October 4, 2008

All Steamed Up About Rice ; Eating in Memories of Her Mother and Grandmother’s Wholesome Recipes Flavour Grace’s Cookery Book

By Jenny Longhurst

WHEN Grace Kerrywas growing up in Nigeria, her main diet was made up of rice, yams, plantain, fish from the River Niger and the wild mangoes that fell off the trees.

Some rice dishes, such as the stew below, were for high days, holidays and special visitors and once in a while there would be smoked beef, goat's meat or chicken.

"Everything was cooked from scratch using lots and lots of fresh herbs," said Grace from Aberporth Road, Gabalfa, Cardiff, who has just self-published her second cookery book, Grace Kerry's Magical Rice Recipes.

Grace, an educational consultant, first came to Britain in 1961 at the age of 19.

She married a fellow Nigerian and had four children, now all grown-up. When she and her former husband were bringing up the family she tried to keep to her home-country tradition of cooking simple meals full of fresh ingredients.

"It wasn't always easy," she laughed. "You know how children want Western foods like ice cream and sweets.

"Back in Nigeria our daily meals were based on what people had rather than a rigid structure," she explained. There could be black- eyed beans for breakfast for instance or gruel made from millet or corn."

Grace has always retained her reverence for food.

"I love to cook," she enthused.

"I was brought up in a clergy house where my father was the archdeacon. My mother was always preparing food for people. At the synod, the bishop always asked my mum to organise the cooking. The vicarage was always teeming with people.

"My mother would teach girls about to be married how to cook, knit and sew and be a wife.

"I've adapted what my mother and grandmother used to make and I've written my book to show just how delicious Nigerian cooking can be.

Grace Kerry's Magical Rice Recipes, pounds 12.99. For further details on how to obtain it call 07811 363 254

Stew with rice

Serves six Ingredients

six lamb cutlets

six chicken thighs or drumsticks

three fillets salmon

one mediumtin plumtomatoes

one teaspoon tomato puree

one Scotch Bonnet chilli (optional)

one vegetable or fish stock cube

one small tin peas

two large onions, chopped

six tablespoons olive oil

one clove garlic, chopped

two sprigs fresh thyme

small handful coriander a fewleaves basil

one heaped teaspoon medium or hot curry powder

one large red pepper, de-seeded and chopped

salt to taste

water as required

boiled rice to serve


Boil meat in a little water with one of the chopped onions, half the herbs and salt to taste.

Cook for 20 minutes until nearly all the water has been absorbed and set aside.

Blend or mix tinned tomatoes with the rest of the herbs and red pepper.

Add enough Scotch Bonnet chilli to taste.

Heat oil in a medium pan until very hot.

Fry remaining onion and garlic for five minutes. Then add peas, tomato puree, curry powder and stock cube and stir gently.

Cover and simmer for five minutes.

Add cooked meat with its remaining stock plus a cup or two of water if required.

Stir slowly but firmly.

Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the stew thickens and the oil settles on top.

Add the fish if using, 10 to 15 minutes before the end of cooking time.

Serve over boiled rice.

Herb rice

Serves four Ingredients

300g (12oz) dried Basmati or easy-cook rice

four tablespoons olive oil

four salmon steaks or fillets

two sprigs each of fresh thyme rosemary parsley

a fewleaves of basil and coriander

two leaves mint

one large onion, chopped

one clove garlic, crushed

one teaspoon curry powder

half a teaspoon ground nutmeg

half a chilli, optional

one large red pepper, de-seeded and


one vegetable or chicken stock cube

salt to taste

two cups water


Par boil rice and set aside.

Pour oil into a medium pan and heat until

very hot.

Add onion and fry for five to10 minutes.

Add all remaining ingredients except the rice.

Add the water and mix well

Cover and simmer for 10 minutes turning the

fish once, until there is little or no water left.

Carefully and gently stir in the rice.

Try not to let the fish break up.

Stir and simmer for a further five minutes

until all the water is absorbed.

Add salt to taste and serve hot with chopped

lettuce and tomatoes.

Rice with steamed salmon

Serves four Rice with steamed salmon


300g (12oz) Basmati rice

four chunky steaks salmon

one large onion cut into rings

one fish stock cube

a few sprigs fresh thyme

a little fresh basil and coriander

one ripe avocado, peeled and


one clove garlic crushed

half a cucumber, diced

one tablespoon butter

salt to taste


Cook rice and set aside.

Dissolve the stock cube in a little water.

Lay half the herbs on the base of a cooking pot. Place fish carefully on top and spread remaining herbs over the fish.

Arrange onion rings on top of fish.

Add butter and half a cup of water.

Cover and simmer on a low

light giving the fish seven minutes on each side.

To serve, place rice on each plate, put fish on top and surround with avocado and cucumber.

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