After having decided that I was going to quit meat-eating, I went on a bit of a mad shopping spree almost as soon as I had the chance. I had cooked some awesome veggie food with the week or so before, using recipes from Hot Damn and Hell Yeah: The Dirty South, a little cookbook that I got from the London Anarchist book fair a couple of years ago. We made some amazing seitan “fried chicken”, with rice and kidney beans, and it was all kinds of awesome. Seriously. He even posted on tumblr about it. And every time I see the photos we took of it I crave that seitan fried chicken again. I was introduced to seitan over the summer by a veggie friend I visited in Philadelphia. She took us to this amazing Mexican vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the city, and I had a seitan chicken burrito and it BLEW. MY. MIND. I had no idea what seitan was, and was amused to see a dish called chicken on the menu that was then labelled vegan too. I nearly did backflips when I came home and saw seitan in the Whole Foods store near to my house, and that seitan had been sitting in my cupboard for about 6 months before the Boy and I managed to use it that evening. But the thing that our little cooking session got me on to really, was rice.
I love rice. Like, really love it. I’ve got a bit of a thing about it really. When my friend and I were travelling in America over the summer, a woman we stayed with whilst WWOOFing in Amherst Ma, cooked a lot of short grain rice and brown rice, which I loved. Thing is, I’ve never properly learned how to cook rice. No word of a lie, honestly, I’ve always survived on 2 minute microwave rice previously, and managed to get by. But I went to Whole Foods and did my mad shop, thinking that if I was going to be vegetarian, then I was going to at least start in style, with amazing vegetables, and (really bloody expensive) organic produce. And in the process of that shop I got myself some short grain brown rice.
Come saturday evening the Boy was playing with his band in another city, and no one was home, so I decided to play with my food a little. I had been reading through the Stone Soup cookery blog, and got inspired, and more than a little hungry. I went to the kitchen, and did that little theatrical padding around thing, looking in the fridge and the pantry, and having a think, and eventually chucked together this weird little, lovely little recipe-ish thing. Apologies for the lack of ingredient measurements. I did it all by eye or vague cup measures, so I’ll do my best to remember how I did it properly!
- short grain brown rice (I used around 2 cups)
- 2 spring onions (scallions/green onions) sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic sliced
- handful of broad beans, shelled
- handful of cherry tomatoes chopped in half
- goats cheese
So what I did, was stick the rice in a pan, and got it cooking well before the rest of the stuff. I put enough water in the pan to cover the rice by about an inch, and just left it to cook with the lid on for around half and hour/ 40 minutes. I know that’s pretty vague, but it seemed to work. Obviously check it from time to time, and pay attention if the steam starts the lid rattling or something. I’m a bit of a messy, interfering cook, so I did a lot of mucking around, stirring it and splashing water around.
I’d say around 10 minutes before the rice is going to be finished, start gently frying the garlic in a bit of oil, and when that starts to smell amazing, add in the spring onions, and the broad beans and fry for a good 5 minutes. At the last-minute add in the tomatoes, and stir it all around till the rice is done. I served it up in layers (bit of rice, bit of veggies, bit of rice, top it off with veggies) so it was easier to mix it all up. Then right at the last-minute, I crumbled up some lovely big chunks of goats cheese, and stirred them through so they started to melt. I was probably overly generous with the goats cheese to be considered healthy….BUT IT TASTED SO GOOD, OH MY GAWD!
And this is what it looked like…forgive the iphone photo!
When the Boy came over to make some food later in the week, we did something similar, only without tomatoes or cheese, and with refried beans on the side and it was freakin’ delicious. I love that this kind of thing can just be chucked together with whatever’s in the fridge. And meat-eaters could easily add in some meat or fish of their own choice.