How to Cook a Lovely Fluffy Rice

Serves: 4                 Prep Time: 5 minutes                     Cooking Time: 16 minutes

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The above picture shows 2 different rice’s – the first one is an Azafrán rice and the second is a mild green curry spiced one. It isnt that difficult to produce a lovely fluffy rice. I normally use Basmati Rice because it’s healthier than ordinary white rice. If you think rice is just rice, here are just a few of the reasons why Basmati is best and why to choose Basmati over ordinary rice. Basmati is gluten-free and low in fat. It contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and is very low in sodium and has no cholesterol. And to top this: Basmati rice has fewer calories in a serving than its grainy cousins. You can reduce the amount of calorie intake by 20 calories with just one serving. Eating three portions of Basmati rice a week, you are already saving 60 calories per week.

  • 1 Onion, medium sized, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper
  • Spice depending on what flavour you want: –
    Azafrán, Curry, Sweet Paprika, Tomato Puree …
  • 150g Basmati Rice
  • 300ml Water
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil in a hot saucepan.
  2. When blanched add the spices, salt and pepper, and stir for approx.. 1 minute to increases the flavour.
  3. Then stir-in the rice and make sure it looks like each rice corn is coated in oil and spices.
  4. Then add the water, bring to boil and lover the heat to 1/3 cover the pan and leave for 16 minutes. Do NOT feel tempted to stir, its not needed and you’ll lose some liquid.
  5. Remove from heat after 16 minutes, check if the rice is cooked to your preference, if you want the rice softer, add 2 tbsp water to the pan and return it to the heat, simmer for max 2 minutes.

That’s it, you now have a perfect rice, and it only took 5 minutes handling.
When cooked you’ll have approx. 600g rice, at a stretch it could feed 6 persons when you serve a lot of vegetables as well as the meat, fish, chicken or turkey.

PER SERVING: 179 Kcals

Total Fat 3.7g (Saturated 0.6g) Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 44mg Total Carbohydrate 32.8g (Sugars 1.2g)
(Fibre 1.1g) Protein 3g Potassium 87mg

You can freeze the leftover rice and when I cook rice I ALWAYS cook for 4, that means that I have 3 portions in the freezer for when I don’t want to cook.

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  1. Wait until the rice is cold. Place approx. 150g (this is regarded as one portion) per bag. Take a little time and roll the rice like the front package and not like the rear, this will ensure ease of storage, and as you can see it takes up less space.
  2. It is also a good idea to write on a sticky label or directly onto the bag (with a marker pen) what flavour rice and the date of freezing as it is impossible to see which flavour rice it is once it is frozen.

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Hasselback Potatoes – Air Fried

Serves: 3 – – – – – – – – Prep Time: 10 minutes – – – – – – – – Baking Time: 2x 15 minutes

Hasselback is a cooking method in which potatoes or other items are sliced not-quite-all-the-way through in thin, even layers, which can be stuffed or topped with additional flavourings. It’s a way of creating more surface area for flavours and creating additional texture. As a technique, it’s nothing new.
They look good and makes a nice accompaniment or a lovely starter.
You don’t have to use 3 different potatoes, you can just use one type.
Hasselback-Potatoes

  • 1x (150-200g) White Potato
  • 1x (150-200g) Red Potato
  • 1x (150-200g) Sweet Potato
  • 3 tbsp melted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground Paprika
  • Salt and ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped Fresh Parsley
  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 180°C and set timer to 30 minutes.
  2. Slice each potato evenly across entire length making roughly ¾cm to ½cm slices, but make sure the knife only cuts through to the bottom ½cm, keeping the bottom of the potato intact. (Trick: use 2 chopsticks, one either side of the potato, to cut down on, thus making sure to cut evenly low).
  3. Combine butter, olive oil, garlic, and paprika in a small bowl. Brush some of the mixture over each potato and into the slits. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place potatoes in the air fryer basket and bake for 15 minutes open the Fryer (when prompted to turn), brush potatoes again with butter mixture, making sure to get it down into the fanned out slices. Continue baking until potatoes are cooked, another 15 minutes.
  5. Remove potatoes from the basket and brush with any remaining butter mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

PER SERVING: 317 Kcals

Total Fat 16.6g (Saturated 8g) Cholesterol 31mg
Sodium 165mg Total Carbohydrate 39.7g (Sugars 6g)
(Fibre 5g) Protein 4.4g Potassium 1007mg

Cheerful heart-warming Winter Salad

Serves: 2 Prep         Time: 5 minutes         Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Salad w Orange, Plum (3)

I love this salad it gives me a happy feeling both to look at and to eat. It is just delicious.

  • 90g Romaine salad, washed and chopped
  • 70g Orange or 2 small easy peelers, peeled and chopped
  • 50g Plums, washed, destoned and chopped
  • ½ tbsp Cherry Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 pinch Salt and Pepper

Salad w Orange, Plum (4)

  1. Wash and dry the salad and plum. Peal the orange.
  2. Cut each onto roughly 1cm pieces and place in a salad bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with oil and vinegar.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, as required.
  5. Toss, serve and enjoy.

PER SERVING: 92 Kcals

Total Fat 7.1g (Saturated 1g) Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 12mg Total Carbohydrate 7.6g (Sugars 5g)
(Fibre 1.1g) Protein 1g Potassium 170mg
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Easy Chicken Liver Pate

Makes 3 ramekins         Soaking time: 1 hour          Prep & Cooking Time: 10 minutes

I have made a couple of changes to my old recipe.
The two major ones are: a) soak the liver in milk, salt and water for about 1 hour to draw out most of the blood, which could make the livers bitter and
b) cover the ramekin dishes with melted butter/lard or a mix of.
I used Sherry & Brandy, and because I evaporated too much of the liquid I added another gass of sherry, and it was very nice.

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  • 300ml milk plus 1 heaped tbsp salt
  • 50g Goose Fat (or butter)
  • 400-450g Chicken Livers (trimmed)
  • 1 large Spring Onion (approx. 2cm) finely chopped
  • 1 large clove Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tsp Salt and Black Pepper (to your taste)
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves only or
    a couple of 2-3cm lengths of sprays
  • 75-100ml Red Wine (or Sherry or Chicken Stock)
  • 1-2 tbsp Brandy
  • 50-100g butter, melted (for the finishing touches)
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves (for decoration)
  • Some fresh Cranberries (for decoration)
  1. Remove the sinew from the chicken livers and halve the larger pieces. Place in a bowl with the salted milk and a little water, enough liquid to cover the chicken liver totally to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Place the thyme leaves or stalk pieces into a mortar. Add the salt and grind – the salt will help removing the thyme leaves from the stalks. Don’t overdo it. Then remove all the stalks and add the pepper.
  3. After 1 hour drain the liver from the milk. Rinse and dry the liver.
  4. I prefer to use a wok as the heat surface is smaller but the cooking is easier to deal with. Melt the fat in the wok (or a frying pan) over a medium heat; add the onion and the garlic; fry until softened, but not coloured.
  5. Add the herbs and fry for ½ minute
  6. Add the chicken livers and fry for 1-2 minutes to seal, constantly turning the livers so that they do not get brown.
  7. Now stir in all the liquid and let the live cook vigorously for 3-4 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated/boiled away.
  8. Place everything in the food processor or use a stick-blender and blend until smooth.
  9. Transfer the pâté into 3-4 serving ramekin or small dish flatten the top surface with a teaspoon. Spread the melted butter between the ramekin dishes. (This is to prevent the pâté from oxidising and discolouring).
  10. Set aside until cooled to room temperature then cover with cling film and place in fridge.

Decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf when serving.

The pâté can be frozen and will keep for up to 3 months.

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Nearly Ratatouille

Serves: 4-6         Prep Time: 10-20 minutes         Oven Time: 45 minutes

I didn’t have all the ingrediencies required for a ratatouille but I think my take of this dish suites most home cooks. Its not difficult and it gets rid of the small need to be used vegetables in your fridge.

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  • 1 portion lardoons
  • 1 Red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Shallot onion, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ Celeriac, coarsely chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 sweet red pepper, quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4-5 thin slices Ginger
  • 2 Courgettes quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4 Carrots, quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3-4 garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil, for blanching
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs to taste.
  • Optional – a little Saffron and or Sweet Paprika.

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Chop/prep all ingrediencies and keep in separate bowls.
  3. Add the oil to the big oven dish, and blanch the lardons, before they crisp up add the onions, chopped garlic, red pepper and ginger.
  4. After 3-5 minutes stir in the carrots, celeriac and leeks. Fry, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  5. Then pour in the wine and chopped tomatoes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sprays of thyme and maybe add some mixed herbs.
  7. Top the lot with the courgettes, gently turn the courgettes under the contents of the oven dish. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven. Check the taste, and add extra if needed. This is also where you add the saffron and paprika. Gently turn everything in the dish making sure its all covered in liquid and return to oven without the lid, for another 15 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Jerusalem Artichokes

I didn’t know anything about Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) until
a friend of mine gave me a bag (roughly 1.5kg) of his harvest. I was a little comprehensive because they looked weird and they had no give-away smell at all.

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It took me two days to get courage enough to start experimenting.

My first try, was just to boil them in saltwater – similar to potatoes – without peeling them.

I placed 10 medium sized roots in a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Added 1 tsp salt, and left them cooking for 15 minutes. I then removed the skin, simply by cutting length-wise and squeezing the flesh out. I was surprised of the flavour, I know I’ve tasted it before, but no idea where. It wasn’t an unpleasant taste.

I used a teaspoon to make small cakes on a frying pan with butter, and sprinkled mixed herbs, garlic & onion salt over them. That was very nice.

I then used the rest to make a mash, by adding a little milk and butter, plus pepper, nutmeg, onion and garlic salt. Mixed it thoroughly and reheated the mash, and that was quite a pleasant taste too.

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Croutons vs. Chips

I had ½ a stale white bread and because of our current circumstances with Covid-19, I didn’t just want to throw it away or feed it to the birds.

As I quite like to have a nipple when I watch TV, I decided to make some flavoured croutons.

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  • Left over bread
  • Some oil (olive or sunflower)
  • Salt and flavouring (onion salt, Garlic salt, mixed herbs …)
  • Cut 4 slices, and cut the slices into 1cm cubes.
  • Placed ½ of the cubes in a pre-heated wok,
  • Drizzle some sunflower oil, salt and onion salt over the lot.
  • Turn heat down to half, and turn the cubes at regular intervals until the croutons are browned but not burned.
  • For the second half replace onion-salt with another flavour.

And there you have it, croutons instead of chips to nipple.

Cooking and Prep. time max 10 minutes.

 

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Easy Fried/Stir-Fried Potatoes

This is a quick way to make fried potatoes from scratch, if you are in a hurry and don’t want to wait for your potatoes to be cooked.
This is a two-in-one recipe for fried potatoes.
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2-5 potatoes
1tsp olive oil
25-50g butter (depending on how many potatoes are used)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pan-Fry: Slice the potatoes into thin slices using a mandolin

Stir-Fry: Cut the potatoes into cubes using a mandolin.

  • While slicing/cutting bring a saucepan of water and a little salt to boil.
  • Add the sliced/cut potatoes to the boiling water and cook for about 2-3 minutes, drain and dry with a kitchen towel.

Pan-Fry:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan
  2. Add the potatoes and fry. Turn occasionally until potatoes are browned and slightly crunchy.
  3. If wanted you can also add some sliced onions to the frying pan.
  4. Serve as a Side-dish to your dinner or lunch, sprinkled with parsley and/or chives.

Stir-Fry:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a wok.
  2. Add the potatoes to the wok. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add whatever else is needed for the stir-fry.
  4. And serve.

I love real wheat pasta

A week or so ago, I cooked some pasta, for 9-10 minutes as prescribed. It was taste-less and still half cooked, not very nice. I thought it was because I wasn’t feeling too well, and filed the thought at the back of my brain that I don’t like pasta anymore.

Today; I really fancied some pasta but felt reluctant: “do I want to cook for 10 minutes – only to throw the result away?” Hmmm … That was the thought that went through my mind. Anyway, I did cook some pasta but I also notice that the pasta I had cooked last time was gluten free “FreeFrom” pasta. And that has just joined my rubbish bin. So now I have re-discovered that I love real wheat pasta. To accompany the pasta I had stir-fried pak choi, Vichy carrots and a lovely tender dry-fried Angus beef steak. Followed by strawberries and cream.