Tag Archives: rice

Risotto for Autumn

Autumn is here in London, we have been super lucky with the weather this week, it has been sunny and crisp cold – perfect for me to find an Autumnal dinner for us. I chose a Jamie Oliver recipe from his Jamie’s Kitchen book which my Mum has. Roast Squash, Pancetta and Chestnut Risotto. It is a little faffy to cook but well worth it – I have simplified the recipe a little here to make it easier to write down and follow.

Serves 4

1 Squash – cut into chunks, save the seeds

2 dried chillies – diced (1tbsp dried chilli will also work)

1tbsp crushed coriander seeds

Salt & Pepper

12 slices pancetta

100g Chestnuts – diced

1 handful Sage leaves – sliced

1 Onion – diced

2 Cloves Garlic – diced

300g Risotto Rice

2 tbsp butter

1l Vegetable Stock –keep heated

60g Parmesan

Coat the squash chunks in the coriander seeds and chilli with some olive oil and pop into the oven at 200 degrees to roast for 30 minutes. You can keep the skin on as everything gets mushed up at the end. Meanwhile start to make the risotto by slowly frying the onion and garlic in some butter until softened (usually takes 10 minutes or so). Add the rice and stir, when the rice begins to turn translucent add in a little of the stock with some salt and pepper. Gradually top up the stock each time the liquid starts to be absorbed. 

Whilst multi-tasking and keeping an eye on the squash and the risotto, layer the pancetta on a baking tray and scatter over the chestnuts, sage, seeds and a little olive oil. Pop these in the oven until the pancetta is cooked through and crispy – this shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes.

After 30 minutes the rice should be cooked through at which point stir the parmesan through and reduce the heat.

Ok – so now to assemble everything. Take the squash out of the oven and chop up so its chunky and mushy – add this to the risotto and stir through – season to taste. Spoon this into a lovely bowl and then top with the crispy, fragrant pancetta, chestnut and sage mix.



Tofu Time

I love tofu! I’m on a one woman rampage trying to convert everyone – Elix has just about gotten on board with it and the tofu rice bowl i made for dinner helped in encouraging her into the tofu fan club.

Tofu – made by curdling fresh soya milk and allowing it to firm up as it cools is a great source of protein, calcium and iron. It helps to keep bad cholesterol low and is good for hormone balancing. Great to incorporate into your diet if you are trying to cut out meat but still want a decent amount of protein.

Serves 2
250g Firm Tofu
4tbsp Cornflour
Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil
1 Red Chilli – sliced
1 Carrott – julienned
1/2 Cucumber – julienned
150g Shitake Mushrooms – sliced
150g Spinach
3tbsp Soy Sauce
3tbsp Mirin
1tsp Grated Ginger
2tbsp Sesame Oil
1tsp Grated Garlic
2 servings brown rice – cooked to instructions

This recipe requires a couple of pans to be on similtaneously so I advise prepping, chopping and measuring all the ingredients before you start to cook anything. Mix together the cornflour, salt and pepper and coat the tofu pieces. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and gently fry the tofu pieces with the aliced chilli – turn them to achieve a golden, crispy coating.
Whilst the tofu is cooking, mix together the soy, mirin, garlic, ginger and sesame oil – fry the mushrooms in this sauce and as the mushrooms soften, mix in the spinach.
To assemble the rice bowl, place the rice at the base and the raw carrott and cucumber on top. This gives some fresh crunch to the dish. Now place the saucy mushrooms and spinach on top and finally the crispy, chilli and tofu. Pour any remaining sauce from the mushrooms over the top for extra flavour – almost like a gravy! If you fancy, make this into a bibimbap and top with a fried egg and sriracha chilli sauce! Mix everything together into a giant mess before eating – this way you get a mouthful of all the textures and temperatures aswell as chilli and sweet, sticky sauce.

My Ultimate Guilty Pleasure – Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ever since I was little I have loved Chinese sweet and sour – every time I went to a Chinese restaurant or called fotakeaway that was my order. Whether in a dodgy  London Chinatown cafe or the best dish i’ve tasted in a beautiful HongKong restaurant it always makes me happy.

Elix and I stayed in last night – X Factor and Strictly takeover our Saturday nights now and I fancied trying Sweet & Sour Chicken – given its such a favourite I’m surprised I have never cooked it before – I think its the fear I wont be able to achieve the same flavour we enjoy in restaurants – well boy did I surprise myself!

The recipe below combines a healthier approach alternatice to heavily battered chicken with a shiny, silky, sweet and sour sauce packed with fresh pineapple and peppers.

The portion i made was enough for both me and elix aswell as leftovers for my lunch today!

For the Sauce
100g Caster Sugar
Half a Pineapple – diced
One Pepper – diced
3tbsp Tomato Ketchup
5tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2tbsp Soy Sauce

For the Chicken
4 Chicken Thighs – no skin or bones, diced into bitesize pieces
Salt & Pepper
2cloves Garlic – chopped
Red Chilli – sliced
Spring Onions – shredded
2tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

For the Rice
2 servings basmati rice
A handful of peas
2 Spring Onions – sliced
1 Egg
Drizzle of Soy Sauce
Sprinkle of White Pepper

To start, coat the chicken in the seasoned cornflour and fry in groundnut oil until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove and set aside.

Make the sauce – fry the pepper and pineapple until softened then evenly add the sugar to the pan until caramelised. Add the vinegar and stir for a fee minutes until syrup-y in texture. Add the ketchup and soy and stir through. It was at this point of the recipe that Elix and I forgot we were supposed to be cooking a full dish and kept dipping prawn crackers into the tasty sauce!

Anyway, back to it. Rinse the rice under cold water and boil for 10 minutes until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked. 

Let the rice cool, then fry the spring onion in a pan in some groundnut oil, add the rice and peas and the whisked egg. Drizzle the soy and sprinkle with the pepper and stir through and leave off the heat but kept warm.

Almost done! Fry the garlic, shredded spring onions and chilli in some groundnut oil, de-glaze with shaoxing rice wine and then add the chicken. Mix thoroughly.

Serve how you wish – i smothered everything in the sauce, Elix covered only the rice with the sauce so as to keep the chicken crispy.