Making a herb and vegetable paste is a quick and simple way of producing vibrantly coloured, flavoursome rice. Toasting the rice in just a little oil and butter, then cooking with the paste before adding stock and simmering, develops and enriches the flavour of the dish. This makes a great accompaniment to grilled or roast chicken.
Use long-grain brown rice instead of white rice. It will take 30–40 minutes to cook and will need about 100 ml (3½ fl oz) more stock. * For a spinach and red rice pilaf, cook 225 g (8 oz) Camargue red rice in the butter and oil for 2 minutes, then add 300 ml (10 fl oz) boiling stock. Cook, covered, for 30–35 minutes or until tender. About 10 minutes before the rice is ready, gently cook 1 bunch sliced spring onions and 1 crushed garlic clove in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for 3 minutes or until tender. Add 170 g (6 oz) baby spinach leaves, cover and cook for 1 minute, then remove the lid and cook over a low heat for a further minute or until some of the spinach juices have evaporated. Stir in the cooked rice, 3 tbsp chopped parsley, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and pepper to taste. Cover and heat through for 2 minutes. Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 lime, fork through to mix and serve hot. * To make this a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.
Green peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, important for maintaining the body's immune system. Even though some of the vitamin C is destroyed during cooking, useful amounts still remain. * Coriander has over the centuries had many uses other than as a herb in cooking – as an ingredient in liqueur and cologne, as a herbal tonic for the stomach and, with its seeds, for relief of urinary tract problems.
C * A, B6, folate, copper, selenium, zinc