I had coffee and a cookie for lunch- a cookie the size of a giant saucer, full of chocolate chunks. This followed on a weekend in London that involved my first two Michellin-star meal (at The Ledbury; three courses plus amusing hors d’oeuvres like deep fried balls of rabbit meat), a full English tea, fried breakfast at Carluccio’s and a barbecue. Plus Dorset dressed crab, mint chocolate milk, crusty bread and lavender flavored chocolate. Oh, and a Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cupcake.
Tonight, it was time for brown rice and spinach.
So, I boiled up a pot of brown rice and added a bag of spinach, quickly cooked down to reduce the volume. For extra health, I put in an onion and some leek. Eggs and shredded cheese were also involved, because balance is an important thing. No knowing what those fibers and vitamins will get up to if kept unchecked. Some pine nuts and olives got in on the fun too, to add interest and crunch.
What came out of the oven after thirty minutes was a bit rustic and a bit creamy. It wasn’t the prettiest plate of food, but it tasted good and filled our stomachs in a somewhat nutritious way. I can’t believe I am writing this, but brown rice and spinach turned out to be just what I wanted.
Spinach rice gratin
Based on a 101 Cookbooks recipe
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 300 gr spinach, washed thoroughly
- 1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 fat leek, white and light green bits, cleaned thoroughly, sliced into half moons
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 100 gr flavorful grated cheese, like mature cheddar or aged Gouda
- 3 eggs, whisked with a little salt
- 30 gr pine nuts
- 15 green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- fried egg, optional
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Heat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the leek, sprinkled with some salt and pepper. Cook until it softens a bit, then add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft, then stir in the paprika. Remove to a large bowl. Add the spinach to the warm pan and sautee until wilted. Chop the spinach and add to the bowl with the onion and leek. Stir in the rice, the olives and the pine nuts. Then add 75 gr of the cheese and the eggs. Mix well, season and transfer to an oven proof dish. Level the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the mixture has set and the top is golden brown. Serve, with a fried egg on top if you like.