Archive for March, 2007

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Oli Rice’s Coq au Vin

March 31, 2007

Getting together with the Rice brothers is never boring. This particular evening revolved around wedding talk, Zoolander, Elton John and and a very tasty Coq au Vin, courtesy of Oli Rice, who has also inherited the cookery gene.

I don’t have the recipe for this one, it’s still in Oli’s head. Not only did he cook a fine dinner, but he achieved this under a bit of pressure. I’m suprised he could concentrate on the cooking this evening, or any other evening. Overlooking the oven is a ginormous portrait of Oli’s nemesis – a tiny Chihauhua named Louis, with whom Oli shares the house and a constant struggle for territory and superiority. He stares down from the wall like an old portrait of an ancient patriarch. His eyes follow you round the room and it’s easy to imagine him jumping out of the photo and devouring you if you make a wrong move.

Despite this distraction, Ollie cooked the chicken to perfection. It fell off the bone, soaked in the rich red wine, which also gave the button mushrooms an appealing tang and depth that made them edible, even to me.

©2007 Katheryn Rice

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Mr Rice’s best ever Bolognaise

March 29, 2007

I can’t believe how delicious this was. When Mr Rice cooks one of his signature dishes he likes to remind me that his dad was a chef at the Savoy for a while – obviously this is a way of reiterating that his cooking ability is just one of the many riches of the Rice inheritance. And I have to say pretty much everything he makes lives up to this bold claim. This Spaghetti Bolognaise was definitely, honestly the best I have eaten. In fact just thinking about it again now is almost too much to bear now that it is all gone.

spaghetti

Of course the precious chef never likes to give away all his secrets, so Mr Rice has given me a summary of the ingredients and method. It is up to you to use them as you see fit to make your own version of this stonkingly delicious meal.

Recipe for Mr Rice’s best ever Bolognaise
Beef mince
Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Smoked bacon
Tinned plum tomatoes
Red wine
Brown, organic spaghetti
Parmesan cheese
Cheddar cheese

Fry the onions and garlic. When soft and translucent, add the mince and chopped bacon and cook until the mince is browned. Then finely grate the carrot into the mixture, cook for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, breaking them down as you stir the mixture. Use less tomato than you think you should – this is the key to the dish. Then add a slug of red wine to your taste. Cook on a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and rich.

Serve with the spaghetti and top with the finely grated parmesan and cheddar.

©2007 Katheryn Rice

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Scrumpy and Sausage Casserole with Potato, Parsnip and Pear Mash

March 27, 2007

Before my last minute trip to St Kitts my friend Hannah asked me to hand over the tickets for a forthcoming play. According to Hannah, the booking was while I was away. I pooh-poohed her suggestion, reassurring her that it was on the day after I was home. Imagine my embarassment when I got back and checked the booking – our tickets were for the date Hannah had said – we’d missed the play. I learnt my lesson, but had to try to redeem myself, so I made this hearty casserole, and hosted a ladies’ night in instead. Not the same as Pinter at the Tricycle, but sausages and gossip are always good for the soul.

Scrumpy Sausage Casserole

Recipe for Scrumpy and sausage casserole with potato, parsnip and pear mash
8 high quality sausages
440ml Premium Scrumpy Cider (1 small can)
4 medium potatoes
4 pears
3 sticks celery
1 large leek
2 onions
15ml/1 tblsp wholemeal plain flour
salt and freshly ground pepper

Fry the sausages for 5 minutes, until they are browned, then put them into a casserole dish. Then fry the chopped vegetables: celery, onions, leek 2 of the potatoes for 5 minutes, until they are soft. Slowly sieve in the flour and stir it into the vegetables until it is all blended in, then cook it for one more minute. Add the cider bit by bit, add 2 of the chopped pears and cook for 5 minutes. Then pour the whole mixture over the sausages, cover and cook at 190 for 50 minutes.

Peel and slice the parsnips, remaining potatoes and pears, and cook the parsnips and pears in boiling water for 10 minutes, then add the pears for another 5 minutes. When everything is soft, drain the water, add a dollop of butter and creme fraiche and mash it up. Serve the sausages on top of the mash.

Serves 4.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Back in time to Ottley’s Plantation Inn, St Kitts

March 24, 2007

On my last day on St Kitts we hired a car and did a mini tour of the whole island. Our first stop was the Brimstone Hill Fortress on the Atlantic side, where the English used to hide behind walls and fire guns and cannons at the French, when they weren’t killing the indigenous Amerindians or making money out of the Africans they kidnapped. It put things into perspective – put simply, the slave trade helped fund the industrial revolution. Where would we be now if that had not happened? Making that link was quite a disturbing realisation, and one I am sure I should have had before.

Fitting, then, that our next stop was Ottley’s Plantation:

 Ottley's Plantation Inn

It’s an idyllic setting. The colonial house overlooks a pristine lawn, with the brooding mountains in the distance, surrounded by vast fields of sugar cane. But imagine the scene in the 17th century – not so idyllic for most of the residents.

The restaurant had a quiet air of decadence and tranquility, with white western diners ranging from amiable, boisterous Scots, to polite English visitors to snooty Americans. The staff were kind and considerate and generously squeezed us in for a late lunch at 2.59pm. The food was flawless. My Coconut Crusted Island Chicken with fried plantain was perfect in every way. Sweetness has emerged as a recurring theme on She likes Her Food, and is one of the reasons this meal really hit the spot. The crunchy, coconut crust was drizzled with soy and honey sauce, and with the fried plantain every mouthful was heavenly.

Coconut Crusted Island Chicken

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Seafood at the Monkey Bar, St Kitts

March 22, 2007

Like all the bars in Frigate Bay, it’s got a pretty cool name. The Monkey Bar has also got a reputation as one of the best bars on the strip. It was pretty quiet when we were in there. The bar was well stocked, but our cocktails took twenty minutes! The poor waiter looked like he would rather be anywhere else but there, but he did manage to come over every ten minutes to update us on the status of our cocktails (‘they’re coming soon’). Of course it’s the Caribbean, and it’s all so chilled out man, and maybe that took a bit of getting used to at times.

The food wasn’t sophisticated. It was seafood and salad, but that’s what we were there for. Mr Rice had read about the Monkey Bar’s Shrimp cocktail, so we had to go there. The presentation was lavish, the shrimps were meaty and the sauce was sharp and pungent.

My main course was the Lobster special. Half a lobster, some of the aforementioned shrimps and some salad. What can I say? It was harmless seafood: sweet lobster, grilled shrimps, salad and the ubiqitous rice and peas.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Frozen Pina Coladas at Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack, St Kitts

March 19, 2007

The name alone should entice you into this lively restaurant and bar in Frigate Bay, St Kitts. Mr Rice is watching the Cricket World Cup with his camera, and he insisted that I join him. And big thanks to my boss, who let me off work at a week’s notice – thanks Louise!

St Kitts is really so beautiful, mountainy and hot. The beaches are sandy, the sea is blue and it is laid back, man! On my first day here our hangovers allowed us to amble down the road from the Sugar Bay Club just after midday for a refreshing drink and a filling brunch. Ok, so it’s not fresh Mango Daiquiries at the Oberoi, but a frozen cocktail really hits the spot when you are hungover and hot. Then fill up with some jerk chicken or spare ribs and look at Caribbean Sea as the Pina Colada kicks in. Finish with a frozen Mango Daiquiri and soak up the atmosphere.

Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack comes to life at night, with reggae to blast your ear drums, lots of people partying and lashings of tasty rum. In the evening all the meals come with rice and corn, and you can push the boat out with a very reasonably priced lobster.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Spiced Beef Moussaka

March 15, 2007

My Dad used to make Moussaka for us when our Mum was away, and I remember really liking the mince and cheese sauce, with golden, melted cheese on top. 

Making this particular Moussaka was an epic, but it was definitely worth it – it was one of the tastiest meals I have made for ages. I chose beef because I prefer it to lamb, but it would work with lamb too. The beauty of this dish is the effect of the sweet spices on the mince. Mince is not normally spiced – we’re used to it with tomato or gravy. Sweet, cinnamon and nutmeg flavours really lighten the mince and bring it to life, and the small amount of tomato stands alone rather than dominating the sauce. Combined this with the soft aubergines and creamy, cheesy sauce, and it’s the perfect, most delicious meal you can eat.

Recipe for Spiced Beef Moussaka
4 aubergines
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
450g/1 lb lean minced beef
3 plum tomatoes, diced
pinch of cinnamon powder
pinch of cumin powder
1 glass of red wine
150ml/5fl oz chicken stock
200ml/7fl oz white sauce
2 eggs
pinch of nutmeg
100g/4oz grated Cheddar cheese
salt
freshly ground black pepper

The process that takes the longest is frying the aubergines, so get your biggest frying pan (or pans) and fry the sliced aubergines on both sides with a little olive oil. Drain on kitchen paper. 
At the same time, fry the onions and garlic in some more olive oil. After five minutes turn the heat up and add the beef to brown it, then add the tomatoes. Add a healthy pinch of cumin and cinnamon with the wine and sauté together, then add the stock gradually.
When all the aubergines are cooked, and the mince has reduced, get an ovenproof dish, make alternate layers of aubergines and mince, starting and finishing with a layer of aubergines.
Combine the white sauce with the eggs, nutmeg and seasoning, then spoon it over the top of the mince and then scatter with the grated cheese. Bake in the oven 20-25 minutes at 190, until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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