posting daily on Facebook and Instagram. A friend asked me to post daily dishes for inspiration and ideas for meals during these strange isolated times. It’s only week one, I wonder how long it will be before I have to repeat myself. There have been lots of vegetable dishes. I made a cross between a pilaf and a risotto by chopping an onion small and cooking it in a little olive oil. I add chopped Swiss brown mushrooms, and when they were just browning, I added some Basmati rice which I had rinsed in cold water a few times. The rice was stirred to incorporate the mushrooms and onion (pictured at that point) then I added twice the volume of boiling water. Had there been chicken stock, I would have used that.
Lid on, low heat, for about 12 minutes. Check it, if it’s not quite ready, put the lid back on. It’s unlikely that more liquid will be needed.
Quantities? Variable. As many mushrooms as you like, and the only measurement is that there is twice the volume of water. If you have a heavy lidded casserole, the rice could as easily be cooked in the oven, but will take longer.
We ate it with marinated oven-grilled chicken. Chicken and rice are a great combination, one that could almost a book on its own. From China, through most Asian countries, Pakistan and India, through all the Middle-Eastern countries, Turkey, Spain. So many countries have a range of chicken-and-rice dishes.
The leftover rice was its own treat. I used it to stuff tomatoes, one of the dishes that crops up through France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, the Balkan countries. Add fresh herbs to the rice, or a little leftover meat. Or perhaps some ham or chorizo. Use the biggest tomato you can. Cut the tops off and use a grapefruit knife or spoon to scoop out the flesh of the tomato. Fill with the rice mixture and bake for about 30-40 minutes at moderate heat. The tomatoes should be hot, but not falling apart.
Other dishes: pumpkin and chickpeas from Claudia Roden’s Tamarind and Saffon; baked beetroot salad with Meredith goat’s cheese; lazy cook’s salad of tinned borlotti beans, tinned tuna, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, anchovies and fresh herbs.