My threenahalf year old loves watching cookery programmes on TV, especially the kiddie aimed ones. He has a great memory and tends to recite the recipes to me, or advise in the supermarket that we should buy different things to make his recipe from TV. His latest query was whether we have turmeric, and on enquiry I was told that we had everything else to make “Betty’s Sandcastles” and really we should buy turmeric to make the sand yellow. It was difficult to disagree. The reason for the odd request was thanks to a CBeebies DVD which had an episode of “Big Cook, Little Cook” which made “Betty Blue’s Veggie Sandcastles”. I sat through the episode and agreed that it was a great idea, and the turmeric was procured.
The “sandcastles” are essentially rice and vegetables in a mould. They make a good sized lunch for a child and you can experiment with mould/pot sizes according to your kids’ appetites. They are a lot of fun to make and the kids were very hands on doing it, except when the older one fled the room at the sight of the onion on the chopping board. We used a beaker, a disposable party cup and a weaning pot and this recipe filled all three.
I wanted to tweak the recipe a bit but was being strictly supervised and the script of the programme was being recited to me almost verbatim, so eventually out of concern for flavour and doubting how much the turmeric could actually do I sneakily added a stock cube. Half a teaspoon of curry powder would work well too.
It’s also appropriate that the first recipe on “Bumbles of Rice” is a rice based one.
I couldn’t find a written version of the recipe to link to but it’s available in the original on this DVD.
Betty Blue’s Veggie Sandcastles from “Big Cook Little Cook” on CBeebies
150 g long grain rice (We used brown Uncle Ben’s rice)
Half a small onion
Half a cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon turmeric
Half a yellow pepper (red would work well too)
4 tomatoes (we used 9 cherry tomatoes as I thought they were more flavoursome)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Chicken stock cube (I sneaked this is as a variation on the original)
Cold water to fill cover in saucepan
Butter for greasing
Plastic beaker/disposable cup (see photos for what I used)
For the very important flag on top:
A straw/cocktail stick
A triangle of card
Chop the onion and pepper finely and fry with the turmeric in the olive oil for about 5 minutes over a medium heat until soft.
Then add the rice and tomatoes and add enough cold water to cover. (I recommend sneaking in the stock cube now). Measure the frozen peas but don’t add them yet. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and put a lid on the saucepan for as long as your rice takes to cook (10-15 minutes).
This is a great time for you or your impatient helper to make the flag. Just cut out a triangle of card and decorate it, attach to the straw or cocktail stick with sellotape. We shortened the straw to make it more proportionate.
Check the mixture while cooking and if it’s boiling dry add a little more water. When the time is up and the rice is cooked add the frozen peas and stir through the mixture. They will have defrosted since you took them out of the freezer earlier.
Tightly pack the mixture into the greased tumbler, pressing it down. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then place the plate that you want to serve the castle on on top of the beaker like this…
and gently turn it over, keeping the plate in place
Then tap the top, like you would a sandcastle and very slowly lift the beaker to reveal your sandcastle. Then decorate with the flag