A quick trip to the Natural History Museum led the ‘pink one’ and myself past the greengrocer on Chelsea Green, ‘Andreas’. He (if there is a he) really does have the most wonderful array of fruit and vegetables and a stunning selection of Italian cheeses. Alas it was monday and I was determined not to be distracted by oozing gorgonzola’s and other such delicacies, so unusually, we were restrained, and the ‘pink’ and I opted for a bag of cherries. Sweet, succulent and incredibly moreish we had devoured the lot in no time. Thankfully our return trip led us straight past his shop front so once again I returned to buy a handful more. This time they were earmarked for a stylish ‘girly salad’, just the kind of lunch I crave when I’ve exhausted my patience eating nursery food!
I, we, the ‘little people’, don’t really eat much rice. We rather naughtily gravitate towards pasta so rice rarely gets a look in. Obviously basmati has its place but I probably could take it or leave it, if I never ate it again I really would not to be too fussed. But, and here is the but, I really do like some of Mr.Basmati’s cousins, in particular Camargue red rice, wild rice and brown rice. Camargue red rice has an unusual nutty taste and is somewhat grainier and more textural than it’s basmati friend giving it a decent bite that works really well in salads. Curiously I paired the rice on this occasion with the cherries, which was an interesting move but remarkably does work. Cherries and hazelnuts, parsley and some rather fine blue-veined cheese from the Isle of Wight and the Camargue red rice makes a sensational little number. This is ‘girly food’ in its true unadulterated form; gluten-free, vegetarian, nutritious and healthy. A refreshing change from ‘green pasta’ which is hands down the ‘little peoples’ favorite food!
Camargue Red Rice salad with cherries, hazelnuts, parsley and blue cheese
80gms Camargue red rice
1 handful of blanched hazelnuts, chopped
1 handful of stoned cherries, broken up
1 handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
A slither or 2 of blue cheese or goats cheese or feta
A good splash of olive oil, pinch of Maldon sea salt and a grind or 2 or 3 of black pepper
1. Cook the rice as directed on the packet. It takes quite a bit longer than normal basmati, about 30 minutes. Once cooked drain.
2. In a separate bowl mix the stoned and broken up cherries, chopped hazelnuts and parsley, some crumbles of blue cheese, the olive oil and salt and pepper. Add in the cooked rice, stir well and serve immediately. Add a drizzle of white balsamic if you wish.