I landed in Toronto on Thursday evening and have been incredibly spoilt by my brother and sister –in-law.
My holiday started with cocktails on Thursday night, I felt very sex in the city with my lychee martini in an uber cool bar.
Sushi for lunch on Friday with Anne, my wonderful friend who left London and moved home to Toronto six weeks ago.
Ice Hockey Game on Friday night with my bro… Lots of pizza, beer and shouting “Go leafs go!”
Spa yesterday with my sister in law, I have never had such an amazing facial ... a big Thank You Jess. Followed by lunch out ….
We have not stopped. We decided we needed to have a night in … I cooked and bored my brother about the importance of good ingredients.
While I cooked he was opening the beer and showed me where all the ingredients were kept. We got to parmesan … I could not find it in the fridge … he went riffling through the back of his cupboard and pulled out a half tub of grated parmesan … his logic was it was so plastic it did not matter if it was not in the fridge. My logic was if it was so plastic it should have been left at the shop.
With the parmesan in the bin we found some other cheese in the fridge that worked as a substitute and bunged it in …
MUSHROOM RISOTTO - Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a starter
400g Risotto rice, 30g Dried porcini mushrooms,160mil large glass of white wine, 1.25ltr Stock, 50g Grated parmesan, 2 Cloves grated garlic, 1 Medium onion, 2 Tablespoons pesto, 50g butter, salt and pepper
- Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water to rehydrate them, this will take at least 20 minutes. Once the mushrooms are rehydrated drain the water, keeping it to add to the risotto. When adding liquid to the risotto use this liquid first and then the stock
- Finely chop the onion and place in heavy bottomed pan, drizzle in some olive oil and place on a medium heat.
- Once the onions start to soften and go a bit opaque grate in the garlic and stir, leave for a minutes and add in all the rice
- Stir the rice until it is all covered in oil and has gone slightly opaque. This should take about a minute.
- The pan will be really hot, so will sizzle when you add the wine. Pour in the wine, stirring while you pour.
- After a minute pour 250 mil of the water from the mushrooms (if you don’t have 250ml of mushroom water, top up with stock) into the pan and stir. Turn the heat down slightly, from this point it will take 18-20 minutes to cook the rice.
- After 3 minutes pour another 250 mil of stock. From this point you will need to keep stirring the risotto every couple of minutes adding in more stock when ever it starts to look dry. I find that i use about 1.25 ltrs of liquid (a combination of the water from mushrooms and stock) when making this risotto.
- After about 12 minutes taste the rice, if it is cooked then move to the next step, if not keep adding water and stirring until cooked.
- Once the rice is cooked roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms and add them to the risotto with the pesto, Parmesan, and butter. Stir continuously for a minute and a half till the mushrooms are hot, season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and serve
Risotto is much easier to cook than you think it will be.
For this risotto you may not need of the stock because you are using the water from the mushrooms. Use the mushroom water first as this has a great mushroom flavour, then as much of the 1.25 ltr of stock as you need. As all rice is different and will need a different amount of water to cook each risotto. If you don’t use it all don’t worry and if you finish it all and the rice is not yet cooked make some more stock up and put it in.
For my stock, I use Vegetable Bouillon Powder but you can use any stock you like.
If you don’t have 30g of mushrooms then use what you have and add in some peas when you add the mushrooms
PESTO - 10 Servings
80g Fresh basil, 60g Grated parmesan, 40g Pine nuts, 1 Grated clove of garlic, 125mil Extra virgin olive oil, Salt and pepper, 1/4 lemon
- Put the basil, parmesan, 30g of the pine nuts (hold back 10g for later) and garlic into the food processor
- Blend for 20 seconds and squeeze in the lemon juice
- Now you slowly add in the oil. Turn the processor on again and slowly pour the oil into the spout of the food processor, once combined taste
- Add salt and pepper if required and the remaining pin nuts and blitz for 3 seconds (this will give a nutty texture to the pesto) and place in jar in fridge. It may separate slightly while in fridge so stir before eating
Cooking notes: This recipie makes enough for ten serving spoons for pesto. I tend to cook 100g of pasta per person and combine the 100g with 2 tablespoons of pesto (this amount will feed two children). If you don’t use it all at once don’t worry, it tastes better on the second day and will last in the fridge for at least a week. If you are not going to use it for a day or two add a thin layer of olive oil to the top of the pesto which will seal it.
Adapting: Add in some whole toasted pine nuts and halved cherry tomatoes for a bit of extra flavour and texture.