Perfect Rice

Perfect rice is not difficult to achieve. A couple of dodgy rice dishes while dining with friends are the inspiration for this weeks blog. The first was a chalky risotto, which the cook proudly described as “perfectly al dente”, the second a vegetable curry with boiled rice that was an under-seasoned goo you could have hung wallpaper with.


Happy New Year, and all the best for 2016 to all my readers! My apologies in the delay in wishing you this. New Year’s Day dawned bright and crisp, so we decided to go for a long healthy work in the afternoon.

When we returned, I decided something warm and comforting was called for, and my thoughts immediately turned to the Dutch classic Erwtensoep.IMG_9338

I intended to share the joys of this with you immediately, but promptly went down with a bout of virulent flu. Happily I am finally recovered, so here is the recipe.

Erwtensoep is a kind of pea stew. It is both healthy and economical; two things which the Dutch appreciate. IMG_9353Traditionally made with a pig’s trotter and other gruesome things, this is is my vegetarian version. It should be thick and unctuous, and is traditionally served with rye bread and Frankfurters. Frankfurters I substitute with Chestnut and Tofu Sausages. As with may vegetarian recipes, the basis is a really good vegetable stock. It can be made in advance and reheated; indeed I believe it is greatly improved by standing in the fridge a couple of days and reheating. So here goes:

Serves 2
250g split peas
1l unsalted homemade vegetable stock
1 small leek
1 celery stalk
1 medium onion
100g swede
100g celeriac
100g carrot
250g potatoes
Rye bread
lots of freshly ground white pepper
Chipotle powder
olive oil
4 Chestnut & Tofu Sausages


  1. Simmer the peas in the stock for about 11/2 hours. Do NOT add any salt, as this will greatly lengthen the cooking period of the peas.
  2. Meanwhile, clean the vegetables, cut into 1-2 cm pieces, and add to the peas.
  3. Adjust the seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for a further hour.
    Just before the end of cooking, fry the sausagesIMG_9372
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