Category Archives: Rambunctious Rice

Jewelled Pumpkin Rice

Jewelled Pumpkin Rice
Jewelled Pumpkin Rice

We were sorting through the freezer this weekend working out what was stored in there and doing a bit of a rationalisation. I saw a bag of raw Pumpkin that had been saved this years Halloween ‘Jack O Lantern’. and wondered what I could do with it, maybe a Spiced Pumpkin soup or something more exotic. Sam and Sam Clarke at Moro, a Southern Mediterranean restaurant in London’s East End had a recipe for Jewelled Pumpkin Rice in their Moro East Cookbook, which looked stunning and defiantly one to try. The muted golds and yellow with the warming middle eastern spices are evocative of holidays in the North African side of the Med.

Serves 4 – 6 Gluten Free*


  • 500g peeled and seeded Pumpkin, butternut, or other winter squash, cut into dice
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • big pinch of saffron (about 50 strands)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • cinnamon stick about 5 cms long
  • 4 allspice berries, crushed
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 15g dried barberrys (or currants)
  • 50g shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (freshly podded and ground if possible)
  • 300g basmati rice, soaked in tepid, salted water for 1 hour
  • 450ml vegetable/bouillon stock (use a Gluten Free stock for a Gluten Free recipe)


Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade/Gas 8. Toss the squash with half of the salt and the olive oil. Spread in a baking tray, and roast for 30 minutes. Mix the saffron with 3 tbsp boiling water, and add 25g of the butter. Set aside.

Heat the remaining butter in a medium pan with the cinnamon and allspice until it foams, then add the onion and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to colour. Add the barberries (or currants), pistachios, and cardamom, and cook for 10 minutes more, until the onion is golden and sweet.

Drain the rice and add it to the pan, stirring for a minute or two before pouring in the stock. Taste for seasoning, scatter with the roasted squash, cover with greaseproof paper and a tight-fitting lid, and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a final 5 minutes. Remove the lid and greaseproof paper, and drizzle with the buttery saffron water. Replace the lid and leave to rest, off the heat, for 5-10 minutes.


It can be served as a vegetarian main or as a spiced side dish to a Tagine.

*Gluten Free - Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list 
are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change 
their base ingredients frequently.


Spanish Style Chicken

Spanish Style Chicken
Spanish Style Chicken

I have a habit of picking up supermarket recipe index cards for any recipe that catches my eye, this is one from Waitrose back in August 2005.

Even though its over 7 years old the recipe is still as fashionable and current as ever. combination of orange juice and sherry gives this colourful dish a lovely delicate flavour


For the chicken

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (use a gluten free alternative like Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour, for a Gluten Free Version of the recipe)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 shallots , peeled and left whole
  • 180g sweet romano peppers , deseeded and cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (I have it on good advice that sherry vinegar is gluten free, but you should double check that your ingredient is)
  • 300ml medium dry sherry, like an Amontilliado
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 4 chicken breast fillets

For the saffron rice

  • ½ tsp saffron stems
  • 375g American long grain rice

Serves 4 – Gluten Free*


  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 of the oranges then juice both to produce about 175ml juice and set aside.
  2. Place the seasoned flour in a large, plastic food bag, add the chicken and shake to coat lightly.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan with a lid.
  4. Add the chicken fillets and saute for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  5. Add the shallots and pepper strips, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  6. Pour in the vinegar and cook for 1 minute, then add the remaining ingredients, including the orange zest and juice.
  7. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
  9. Meanwhile, place the saffron in a small bowl and soak with 2 tablespoons of boiling water.
  10. Place the rice in a medium pan and pour over 750ml boiling water.
  11. Add the saffron liquid and simmer for 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Serve the chicken and rice with steamed fine green beans and a glass of chilled Rioja Blanco

*Gluten Free - Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently.

Broad Bean and Prawn Risotto

Broad Bean Risotto
Broad Bean Risotto

This is a great summer supper dish, and goes well with a glass of an ice cold white wine or a glass of something bubbly. A smaller portion makes a sophisticated starter, too.
I also enjoy this on a cold winters night as it invokes those feeling of a warm summers evening with an al fresco supper out on the deck, watching the swifts and swallows darting round the sky catching insects. If I make this out of season, I use frozen baby broad beans rather than fresh, like peas they freeze exceptionally well.

When using broad beans, either fresh or frozen remember to remove the bean from that silvery casing, leaving the fresh button of resplendent green. The bean case will become tough when it’s cooked and spoil the meal

Serves 4 – Gluten Free


  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
  • 300g Arborio rice or other Italian risotto rice
  • 150ml oz dry white wine
  • 1.5l hot chicken stock
  • 250g fresh broad beans, double podded if fresh, single podded when frozen
  • 150g small prawns, peeled
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chervil leaves
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • 30g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat until foaming, then fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the risotto rice and stir well to coat in the butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice grains begin to turn translucent.
  3. Add the wine and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add a ladleful of the chicken stock to the pan and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed, then add another ladleful of the stock.
  5. Repeat the process until the rice is cooked but still al dente (you may not need all of the stock).
  6. Add the prawns in the 6-7 minutes of cooking and the the broad beans during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
  7. Then stir in almost all of the chopped chervil, (leaving some for the garnish) the mascarpone and Parmesan.
  8. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serve, garnished with the rest of the chervil and a few Parmesan shavings with a couple of slices of a good artisan bread or make some Irish Soda Bread.




Chicken with Rice (Paella)

Chicken with rice and peppers
Chicken with rice and peppers

This is a simple version of a paella, which I originally cooked for an informal dinner party which included someone who didn’t like seafood. Some prawns and mussels can be added to give you a more authentic Spanish paella but this simple recipe is tasty as it is and it’s become a family favourite.

Serves 4


  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbls Olive Oil
  • 150g Chorizo, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 yellow pepper (Bell Pepper, for our American readers) thinly sliced.
  • 225g of Paella rice
  • Pinch of Saffron strands, in a couple teaspoons of boiling water (this helps to release the flavour, allowing it to mix with the rice).
  • 6 tbsp White Wine
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 600ml hot Chicken Stock


  1. Divide each breast into 4 pieces
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy based pan
  3. Quickly fry the Chorizo slices, this releases their deep paprika flavour into the oil, pop on a plate after a few seconds of sizzling.
  4. Brown the chicken breasts in the oil and lift with a slotted spoon and pop on the plate.
  5. Fry onion for 5 mins until translucent
  6. Add the garlic and rice and fry for 3 mins. Add the saffron and water and stir through.
  7. Add the wine to rice and stir until it’s absorbed.
  8. Put the chicken back into the pan with the rice and add the pepper slices.
  9. Season and add stock.
  10. Bring back to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add more water if required.
  11. Add the peas and chorizo and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

Garnish with some lemon slices, serve and enjoy…….