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This was my first attempt at making tomato pilaf. Not really sure what a pilaf is, but it was tasty and a bit like a risotto. I’d seen the recipe in Jojo Tulloh’s Freshly Picked and it sounded so simple and potentially tasty.
We used brown rice instead of white so it took longer to cook, but by far the most enjoyable part of making this was skinning the tomatoes – it’s just such a mucky job but deeply fun. This is fantastic comfort food and requires excellent tomatoes.
Feeds 4 (but we found it only fed 2!)
1 small onion, finely chopped
200g long-grain rice
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp salt
450g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped
knob of butter
small bunch of basil
Warm about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized pan and gently fry the onion until it is soft. Stir in the rice and cook for about a minute.
Pour over 500ml of just-boiled water (I used the water I’d used to loosen the tomato skins) along with the salt. Bring to a simmer and cover and leave to cook – the recipe says for about 10 minutes but our rice (which was brown) took a lot longer.
When the rice is almost cooked, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and tomatoes. Fry over a high heat until the tomato is almost a sauce, but still with some chunks.
Stir the tomatoes into the rice, along with torn up basil leaves and a generous knob of butter. Season with ground black pepper and eat right away.
Taken and adapted slightly from Jojo Tulloh’s ‘Freshly Picked’.
Now this is how I like my meat – slow cooked, full of moisture and soft enough you can pull it apart with a fork. But up until now we haven’t really cooked meat like this, but after spotting a rather good-looking piece of pork belly at Davenports Farm Shop this was the moment.
We followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Pork Belly Roast and it didn’t let us down – not that any Jamie recipe ever has, I don’t think. On top there was a layer of golden, crispy crackling, and beneath the meat was flavourful and soft.
We ate it drenched in gravy, with a pile of fluffy and super buttery mashed potato, and peas and broad beans. De-lish! Definitely one to make for friends.
Last week we had incredible fish and chips from a place in Didsbury called Frankie’s Fish Bar, but it left me feeling guilty that all I’d eaten for dinner was deep-fried fish and potatoes.
So I was determined the following night to fill us full of vegetables, and this is what I came up with…
All the vegetables were English, although not grown by me. There were new potatoes, boiled and tossed in lots of salty butter and black better. Pink and white radishes sliced in half, asparagus spears and baby carrots blanched and sliced.
Broad beans and fresh peas shelled and briefly cooked in simmering water. Lots of seasonal salad leaves, crispy bacon shards, and those gorgeous nasturtium flowers (bought from Waitrose, so delighted they’re selling edible flowers).
Not a lot of complicated stuff, just a lot of shelling broad beans and slicing. But really delicious – I want to eat more of this sort of food over the summer.
This is what our allotment looked like last week when we went to see it…
It was heart-wrenching to see it so overgrown with weeds, especially when we put in so much effort over the winter to de-weed it and feed it with lots of manure.
So we pulled a lot of the easier weeds out and strimmed the rest – leaving it looking slightly but not a lot better by the time we left…
At least the potatoes and courgette/squash plants are doing well – and some gorgeous poppies have sprung up, which you can see we left.
Tonight we had to make something quick as Mr Rigg was heading out for a bike ride with Buddy. So I made our favourite scrambled eggs on delicious Campanou bread (a French country style loaf) from Barbakan.
I boiled some asparagus, fried mushrooms in butter and added some pretty pink thyme flowers, before lightly frying the asparagus in the mushroom pan to give it a bit of glisten! All on top of the scrambled eggs and soft bread it was lovely.
Last weekend we celebrated the fine weather with our first barbeque of the season (hopefully not the last!). We had tiny buffalo koftas from Laverstoke Park Farm, asparagus, new potatoes baked in the embers, and homemade flatbreads.
This was a new adventure for us – attempting to make our own flatbreads - and I was desperately worried they would go all crispy, and not soft and doughy like I was hoping. If there was anyone I was going to put my trust in, it was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
I am so happy to be back in my little blog home – it has been far too long and I have missed sharing my food adventures.
Since getting engaged back in September 2009, we have been steadily planning and preparing for our wedding. As the date drew nearer – 21st May 2011 – I have just had little time to do much else (whilst juggling it along with my job and my website).
Here’s a picture of some of the cakes our family and friends made for our wedding – the big white one in the middle so beautiful decorated was made by my Granny!
To save me rambling on for too long, I’m going to do some bullets of what’s been going on in our lives for the past few months I’ve been missing from here, and then aim to follow with a nice post and recipe for a fab barbecue we had over the weekend:
- Most importantly – we got married! On 21st May 2011, I married Mr Rigg in my home village in Gloucestershire – we had a beautiful, rustic country wedding, with a party in my parent’s garden, lots of local cider and perry, AMAZING food (lots of it local) and just an all round fab day. If you’re at all interested, photos and details will follow on my website.
- We honeymooned in an incredible Canopy & Star’s hideaway for a week and took Buddy with us (more details and hopefully a couple of foodie posts on this to follow).
- Sadly, Mr Rigg’s lovely Granny who was always so interested in what we were doing passed away.
- After spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort getting our allotment covered in manure and getting rid of all the weeds over the winter…we have neglected it and it is now overrun with weeds – we are totally and utterly the worst looking allotment – gutted.
- Although we haven’t got a lot growing (and the radishes all matured as we headed south for our wedding), we have got a couple of healthy pea plants, some small beetroot seedlings, potatoes growing (only just!) and quite a few courgette, squash and pumpkin plants.
I am just so happy to ‘be back’ and can’t wait to get growing and cooking some decent food – and to share it all! I’ll leave you with a picture of my overgrown garden…