Friday, 24 February 2012


I love risotto.  I make it once a week.  There's a myth that it's time consuming and faffy to make.  Maybe the proper way cheffy way is but I've developed a cheat's method that doesn't involve adding hot stock a ladle at a time and stirring constantly to get that starchy creamy effect.  My risotto starts off vegetarian to suit my veggie teen then I add or serve it with meat, fish or vegetables.

Risotto with Salmon

Red Onion Risotto with Aubergine

Chicken Risotto

Basic Risotto

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2tbsp olive oil
25g butter
150g arborio rice
2 tsp stock powder
1 glass of white wine (optional but nice)
large handful of peas and/or sweetcorn
full kettle of boiling water
150ml of cream
50g to 100g strong cheese, grated

Melt the butter and oil together in a non stick wok
Add the onion and gently soften for 5 mins
Add garlic and stir
Add rice and stir
Fry gently until the rice is well coated with oil/onion mixture and sizzling
Add wine if using
Stir until there is no liquid left.

Now here's the cheat's way.  Normally you would add a ladle full of stock at a time, stirring until it was absorbed.  Then repeat, repeat, repeat until the rice was soft.  I just add half a kettle of boiling water to the pan with the stock powder.  And stir.  Let it simmer for about 10 mins.

The pan is non stick so the rice shouldn't stick to the bottom but stir it regularly until most of the water is absorbed.  Taste the rice.  If it's still hard add more boiling water.

Add the peas/sweetcorn
Simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Add the cream and cheese.
Stir well and serve with your chosen meat/fish or just on its own.

Rosotto is meant to be sloppy but make sure most of the water is gone before adding the cream.  I've also used yoghurt, creme fraiche and Carnation milk(!) when I had no cream.  And you can use any kind of cheese you fancy.

I always make more than I need so I have leftovers!!  It reheats well with a little water added.  But I tried a new way with leftover risotto this week. 

Risotto Cakes

100g of leftover risotto
2 eggs
dried breadcrumbs

Add 1 beaten egg to the risotto and mix well
Shape into patties
Dip patties in the second beaten egg and then dip in breadcrumbs (very messy but fun!!)
Fry gently in a little oil until golden on both sides and hot

I'd love to have a go at making arancini which are risotto balls with a piece of cheese in the middle.  They're also dipped in egg and breadcrumbs but then deep fried.  At present I don't have a deep fryer but maybe one day.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Frog soup and more cake

It doesn't have real frogs in it, it's just very green!!!  We call it frog soup as my one of my sons remarked it looked like frogs! One of my favourite quick soups and is just as nice served as a cold soup in summer.  Honest!

Leek and Courgette Soup

I don't usually saute my vegetables before adding stock to make soup.  I've found over the years it doesn't make a difference to the finished taste and it saves on calories.  But this is one of the exceptions.

2 courgettes (diced)
1 large leek (sliced)
50g butter
1 litre vegetable stock

Gently saute the vegetables in the butter for 5 mins before adding the stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins.
Blitz until smooth.

Tropical Fruit Loaf

6oz butter
6oz sugar
6oz self raising flour
3 eggs
2oz glace ginger (chopped)
2 1/2oz dessicated coconut
2oz tinned pineapple, drained and chopped

Cream butter and sugar
Add eggs 1 at a time
Add flour
Fold in ginger, coconut and pineapple

Bake in a loaf tin 40-45 mins

The above recipe was created by my friend Sarah.  Her blog is Unbought Delicacies.

Years ago I read that you can take out 1oz/25g of sugar from cake recipes without it altering the outcome.  The cake in the photo had 5 oz of sugar and still tastes delicious :-)

Monday, 20 February 2012


Two recipes that used up some fruit and veg lying around.  The bananas were squishy and black.  The carrots and peppers were leftover crudities.  The banana loaf is an old handwritten recipe I've used for years.  Measurements are imperial, not metric. 

Banana and Cranberry loaf

6oz self raising flour (sifted)
5oz butter (softened)
4oz caster sugar
3 eggs (beaten)
2 or 3 ripe bananas (mashed)
2oz dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add eggs a little at a time, adding a spoonful of flour to prevent curdling
Add bananas and cranberries
Fold in flour
Pour into a greased loaf tin
Bake at 190C or baking oven for 40 mins until middle is firm (skewer test)
If it needs longer cover top with tin foil and bake for another 10 mins
Cool on a wire rack

I use paper liners from Lakeland, saves a lot of faffing with greasing tins and it looks nicer if you're giving it to someone

Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

Approx 3 carrots, 1 red pepper and 1/2 yellow pepper cut into sticks
Approx 25g red lentils
3/4 litre veg stock
1/2 tsp crushed chillies

Add everything to a pan and bring to the boil
Simmer until carrots are soft
Blitz until smooth
Serve with a dollop of yoghurt

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Fruit n Nut Porridge

Whoops, didn't realise I'd not posted since December but there is something very exciting happening here soon so stick with me ;-)

Fruit n Nut Porridge

I love porridge.  Cheap, quick to make and fills you up.  I'm not traditional and like to put fruit and stuff in mine.  So I made up a huge batch of oats, barley flakes, chopped hazelnuts, cranberries, apricot and date pieces, sunflower seeds, linseeds and dessicated coconut.  No sugar.

Add about 50g of the mix to approx 300ml of water/milk (I like more milk than water, but it's just your preference)  Bring gently to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Serve with a swirl of honey or agave nectar.

Soba noodles with prawns and broccoli

I recently discovered soba noodles.  Made from buckwheat which isn't a wheat, so great if you're wheat intolerant.  And they're a doddle to prepare.  Just pour boiling water over them and leave for about 5 mins.  Drain and they're ready to use.

The above dish isn't a recipe as such.  I just stir fried some sliced red peppers with some broccoli florets in a little sesame oil and soya sauce.  Then I added some cooked king prawns until they were warmed.  Serve over the cooked soba noodles.  Yummy!