Wednesday 18 June 2008

Sally's Cheesy Risotto

I don't like Risotto. At least I thought I didn't but over the past few days my great friend Sally from Pink Bytes was planning a birthday meal for her hubby. She decided on Cheesy Risotto from 'Nigella Express.' Sally had never had Risotto before. She loved it. I was so taken with her results I really wanted to like it too. Tonight I made it and I loved it. I realised the one and only time I had eaten Risotto it had been made with long grain rice and tasted just awful. This was so different and so simple. The stirring takes a little while but I found if I had the table set and all my accompaniments ready it was not a problem. Quite hypnotic and enjoyable. The results are worth it. I long now to try different ingredients to have a comparison. This was really tasty. The recipe does not run true as I added a few ingredients here and there as is my want.
Thank you Sally.

Nigella Lawson's Cheddar Cheese Risotto

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 baby leeks or 2 fat scallions, finely sliced
300gms/11oz risotto rice
125mls /4fl oz white wine
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 litre/1 3/4 pints hot vegetable stock
125gms/4oz chopped cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Melt the butter and oil in a medium-sized pan and cook the sliced baby leeks or scallions until softened.

Add the risotto rice and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat and add the wine and mustard, stirring until the wine is absorbed.

Start ladling in the hot stock, letting each ladleful become absorbed as you stir before adding the next one.

Stir and ladle until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes, then add the cheese, stirring it into the rice until it melts.

Take the pan straight off the heat, still stirring as you do, and then spoon into warmed dishes, sprinkling with some
of the chopped chives.

Changes I made

I used scallions instead of leeks and added a little garlic

I added eight of my home made semi-dried tomatoes, chopped , towards the end of the cooking time

I also added the juice of half a lemon. This gave a lovely flavour.

I had chicken stock in the freezer and used that instead of vegetable stock. I find the powdered variety can be a little salty.

I added a little more stock and cooked it a little longer as I like the rice a little softer

I had some Prosciutto that needed using up so I chopped it quite finely and sprinkled it over the risotto when serving.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Pork Chops with Marsala, Herbs and Capers

I love Nigel Slater. I love his writing. I love his love of food. I especially love his book 'Appetite'. I think the fact that his recipes are more of advice on how to do things rather than lists of ingredients and complex procedures is what appeals to me. I took this from the quick frying-pan suppers chapter. There is nothing to it but it is delicious. Just the thing when you don't want complications at the end of a tiring day and yet yearn for something tasty for dinner.

All that is required is

Pork Chops
A little seasoned flour-to very lightly coat the chops
Butter -a thick slice for frying the chop and a little bit cold from the fridge cut into chunks for the sauce.
A wine glassful of Marsala or some other appropriate booze such as Madeira or wine.
A squeeze of lemon juice
Herbs of your choice
Capers and of course the obligatory frying pan

Toss the chops very lightly in the flour and shake to get rid of the excess. This gives a light crust.
Melt the butter in the hot pan (with a little oil to stop the butter burning)
When it is frothing put in the chops. The underside will be golden in a matter of moments so turn to cook the other side.
When cooked remove to a warm place.
Tip out most of the butter and add your booze.
Let it bubble and froth while you scrape and stir all the nice bits from the bottom of the pan.
As it froths and reduces add the herbs capers and lemon juice and some salt and pepper.
Add the little chunks of butter whisking until you have a glossy sauce.
Pour the sauce over the meat.

I served this with creamed potatoes and sliced green beans but it is your choice.