Food. Travel. Recipes.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Main course - Roasted mushroom risotto with parsley (Jamie Oliver)

To my knowledge, I have yet to put a risotto recipe on here. I have no idea why as it is pretty much one of my favourite meals to make, a go to recipe and I have made it so many times that I have my own risotto routine really! I took my inspiration for this from Jamie Oliver's, Jamie's Italy cookbook who had such a yummy recipe, where he roasted the mushrooms in a delicious buttery garlicky sauce and then added the parsley which really gives the dish more flavour.. Mushrooms always give the rice such depth and richness, which makes the meal feel a lot more decadent than it actually is.

So to start you need to make the risotto bianco, now this is my way of doing it, it might be different (or very similar) to other people's methods but it always works for me. Some people (my mum included) like to put the risotto in the oven after it's been made in the pan, it does turn out nicely but I prefer the risotto straight from the pan as it has a better texture and is more creamy. You will also notice that the recipe calls for a LOT of stirring, this is because stirring is pretty much the basis for direction in making risotto, all the ingredients need to be mixed and infused together well to get the right consistency.


(for 4 people)

A knob of butter
Olive oil (a couple of tablespoons)
1 onion (chopped)
1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
1 glass of white wine
400g risotto rice (arborio)
1.5 litres of stock (chicken/beef stock will give more depth to the dish and vegetable will be lighter but still just as nice!)
A very generous grating of parmesan cheese (the more the better I say!)

200g wild mushrooms (chopped - I only managed to find regular mushrooms and chestnut although chestnut do have a lovely flavour, shitake mushrooms would be even better for this and would definitely add a different taste)
Sea salt and black pepper
1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and halved
A small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 tablespoon butter
A small bunch of fresh parsley, very finely chopped
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200C.

You want to make this using a fairly large, deep pan as you will be pouring in quite a bit of stock, so the pan needs to hold all of that! Heat the pan and add a drizzle of oil, a small knob of butter, the chopped onions and garlic. Stir so all the ingredients are nicely mixed, and cook until the onions are starting to slightly brown.

Add the risotto rice and mix everything together well for around 10-20 seconds so the rice is covered in the butter and onions. Then add a glass of white wine and stir again.

When the wine has been reduced by half and the rice has started to soak it up, start adding the stock. You will need to add enough stock to just cover the rice, then keep stirring, and when it has been absorbed, keep adding some more a little bit at a time. Try the rice to see if it tastes cooked, if not add more stock!

While the rice is cooking and soaking up the stock, start on the mushrooms.

Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil and then add the chopped mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms are slightly browned and shrunk in size. Add the garlic, thyme and butter and mix together well. Then empty onto an oven tray and pop in the oven for around 10 minutes, so the mushrooms are completely roasted and full of buttery garlic flavour!

At this point I served the starter, so I left the pan on the stove with the heat off and the lid on and turned off the oven, but left the mushrooms in there to keep warm.

After the starter, get the heat going on the risotto again, give it a good mix. Then add the roasted mushrooms, grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

Squeeze some lemon juice over it and stir well. Serve straight away!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Starter - Crostini with minted courgettes (Two Greedy Italians)

I made this as a starter to a three course meal that I cooked for my family, I made the starter and main course and my mum made a beautiful bread and butter pudding for dessert. I thought I would show the starter and main course separately, as it would mean two posts that are more concise than just long!

This is from the Two Greedy Italians by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, a cookbook that I got for my birthday. There are so many meals I want to make from this; pretty much every recipe, but I ended up picking the first recipe of the book! It's a simple starter that requires little effort but can still appear impressive and is definitely tasty!

For 4 people.


1 large courgette, thinly sliced (or you could use a peeler to get wafer thin slices)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
10 mint leaves, chopped. Plus extra for garnish
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 ciabatta loaf, sliced (you may need to use more if you're cooking for more people!)
a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced

Preheat the oven to 200C

Peel/slice the courgette and arrange on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little salt and drizzle with oil. Cook for 10 minutes until golden.

While the courgettes are cooking, you can make the dressing. Mix the olive oil, garlic, mint leaves, vinegar and a sprinkling of black pepper in a bowl.

When the courgettes are nicely browned, add to the dressing and mix. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes or so.

While it is marinating, pop the sliced ciabatta under the grill until toasty and golden.

When the ciabatta is cooked, arrange a couple of slices on a plate and top with the courgettes, a drizzle of dressing, a few cherry tomatoes and finish with a garnish of mint leaves! I also roasted some portobello mushrooms to have with it, and just roasted them with a bit of garlic oil and had on the side of the crostini.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Just a quick post, (I wanted to do a longer one but they do take me quite a while and I like to take my time) I realised I haven't covered breakfast on here yet which is by far my favourite meal of the day, I'm going through a bit of a weird phase at the moment where it seems too early to eat and can't seem to eat in the mornings anymore which annoys me because eating breakfast helps kickstart your metabolism into working! However, for those days that I do eat breakfast, I like to make quite a lot of effort and it usually involves eggs.

I prefer having poached eggs, it's so delicious when the yolk is lovely and runny! My poached eggs always look quite strange (just because of how they are done in the saucepan) but they do work!

My top tips are -

- use a saucepan full of boiling water - put a few drops of vinegar in (this helps the egg stay together) you can use white wine vinegar, malt vinegar or even balsamic vinegar. I quite like the taste of vinegar so I don't mind it when eating the egg but would recommend a couple of drops of malt vinegar if you're not a big fan!

- when the water is near bubbling pour the raw egg in, it may sort of spread out in the pan so gently using a wooden spoon push the egg so it's more together

- leave for around 3 minutes for a nice runny egg, the water may go crazy and bubble a lot so you will have to turn it down but by that time it is usually near done

- scoop the egg out of the saucepan using a slotted spoon so the water can drain through and you don't get soggy bread!

My breakfast of a sesame seed bagel with caramelised onion chutney, 2 poached eggs, pepper and a scattering of fresh thyme
(you will be able to see in the image what I mean about how the poached egg looks, but trust me, it's good and like a normal poached egg!)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Apple turkey burgers with a sweet red onion salsa and HALLOUMI (the god of all cheeses)

This recipe was taken from the Good Food channel website, I was looking for something to make with turkey mince which was healthy but still tasty and burgers seemed to be a top choice which I was glad of, because when I lived with my friend Lily, she made the most delicious turkey burgers on a couple of occasions and I've always wanted to make them/have them again. I liked that with this meal the burger mix was slightly different as it featured apples! And there were accompaniments to the meal (salsa, halloumi), I love accompaniments - any sauces or sides that can go with the main meal to make it even more scrumptious, is fine by me!

You will see that the recipe has a spicy tomato salsa, I decided to make a sweet salsa instead using red onions and missing out the green chilli, I just used a small red chilli to give a kick.

Ingredients (Makes more than enough for 4)

For the burger mix -

  • 500 g minced turkey
  • 2 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, grated or finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • For the salsa -

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (red onion to make it a sweet salsa)
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Optional - 1-2 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (if you want it really spicy!) or 1-2 red chilli (for a mild kick)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • black pepper

  • You will also need -

  • 4 x ciabatta rolls
  • 150g halloumi cheese (or however much you want!)

It's easier to make the salsa first as you can leave that to the side and have it as hot or cold as you like!

So chop the red onion, garlic, red/green chilli and tomatoes. Then heat a little olive oil in a pan and when it's hot, chuck in the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes and then add the other dry ingredients and fry together. Add the chopped tomatoes and season. If you want the salsa thick, stick a lid on the pan and leave it, it usually thickens to a paste like texture. I just cooked the ingredients until hot and then poured into a bowl to cool down.

Put all of the burger mix ingredients in a bowl and mix well using your hands. Add the cinnamon and season well. Divide into four burgers (you may end up having more)
I made mine quick thick but it's up to you how big/small you want the burgers.

I lightly cooked the burgers on the hob to brown them first, and then popped them in the oven for around 15 minutes. You'll have to keep checking, mine took longer cos they were masshoosive but it really is dependent on how big they are! I would say for an average size burger to brown it and then put in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the burgers are in the oven, chop up the halloumi lengthways. Add a tiny bit of oil to a saucepan (I used the same one as the salsa) and lightly fry until the halloumi is lovely and golden.

When the halloumi is almost done (it takes around 5-10 minutes) pop the ciabatta rolls in the grill and lightly toast. By now the burgers should be ready and it is time to assemble, ciabatta roll (1 half or both - depending on how much bread you want!), burger, halloumi and salsa over the top. I served it with plain and sweet potato wedges. A cold Corona is lovely with this!