the compote, in a sauce pan, combine blueberries, lemon juice, sweet freedom (or agave), cinnamon and the water. Gently bring to simmer, cook just a few minutes, until some of the blueberries pop and create deep purple sauce.
  3. In a serving glass, put in some rice pudding top with blueberry compote and garnish with the lemon zest and almond flakes.
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