Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Rice and Peas Freddie Stylee: A Guest Post from Freddie Patmore

I am delighted to host one of my series of Guest Posts. This one is from a friend of mine, Freddie Patmore. Freddie is a woman of considerable talent. Warm and funny, she is awesome company. Her interests are wide, ranging from mathematics, food, film and craft. She is also one of the nation's leading authorities on knitting, the creative and artistic skill which is only recently getting the recognition it deserves. 

Freddie is the co-author of "Knit Step by Step" and "The Knitting Book", both published by Dorling Kindersley. The Knitting Book is considered something of a Bible to knitters and contains some of the clearest explanations of techniques available; all supported by superb diagrams and photographs. It's like having the wonderfully enthusiastic Freddie herself standing over your shoulder telling you 'Watch out! You're about to drop a stitch!'. 

Freddie works as a consultant at Rowan Yarns and can sometimes be found on the 4th floor of John Lewis Oxford Street. So lovely is she that if you have any questions or issues about your knitting, or even your crochet, she will take time, trouble and heart to help you. She is a rare and lovely person. And she is the brains behind 'Knitting Rocks'; a project to get younger people into this most relaxing and productive of creative crafts.

Freddie has been an enthusiastic cook for some time. She invents her own dishes and experiments with food all the time. But it was when she declared she had her own 'family recipe' for Rice and Peas that I had to ask her to help me by providing a guest post. Being the kind, sweet and amazing person she is, it was emailed to me within 12 hours of asking. 

If you are interested in Freddie's writing (published in her full name Frederica Patmore) then I would refer you to the following sites:

Oh, and before any cynics say 'well, she only provided the recipe so that Snigdha would post links to her books.' I say not a bit of it. I wanted to tell you about Freddie and her many talents, and decided to do so without telling her. Frankly, she would actually be jolly embarrassed that I've done so. (Sorry Freddie! Please forgive me! But you hide your light under a big woolly bushel, and it is high time it shone for the world to see!)

Anyway, this is something for Freddie and I to work out beyond the confines of the internet......

So I say, over to Freddie:

With icy conditions fast approaching, sometimes it's time to break out the big guns. Serious soul, comfort food, rice and peas. For me an excellent accompaniment to grilled spiced meats, curries, or great on it's own.

My relationship with food has always been a bit of a unique one I feel. With family members from Ireland and Guyana, you end up with quite a mixture! I boast my fishmonger uncle and my Dad who took cooking lessons in his late thirties to improve his cheffery proudly. For my 21st birthday I sent a notebook around the country to all my family members and asked everyone to contribute one recipe! Even my little sister, who at the time was 9, chipped in. I now go about adding to it every now and then. And this tweak on a classic has been in there for quite some time now!

This is a warming dish, relatively good for you, very filling, and dairy free for people like me who can't enjoy cows-milk! Creamy risottos and dauphionoises are a no-no, but this doesn't make a half bad substitute.

Rice and Peas Freddie Stylee! 
Serves 4, comfortably!

1 1/2 mugs long grain rice, washed the day before and dried out mostly
1/2 can kidney beans
Fistful of spring/salad onions, chopped
1/2 can low-fat coconut milk (make sure you shake it up before opening it!)
Dried Thyme
One small onion, finely chopped
2 hefty garlic cloves, crushed
Powdered Ginger
A chilli of some description
One bay leaf
Vegetable oil
Chicken Stock
Cumin/coriander/black onion/mustard seeds (optional) To taste.

Heat a generous splish oil in a large saucepan, add onion, crunchy spring onion pieces and spice seeds, if using, and fry gently until softened. Save the greener bits of the spring onions for later.

Add the rice, thyme, garlic and ginger and fry on a low heat, stirring regularly, for about 3 minutes, until the oil has coated the rice completely.

Add 1/2 chicken stock, 1/2 coconut milk fluid until the rice is covered over by about an inch. Chuck in a hefty pinch of salt. Don't be shy, these are big servings and you have lots of beans to season. Add the beans now, and a whole chilli, pierced, or some crushed up chillies. Just a sprinkle.

Simmer until rice is cooked and tender, stirring occasionally. Cover and remove from heat, leave to rest for about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in remaining spring onions and serve for a hearty, wholesome warming dish. Delish! 

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