I like to think of this as a vegan paella, with artichoke hearts adding a lovely meaty texture. It is also great with grilled fish or chicken.
I think what separates a good cook and a really good cook is knowing how to season your food well.
We tend to consider salt and black pepper the base standard for seasoning, but I’ve decided that’s rather narrow-minded.
While salt should be added throughout the cooking process and genuinely accentuates and brings out the flavour of food, pepper is a spice that adds warm and, well, peppery notes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a grind of black pepper over a bowl of soup, pasta or a roast chicken, but it doesn’t give depth in the same way as salt.
So after much thought, I’m campaigning for salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to be the new way to enhance your cooking. This doesn’t mean that everything you cook will have a citrussy tang – it’s the acidity that will really help to sharpen flavours and add a brightness to dishes. However, if you do want to bring out that citrussy note, grate in a little zest (making sure you’re using unwaxed lemons).
So that’s my number-one cooking tip – always have a lemon to hand in the fridge.
And if you find your food is lacking a little zing, add a squeeze of juice to see what a big difference it can make.
Baked rice with stringless beans and artichokes recipe
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Rinse the rice thoroughly, then leave to soak in water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan or shallow casserole over a medium-high heat. Fry 1 diced onion for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
- Trim the stringless beans then slice on the diagonal and add to the pan with 1 crushed garlic clove and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the paprika and the artichokes (drained of their oil) then season.
- Drain the rice and stir into the pan, then squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon and pour over 500ml hot vegetable stock. Bake for 30 minutes until golden on top.
Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne.
*This cost assumes you already have some basic store-cupboard ingredients. Prices taken from Aldi and correct at time of going to press.