FRAGRANT RICE WITH SAUSAGE, EGG AND CRISPY ONIONS
This is an easy beginners recipe and ideal for student food. It is a one pot meal to satisfy even the hungriest of students, or anyone else for that matter. The quantities given will feed about eight hungry people, but can be scaled down quite easily. Follow the rice cooking guideline below, for quantities.
You will need a heavy bottomed saucepan (so the rice doesn’t stick) and it is worth seeking out the crispy shallots (in tubs in the supermarket) as they add extra flavour and texture. We used Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice which is available in all the supermarkets, and used an absorbtion method of cooking to obtain a subtly fragrant taste and slightly sticky texture. Vegetarians can enjoy this meal too, by serving themselves some rice, before the sausages are added, and possibly adding some more veg. It is a great fusion of flavours, matching eastern influences of fragrant rice, soy and coriander with the very British bangers and eggs.
- 2 x 250g packet of cocktail sausages (use as best quality as you can. we used Sainsburys, Ultimate Outdoor bred, Taste the difference)
- 1 x 480g packet frozen garden peas
- 2 cups Tilda Fragrant Jasmine Rice
- 2 x large free range eggs
- 1 x 100g tub crispy onions
- 1 x 31g packet coriander, roughly chopped
- soy sauce, to taste
- Heat the oven to 180’C.
- Cut up the sausages and place in a roasting pan. Cook for approx 25 minutes, until well browned.
- About 15 minutes before the sausages are due to be ready, start the rice.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the peas for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and refresh under cold running water.
- Place the rice and water into the pan and put onto a low heat. We used 2 cups of dry rice to four cups of water. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Lift the lid and crack the two eggs on top of the rice.
- Replace the lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
- At this point you can add the sausages, the peas, and a splash of soy sauce and give a good stir with a fork.
- Add the crispy onions, another splash of soy and the chopped coriander.
- Spoon into bowls and enjoy
NOTES: HOW TO COOK JASMINE RICE
The method we used is where the rice is cooked with a measured amount of water in a covered pan. The rice absorbs the water completely and is not drained. Place 250g/300ml (for 4 servings) of rice in a medium pan. Measure in cold water (1 measure dry rice : 2 measures water). The water to rice ratio can be altered to obtain the required rice texture. Bring to the boil, stir then cover and turn the heat to ‘low’. This will take 10 minutes and try to resist lifting the lid to peek. At the end of the cooking time, remove the pan from the heat, still covered, and stand for 5 minutes. The surface of the rice will have small holes in it, this is quite normal and it should be fluffed with a fork before serving.
This can also be enjoyed with a drizzle of chilli oil or some peri peri sauce
Serves approx 6-8
Cost approx £11
I’ve never liked booking restaurants weeks ahead, and appreciate good food in informal surroundings. Recently we were looking for somewhere dog friendly to go and drink a glass of bubbly to celebrate our elder son’s last day at college. We plumped for The Fox and Grapes; nestled in a corner of Wimbledon Common, on the edge of a golf course it used to be very much a local dog walkers muddy wellies pub. Now it has been transformed into a lovely space, attractive with calm Farrow and Ball colours and well placed seating. When we arrived it was early evening and there were quite a few families with young children enjoying a meal. This could be because they serve a daily early bird special which seems good value. No one looked shocked or surprised when the three of us entered with the dog in tow and we were quickly found a table. Once settled we were immediately served with a bottle of Billecart Salmon, NV @ £55 and a pint of beer. Dog sat quietly under the table while we enjoyed the food. I couldn’t resist the wild garlic soup, as my hunt for wild garlic had proved fruitless. This was served with anchovy fritters, which I was keen to try. Although it was a nice dish the fritters didn’t quite hit the tangy saltiness I had hoped for. Husband’s dish of pickled mackerel was very pretty and hit the spot. We are meant to be watching our weight, so I opted for another starter; razor clams with chorizo. This came with fresh peas and a frothy sauce. Not only was it very good but quite plentiful. My husband was very pleased with his main of pan fried John Dory with beetroot which was perfectly cooked and very tasty. As father and son chatted away about the joys of American wrestling, the dog and I had a perfect excuse to slip away for a turn on the common. Luckily it was a rare sunny evening and at 9pm it was light with plenty of people around. This included the usual gaggle of teenagers, some keen runners, and a couple of youngsters practising their golf. Chester, the dog, and I met up with a friendly young couple with a lively young Hungarian Ridgeback. Whilst the dogs played, we chatted and I urged them to visit the Fox and Grapes. It is the kind of place you can pop into for a drink, and they have some interesting bar snacks, such as the wild boar scotch egg which we saw being devoured on the next table. We went midweek, so if you are coming from far away it would probably be advisable to book.
All in all, it was a perfect evening with lovely food, very helpful and friendly service and a relaxed time with No 1 son. We felt so welcomed that we will be back, perhaps not on a diet, so we can sample more of the food and wine list….
We made these for a vintage tea party recently. All the mini cakes and tiny sandwiches were greeted with enthusiasm, as was the tea served from old fashioned fine china teapots. However the stars of the show were undoubtedly these lovely little cakes.
This is a fun recipe to try and don’t be afraid of using a whole bottle of red food colouring. I used Silver Spoon red colouring, which I got in Sainsbury’s and it worked perfectly. You may find it strange adding vinegar to the mix, but mixing it with the bicarb is supposed to make the texture light and fluffy. Don’t panic if you don’t have any vinegar in the house, you can just add the bicarbonate of soda along with the flour. The batter should be a deep red as in the photo below.
Makes 14-16 x 35mm size cup cake cases
- 60g softened salted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 15g cocoa powder
- 38ml red food colouring (bottle)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 130ml buttermilk
- 150g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
For the Icing:
- 300g icing sugar
- 50g salted butter
- 125g cream cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 °C or 350 °F
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the beaten egg.
- Mix the cocoa powder, colouring and vanilla together to form a paste then add to the creamed mixture.
- Sift the flour and add to the mixture along with the buttermilk. Whizz until well mixed.
- Mix the the soda and vinegar so they start to fizz. Add to the red mixture and whizz again until again until everything is fully mixed together. It is a thick and gloopy consistency.
- Spoon the mixture carefully into cake cases up to a third the way up then bake bake for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before icing.
For the Icing
Mixing all the ingredients together for several minutes until light and fluffy, but firm enough to be able to pipe onto to the cakes. Use a disposable piping bag with a medium size star nozzle. Decorate with red edible glitter or chocolate strands.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SUGAR SNAP PEA THAI RED CURRY
Here is a fabulously tasty and very easy pot of deliciousness to share with a group of friends. This quantity will serve eight and can be eaten in a bowl on it’s own, as a side dish or with some steamed rice. This is a vibrant, healthy and inexpensive meal.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 bag sugar snap peas
- 2 Tbs sunflower oil
- half to one x 175g jar Thai red curry paste – you can get this in Sainsbury’s or an Asian store for more authentic version.*
- 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
- 1 Tbs fish sauce (optional)
- large pinch of sugar
- small bunch mint, roughly chopped
- small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
- Turn the oven to 180’C.
- Peel the butternut squash and cut off the top and bottom. Lay the squash on it’s side and carefully cut in two along it’s length.
- Scoop out the seeds inside, and cut the remaining squash into nice large chunks (around 2 inches square)
- Place the chunks into a roasting pan and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast turning occasionally for 35-40 minutes. They are done when a knife slides easily into them and they look slightly caramelised.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the sugar snap peas. Return to the boil and cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and drain. Refresh under cold running water until they have become cool and put to one side.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Add the jar of curry paste (depending on brand) If it is a Thai brand it is likely to be hotter than a supermarket brand so proceed with caution, adding only two tablespoons to begin with.
- Turn the heat off and add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and a pinch of sugar.
- When the squash is cooked, add to the coconut milk mixture and add the sugar snap peas. Taste for seasoning and add a little more sugar, or salt if needed.
- Finally add in the chopped herbs and serve.
* I made this with one jar of the Thai red curry paste for my family and they thought it was a bit too hot. I would therefore recommend trying it first with half to two thirds of a jar.<
Serves approx 6
Cost approx £9
Note: The fish sauce can be omitted but will loose some depth of flavour. If you are leaving this out, then add a pinch of sea salt instead. But taste first before adding any extra salt as there will be some on the squash from the roasting.