Wednesday, 17 April 2013



We have just returned from a FANTASTIC few days staying with friends in Belgium visiting Brussels, Ghent, Leuven and the Tintin Museum - Brussels is the birthplace of Herge and home to the Tintin Museum-

 a real must for all you fellow lovers of the boy reporter and his faithful sidekick Snowy.

We returned with some interesting Belgium beer, some great Tintin pictures and

 a bag full of walnuts..

Yes, walnuts. Not what you normally find amongst your holiday mementos but a much appreciated, very delicious gift, and a welcome change from postcards and boxes of chocolates.

Tintin everywhere

Belgium walnuts

As those of you who have kindly been following for a while know I always like to sample the local food and specialities, so you will be pleased to learn that the Not Just For Rabbits team sampled a range of waffles- plain, sugar and chocolate waffles and even ate a range of Stoofvees, the traditional beef in ale stew served on chips that is so traditional in Brussels.

Lots of places to eat in Brussels

None of these can really warrant a post in their own right, despite their popularity, however the walnuts proved the inspiration for a healthy risotto this evening.  I was really stuck for inspiration and just wanted something simple and veggie and luckily the walnuts were sitting on the kitchen top.

In this recipe the nuts and spinach provide an earthy simplicity and the raisins create a balance and add a subtle sweetness, whilst the cheese adds a light creaminess.


Serves 4
Preparation to plate time 25 minutes


250g brown rice
200g fresh spinach
2 red onions
40g raisins
1handful of fresh cracked walnuts about 50g saving some to sprinkle over the finished dish
Mixture of parmesan and cheddar cheese shavings- about a handful
Lots of salt and pepper to flavour
A glug of olive oil for frying


1.     Heat a pan of water and start to boil the rice for about 5 minutes.
2.     Finely chop the red onions and lightly soften in a large frying pan in the olive oil. After about 5 minutes add the broken walnuts and raisins and allow them to flavour the oil.
3.     Drain the rice into a bowl, keeping the water and tip into the pan with the onions, adding a couple of ladles of the rice water to enable it to continue to cook.
4.     Check every 5 or so minutes and keep adding more rice water to keep it cooking. Also at this stage add a couple of handfuls of spinach every few minutes and allow to wilt into the pan as you go.
5.     After about 20 minutes add some shavings of parmesan and a few shavings of cheddar and keep the rice moist until soft and creamy.

Spinach,walnut and raisin risotto

I used brown rice which takes longer to cook than traditional risotto rice but does add an earthiness to the flavour.

It took about 25 minutes in total but is an easy really tasty dish. You could use a blue cheese instead of the parmesan and cheddar but I think it would mask the sweetness of the raisins which would be a shame.

Ghent in Belgium

Saturday, 6 April 2013



I can’t believe it has been so long since I posted.

Lots happening in all our lives which is exciting. Also Teen V started to eat a bit of meat after two and a half years of being vegetarian, only until she is 100% better she says, so my daily quest for tasty new vegetarian recipes has diminished a little.  That said, we were also hit by a bout of the novovirus over Easter so my plans and my lovely pictures of Easter treats were redundant.

Great timing! 

Nothing mattered once that took hold. For several days food has not been a priority, as you can imagine. Thankfully we are all better and up and about again.  


Also it finally feels like Spring’s here after a very long cold winter. 

Primroses- it must be spring at last

After a busy day we all fancied a proper curry. Not the Friday night blow your brains out type though, something with a bit more subtlety and depth of flavour. This curry has a great mix of flavours and is very fresh, light and fragrant. It is really easy to make and very economical.  The mix of tomatoes and coconut combine really well here to create a well blended rich sauce.

So if you fancy a change try this. It’s delicious and can be made in 20 minutes.

Serves 4
Time to make 20 minutes


2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
2tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp gourmet garden ginger paste or 1 inch fresh ginger
½ tsp gourmet garden chilli paste or 1fresh green chilli
1tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 160g can of coconut cream
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes then fill the can up half full and add
4 portions of white fish- I used frozen coley portions
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
Juice of 1/2 lime
½ tsp mango chutney


1.     Fry the chopped onion in the oil with the crushed garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes until softened.
2.     Add the spices- turmeric, coriander and chilli to the onions in the pan along with the tomatoes and the coconut and the mango chutney. Top up with half a can of water as well and then simmer for 10 minutes.
3.     If you are using frozen fish cut it up and add to the simmering mixture now. If you are using fresh fish wait until it has simmered before adding after 10 minutes. Fresh fish will take about 4-5 minutes to cook, frozen longer!!
4.     Season with salt and pepper and add a squeeze of fresh lime before you serve.


Serve with Brown rice, naam bread and mango chutney.. yumm