Broad beans and dill rice with baked salmon.

Life… How should I put it? Mmh, an eventful journey to the unknown…

Dill broad bean rice with salmon

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean it in a bad way, but in this life events happen that knock you off your feet for a while, well for a long while. Being the impatient human beings as we are, when you’re stuck in a traumatic period of 3 or 4 weeks, it’s hard to see beyond it. If you’re one of the fortunate ones that are able to get outside that bubble and look beyond, you’ll soon realise that 4 weeks only form a minor part of a life-long journey of adventures, achievements and more importantly happiness. You never know maybe one day you’ll realise that those 4 weeks in your life were exactly what you needed to be triumphant; you’ll lift up your head high and be thankful for having gone through that test. Frankly, how would you know where you stand if you’re not shaken once in a while?

It’s International Women’s Day today, and what better than to be inspired by the many amazing women I have read about, met, know and most importantly lived with. My late mother-in-law, or aunt as I call her, was a shining example of patience, humour and courage.  We will miss her greatly; however, her legacy will remain with us forever.

What’s all this philosophical deep talk to do with the recipe below, well nothing really! It’s my way of perseverance and hope, besides being one of my favourite comfort foods. The kids love it, I’d like to think it’s nutritious and healthy and is so easy to make.

shelling broad beans

Although I’ve started, trying, eating seasonally, with some foods I bend the rules. I have categorised them into the following:

  • Can’t do without foods such as lemons, tomatoes and herbs
  • Imported dry cupboard foods such beans, pulses, grains, nuts, etc
  • Some frozen fruit and vegetables that taste just as good if frozen
  • Some dried herbs, however, I’m very fussy with those

Although I prefer to see and feel the vegetables before I prepare them for my recipes, sometimes having them out of a frozen bag makes life so much easier. Today Broad Beans are the stars of the show. Fresh broad beans are a nightmare to shell, but, when frozen peeling those tough pale skins become a lot easier. The bright green beans pop out like a breeze and in about 15 minutes you have a cup full of shelled broad beans ready to be used. If you’re cooking for a big crowd it’s always good to get as many involved with skinning the beans. When you’re chatting away with great company everything seems to go by so quickly 😉

I’m fussy with my dried herbs, and hardly use them, as I feel they are so far from the actual fresh taste. However, if you asked me which herb I’d happily use dried, it would be dill. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme and tarragon and occasionally basil are also good dried.

Fresh SalmonSalmon is good source of protein, full of omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. good fats), and a good source of iodine. I love the bright pink flesh and when cooked properly it is utterly delicious. If you don’t like the smell of fish lingering around your kitchen (like I do) then be well prepared in advance, have your extractor fan on full-power, open the windows and let the all the nasty aromas escape happily. Then fill the house with your favourite candles and trust me you will want to eat this dish as often as my fussy kids would request it.

Broad beans and dill rice with baked salmon – Serves a hungry family of 5

Broad beans and dill rice

  • 250 g, 1 cup full shelled broad beans (about 385 g unshelled broad beans)
  • 350 g, 1 3/4 cups washed and drained white basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more according to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons dried dill (or fresh if you have some)
  • 25 g butter or vegetable oil of your choice (optional)

Fill 3/4 of a medium pan with water, add salt, broad beans and bring to the boil on a medium to high heat. Once the mixture is bubbling away, add the rice and bring to the boil. DO NOT leave the kitchen and pan at this stage because you want the rice to be nice and fluffy and not like the mushy consistency of risotto. You can prepare the salmon while you’re waiting for the rice to boil.

Once the rice starts boiling vigorously, test a grain, it should be about half-cooked with a slight crunch. If not yet there, leave it to bubble away for a few more minutes but always keep an eye on it. Once a few tested rice grains are half-cooked, drain well in a colander.

Return the rice and broad bean mixture to the pan, add dried dill and butter (if using), mix and simmer gently on a very low heat for about 10 minutes. Once done, fluff up the rice carefully with a fork and serve with the salmon.

Baked Salmon – Serves 5

  • 5 pieces of fresh salmon fillets
  • 1-2 lemons
  • Generous amounts of salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat Oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with 2 or 3 layers of thick kitchen foil (just to make washing up easier) and arrange the salmon pieces on the tray. Squeeze the juice of 1 – 2 lemons (depending on size and juicy-ness) over the salmon, and then season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake the preheated oven for 15 minutes and viola, you’re done.

Serve with prepared rice, and a nice crisp seasonal salad. Happy tummy 🙂

Note: If you are a vegetarian a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt would make a delicious compliment to the rice.

Zayneb

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