Day 31: Rice and Peas (no peas)

Trying my hand at making rice and peas was today’s new thing. Sundays seem to be turning into cooking days, but that at least keeps me out of trouble, and the new-thing-a-day project ticking along quite nicely.

Cooking rice and peas

I have never attempted to cook Carribean style dishes before, so a bit of ingredient hunting was required. Luckily my local corner shop stocks a fairly interesting selection of products, with a wider variety than you’d guys from looking at it.

The list of required ingredients is quite simple, and as you probably know, doesn’t contain peas. It’s a combination of onions, beans, rice and coconut milk, with some fresh chilli and thyme for flavour. It’s surprisingly easy to cook, although the pot required some tender loving care as the mixture is quite sticky.

The end result was satisfying and tasted as good as the usual takeaway rice and peas we order. We ended up having the rice and peas as the whole meal, rather than as a side-dish. It was so flavoursome and hearty that it seemed to be a waste to serve it with something else.

An aside

I believe a brief apology is in order. While managing to keep up the new thing challenge, I have fallen slightly behind on finishing up the posts. I’ve been a bit busy for the past couple of days getting the house ready. Also, I’ve had to go back and edit a number of the posts. For some reason, I find it quite difficult to spot errors in my writing when I write on the phone. This means that I’ve been unable (or rather, unwilling) to write posts on the way home. Even with the help of flashy new keyboards, a lot of errors (both spelling and grammar) sneak into the content. And proofreading it on the phone doesn’t help catch it.

This post also wraps up the first month. There are a couple of things I haven’t had time to do yet, including some meta-new things, so I’m not giving up yet!

Day 24: Pecan maple puddings

Sunday is a good day for backing maply pecan goodness. So that’s what I did. It’s a good way to end a meal, a week and a Sunday. Baking is quite relaxing as you have to focus on what you’re doing. I’m also always slightly surprised by how different the same basic set of ingredients can turn out in different recipes. This recipe was perfect for a winter’s evening.

The making of pecan maple goodness

A fairly simple set of ingredients combines to make this delicious treat. You need pecans, maple syrup, butter, sugar and flour. There’s nothing to complicated about making it. Cream the sugar and butter. Toast the pecans until they start to release their oil, and chop and grind them to powder. Add some eggs, baking powder and splash of vanilla flavouring. Mash it all together. Keep it safe from apparently ravenous cats. The cats seem to always be hungry. Bake for fifteen minutes.

One tip, though – you need to get real maple syrup. In most supermarkets, you’ll find a much cheaper substitute made from sugar syrup and flavouring. Try to get the real thing, as the maple syrup is the crucial ingredient in determining the taste and flavour of the pudding.

The eating

In general, I’m not a big fan of puddings. I’ll make an exception for these: they are amazing. They’re not very healthy, containing a fair amount of sugar and fat (as all cakes and puddings ought to). But they are definitely very yummy. I wouldn’t let them get cold, though, you should eat them warm.

Baking things may become a bit of staple as the year wears on. With another three hundred and forty days to go, I suspect things may get harder to find. But, luckily, there are many things I’ve never baked.