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Laura Vincent



This week, as a sort of contrast to last week’s spice-laden recipes, I have the simplest and best rice recipe you will ever learn. It has just two ingredients- pasta sauce and rice – but makes the most comforting, delicious winter meal ever. I can’t decide whether it is a soup or a risotto which is why it is just known as tomato rice.

Tomato Rice
1 jar tomato pasta sauce (700 mls is pretty standard as far as I am aware.The quality of your sauce really does affect the outcome of your dinner so go for something that doesn’t look too orange and watery).
A handful of long grain rice
Empty your sauce into a pot, fill the jar with water and pour this in too. Repeat, but only fill it up halfway. Stir with a wooden spoon, and gently bring it to the boil. As soon as it does, turn down the heat and throw in a handful or so of rice (or a cup should do) and let it simmer gently for 10 minutes till the rice is cooked. It needs to be on a low heat, and stir it regularly so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Timing will vary so taste as you go to see how the rice is doing and before you know it is ready to be ladled into bowls and eaten in front of the TV. In all honesty I use pasta sauce more for this than I do for pasta…
While we are on the subject of cheap, simple and comforting, the best thing to follow the tomato rice could only be some kind of crumble.
Apple, of course, springs to mind but a couple of cans of peaches taste great under a crumble topping too. Apples benefit from being cooked first before being put in the oven with their topping, but with canned fruit you are away laughing.
Basic Crumble Topping
120g flour
100g butter, cold and in cubes
teaspoon Cinnamon (nutmeg also works wonderfully)
In a bowl, rub the flour and butter with the tips of your fingers till they merge together in fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. This should be enough to cover fruit in about a litre capacity dish of some sort. Bake at 190 degress celcius for 20-30 minutes until golden and crisp.
When I first started flatting, my boyfriend and I didn’t have a bed for three months, let alone the money to buy exciting ingredients…so it is in the spirit of that cold and often miserable time that I bring the bargain food tip of the week: You can save a lot of money – and space – in your flat if you all organise to share certain things and rotate who buys it – for example, olive oil, soy or fish sauce, peanut butter, marmite, the list goes on…rather than having six half-empty jars of the same thing rattling round!