Benefiting from batch cooking: Belizean stew chicken with rice and beans

Batch cooking is our survival technique at the moment. Food and nutrition are important to us and we didn’t want a baby to get in the way of healthy, home-cooked meals, so we’ve been cooking a lot of stews and chillies and the like, which we then have in the freezer and eat on rotation. This also means we eat a lot of rice, partly because it is a good accompaniment to the sorts of meals we’ve been making and partly because it’s quick and easy to cook (if you don’t have a microwave rice cooker, get one. Seriously. #notanad).

Belize’s national dish of stew chicken with rice and beans, therefore, fit very neatly into our food prep routine! We initially weren’t going to bother with the rice and beans and were just going to make plain rice (Ash was particularly fine with this due to the coconut in the rice), but we decided to go all in. Continue reading

Redefining easy: Cocos Island ayam begana

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an Australian territory with a population of just over 600. Unsurprisingly, there aren’t loads of traditional recipes to be found online from a nation so small! In fact, a search for ‘Cocos Island national dish’ brings up… nothing. Nothing, that is, except the findings of Travel by Stove, who cooked around the world long before we did and did the investigative and interpretative grunt work for this particular recipe way back in 2012. So yes, we’ve taken a lazy approach to research this time, but let’s face it: we often do. And it fits in nicely with our new ‘keep it simple’ approach.

Simple appeared to be the name of the game with ayam (chicken) begana, which is a Cocos Malay dish. A fairly short list of ingredients, no overly complicated processes and a quick cooking time were just what we were after. Ash turned his nose up at the coconut, but beggars can’t be choosers and this was the only recipe we had. We decided to make it on Maundy Thursday, not because it’s anything to do with Easter but because we figured that with both of us at home for the following four days, we might actually manage to write a blog about it.

How did we get on? Find out after the recipe… Continue reading