ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Miami Rice

Some years ago, back when the internet first ceased to be the sole preserve of cybergeeks and porn-lovers, there was an invasion of 'cool stuff'.

In those days, 'cool' usually meant a dancing Jesus or a photoshopped hamster with big eyes made to look like it was saying something cute. Oh joy.

Every time we think those dark days are behind us and we've moved on, someone somewhere comes up with another tedious meme that spreads like Leukemia. Keep calm and post another fucking picture of a sunset with 'motivational' words on it. That sort of thing.

And stupid pictures of kittens with banal, anthropomorphic sentiments. The suffragette movement may have achieved a lot of advancements, but they have a lot to answer for here!

If people truly like this cacksome drivel then that's all well and good and fine and dandy'n'shit. My worry is that anything I might actually find entertaining or interesting gets lost under unfathomable piles of mindless cock.

You have to feel for all the people who never get to read Ben Viveur because the internet traffic is backed up with cunts re-tweeting Stephen Fry and asking for ploughs in Farmville.

I'm about to share a great recipe for leftover roast pork, for example, but hardly anyone will get to see it. All too busy keeping calm, I shouldn't wonder...

The great and the good (of the web)

Leftover roast pork
There is some genuinely interesting stuff on the old interwebs at the moment though. If you're able to see the wood for the fucking cutesey motivational trees, which can be a challenge at times.

Check out the YouTube channel of Smooth McGroove - multi-tracked acappella performances of retro video game tunes. Like Guile's Theme from Street Fighter II, and the music from Tetris on the Game Boy.

It sounds like there's a little bit of processing and distortion going on, but the guy has a vocal range as impressive as his fucknormous beard and the renditions seem to be faithful to the electronic originals down to the last blippy note.

Jim'll Paint It has become a bit of a Facebook phenomenon, but unlike most Facebook phenomena, he actually deserves it for sheer artistic talent and attention to detail.

He's prolific too, turning out a new work every few days. Recent favourites of mine inclue 'George, Zippy and Bungle leading the Normandy Landings with their war faces on' and 'Tim Henman's Lovecraftian bobsled nightmare' but even the ones which are a bit weak are still impeccably rendered.

And for sheer delightful silliness, try the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator. Just try it.

Just get on with the recipe, OK?

So, this is a dish for when you've roasted a joint of pork and have a bit of meat left over. It's not really a 'throw some leftovers together' dish though, because some of the other key ingredients are fairly specific, so you'll need to plan this when you're buying everything for your roast.

(I mean, you probably don't buy hearts of palm every day, but it's the sort of thing you might have lurking at the back your cupboard because you don't know what the fuck to do with it.)

Oh ho ho... Green WTF?
Back in the old days, before even the geeks and porn-lovers had an internet to call their own, people would cook a roast on Sunday and eat left-over based meals for the entire week - or so the legend goes.

They must've had massive fuck-off joints of meat in them days, what?

Anyway, Miami Rice is inspired strongly by South Floridian and Cuban flavours, which makes it a bit different from your standard leftover hash / curry-type thing. Nonetheless, it's a 'cook it all up in one pan'-type deal, which makes it relatively quick and easy.

If you already have some leftover cooked rice as well as pork, you're two steps ahead. Go you!

Miami Rice


(quantities roughly for two hearty portions, but can vary depending on how leftover meat and rice you have - use your common sense!)

Leftover roast pork, about 1 lb, chopped
Smoked ham, 2-3 oz, chopped
Long grain rice, cooked
Black turtle or Adzuki beans, one can, drained
After you've put the rice in it should look vaguely like this...
Onion, one large or two small, finely chopped
Sweet red pepper, one, finely chopped 
Hearts of Palm, finely chopped
Garlic, 3-4 cloves, smushed
Red chilli (medium heat), one, finedly chopped
Gherkin, one large, two small or three tiny, finely chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil

The juice of a lime
Cheddar, grated, a handful


Heat a little oil and fry your garlic, onion and chilli until the onion softens, then add the red pepper, gherkin and hearts of palm.

And it's ready to eat!
If you have a little bit of soft pork fat amongst your leftovers, chuck that in and let it melt down - it will add to the flavour as the vegetables cook.

After a few minutes you can chuck in the pork and ham, making sure everything gets coated nicely with plenty of cumin, oregano, black pepper and sea salt.

Give it a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, then the beans go in, and finally the rice. Keep stirring to ensure a nice consistency with little bits of everything in every bite - but you don't have to treat it like a risotto because the rice has been cooked already, don't forget.

Once it's heated up, it's pretty much ready to eat, though for a final kick, add a decent squeeze of lime, a drop of Tabasco and a handful of grated cheese.

You're not looking for the dish to be cheesy, exactly, just to add a bit of slickness and gooey umami - stir the cheese in thoroughly as it melts and starts to coat the rice, and you're ready to serve.
A chilled white or a cold new world beer goes well with the dish, and a green salad on the side won't go amiss either.


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