Mushroom Risotto

October 9, 2012

Many of you probably know how to make risotto… I never really made it before. Its my husbands thing, he does it so well I never tried.

So when I went to the Square Food Foundation and learnt how to make it from a top chef… It was a surprise how easy it was… I know I know everyone says this.

They taught us little chef tricks; how to slice an onion really small and tips on how to make a risotto really great, and how important it is not to brown your onions.

So for a really amazing mushroom 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
100g sliced mushrooms – I used a mix of exotic mushrooms but chestnut would also work
salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g butter
115g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the stock.

Melt a knob of butter in a pan and add the mushrooms and the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring until the mushrooms soften and turn golden. Stir in 1 chopped clove of garlic and cook for a further minute and put to one side.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

When the rice is nearly cooked, and just before you add the final ladleful of stock, stir in the mushrooms. Remove from the heat and add the butter, parmesan and 1 tbsp of  mascapone if you like.

Season now to your taste…

Put a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes so it gets all creamy. Then eat!

This is now my favourite thing to make and I have already made a few different risottos, and I am now going to make sure I always have risotto rice in the house.

I now know how to make pasta.

This is a dangerous skill, for my waistline I mean. Especially when I make pasta and then serve it with butter over the top.

Hop on over to You Make Me Swoon for todays recipe.

It is really very good and I learnt it at The Square Food Foundation which is also very good and doing great things for food in Bristol. Go check them out.

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

After enjoying my day at the Phuket Cookery School so much when we arrived on Koh Lanta and had a couple of rainy days I suggested that my Husband and I do one together.

This is another great set up and a lovely small class, we went to Lanta Thai Cookery School.

They grow their own vegetables and herbs here in their garden…

And the school is tucked away within an orchard (?) of rubber trees.

It’s a big beautiful open room with much smaller stations than I had seen before, a little more basic and you all prepped together on one big table at the same time as the teachers, which again was different that before but I liked this way of doing things equally.

We also prepped each dish before cooking anything.

I am a tidy prepper.

One of the great things about a small group was that we got to pick what dishes we wanted to make.

One thing everyone wants to learn on a Thai cookery course is how to make curry paste. I was given a recipe and a small lesson before but we didn’t actually make the paste.

This time we all worked together to make a big lot of paste which then got split between us to make our curries.

You need;
1 stalk lemongrass minced 
1-3 green birdseye chilies sliced
1 shallot sliced or 4 tbsp minced red onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves & stems
1/2 cup fresh Thai basil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp shrimp paste
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
3-4 tbsp coconut milk (enough to blend ingredients together)

To make the paste pound all dry herbs & spices together first in a pestle and mortar to form a paste, then gradually add the wet ingredients, stirring until smooth.

Your paste should look something like this, and is now ready to go. This is a great thing to prepare in advance to make quick weeknight dinners.

For two you need;
2-3 tbsp curry paste
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tin coconut milk
4 chicken thighs (or two large chicken breasts if you prefer) cut into small bit size pieces
a handful of green beans or asparagus – or whatever vegetables you have to hand.
bunch of coriander or Thai basil

1. Heat a wok or large saucepan over medium to high heat.
Add 2-3 tbsp oil and swirl around and then add 2-3 tbsp of the green curry paste or to your own taste if you prefer it stronger. 
Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Do a taste check here and add more fish sauce for salt or more chilli if not quite hot enough etc.

2. Then add 1 tin of coconut milk, I use light at the moment and it’s (almost) as good, if a little thinner. Simmer this for a couple of minutes, add two kaffir lime leaves then start to add your curry ingredients, if you are adding meat do that sooner and then vegetables towards the end and cook through.

Garnish with Thai basil or coriander and chilli, serve with steamed Jasmine rice.

We also made the famous spicy seafood salad to start, very similar to the one I made before but without noodles, good recipe here

We also made a Pad Thai.

My Husband loves Pad Thai and will eat it anytime he has the option. We had eaten many by this point some great and some not so, the not so ones always tended to be a little too red/orange and here we found out why.

It looks this way when instead of making the ‘sauce’ from scratch a cheat version is used. So although the school didn’t teach us the proper method, we found out why sometimes it looked this way.

I also asked for tips while I was at Phuket Cookery School and will make this and share with you at some point soon.

Once again I got full very quickly and took my curry home to eat later. I was so glad I did as it was raining the BIG FAT Thailand storm rain that day.

See, check out those clouds, you couldn’t even see the top of the hills.

We went to Lanta Thai Cookery School and highly recommend it, the teachers are all chefs from various restaurants and can recommend spots on the island as well.


January 24, 2011

In keeping with being more adventurous at home and after having been inspired by Eat Like A Girl making this last week I decided to try and make calamari at the weekend… here are Niamh’s recipes; Calamari with Blood Orange and Fennel and Calamari with Cous Cous

I am quite squeamish still about touching meat and even some fish so for me to make this made me very proud of myself.

You need;
1 squid, cleaning and cut into rings (I asked my fishmonger to do this)
1 egg, whisked together
flour, I used buckwheat flour with massive amounts of sea salt and cracked black pepper in it

It’s massively simple to make… I put my flour in a wide shallow bowl and the egg in another, first swish a squid ring around in the flour then the egg then in the flour again…

The I filled our wok with about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and fried each side for 1 minute…

That really is it! I managed to touch squid for the first time and it was fine, although I did leave the tentacles for the Boy to cook later… I’m not quite there yet!

I made a lemon and black pepper mayo to serve and roasted some tomatoes for 20 minutes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

It was amazing… I am so making this all the time now!