Quick Chilli and Brown Rice

Quick Chilli and Brown Rice

It seems like forever since I posted on sifty. I have been eating – honest – I just haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to photograph and blog. It gets very cold on a boat this time of year – it kind of discourages you from doing anything!

Our fortnightly visit to Freya’s parents offered up two surprises:

  • a new cookbook (for Freya really – as it was her birthday)
  • a flick through a load of magazine supplements

This weekend’s Daily Mail supplement (which I would never advocate reading) had an interesting article about Ella Woodward and her ‘soon to be released’ cookery book ‘Deliciously Ella’. At the back of the magazine were some very healthy recipes that caught my eye – so I snagged the magazine and made the chilli and brown rice last night.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find black beans in my local supermarket so I swapped them for Fava beans. As the recipe suggests you can knock this up in 10-15 minutes. Its so basic. But it was just what you need when it is -1 outside and you need something warm quickly!

To make this you do nothing more than add grated carrot, garlic, kidney beans, black beans (fava beans in my case), passatta, tomato paste and a jalapeño pepper to a saucepan and heat through for 10 minutes. That’s it – nothing more.

For me it was a bit too tomatoey – Freya loved it. It made plenty. There’s tonnes left for lunch today and it cost next to nothing to make.

I’ll make this again when I am short on time – and I’ll make it with the correct ingredients next time.

Buffalo Mozzarella with Peperonata and Rosemary Ciabatta Croutons


Now here’s a yummy salad. 

Also taken from ‘Friends Round the Table’ by Acland Geddes and Pedro da Silva, this was pulled from the Times Eat supplement.

The peperonata takes some time to make so it you think this salad is going to be ready in 20 minutes, it isn’t. I think it took me nearly 45 minutes to make this. That said it was worth it. The peppers were nice and sweet and went really well with the rosemary ciabatta (not in the photo). 

Peperonata is basically julienned peppers, diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. This one also had capers. 

Once the peperonata is ready you let it cool and serve it on a bed of rocket with some basil and torn mozzarella. The addition of toasted pinenuts and a drizzle of olive oil really finished it off well.

We had a bit of a nightmare with the ciabatta. Not only did Ocado substitute the ciabatta for a rustic artisan stick, turns out that it wasn’t even in the delivery so we had no bread at all ! We stole some stale bread from Freya’s parents while they were away – and revived it in the halogen oven. It kind of worked but it was a bit crunchy.

This was a perfect light meal – and I’ll certainly be making it again.


Crunchy Fennel Salad with Pomegranate, Mango and Walnuts


Another ‘no-cook’ recipe – unless you count toasting some walnuts for a few minutes, this salad is very nice indeed – very refreshing and pretty simple to make.

One thing that always puts me off salads with mango is I am rubbish at breaking down a mango. I always make a mess and end up gnawing on the stone like a dog with a bone – just because I don’t like wasting any of it. Mangoes are a very inconsiderate fruit. I mean why put such a large stone in a fruit that big. Once you’ve removed all the flesh, julienning it seems to be just one step too far. Although on this occasion I seem to have done quite a good job.

Pomegranates are another one of those fruits that makes you just want to buy a pot of the seeds. That said the seeds are never as juicy as buying a fresh pomegranate, cutting it in half and whacking the back of it with a heavy spoon (or my preference the pestle from my glass pestle and mortar). All I’d say is whack them into a separate bowl rather than over the fennel like I did – as the juice splashes everywhere and makes the fennel look like it took part in a horror movie.

That’s as hard as the prep gets though. Just add the mango and pomegranate to some sliced fennel, sliced red onion, red chilli and the toasted walnuts. Toss it all together with some lime juice, coriander and lemon thyme. 

This is a wonderful salad and can be found in ‘Friends Around the Table’ by Acland Geddes and Pedro da Silva. This was again taken from a pullout from the Times Eat Magazine.


Orange Salad with Dates, Chillies and Preserved Lemons


This dish had potential but it failed for one simple reason. You need sweet ripe oranges. Mine weren’t sweet enough. They were actually pretty bland as oranges go.

I’ll probably give it another go as the concept was good. Sliced oranges, sliced dates, sliced preserved lemons and a red chilli – it should have worked. But I think the addition of orange blossom water made it a little bit too floral – and with the oranges not being sweet Freya felt it was a bit ‘soapy’!

This did take next to no time to make. Just slice up all the ingredients and serve it. 

The recipe came from ‘Flavours of the Middle East’ by Ghillie Basan. I don’t own the book – I’ve got way too many already. This book was featured in ‘Eat’ – The Times Magazine recipe section.