I have had a weeks break from blogging as I've been up North with my family. Unfortunately we have no Internet access in the house, so no blogging! I have instead watched a lot of James Bond films, spent way too much money in the sales, finished knitting a scarf for a friend and done some more of my tapestry, which will eventually be a cushion, so I have been busy!
In between all of this I have done some cooking, I made several loaves of bread and completely forgot to take pictures of any of them! I am lucky in that when I go home, my mother does all the cooking for meals, so I get to play around and try new things. I had another go at the No-Knead Bread from the New York Times, which worked much better this time, and I made some more canapes for a lunch party we had last Friday. These were simple again, I made some more Muhummara, with herbed pitta crisps, asparagus wrapped in Parma ham, and hard boiled quail eggs with lemon mayonnaise. They went down very well, and I am definitely getting better at making Canapes.
On our way south we stopped at Moorhouse Farm Shop at Stannington Station to buy meat to put into the freezer, The staff in the shop are always friendly and really helpful. I wanted some beef stir fry meat but they didn't have any out, so the butcher cut a lovely piece of rump steak in to stir fry pieces for me, it will do about 4 portions! I also got 2 chicken breasts and a steak and ale pie, as well as lots of veg, which are so much cheaper than in London.
My first meal when I came back to London was a mushroom and thyme risotto. I didn't really fancy any meat, I think after eating so much meat during Christmas, I had a meat overload so this week, meals are mainly fish and vegetarian. I used to be one of those people who didn't understand vegetarianism, now although I could never become vegetarian (I don't think I could live without bacon sandwiches!), I can see the value of eating vegetarian meals and it is really enjoyable to eat veggie a couple of times a week. This is an oven baked risotto so really easy to make. I had the risotto with a rocket and curly leaf salad and some garlic bread.
Oven Baked Porcini and Thyme Risotto (from Good Food Magazine March 2006)
25g pack dried porcini mushrooms
handful of fresh mushrooms (I used button because that's all the supermarket had)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp thyme leaves, plus extra to serve, or dried thyme
350g risotto rice
750ml hot vegetable stock
100ml white wine
handful grated parmesan, plus shavings, to serve
Put the mushrooms in a bowl, pour 425ml boiling water over and leave to soak for 10 mins. Meanwhile, heat the oil in an ovenproof pan and fry the onion for 2 mins until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another min.
Heat oven to 190C. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop. Add the mushrooms, thyme and rice to the pan, then stir well. Strain over the mushroom liquid, pour in the stock and wine and bring to the boil.
Season to taste, cover and bake for 25 mins or until the rice is just cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the grated parmesan, check the seasoning and sprinkle with extra thyme leaves and parmesan shavings to serve.