Friday, May 18, 2007

Lemon & Basil Risotto

On the same rainy day I made bread, we also had friends over for dinner. I remembered once eating at Paul's aunt and uncle's place (Andrew being an exceptional cook), and having a great Lemon Risotto. Now I'm sure he said it was from Cuisine, so I had a bit of a hunt and found this recipe. Now if it's not the same one, I really don't mind as this was really amazing. Not to mention super easy!

1 cup basil leaves
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, sliced
black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
300 g arborio rice
250 ml white wine
750 ml chicken or vegetable stock, heated
zest and juice of 2 lemons
sea salt
extra basil leaves

Pound the basil in a mortar with the sea salt and extra virgin olive oil until you get a fairly fine emerald green mixture. Set it aside.

Gently cook the garlic and onion with some black pepper in the olive oil until the onion is soft. Add the rice and saute a couple of minutes over a medium heat until the rice �sings� (that is, makes a faint, high-pitched cooking noise). Add 1/3 of the wine and stir until it is absorbed into the rice. Repeat this until the wine is all absorbed, then start adding the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring all the while. When the last of the stock is absorbed by the rice add the lemon juice and zest. If the rice is still at all chalky stir in some hot water until it is tender. Stir in half of the basil oil, and season the risotto well with sea salt. Serve immediately on hot plates, drizzling over the remaining basil oil and adding more basil leaves and plenty of grated parmesan.

Serves 2 - 3.

If you have any risotto left over, fry little patties of it to have with drinks tomorrow night. (Leftovers - yeah right)

To Serve
Wine suggestion: riesling

Food miles

On a recent Girls' Weekend to Stratford-upon-Avon we had a bike ride in the country, and passed Charlecote Flour Mill.
I found this visit interesting for two reasons. The foodie one is obvious. The less obvious one is the geek-property-lawyer. I find the historic quirks of land ownership here fascinating, and when I found out the mill was still owned by the people who owned the "big house" over the road I really saw that the old traditions and systems really weren't too old after all.

Amber & Leona at the mill with their bikes - water wheel behind

Back to the foodie...

It took no time at all for me to decide to buy a small bag of flour to take home. And when we had a grim weekend, staying in and making bread seemed like a good idea.

Of course I didn't have a brown bread recipe, so I looked at the Hot Cross Buns one, and started playing.

I ended up with a good batch of dough based on...

300ml warm water, 500g of wholemeal flour, 2T yeast, 2T golden syrup and a dash of olive oil.

The water, yeast and golden syrup were mixed together and left for about 20 mins to get all bubbly.

Then I played with the flour, oil and water mix, kneading until shiny. Leaving to double in size. Making two loaves and then leaving to double in size again.

Bake for 15-20 mins until it sounds hollow... and serve with NZ honey. Yum.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Honey Feijoa Cake

Well - what to do with all those feijoas?? Seems that despite our neighbour cutting their feijoa tree down we still manage to obtain hundreds from somewhere. At the moment there are lots of Feijoa recipes in the NZ Herald from Amanda Laird. Here is one that caught my eye...

Makes one 22cm cake

80g softened butter
3/4 cup honey
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed feijoas
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
1/2 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped

1 - Preheat oven to 180C and grease the cake tin.Cream the butter and honey until pale. Add eggsone at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.

2 - Fold the feijoas into the mixture. Sieve the flour,baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold through the milk. Combine the vanilla sugar and almonds.

3 - Spoon the cake mix into the tin, bake for 15minutes then sprinkle the sugar and almond mixover the top of the cake. Return the cake to the ovenand continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes or untilan inserted skewer comes out clean.