Waking up on holidays the other morning, I had my eyes still closed, but I could tell that I was surrounded by a lot of skin. I was smashed up against a deliciously broad back and I sighed contentedly. I love sun-kissed, hedonistic holidays. Then I realised that there was another hand poking through into my tummy. Oooo-errr! And another arm was around my middle and a leg pushed in between mine. Saucy!
Wriggling over in the limited space I was accosted by surprisingly bad breath and then a wee hand smacking me on the boob, bringing me back to my senses. This was no scene of wild holiday abandon. This was an early-morning wake up on our very-family-oriented getaway. And the double bed was crammed full of a snoring Mr VS and two children seeking refuge – one from the scary cockroach on the wall of our van-park cabin and the other from a tangled and smelly old quilt cover which was discarded on the floor.
Note to self. Must arrange a mid-year getaway with husband. Alone.
In the meantime, this mild Caribbean rice side-dish will keep the holiday vibe going. Just a hint of coconut and a stack of vegies. As always, everything is optional. Use whatever will work with your family. I’m including instructions for this in either a rice cooker or in a regular saucepan.
Caribbean ‘I’m still on holidays’ rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups long grain rice
1 litre water (boil the jug and use that to make cooking quicker)
160g coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
Several stalks of fresh thyme (use half a bunch if you have it)
1/4 red capsicum
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1 zucchini, grated (peeled if your kids hate green)
400g can borlotti beans, rinsed, drained
125g can corn kernels
Heat your rice cooker on the saute function or heat a saucepan over medium/high heat. Add your oil and saute the spring onion and garlic for a minute, stirring frequently.
Pour in the rice and stir really well to make sure it is thoroughly coated and the edges are just starting to turn translucent. (This takes a minute or two).
Carefully tip in the coconut milk and stir. Then add the water, cinnamon and thyme. Stir well. Turn the rice cooker to the cook function and cover OR reduce the heat on the stovetop to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid (a glass lid so you can peak in, is perfect).
Once little vertical tunnels appear in the rice, it is practically cooked (about 15 minutes), so really quickly remove the lid and chuck in the vegies and beans. Stir briefly, recover, and leave for another 5 minutes or so (I actually tend to switch my cooker to ‘warm’ for this stage – the residual heat is enough to warm everything through).
Serve with salad and some meat from the BBQ – something tasty like jerk chicken is perfect (I’ll post a recipe for that next week.)
Serves 4 adults & 4 kids as a side dish.