Monks’ favourite rice with sherry, parsley & olives

This is a Spanish dish popular with monks, adapted from Keith Floyd’s book of hangover cures. Parsley, lemon and cayenne pepper are all well-known for their cleansing properties, whilst the olives bring it all together beautifully. This dish should give you a very pleasing warm glow in your stomach.

Serves 2


1 knob of butter (optional)
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice or rice mix (eg brown, wild, black and red)
1 heaped teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 wineglass dry sherry
1 pint chicken stock (home-made or ready-made in a tub) or vegetable stock
A pinch of saffron strands
2 cups frozen peas
A bunch of parsley, chopped
10-15 Real Olive Co Kalamata black olives, pitted and sliced
Freshly-ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil


Cook the rice until it is approximately 10 minutes away from being done. Drain and put to one side.

Heat 3 tablespoons water and the knob of butter (if using) in a frying pan. Once the water is steaming, add the onions and garlic and cook until softened – about five minutes. If you want to use oil, you can add a splash of light olive oil – this is better for cooking with than extra-virgin olive oil (you can save that for drizzling at the end).

Add the rice and stir in – a cup of rice makes around three cups of cooked rice; if you prefer less rice you can add just two cups of the cooked rice (in which case you may wish to use less stock; adding the rest in later if needed). Add the cayenne pepper and stir in. Add the sherry, simmer for a minute, then the stock and saffron. Cook until the rice is almost ready, then add the peas and olives and cook until the peas are cooked and the liquid is all absorbed. If you need to, add more liquid.

Take off the heat, mix in the lemon juice, and serve with a good sprinkling of parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.