Category Archives: Rice

Chorizo Stew

Oh hi there!

Happy new year.  Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.  Ours was fab and I’ve created an experimental dish to use my favourite present – a beautiful teal coloured cast iron casserole dish given to us by my parents.  It’s bloody heavy but that metal helps to distribute the heat evenly across the dish.  The enamelled surface is great because you get a crust of deliciousness which can be easily scraped up into the sauce thanks to how non-stick it is.  The lid condenses all of the steam back into the sauce, and it’s virtually silent when it’s boiling.  And thanks to how pretty it is, you can feel proud to take it to the dinner table. 🙂  In short I adore it!


A Man’s dad gave us a mandolin which has already been used to make coleslaw and to slice a gammon joint.  I foresee a dauphinoise or gratin in my future…

I also bought A Man a new knife – a rather dangerous looking beast of a cleaver.  We’ve agreed that I’m banned from using it, because given the ease with which it cuts through an entire chicken I’d be quite likely to go straight through my finger.

The sword and shield of the kitchen!  A Man's  chopper and the lid of the casserole.

The sword and shield of the kitchen! A Man’s chopper and the lid of the casserole.

My other kitchen-related present was a trio of teapots.  I’ve got a feeling that I’ve become a bit predictable…


That’s a glass teapot for fruity teas, a Le Creuset teapot for posh teas and an “It’s always Time for Tea” teapot because, well, it’s true.

The stew I made with some little sausages made with garlic and paprika.  They were from Morrisons and I would thoroughly recommend them – they were yummy!  I was really pleased with this meal and the only thing I would change would be to add some spice (I dropped some of my chilli jelly into the leftovers for next time we eat it).

Much love

Gemma xx

Chorizo Stew

Olive oil
Red onion
Garlic cloves
Chilli (optional)
Fresh tomatoes
Fresh parsley
Green pepper
Cavolo nero
Chorizo sausages
White wine
Brown rice to serve


  1. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a wide pan.  Dice the onion, crush the garlic and chop the chilli finely if using.  Fry gently in the oil.


    This photo’s out of sequence because I didn’t go snap-happy until slightly too late. Deal with it!

  2. Dice the pepper and add to the pan.  Finely chop the stalks of the parsley and cavolo nero and stir in.  Chop the tomatoes and leaves of the parsley and cavolo nero to add later.
  3. Brown the sausages with the onion.  Cook for several minutes.
  4. Add the cavolo nero leaves and cook for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and a small glass of white wine.  Cover the dish and leave to simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.


    Action shot!

  5. Taste the sauce and season as necessary.  Cook the rice.  Remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce slightly.  Add the parsley just before serving.

    Open wide!

    Open wide!


Aubergine and Mushroom in Fragrant Peanut Sauce

Hi there

I went a bit nuts on the veg front when I went shopping this week – there was so much different stuff I fancied buying, so last night it seemed to make a lot of sense to have a vegetarian dinner.  What I made was a mish-mash of stuff, but actually turned out to be pretty tasty.  Despite the long list of ingredients, it was also really quick to prepare, which can only be a bonus in my book.

My one piece of advice would be: don’t forget to put the rice on.  We ended up having disappointing cous cous, because it’s quicker to cook than rice.  Tonight we’re having the leftovers with added chicken and rice.  Or at least, that’s the plan.

Much love

Gemma xx

Aubergine and Mushroom in Fragrant Peanut Sauce

Y’know, imagine rice instead of cous cous…

Red pepper
Root ginger
1-2 cloves garlic
Kaffir lime leaves
Ground coriander
Ground ginger
Toasted sesame oil
Crunchy peanut butter
Coconut milk
Some kind of sweetener – honey, brown sugar or agave syrup
Soy sauce
Fish sauce (omit if vegetarian)
Nuts (I used soy nuts)

  1. Chop all the veg into chunky pieces and place in a bowl.  Peel the root ginger and garlic, grate on a microplane and add to the veg.  Bruise the lemongrass, chop finely and add to the veg.  Crumble in a couple of kaffir lime leaves, and sprinkle on a generous amount of cumin, coriander and ginger.  Add a couple of spoons of sesame oil and stir really well to ensure everything is evenly distributed.  Leave to marinade for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat a wok until it is really hot.  Throw the veg into the pan and immediately turn down to a medium/low temperature.  Stir fry for several minutes, until the aubergine is cooked in the middle.  Cover the wok.
  3. In the marinade bowl, stir together a couple of heaped spoons of peanut butter with enough coconut milk to form a fairly thick sauce consistency.  Add a teaspoon of your preferred sweetener and a good dash each of soy and fish sauce.
  4. Add the sauce to the veg and stir well.  Once hot, adjust the sauce as required by adding more soy sauce, fish sauce or sugar.  Cook for a few minutes for the sauce to reduce slightly.
  5. Stir through the nuts at the last minute, and serve on a bed of rice.


Hi there

Curried fish and rice?  For breakfast?  Why yes, that’s what I ate yesterday morning.  I made a (very delicious) chilli for dinner on Wednesday and popped to the supermarket to get some sour cream to slop on the top.  Whilst there, I picked up a whole load of reduced things, including some kippers for 15p.  Now, kippers aren’t the fish most people would use in kedgeree but they’re my favourites.  So I cooked some extra rice and stuck in the fridge to cool down, ready for the morning.

I completely forgot about the boiled eggs until after I’d finished my breakfast, but I don’t think it was missing much (although perhaps it would have looked slightly more attractive!).  I stirred through the remaining sour cream, but it’s not necessary.

Also, I cooked a pizza for dinner last night with the other reduced things I picked up – mozzarella and polish sausage.  I’m not going to post a recipe (I’ve done plenty of pizzas before) but I will post a picture just because it was so darned pretty!

Much love

Gemma xx


Cooked white rice
Cooked fish
Smoked paprika
Cayenne pepper
Sour cream
Parsley (preferably fresh, but I had to use dried)




  1. Boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes, until the yolks have set, but not hardened.  Run briefly under cold water, shell and set aside.
  2. Melt some butter in a frying pan.  Dice the onion and fry until soft.  Add the cooked rice and spices.  Taste and adjust the spices as necessary.
  3. Flake the fish, removing as many bones as possible.  Stir through the rice and heat gently until warm.
  4. Stir through some sour cream and add a good sprinkling of parsley.  Dish up the kedgeree, chop the eggs into slices and don’t forget to add to the rice!

Mushroom Risotto

Gooood evening

At the weekend, A Man and I bought a massive carton of mushrooms.  You know the type – the supermarket cheapy cheap ones which don’t look particularly pretty but function perfectly well as mushrooms.  The only issue was what to do with them.

A Man suggested a risotto, which was a great idea.  I planned to make it yesterday, only to find I only had basmati or sushi rice.  Not ideal.  Risotto put off to this evening.  It uses a LOT of mushrooms.  I used about 2 thirds of that carton just for the two of us.

You don’t need to do the first stage of frying the mushrooms until dry, but it makes a mediocre meal taste really yummy.  On those lines, don’t expect this to be a quick meal.  The rice will take at least half an hour to cook; probably longer.  But it’s so worth it at the end!

Love love

Gemma xx

Mushroom Risotto

LOTS of sliced mushrooms!
Olive oil
Fresh sage, chopped
Diced onion
Around 75g arborio rice per person
Around 75ml white wine and 125ml stock per person, preferably warmed through
Salt and pepper
Cheese shavings to serve (Make sure it’s vegetarian cheese if you’re serving this as a veggie dish!)

  1. Heat some olive oil and butter in a frying pan until it starts to foam.  Add half of your mushrooms to the pan and stir.  The heat should be medium-high and you need to stir regularly.  Cook the mushrooms until they get reduce significantly in size, turn dark and start to lose their moisture.  You want a really concentrated mushroom mush (for want of a better word) and, depending on how ‘juicy’ your mushrooms are, this could take a pretty long time.  Once they’re cooked, remove from the heat.
  2. Heat some more olive oil, and fry the sage and onion for a few minutes on a medium heat.  Add the rice and stir well to coat in oil.  Add a little of the wine/stock mix and stir well.  Once it has been absorbed, add a little more.  You need to continue to add stock/wine every time it is absorbed and stir the risotto regularly.  It should be cooked on a medium-low heat; too high and the inside of the rice will be crunchy, too low and it will be gloopy.
  3. Add the other half of the mushrooms and stir through the rice.  Once it has been cooking for around 15 minutes, regularly check the rice to gauge how much longer it needs to cook for, adding stock as necessary.  You may need more stock than I have suggested, so use your instincts.
  4. Once the risotto has been cooking for around 25 minutes, stir through the cooked mushrooms and season to taste.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, serve immediately, with cheese at the table.  My favourite is Grana Padano, but whatever you have on hand would work fine.  This would also go particularly well with a rocket salad simply dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Mmmmm, Sushi!


I have a confession to make.  I love sushi.  It’s portable, it’s beautiful, it’s totally different to the everyday sort of food I normally eat and it’s heavily associated with raw fish, all of which are things which are massive plus-points for me.  I first made sushi in university, and it’s something I like to do occasionally as it’s lots of fun.  It’s also, however, very time consuming; hence I don’t do it very often.  If you’ve not made it before, I found this website to be really helpful when I first made it.

When I was in Oxford over the weekend, I took the opportunity to go to the MK Oriental Market on St Clements.  I love this shop!  The staff are friendly and its small size is deceptive as it’s really very well stocked.  There’s nowhere near where I live to buy sushi ingredients, so I picked up some rice, pickled ginger and wasabi (I already had a large packet of nori in my cupboard).  I wish I’d thought to pick up some miso while I was there too, but I’ll have to have a proper trip next time I’m in Ox.

A lot of people are scared of eating sushi because they think it has to involve raw fish.  It doesn’t.  While I love raw fish, the sushi I made tonight didn’t involve any.  You can use raw or cooked ingredients, and some of my favourite sushi includes stir-fried veg with ginger.  The great thing is that you can play with the ingredients so that you have what you like.  Tonight I did some with strips of cucumber and shredded salmon skin which had been dry-fried on both sides until crispy; and some with spring onions, runner beans and mushrooms sliced finely and stir-fried with garlic and galangal.

Sushi is best eaten on the day it’s made, but I made this batch for my lunch tomorrow and Thursday.  I’ve managed to keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days; the veg ones keep better than the fish.  Of course, there are lots of different types of sushi – here I’ve just made simple Futomaki, but I’ve done Nigiri, Inside-Out Rolls and the incredibly beautiful Shikai-Maki before.  I’ve also made pickled ginger before, but it’s sitting in the fridge at my parents’ house 🙂

Much love

Gemma xx

Sushi (makes 3-4 rolls of around 6 pieces each)

200g sushi rice
250ml cold water
Couple tablespoons rice vinegar (although I used cider vinegar to no detriment)
1 dessertspoon sugar.  If you’re worried about the look of your sushi, use white sugar!  I used brown so mine’s a slightly funny colour…
1 tsp salt
3-4 sheets nori (roasted seaweed for sushi)
Your favourite filling
Soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger to serve

My not-so-beautiful sushi sitting in my beautiful lunchbox to take to school tomorrow. Wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce at the ready in the little pot in the corner. I’m so cool!

  1. Rinse the rice well in running water until the water runs clear.  Soak the rice in a pan with a lid with the cold water for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring the rice and cold water to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes.  DO NOT LIFT THE LID OF THE PAN! Turn the heat up to full for a few seconds and switch it off.
  3. Remove the lid, place a clean teatowel over the rice and replace the lid.  Leave the rice to steam for around 20 minutes.
  4. Spread the rice onto a wide board.  Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and sprinkle over the rice.  Using a spatula, turn the rice over and over to fully coat in the vinegar mix and cool the rice.
  5. Lay down a piece of nori.  It is easiest if you have a bamboo sushi rolling mat, but a clean teatowel works too.  Spread some of the rice over the bottom of the nori.  I find this is easiest with my hands.  Have some vinegar ready in a bowl, as it helps to stop the rice from sticking to your hands.  Try and spread it thinly – I managed to clump it all up to one side, so my fillings are all on the skew.
  6. Add your filling on top.  Gently bring the bottom of the nori over the rice and filling by lifting the mat or teatowel.  Roll the nori over, pressing together as you do so.  Wet the top edge of the nori with vinegar and roll up completely, pressing together well.

    Stir-fried veg, all rolled up

    Crispy salmon skin and cucumber

  7. Very carefully wet the blade of a sharp knife with vinegar.  Trim the ends from the roll, then cut into small pieces.  I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s supposed to be cut into 6, but I don’t remember where I read it or why that’s the case.
  8. Serve with wasabi mixed with soy sauce, and a slice of pickled ginger between pieces to cleanse your palate.  Yummy!

Escovitch Bream with Rice and Peas

All by myseeeeelf…

Hullo.  A Man has gone to visit some friends for a couple of days, leaving my to fend for myself despite efforts to encourage visitors to stay (I’m looking at you, little brother!).  But, despite the loneliness there are a couple of advantages to having a couple of quiet days alone.  The first is that I’m storming through this week’s school work.  The second is that I can eat what I like, and of course that means I had fish for dinner last night.

I fancied trying something new, and took my inspiration (by which I mean almost copied the recipe by the letter) from Levi Roots’ Caribbean Food Made Easy.  Although his two escovitch recipes are for seabass and trout, it worked nicely with the gilthead bream I had bought cheaply.

I made extra rice and peas and veg to have cold as a salad for my lunch today.  Yum!

Love love

Gemma xx

Escovitch Bream with Rice and Peas

For the Rice and Peas
1 can coconut milk
1 whole chilli, undamaged
Zest of a lime
Half a dozen allspice berries
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 spring onion, bashed to bruise it
Half an onion, roughly chopped
About a tablespoon of butter
1 can beans of your choice (kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans – use what’s in the cupboard.  Just not baked beans in tomato sauce!)
Salt and pepper
75g basmati rice per person, well rinsed

1 gilthead bream per person, gutted, scaled and gills removed.  You can chop the head off too if you like.
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Juice of half a lime
Spring onions, chopped into fairly lengthy pieces
1 – 2 chillis, seeds removed and finely chopped
Mixed sweet peppers, seeds removed and chopped into chunky pieces
1 onion, chopped into chunky pieces
Cider vinegar

The fish looks a little bit vicious with those tiny teeth! I guess that’s why some people like to chop off the heads first.

  1. For the rice and peas,  mix everything except the rice in a pan and bring to the boil.  Turn down to a simmer and allow to infuse for around 10-15 minutes.  Add the rice.  The liquid should come at least 1 inch above the rice – if not, add some water.  Bring up to the boil, then turn down again and place the lid on top steam the rice for around 20 minutes, until cooked through.
  2. Cut a couple of slits in the skin of the fish, and season well with salt and pepper, inside and out.  Squeeze the lime juice into the cavity, stuff in some spring onion and chilli.  Oil a baking tray and stick the fish in a medium-hot oven for around 15 minutes, until cooked through.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add the peppers, onion and any remaining spring onion.  Stir fry for a few minutes.  The veg should retain some crunch, so don’t cook it for too long.  Splash a good glug of vinegar into the pan and turn off the heat.
  4. Serve once the rice and fish are cooked through.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Good evening

I’ve had a lovely day with A Man today.  The sun has been shining away and we mushed over to Frome this afternoon to complete a murder mystery trail given to me by a friend for my birthday.  I wanted to cook something summery for tea – there was no way I wanted a stew or something after this weather!  Paella isn’t something I cook very often, but it’s nice and simple as it pretty much cooks itself and there’s only one pan to wash up which is ideal!  If you have a ‘proper’ paella dish, it’s great to serve  it at the table and for people to dish up their own, but any type of wide, flat pan will do the trick.

If you like, you can use different meat, and really the rice should include some saffron but that’s not a spice I keep in the cupboard due to its expense, so I made do with just adding some extra paprika.  According to the packet, this much rice should serve 4 but if you have salad with it, it will stretch further.  Add some fresh parsley right at the end if you have some, too.

Love love

Gemma xx

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Around 100g chorizo, diced
4 chicken thighs, boned and cut into bitesize pieces
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
Smoked paprika
300g paella rice
1 litre hot chicken stock
Cooked prawns, defrosted if frozen
Large handful frozen peas
Lemon juice

  1. Fry the chorizo in a dry pan on a medium-low heat so that the fat starts to run.  Fry the chicken with the sausage for a few minutes so that it starts to brown.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and stir well.  Fry for 2-3 minutes.  Add the pepper, paprika and rice and stir well to ensure all of the ingredients are well distributed.
  3. Pour the stock over the rice and turn down to a simmer.  Check the pan every few minutes to see how cooked the rice is and to ensure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.  The rice should be cooked once all of the liquid has been absorbed, but if it’s not quite done add a little more hot water to the pan.
  4. Just before serving, stir through the prawns and peas.  Take the pan off the heat – you just want them to be warm through rather than cooking them as such, and the residual heat of the rice should do this.
  5. Serve with a well dressed salad and lots of lemon juice over the rice.  The paella can be frozen, but it must be cooled quickly after cooking and defrosted thoroughly in the fridge for around 24 hours before reheating.