Monday, December 6, 2010

Chestnut and Pancetta Risotto

Hi everyone,

Happy December!

I wont mention the weather if you don't.

On a lighter and more delicious note it's the festive season and if you're like me this means that the little voice in your head that normally says "you probably shouldn't" now slurs in your ear "you most definitely should".

My fridge is stocked with all my favourite things, cheeses, sun dried tomatoes, pates, more cheeses, chutneys and also sorts of hummus and dippy things. And then there's all the cooking and baking. It's a regular Roman festival in the kitchen at the moment. Minus the vomitorium, that's just a waste of good food.

I read a recipe over the weekend for Pappardelle with Chestnuts and Pancetta. It looked and sounded delicious but I'm been craving risotto so I decided to put my own twist on it. It turned out well, it's a comforting, savoury winter dish and very festive looking with it's green on light brown appearance. So allow me to introduce -

Chestnut and Pancetta Risotto

Serves 1 hungry person

75g Risotto rice (Arborio for me)
50g Pancetta, cubed
75g Vac Packed Chestnuts
Small amount of Garlic infused oil, about 2tsp
1/4 cup of Pedro Ximinez (Any sweet white wine or sherry would also be good)
Water from a boiled kettle as needed
Chopped Parsley, 1tbsp
Chopped Chives, 1tbsp
Generous knob of butter
Salt and Pepper to season

Heat the garlic oil on medium. You don't need more than a tsp or two because the fat in the pancetta will begin to render down as it cooks.

Add the meat to the garlic oil and cook until it starts to brown, but not crisp.

Add the rice to the pan. Stir it around until it is covered in oil. Fry the rice for a couple of mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to colour.

At this point add the alcohol. One good glug is enough, especially if you are using the sherry, it will overpower the dish otherwise. Stand back to avoid the alcohol cloud.

Stir the rice until the alcohol has been absorbed. Turn the heat down to a simmer and begin to add the water, about a 1/4 cup at a time, allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding the next. Stir the dish regularly to encourage all the creamy starch out of the rice.

While the risotto is simmering open the packet of chestnuts and place them on a chopping board. Give them a gentle whack with the back of your knife to break them open. They should crumble easily into meaty chunks without too much knife work.

When the rice has stopped absorbing the liquid (it will creamy without being dry) but still has a bit of bite add the chestnuts and about half your herbs. Stir it all up and taste for seasoning. You wont need much salt bacause of the pancetta but I think a bit of black pepper here is nice.

Now turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir well then clamp on a lid and leave the rice to sit for a couple of minutes.

When you can't wait any longer plate it up, garnish with the remaining herbs and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's here!

Hey fellow foodies! It's been ages since I last blogged. I wish I had some glittering excuses but alas the truth is very boring. I've been pounding the pavements and begging anyone in a business suit to give me a job. That's right people I'm trying to move on and up! This eating lark is an expensive mistress.(Food ain't cheap ya know, you try eating lobsters and quails eggs and imported poussin from Antarctic every night and you'll soon need a better job too...)

Got my copy of Nigella Lawson's Kitchen today. Have only had time to skim it so far but I like what I've seen. Even just the look and feel is fabulous, it's a hefty tome and reminds me of all my grandmother's thick cookery books, minus the lovely worn in look of dried batter soaked pages and sepia tinged pages.

Seriously need some sleep (and some food related reading) so bedtime for me. ZZZZZZZZZ

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spicy Indian Style Potatoes

Ahoy ahoy fellow foodies! It's a new month and although I haven't been blogging recently, you can be sure I have been eating. I've made some really tasty things over the past week or so, but I keep forgetting to take pictures. By the time I remember the food is usually half eaten and looking positively indecent!

No work for me today, thankfully, so I've been taking it easy. Bagel for breakfast and a whole bag of microwave butter popcorn for dinner.... But I did manage to tear myself away from the bedroom around lunch time. I had some boiled New Potatoes left over from last night's dinner. Taking inspiration from a recipe I recently read in Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries I decided to make a simple, spicy lunch.

Spicy Indian Potatoes

Leftover Potatoes, enough for one
A Tbsp of vegetable oil
Some grated nutmeg
1 Tsp turmeric
1 Tsp ginger
Lots of chilli flakes
A pinch of cinnamon
1 small onion, cut in half and sliced

A wide pan for frying and a bowl for the potatoes

Heat the oil on medium setting (2 on my cooker).

Add the onion and fry until the start to go soft.

Sprinkle all the spices and chilli flakes over the potatoes. Mix them around with your hands until they are evenly coated.

Add the potatoes to the pan. Fry them until they are heated through and a little crispy.

Serve with a good dollop of plain yoghurt.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mousse update!

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the Word of Mouth Blog have been trying out chocolate mousse recipes. I made some yesterday, using Felicity Cloakes recipe, with a few added extras - a tsp of strong coffee and a grating of nutmeg in the mix and once again over the set mousse. The recipe makes 2 mousses.

It takes about 4 hours to set. I only got around to eating mine earlier. I had planned on having it last night but there an incident that involved a LOT of goats cheese, cherries and of course some wine. Let's just say there was no more room left at the inn. I eventually passed out in feverish cheese-sweats haze.... Good times!

The mousse was nice but I think I'll add a little more sugar next time. Mine seemed a little heavy too, my egg whites could have done with a little more whisking. But it was still very tasty and is definitely a good dessert for choc loving grown ups (the coffee and dark 70% cocoa wouldn't appeal to a child's sticky palate).

Some raspberries sprinkled over the top wouldn't be bad thing either methinks.

A simple supper of leftovers

Ahoy ahoy fellow foodies! I hope your Sunday has been as lazy and uneventful as mine. I'm thinking of making some fairy cakes later, it feels like that kind of evening, some baking and wine and of course some TV.

We had some leftover roast chicken in the fridge this evening so I put together a very simple meal of chicken, Parmesan and parsley on a couple of slices of toasted sourdough bread. I made some aioli to slather on the bread and on the chicken, to help the Parmesan and chopped parsley to stick... not just to be overindulgent, I swear!

I used Auntie Delia's recipe for the aioli, modified slightly to suit what I had in the kitchen. It's basically a homemade mayo that is packed to it's gills with enough garlic to slay many, many vampires.

Aioli Sauce

Makes about 130ml

1 large egg yolk
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1/2 tsp of mustard (I used English mustard)
1/2 tsp salt
A good dash of black pepper from the mill
130 ml of vegetable oil
White wine vinegar

You'll need a bowl and a whisk. You could use an electric mixer also, but I felt like I could do with the exercise!

Put your egg into your bowl, then add the garlic, mustard and your seasoning. Mix them all well together. You can add more salt and pepper later if needed.

Place your oil into a jug. Now add just a drop of the oil to the mix and whisk that in. This recipe is a bit slow to start but as Auntie Deals says, it's the key to success!

Continue adding the oil in drop by drop, followed each time by a good whisking, until the mixture has started to thicken. At this stage you can then start adding larger amount of oil before each whisk.

When about half of the oil has been added, add in a bout half a teaspoon of vinegar to thin the mixture down. Now you can add the rest of the oil in a steady stream, whisking the whole time.

When it is all in, taste and season with more salt,pepper and vinegar if needed. I added in about half a tsp of vinegar and more pepper at this stage.

And you're done! The aioli can be stored in a screw top jar in the fridge for no longer than a week.

All that was left to do then was toast the bread, tear the chicken meat of the bone and chop some parsley. And assemble it all of course!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday afternoon FTW!

Slept until half one this afternoon. Tidy. Then had some french toast for breakfast(lunch?) Tidier still.

1 large egg, a dash of milk, a little vanilla essence all whisked together. Dipped two slices of bread in the mix. Fried them in butter until nice and brown. Served with obscene amounts of maple syrup. Hurray for lazy Saturdays!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Something for the weekend

Ahoy ahoy!

I came across a couple of interesting recipes today during the daily blog catch up. Firstly, on the word of mouth blog the lovely Felicity Cloakes is trying and testing chocolate mousse recipes. I've yet to make a mousse I was pleased with so I'm going to give it a go over the weekend.

Secondly, via Boing Boing, your source for all things nerdtastic, a really cool recipe for banana ice cream which only has one ingredient, bananas! Apparently the small amount of fat in bananas means that when frozen they whip up into a really easy, dairy free ice cream! So I'm going to give that a go too and if it works out well then the tweaking shall begin!