Category Archives: How To

Cookery basics (also chillis!)

Perfect Rice

Perfect fluffy rice is a joy to eat. Soggy or chalky rice is a culinary horror.

Plain boiled rice

You could use basmati, but I think pandan or jasmine are best suited. The aim is to have just-cooked, well-seasoned fluffy grains. Actually, for Chinese dishes it does not matter if the rice is a little sticky as it makes it easier to eat with chopsticks.

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.

Growing Chillies from Seed #2 (Potting on)

When chilli seeds germinate, the first pair of leaves to emerge are the cotyledons or seed leaves. These contain a limited supply of food for the plant, and will eventually whither and drop off. The next pair of leaves are the true leaves. If you sowed your seeds in soil-less plugs like I suggested, when the first pair of true leaves have unfurled, then it is time to pot the seedlings on, because the soil-less plugs contain no nutrients.


Choose the strongest seedlings. You will need a quantity of small plastic pots, and some all purpose compost.IMG_7065

Place a little compost in the bottom of a pot, and place the plug on top.


Pour compost round the plug, pressing down gently to remove any air. until the compost is level with the plug.IMG_7067

Label the seedling, and return to a propagator. Place the full propagator in a light place away from direct sunlight for the first day, then return to a sunny windowsill.


It is important to keep them well watered; chillies hate to dry out.

Growing Chillies from Seed

First of March means, amongst other things, it is time to plant chilli seeds. I have had some bad experiences in recent years of ordering seeds on line (did not germinate, or were not the variety I ordered), but upon the recommendation of a friend, I ordered my seeds this year from ( I also collected seeds last autumn from my most vigorous plants.)


Chilli seeds are really easy to germinate, but you will need to start them in doors if you are growing them in Northern Europe, as they are not frost hardy. Once the risk of frost has passed (usually by mid May) you can move them outside to a sunny position. They will also grow perfectly happily in containers on a balcony.

I like to start the chilli seeds off in small propagators such as the one below, with sliding vents in the lid:


They are available from most garden centres.

I like to sow the seeds in peat-free soil substitute plugs:


Place the plugs in the recesses in the bottom of the propagator, with the recess for the seeds uppermost.


Water liberally .


Wait until the plugs have absorbed the water and expanded evenly (you may need to add more water.) This should take about 15 minutes.


Place 2 seeds in each plug.


Press into the plug so that they are covered.

Label the seeds (I stick labels onto the outside of the propagator)

Place the lid on top with vents closed, and move the propagator to a windowsill above a radiator.


After about 14 days, the first shoots should appear!



© DAVEggie