Posts Tagged With: risotto

Cooking the Book – May Edition

Although the weather definitely started to improve last month, it was still weather that called for some hot and filling bulk-cooking adventures.

First up we had beetroot risotto with feta cheese and mint. Beetroot is a vegetable that I’m trying to rehabilitate into my diet. It’s a vegetable that I associate with summer salads and quiet resentment. I was the opposite of a fussy eater as a child – I loved food and would happily eat pretty much whatever was put in front of me. Which is not to say that I necessarily liked the food in question, it just had to be really vile – looking at you over-cooked Brussels sprouts) for me to turn my nose up at it. Beetroot was always a bit of a minefield, for a start it’s a bit of a marmite substance in my extended family with opinions divided drastically. And then there’s the vinegar issue, as depending on if its been kept in vinegar or not it tastes completely different. Small un-fussy me would eat a couple of pieces for politeness – often baffled by why it tasted so much better/worse than the previous time I’d had it – and otherwise avoid it. It was always served cold. Once I was old enough to form true opinions on food it was consigned to the scrap heap of ‘food that Wendy will eat but would rather not’ along with cabbage, cauliflower, marmalade and chops.

Having successfully re-habilitated cauliflower into my diet over the last couple of years, I felt the need for a new challenge and beetroot seemed a suitable target. (I replaced cabbage with kale in my diet at 9 when my parents started growing their own and now that kale is widely available in the shops, I see no reason to go back.) I did make my own borsht a few years ago and it was…fine. I ate it, but I never bothered to make it again. But digging through my cookbook last month I came across a beetroot risotto recipe that look straightforward and gave it a bash. It came out a truly gorgeous red/pink colour. The recipe suggested using pretty much an entire packet of feta cheese, which seemed to me – having only recently been converted to the joys of feta cheese – to be a little excessive, so I went easy on the feta. But no, it needs the extra feta, which someone how balances the distinctive, slightly cloying beetroot taste. It’s a perfect match of flavours, delicious and filling to eat, really quite pretty to look at. A delightful discovery.

Beetroot, feta and pinenut risotto

My second dish is a little bit of a cheat. As what I ended up making was more inspired by the recipe than actually following the recipe. It was supposed to be quinoa, raisins, walnuts and parsley, but I had some bulgur wheat left in the cupboard so I used that instead. The recipe said that you could swap pinenuts in for walnuts and as I had one and not the other in the cupboard I did that. And then my raisins were a bit dried up looking and needed a bit longer soaked in some fruit juice to revive them so I left them out. I definitely didn’t have any parsley but I did have some left-over cooked broccoli from a pasta dish I’d made earlier in the week so I added that in to bulk it up and add the required green element to the dish. It certainly wasn’t what I intended to make but it was rather tasty.

Bulgurwheat, pinenuts and Broccoli

Categories: being veggie, challenges, cooking the book | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Rounding off the Challenge

So, despite the fact that I did in fact continue the challenge, completed said challenge and took photos along the way, I never did write up the posts. Or anything else for here for that matter. So much for starting a good habit.

And well, for a while there life got a bit frantic, and then it had been too long and then well it got frantic again. However, life is not frantic right now. Life is quite mellow at the moment, I’ve a new job, in a new town and cooking has gone back to being a fun process rather than stress relief disguised as nutrition. I am resolved, I’m getting back into this, no backing out, I’ve told my flatmates – mockery will be forthcoming if I continue taking photos of my food and doing nothing with them.

Therefore, in order to move forward, I need to finish off the loose ends from the previous challenge.

Friday, Day 4 (and 6!)- Ramen
Ramen Ingredients
Leeks, mushrooms, cooked chicken, packet of ramen noodles.
Veg and ChickenNoodles
Veggies softened and chicken heated/Noodles bubbling gleefully.
Ramen!
Finished portion of Ramen, this unexpectedly made tons of food so I actually had enough left over to reconstitute on Sunday when I came home late from the station and needed something quick and hot and filling to eat.

Saturday, Day 5 – Thai Green Tofu Curry
On the Saturday I made Thai Curry and forgot to photograph it, but I made it again later in the month and remembered to bring the camera that time.
Thai Green Curry Ingredients
noodles, tofu, green beans, broccoli, pak choi, coconut milk and curry paste
sizzling tofuSteaming Pak Choi
Tofu sizzling in the paste/pak choi steaming away while the rest of the veg simmers below
Finished Curry
Et voila, the finished curry.

Monday, Day 7 – Risotto
Alright, so on Monday I wasn’t actually in the house for dinner so didn’t actually make anything, but to round off the challenge, here’s another process I photographed.
Rissotto Ingredients
Mushrooms, red pepper, pancetta, arborio rice and stock cubes. Normally there would actually be a glass of red wine in the stock for this, but as I was doing it in the spirit of the challenge and we didn’t have any in the house, there’s no red wine in this risotto.

Just Keep Stirring!Crispy Pancetta
wine or no wine in the stock, the important thing is to just keep stirring! / that and crispy pancetta
Finished Risotto
I don’t remember what I actually ate on the Monday, but it’s a fairly safe bet I’d rather have eaten this.

Categories: challenges, live better | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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