Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Taste of Summer

I am often quite surprised at the palette of our 2 year old son and his willingness to try new flavours. I am fortunate that he has always been a good eater. He loves most foods apart from cheese (my husband and I don't like it either). He will happily eat olives, enjoy the sharpness of a lemon wedge and this week when I made sushi for tea he wanted to try the pickled ginger that we had as part of it. I thought it would be a bit strong for him but he ate it and asked for more! I am not sure I was as adventurous as him when I was a child. I remember a few things I didn't like, beetroot, cheese, eggs and rhubarb. We used to have a lot of rhubarb growing in our garden. I remember my Dad coming in with a bunch and my Mum making stewed rhubarb and custard for pudding, I had to have banana and custard instead. Its funny how tastes change, as I really enjoy rhubarb now. Last week my husband was doing some plastering for a client and he came home with a big bunch of it from their garden which I was really pleased with.

Rhubarb is in season from April to August, so when it starts appearing in the shops it is a sign that summer is on its way. It keeps in the fridge for 2-3 weeks and can also be frozen. If you want to freeze it I find it works better to stew it first (with a little sugar and orange juice) and then defrost it when you need it to use in rhubarb fool, or with custard.  Rhubarb crumble is a favourite dessert in our house. Recently I have enjoyed making some rhubarb crumble muffins that I found the recipe for in a magazine. Rhubarb goes well with ginger so in this recipe I added ground ginger to the crumble and stem ginger to the muffin mix. Rhubarb tastes really good in a fool with Greek yogurt. The recipe below is a favourite from Delia Smiths 'How to Cook Book Two'. 

Rhubarb Crumble Muffins.
Makes 12

Muffin Mix
175g/6oz castor sugar
175g/6oz rhubarb
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125ml/4floz buttermik (or you can use natural yogurt)
200g/7oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 pieces of stem ginger finely chopped
Crumble mix
50g/2oz light brown sugar
50g/2oz plain flour
25g/1oz porridge oats
1tsp ground ginger
50g/2oz butter

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7
Line a 12 hole muffin pan with muffin cases
To make the crumble, mix together the sugar,flour,oats,and ground ginger
Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it forms light breadcrumbs. Set aside
Stir the rhubarb and sugar together
Stir the oil and egg into the sugary rhubarb
Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and stem ginger and stir well
Spoon into the cases and top with a thick layer of the crumble
Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden
Cool on a wire rack
Keep in an airtight tin for 2-3 days
They also freeze well

Rhubarb Ginger Fool 
Serves 4
570g/1lb 4oz fhubarb
75g/3oz castor sugar
1 teaspooon chopped fresh root ginger
200g/7oz 0 per cent or 2 per cent fat Greek yoghurt
2 pieces of stem ginger

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4
Trim and wash the rhubarb and cut it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks
Then place it in a baking dish, sprinkle with the sugar and add the chopped fresh root ginger
 Bake it in the oven, without covering, for about 30-40 minutes or until it's tender but still has some shape
Drain the rhubarb, by tipping it into a sieve set over a bowl to drain off the excess juice
Place it in a food processor and whizz to a thick purée
After that, transfer it to a bowl and leave aside to get quite cold
Next empty the yoghurt into another bowl and fold half the purée into it, then divide the mixture between four serving glasses and spoon the remaining purée on top
Cut the pieces of stem ginger into small chunks and use them to garnish each fool
Cover with cling film and chill for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Rice 'n' Easy

Did you know there are 40,000 types of rice in the world?! I was amazed to find this when I Googled it. Most of these are produced in Asia and 19 varieties are found in most countries. There are 3 main types. Short grain has a high starch content which has a soft and sticky texture when cooked. It is used in Japanese cooking to make Sushi. Medium grain rice is used in risotto and paella and is good at absorbing flavours. Long grain rice has less starch so is firmer in texture when cooked. It is used in Indian and Thai cuisine such as Basmati and Jasmine rice.

Arborio Rice used in risotto is named after the town of Arborio where it is grown. When cooked it has a creamy texture around a chewy centre. One of my favourite quick and easy meals is risotto. It is made in one pan and to the basic risotto mix of onion, rice and stock you can add meat, fish or vegetables of your choice. You can be as creative as you like.

Risotto is often viewed as a hard dish to make. It isn't once you have mastered a few basic principles. Firstly you need to buy risotto rice which you will find in the supermarket called arborio or carnaroli. I tend to use arborio rice and have found that supermarket own brands are just as good as the branded version. You begin by frying a finely chopped onion in a little olive oil or butter (I prefer to use oil) and then add the rice. Once this is coated in the oil you start adding the stock a ladleful at a time. The stock needs to stay on the boil otherwise the risotto will take longer to cook. I have found the best way to do this is to put the stock in a small pan and keep it at a gentle simmer on the hob. This can then be added to the risotto as needed. I always make extra stock than the recipe states just in case it requires a bit more to be cooked. The most important thing with risotto is that it needs regular stirring. You don't need to stir it continuously but it is a dish where you need to stay with it and stir every couple of minutes or so. This helps the rice thicken and cook evenly. I find it is best cooked in a large shallow pan as this helps the rice cook more evenly. 

Three of my favourite Risotto's are Salmon and Pea, Roasted Butternut with Parmesan and Haddock with Butternut. Below is the basic risotto recipe which is used in all three. 

Basic Risotto recipe
Serves 4
1-2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 onion peeled and finely chopped
300g Arborio rice
1 litre of vegetable stock (you may not need all of it)

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan
Add the onion and cook over a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes
Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil
Add a ladleful of stock and bring to a simmer
Cook and stir until all the stock has been absorbed
Continue to add the stock a ladleful at a time and keep stirring, until all the stock has been absorbed or the rice is cooked. It should be tender with a bit of a firmness in the centre when you taste it
Add the other ingredients and seasoning according to recipes below

Salmon and Pea
1 large tin of red salmon drained
150g frozen peas defrosted
1 tbsp light cream cheese
Stir these into the cooked risotto and heat through

Roasted Butternut and Parmesan 
1 teaspoon of olive oil
500g butternut peeled and chopped into chunks
2 garlic cloves (leave unpeeled and whole)
1 tbsp fresh thyme
40g parmesan

Heat oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6
Place the butternut, garlic and half a tablespoon of thyme in a large roasting pan with a teaspoon of olive oil
Stir to coat in the oil
Cook for 30-40 minutes until tender and golden
Add the rest of the thyme at the same time as adding the rice to the pan
Add the roasted butternut (discard the garlic) and parmesan to the cooked risotto and heat through

Haddock and Butternut
For this recipe use half the amount of roasted butternut and leave out the thyme.
When the risotto is cooked stir through the butternut with 250g of cooked smoked haddock and a couple of spring onions or a tablespoon of chopped fresh chives

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Turkish Delight

Last weekend my husband and I spent the Saturday afternoon in Kingston. He needed to visit a triathlon store there to get some kit for his first triathlon competition in a few weeks time. I was looking for an outfit for a wedding. After a successful afternoon shopping we made our way to a Turkish restaurant where I had made a reservation for dinner. It was a great evening and the food was superb and very good value. We opted for the mezze set menu which was £19.50 each and included a starter, main and dessert. The starter was a variety of dips with some fresh homemade bread and also mini lamb kofte's and lambs liver. For main we then had a selection of chargrilled meats and kebabs with rice and salad. The chargrilled taste on the meat was really delicious and there was a really good selection of meat and lots of it.  We had an assortment of Turkish desserts.  They were thankfully quite small portions to share as I was still full from the main course!

One of the desserts was Baklava. This is layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts (usually walnuts or pistachios) and sweetened with syrup or honey. I have always wanted to make it myself at home but thought it was quite hard to do. However this week I found a recipe in one of my River Cottage cookbooks (Hugh Fearnleys Three Good Things) and decided to have a go. It is a lot easier than I had thought, especially as you use ready made filo pastry. I like Feulles de Filo which is a French brand. It comes in a pack of 12 thin layers. The important thing to remember with filo pastry is that it dries out very quickly so while you are preparing the dish you should keep it covered with foil or a damp tea towel. Hughs' recipe uses walnuts, lemon zest and sugar for the filling. Walnuts are an excellent source of healthy fats. They are high in monounsaturated fats and essential omega 3. Just 25g of walnuts a day provides 90% of your daily intake of these essential fats. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin E, B, and Iron. The recipe uses 90g of butter which you use to brush the filo pastry with before layering them in the dish. As butter is quite high in saturated fat I was intrigued to see whether I would be able to use a little less butter but without compromising on the taste. I decided to melt only 45g of butter and see how far this would spread over the layers of pastry. In the end I found that I actually only used 25g of butter. While the pastry is cooking you make a syrup using sugar, honey and lemon juice. This is then poured over the cooked pastry. You then need to leave it to cool and for the syrup to completely soak into the pastry. Hugh recommends 8 hours. So if you are making this for a dinner party you would need to bear this in mind. 

The finished dessert was delicious and it didn't seem to affect the taste or flavour using only a quarter of the butter from the original recipe. Baklava freezes well. Cut into slices and wrap in baking parchment and foil. It needs only a short time to defrost before serving (30 minutes is more than enough) and I found it can even be served straight from the freezer. It is nice served with Greek yogurt or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Makes 9-12 slices
125g walnuts
25g of castor sugar
Finely grated zest of a lemon
25g of butter melted
125g of ready made filo pastry

For the honey syrup
75g of honey
75g of castor sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3
Put the walnuts, sugar and lemon zest in small blender and pulse a few times until the nuts are fairly finely chopped
Brush a little of the butter over the base of a dish or baking tin. I used a pyrex dish that was 18 cm square but Hugh says to use a baking tin about 15cm by 10cm. Obviously that meant that mine was slightly shallower and needed less cooking time but it still worked fine. So you can choose one or the other depending on what you have available
Lay half the filo sheets in the pan, brushing each layer with butter and folding them over and tucking them so that each layer fits neatly
Spread the walnut filling over it
Layer the remaining pastry over it, spreading with butter as before
Cut the last couple of layers of pastry so that they fit neatly on top
Brush with a layer of butter
Use a sharp knife to cut through the first 2 layers of pastry into squares, triangles or diamonds. I cut mine into 9 squares. Bake for 20-40 minutes until crispy and golden
Meanwhile make the syrup. Put the honey and sugar in a small pan
Put the lemon juice in a jug and make up to 150ml with water
Strain through a sieve into the pan
Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5-10 minutes until the syrup is reduced and thickened
When the pastry is cooked, remove it from the oven and pour the hot syrup evenly over it
Leave in the tin for 8 hours for the syrup to soak and settle
Cut into slices using a serrated knife
Serve with greek yogurt or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.......Delightful.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Why Don't You Turn off the TV and Do Something Less Boring Instead ?

This week Delia Smith announced her retirement from broadcasting after 40 years as one of the Uk's leading TV chefs. She has always been a bit of a hero of mine. Over the years I have purchased most of her cookery books (and made a lot of the recipes). I have also avidly watched all of her cookery TV series. I found her recipes not only delicious but straightforward and easy to follow. They don't have a long list of ingredients that you can't find in the supermarket and you don't have to be a chef to make them. It is good home cooking she delivers that we should all be able to achieve.

As a young child you would find me in the kitchen helping my Mum make fairy cakes and jam tarts. As I grew up this interest in cooking developed further. I loved baking. I also took an interest in helping my mum plan and cook our meals and by 13 I was cooking the Sunday roast while my mum went to church. Home Economics was my favourite subject at school and the one subject I achieved an A in at GCSE. When I left home and went to University I enjoyed having friends round at the weekend for meals. I loved spending time reading through cookery books planning the menus and I was always trying new recipes whenever I could. It wasn't just about the food though. It was also about the friendships formed and the conversations shared as we sat around the table. Sometimes that was over a bowl of tinned tomato soup. Now as a busy Wife and Mum I enjoy cooking easy, delicious and healthy meals for us as a family. I really want to inspire other people in that too. I was encouraged to read in the Telegraph this week that cookery lessons are to become a compulsory part of the school curriculum again. It was a shame they were ever dropped. They taught us not only how to cook but a little bit about nutrition as well. I enjoy cooking with our two year old son. I hope that he grows up with an ability to be able too cook for himself and enjoys it too. Delia Smith has recently launched an on-line cookery school. One of her reasons for this is 'that nobody teaches people how to cook anymore' She said that modern cookery shows presented TV as theatre rather than teaching the basics. I can see where she is coming from. There are so many cookery programmes on TV- Masterchef, The Great British Bake off, Ready Steady Cook, But how many of us actually cook any of the recipes we see them do? Do most people sit down after a hard days work with their microwave meal simply wanting to be entertained by these programmes? And do they build confidence in peoples ability to cook or simply teach them to be a food critic. Like Delia Smith I am keen to inspire people to cook and to build confidence to know that they can do it. That is one of the reasons I started writing this blog. I am not looking to be a chef or claim that all the recipes I post are my own, but I do hope that my posts encourage people to 'have a go' at the recipes and realise that cooking delicious food is not just for a talented few but something we can all achieve and enjoy. Along with this I want to show that cooking delicious food can be healthy too. We live in an age where we are faced with so many food choices. Many of then are not that healthy, hence the term 'junk food'.

You really can't beat the satisfaction of eating something you have made yourself from scratch and to know that you and your family are eating quality food that is doing you good as well. I would love to hear from you if you have tried any of the recipes I have posted and I also hope this post encourages you this week to have a go at one of them too if you haven't yet. Please comment on blog or email 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Potatoes My Sweet?

Let me introduce you to the humble sweet potato. These bright orange fleshed potatoes sometimes known as yams can be used in very much the same way as regular white fleshed potatoes (baked, mashed or roasted). They make delicious potato wedges and are also great in soups and vegetable curries. Sweet potatoes have some good health benefits over regular white and yellow fleshed potatoes. Firstly they are an excellent antioxidant as they are a very good source of beta cartotene (Vitamin A). One medium sweet potato will provide you with your recommended daily amount of Vitamin A.  They are also rich in vitamin C and E.  Sweet Potatoes have twice as much fibre as a white potato and a lower GI rating. Which means that the energy is released into your body more slowly and so you will feel full up and satisfied for longer. People often think that potatoes are fattening and that you should avoid them if you are trying to lose weight but 100g of sweet potato only has 93 calories compared to 230 calories in a standard portion of rice (65g)

I only started cooking with sweet potatoes a few years ago when I started having an organic vegetable box delivered each week. It has been a good way of getting to try vegetables I may not of thought of buying in the shops before and also experimenting with cooking them too. This week the box contained two large sweet potatoes.  I used one of them in a Mexican soup. The sweet potato formed the base of the soup along with onion and stock.  Once these ingredients were cooked they were blended. I then added some chopped red pepper, sweetcorn and red chilli. The sweet potato added a natural sweetness to the soup which compliments the spice of the chilli. An avocado salsa would work well as a topping. (mix together chopped coriander lime juice and diced avocado) I served it with some homemade sourdough bread but I think some tortilla chips would be nice too. With the other sweet potato I made some spicy sweet potato and sweetcorn burgers. These are really tasty and flavoursome and my husband and I were suprised how good a burger that does not contain meat can be. We enjoyed them in a burger bun with some sweet chilli sauce and I served them with homemade coleslaw. 

Mexican Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4

1 tsp of vegetable oil
1 small onion diced
1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of plain flour
670ml (1 1/4 pint) of vegetable stock
150g of sweetcorn fresh, frozen or canned
1 small red pepper deeseded and diced
1/2 a red chilli finely chopped

avocado salsa to serve (optional)
1/2 an avocado diced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and sweet potato then sweat for 5 minutes over a low heat
Add the flour and cook for a minute
Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until tender
Blend until smooth
Add the sweetcorn, red pepper and chilli and simmer for another 5 minutes
Season with ground black pepper
Make the avocado salsa by mixing together the avocado, lime juice and coriander. 
Serve the soup with the salsa and bread or a few tortilla chips

Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Burgers

Makes 4-5

3 large sweet potatoes about 750g
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1 red onion finely chopped
1 red chilli finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon of ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
165g can of sweetcorn, drained
tablespoon of chopped coriander
100g polenta
burger buns, chilli sauce and salad leaves to serve

Heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
Pierce the sweet potatoes and place them on a baking tray
Bake for 45 mins until soft
Leave to cool 
Meanwhile heat the oil in a small pan, add the onions and chilli and cook until soft
Peel the potatoes and mash together with  the onions and chillies and the spices
Add the sweetcorn, coriander and 50g of the polenta
Season with ground black pepper
Shape into 4-5 round burgers 
Dip into the remaining polenta and chill for at least 15-20 minutes 
You can either cook them in the oven 220C/Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes, or for 5 minutes in a George Foreman or on a griddle pan
Serve in burger buns with chilli sauce and salad leaves

Friday, 10 May 2013

Better Bread

Today we had homemade bread for lunch. I made my favourite sourdough loaf. There is something homely and comforting about the smell of bread baking in the oven. Whenever I make it I wonder why I don't make it more often. It is so much nicer than shop bought bread and healthier too. A couple of years ago for my birthday, my husband gave me a bread making course at the Paul Bakery in Covent Garden, London. They are a French Bakers and Patisserrie and opened their Covent Garden branch in 2000. They now have over 30 shops in the London Area. I had a really enjoyable afternoon. There were 8 of us on the course and it was a hands on experience. We were taken through the basics of making a sour dough loaf as well as enjoying an afternoon tea and sampling some of their delicious patisseries. We were all given a Paul bakery apron and two freshly made loaves to take home. I came away feeling very inspired and picked up lots of tips which have helped me a lot in improving my breadmaking.

When I make bread now it tends to be the sourdough recipe we learnt on the course. What I like about this is that it requires a long, slow rise. I find it works well making the dough in the evening and then leaving it to rise overnight. The next morning it is then ready to be shaped, proved (given a second rising) and baked. I learnt that rising time depends on the room temperature so it is hard to be specific about how long it will need. What you look for are air bubbles beneath the surface that spring back when touched. The basic recipe can be modified according to your tastes. I like to use a mix of wholemeal (40%) and white (60%) flour, but you can use all white or wholemeal. It is worth using good quality flour. I like the brand Marriages and tend to use organic. You can also add other ingredients to the mix after the initial rise and before shaping. I like to use sundried tomatoes (dried vacuum packed ones), olives or seeds. It is important to get the oven as hot as possible. On the course they recommended buying a granite tile to cook the bread on at home. I bought one from Topps Tiles for £5 and this works really well. Make sure you heat it up in the oven before you put the loaf on it to be cooked. In order to get a crusty loaf you need to create a steamy atmosphere in the oven. You can do this by either placing a roasting tin of boiling water in the bottom of the oven or by spraying the oven with water (using a gardeners spray bottle) just after you have put the loaf in the oven to cook. What I like about seeing the finished loaf is that you end up with a unique loaf each time. So if you feel the need for some refreshingly original bread roll up your sleeves and get stuck in!

Paul Bakery Sour dough loaf
Makes 2 medium loaves
1kg bread flour (white, wholemeal or a mixture of both)
18g salt
5g fresh yeast or dried (I like to use Dove Farm dried yeast)
680g warm water

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a board and start kneading (it will be quite wet and sticky but do not be tempted to add more flour, it will become less sticky as you knead). Knead for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth.
Replace into the bowl, cover with clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave to rise. This can either be overnight or for about 7-8 hours in the day. If during the day after an hour remove dough from bowl. Knock back (flatten to deflate air) fold over 3 or 4 times to re-promote the fermentation process. Put back into bowl, cover and leave as before.
Repeat several times throughout the day (depending on the room temperature leave between 2 and 4 hours)
Divide the dough into two.
Shape into desired loaf. I like to make a round loaf.
Place on a floured board and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise for 30-40 minutes until risen and you see air bubbles beneath the surface.
Knock back again and shape once more. 
Place on board again and leave for a second rising (another 30-40 minutes). 
In the meantime preheat oven to 235C/Gas Mark 10. 
Place roasting pan of boiling water in the bottom of oven (if using this method). 
Preheat baking sheet or stone tile in oven (about 10 minutes before you want to cook bread)
When you are ready to cook the bread you need to make sure the shaped loaf is kept the same way up. In order to get it into the oven Paul bakery slide it in on a long wooden board onto the bottom of the oven. As most of us don't have one of these at home  I find it is best to tip it over onto a piece of cardboard  covered with a floured tea towel and then quickly flip it onto the preheated tile. 
I like to snip the top of the loaf to create a patterned effect.
Place in the oven and give the oven a spray. Cook at 235C for 15 minutes. 
After 15 minutes lower the oven temperature to 200C/Gas Mark 6, give the oven another quick spray and cook for another 25 minutes. 
Leave to cool for at least half an hour before slicing. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Take the Plunge into Seafood

We have just come back from a great family holiday to Portugal. We stayed in the Algarve in the region of Albufeira. It was fun hiring bikes, swimming and enjoying time on the beautiful beaches there. One of the great things we enjoy on holiday is having the chance to eat out at a few nice restaurants. There were certainly plenty in the resort and it was fun having the opportunity to choose somewhere different to eat as a family each day. We sampled some great fish dishes - swordfish on a roof tile, a mixed fish grill and a prawn and monkfish kebab. The Portugese enjoy their fish. We saw fishermen bringing back their catch of the day. Most of it is delivered straight into the markets and restaurants. It doesn't get much fresher than that! You will find tuna, salmon, sardines, monkfish, swordfish and sea bass all very reasonably priced. It is simply cooked (usually grilled) and served with potatoes or rice and a salad.

Government guidelines recommend we should be eating two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily (such as fresh tuna, salmon, mackerel or sardines). I am reading an interesting book at the moment about Child Nutrition. One of the chapters is about the importance of the essential fats- Omega 3 and Omega 6. They are essential because they cannot be made by the body. The Mediterranean diet which includes plenty of fish and seafood means that it contains a good intake of the omega 3 fish oils. These are necessary for a healthy heart, preventing inflammation  and brain function. Did you know the dry mass of your  brain is 60% fat? But it needs the right sort of fat to function properly- the Omega 3 fats. They cannot be made by the body and so you need to eat them on a regular basis to ensure that you are getting your intake of these essential fatty acids. Deficiency can lead to fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings and depression and poor circulation.

You will find several recipes on previous posts which use oily fish (including mackerel risotto, polenta crusted salmon and mackerel pate.) Another favourite recipe of mine which is very quick and easy to cook is Seafood Paella. This is a traditional Spanish dish which uses mixed seafood such as prawns, mussels and squid. I like to use the prepared packs of mixed seafood that has already been cooked and just needs adding at the end to heat through. Whilst this recipe is not as high in Omega 3 as a recipe containing oily fish it is still a moderately good source. I like to use peppers and frozen peas or beans but you can vary the veg content according to what you have. Paella is traditionally made using paella or long grain rice but I use Basmati rice in this recipe and this works just as well. Serve with lemon wedges and a mixed salad.

Seafood Paella.
Serves 2

1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed
1 red, orange or yellow pepper deseeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
3 fresh tomatoes or 200g tin of chopped tomatoes
150g basmati rice
1 pint of fish or vegetable stock
100g frozen peas or beans
200g pack of cooked mixed seafood (and some fresh mussels if available)
Lemon wedges and a mixed salad to serve

Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large shallow pan.
Add the onion and pepper and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until softened
Add the turmeric, garlic and tomatoes and cook for another minute
Stir in the rice
Pour in the stock, then bring to the boil, and simmer for 8-10 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed and the rice is almost cooked. Stirring a few times will ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan
Add the frozen peas (or beans) and seafood and cook for a further five minutes
Season to taste with ground black pepper 
Serve with lemon wedges and salad