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Oops. It was meant to be a fast day today, but I’m sorry, the temptation of going to Lyme Regis with a dear friend instead and eating a lovely lunch in a cafe got the better of me. Oh well!

In truth, I am in a celebratory mood to the max today, as OH’s results came through from the hospital. We’d been keeping it fairly quiet, but he’s had quite a nasty health scare recently (hence the motivation to start this whole food diet for the whole family!) and there was a question mark as to whether he had lymphoma or not.

It’s been a scary time no doubt, and it’s only now that I really appreciate what a black cloud we’ve been living under. I’m just so grateful that we’re one of the lucky ones and that OH is ok. It’s been a bit of a humbling experience in many ways; makes you really realise that actually, your life is just great and moaning about silly little things is a total waste of energy.

But regardless of the great outcome, we’re still going to continue this healthy diet. It was amazing today actually; we all inadvertently ended up in a healthy veggie cafe for lunch (not sure how it happened really!)

A few weeks ago, I’d have been looking at the menu and sighing heavily, dreading the embarrassment of putting ‘different’ foods in front of DB1 & 2, and watching them spurn it forcefully.

But today- it was totally incredible. I watched with growing amazement as the boys consumed a filo pastry style pizza with sundried tomatoes and carrot salad (DB1) and veggie sausages, roasted potatoes, salad, hummus and olives (DB2). Pretty much plates cleared on both counts. It’s a miracle! Halleloujah!

It may have just been a good day, I’ll keep you informed. It would be amazing to have boys who were happy to try everything and loved new foods…hmm…perhaps a little too much to ask!

Anyway, on to tonights tea. I’ve got some quorn sausages to use up, so I’m having an experiment with a bit of a mash up. I like mash ups in music, why not food, hey!

Tonight’s funky mix is a Jamaican style rice and bean dish (partially borrowed from The Accidental Vegetarian- another excellent cook book) and a slightly Spanish paella style twist with added sausage. Mainly because I’ve got some Quorn sausages that have been in the fridge for years and seriously need using up. Ahem.

Beany Ricey Sausages

You will need:

1) Some sausages! I’m using Quorn ones, but normal are fine. I’m also cooking normal ones for my boys, as they eat meat. OH eats meat, but he’s being force fed veggie produce. Ha ha!

2) A tbsp of olive oil / veg oil / whatever oil.

3) Lots of rice, dependent on greed level.

4) 400ml can of coconut milk

5) enough water for the rice to cook in.

6) 400g tin of kidney beans

7) fresh coriander to serve (I keep mine in the freezer, though it does go a bit soggy. Still, it makes it last a lot longer, with far less wasted.)

8) a handful of chopped thyme. (grow your own, we’ve got a massive one outside our front door!)

9) some chopped onions

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How to cook it:

1) If you are using brown rice like me, get it on first, as it takes a while to cook. Also, pop your meat sausages in the oven to cook, if you are using meat.

2) Heat some oil in a saucepan and fry your onions until soft.

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3) if using Quorn sausages, add them to the onions to fry gently, turning at regular intervals. I’d recommend two per person, but we’re one short, as I only had three left over. Boo. Leave to cook for about ten or so mins, until they look ‘done’. (obviously this step doesn’t apply if you’re having the meat ones, which will be cooking in the oven.)

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4) Add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then simmer. Add a little water if it starts to stick.

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5) Add the thyme and kidney beans and simmer for ten or fifteen mins or so. (hopefully enough time for that pesky slow cooking brown rice to have nearly cooked…!) If you’re a dab hand at subtle knife cutting tasks, gently slice the sausages whilst in the pan, into diagonal chunks.

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(Hmm. If there had been one more sausage, it would have looked a little less…stingy…)

6) Prod the brown rice to make sure it’s awake. (Honestly, it takes ages!)

7) Just before the rice is cooked through (when it’s still slightly al dente) drain it, and add it all to your coconut sausage mix.

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8) when it’s all looking nicely cooked, take off the heat and serve with chopped coriander on top! (if having with meaty sausages, take those out of the oven, chop them, and add to your rice.)

Hot tip- this is a deliberately lovely mild flavour for kids, if you want a bit of pep, add a smidge of hot pepper sauce. Yum!

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(I’m sure you can tell which one is for my fussy 3 year old, and which one is for my dustbin 2 year old!

Total Cost: including cost of leftover sausages, around £4.00. So it totals in at around £1.00 a head. Yes, I get the rice from my favourite budget website, Approved Food! ( by the way, I seriously don’t work for them or anything, they’re not paying me…I just really like them! They are so cheap!)

The Verdict?

Despite the fact that I was battling with two very tired kids on my hands, they actually did very well with it. DB1 preferred the kidney beans to the rice, and Db2 cleared about half of it before yawning loudly and pushing the plate away!

My verdict – it’s a really nice, filling dish, and the coconut milk gives it a nice, luxurious taste! If you are on a diet, there are reduced fat coconut milks you can buy.

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