Instead of a starter when I have people over I like to serve nibbles… it takes the pressure off in that I don’t have to make lots of things plus if dinner runs late people don’t go hungry.

I served some really bright green olives, sourdough bread, mozzarella and some beautiful figs.

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Before the main event and my new favourite thing… risotto!

You need;
2 pints stock (chicken, or vegetable) note that if you don’t have fresh buy the best cubes you can find
2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ head celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wine glasses dry white wine
1 small butternut squash, cut into bite sized cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g butter + more for sage leaves
handful of fresh sage
115g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
150g mascarpone cheese to serve

So…

1. You need to roast the squash pieces first, peel and cut your squash and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes, coat in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the stock.

3. Put the oil and butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring… This is called a soffrito. You want everything to go translucent.

4. Then add the rice and very briefly lightly fry until the edges go a little translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring – it will smell fantastic.

5. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.

6. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.

7. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.

8. When the rice is nearly cooked, and just before you add the final ladleful of stock, stir in the butternut squash. Remove from the heat and add the butter, and parmesan.

Season now to your taste…

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Put a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes so it gets all creamy. Meanwhile quickly heat up a big knob of butter and fry your sage leaves until it starts to brown.

Serve your risotto with the sage leaves on top and add a cool dollop of mascarpone on top, let it melt into the hot rice… its amazing trust me.

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I served this with a beautiful kale salad, which I will have to share with you soon!

 And my second favourite thing about having friends to dinner? Leftovers! Figs and mozzarella and honey. Yum.

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So I have some news…

I have decided to consolidate my blogs, I am moving Full as an Egg over to Swoon as a regular blog post.

I have not decided what to do with this address so for now I am going to re-post while I decide as I have quite a few subscribers here, any suggestions?

Pop over to Swoon today for a great quick and easy spaghetti recipe… 

Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Kale and Bacon

Beerd, Bristol

August 6, 2012

I like Beerd. A lot.

I liked everything about it, the menu, the staff (so lovely), the bar, the furniture.

It’s so colourful in here…

I love Tolix chairs… took all my willpower not to try to leave with one. They are what I want for our garden one day.

And they have booths (kind of)… my favourite.

But anyway enough about the furniture… the pizza and beer are worth the trip too…

They have a changing selection of craft beers, more than just Bath Ales, so they should always be something  new.

In fact the bar snacks and drinks are worth the trip alone, if I had my way we have just ordered all of these…

We did have to order the onion rings after spotting them arrive at another table… they were so good, you have to promise to get them too okay?

And pizza, the reason we were here, it’s my husband’s favourite… he picked Salami and Roasted Chilli and I Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil.

They were proper. Mine was so rich and I wished I had given up earlier because our great waitress wrapped the last piece up for me to take home.

Cold pizza for breakfast rocks.

I highly recommend the Mozzarella pizza. It was delicious.

Goes without saying I think you should visit… and the staff really are great, friendly, attentive and knowledgable.

Beerd – St Michael’s Hill, Bristol

Bayleaf – Byron Bay

June 7, 2012

One of my favourite things about Australia was how serious they take their coffee. I mean I don’t think I had a bad cup of coffee the whole time I was there… I think I have told you this already… but Bayleaf is a great example of an Ozzie coffee shop.

It really seemed like it was the place to be and even though it is teeny it was always packed.

They used coffee ground a couple of streets away.

I love the communal space and the food looked amazing, go pay them a visit if you’re in town and get an iced coffee – it has ICE CREAM in it!

Bayleaf – Byron Bay

Another day, another Byron Bay gem.

This is the way we walked to the treehouse…

It’s actually quicker than walking through town a whole lot prettier.

The restaurant looks quite big but the actual inside isn’t huge they just have lots of beautiful outside space under the shade of parasols and trees.

The treehouse is famous for pizza, and even thought that’s what we went for and my Husband is obsessed we didn’t manage one. The breakfasts are also supposed to be great.

Like I have already mentioned we ate very well in Australia, so this we really wanted a light dinner. We ordered some dips to snack on, but the sourdough bread was so delicious we ended up eating quite a lot of it.

We also shared this amazing goats cheese salad with butternut squash and lots of pine nuts, very much like one I eat a lot at home. And then we were done!

But do go to Treehouse if you visit the Bay… and have a pizza for me. And definitely walk along the beach.

***Have just been informed that at the moment it is closed due to a fire, bad news! Hopefully by the time you visit they’ll be open again, I wish them luck***

Sake – Brisbane

May 23, 2012

So this restaurant was one of our food highlights on the whole trip… Sake is an amazing Sushi – Japanese restaurant in Brisbane.

The space is amazing, they have private rooms as well as traditional booths and then a huge normal restaurant space with tables and chairs.

We booked ahead and got a booth, the kind you have to climb into.

We started with cocktails, and there were many. They were all great, they have a dedicated bar staff here and our waitress was great at talking us through choices and making up bespoke cocktails to our tastes.

There were 5 of us which was great as it meant we got to try lots of different things.

I love these, and have said this before, but I have to get them when I can. So simple and so good.

 
The plate of sashimi was definately the best I had ever eaten. Look at the colours on that fish. So fresh.

The steamed prawn dumpling. Oh my. I can still remember these. I really wish I could make them.

These are Miso-Barra lettuce cups. Little bits of miso marinated fish – barrimundi in this case.


We randomly ordered a mushroom salad but it was filled with so many exotic mushrooms cooked just so, it was brilliant and unexpectly something we all fought over.


These are crispy chicken pieces, just like KFC… joke. Served with three very different and tasty sauces. I cannot remember what they were except I like the cremy slightly hot one in the middle.


This is the Wagyu beef, marinated in ginger and soy with chives. This was intense and so so good, I ate so much of this beef I felt bad for everyone else.

My plate looks bad in this photograph but I had to show you the pink colour of the meat. It melted in my mouth.

 
Popcorn shrimp, so light and little tiny bite size pieces. Very dangerously good as I doubt it’s as good for you as it is light. The sauce served with it was described as a cremey spicy sauce and I think the same one I liked with the chicken.

Salt and pepper tofu was ordered purely because my husband is obsessed. It was great.

Everyones aboslute favourite and the restaurant famous signiture dish; sushi tacos served with a shot of sake. We got tuna and salmon and then ordered another lot. These were so good and the ritual of the shot make them so much fun. I loved these, and again the fish was insanely good.

This was a cocktail some of us had served with a ball of ice, they have a special machine to make this. I had to show you.

Desserts were also good but not in the same league.

I had a chocolate bomb which was so rich and nearly pushed me over the edge. The sorbet served with it was beautiful though.

A berry creme brulee.

And a make shift apple tart. Which was the best chocie I think.
 

If you go here all you need to know if take a big group so you can order lots, drink cocktails and sake and get the sushi tacos.

 

This is the view from outside. Pretty amazing huh?

Sake – Brisbane

 

***edit*** just found this about ice balls for whiskey, check it out; http://www.coolhunting.com/food-drink/whisky-ice-ball.php

Salt – Brisbane

May 21, 2012

One of my resounding memories of the food in Australia is its freshness and slight differences in similar dishes made for the sunny life…

Like this breakfast which I have been recreating. Instead of a fry up and very filling and tasty eggs, bacon and avocado. Amazing.

Salt is one of those places that make you want the lifestyle here, very open you sit out on the deck or inside the airy restaurant on hot days drinking huge glasses of juice, or wine and just enjoy the sunshine.

On a very hungover morning we made it here and I had so much trouble deciding as all the breakfast dishes sounded amazing.

Breakfast pizza anyone? Some great ideas on this menu, and nothing you need a recipe for.

Amazing strawberry smoothies.

In the end I just copied everyone else.

It was so amazing, the best avocado I ever tasted. And ordinarily I don’t like hollandaise but this little drizzle of light sauce was great, no gloopy think stuff here.

Some weirdo’s got salmon, I used to be a person who chose salmon over bacon… that doesn’t happen anymore.

 
 Salt – Brisbane