Because we can’t all survive on mince pies this December… Or can we?
Winter ribollita Serves 4 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 1 hr /V VnGfDf❄
1 tsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
½ tsp salt
1 can plum tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock, I use 2 Knorr stock pots
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
100g cavalo Nero, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
1. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, add 1 tsp of olive oil over a low to medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, celery, parsnip, carrot and half a tsp of salt. Give it a good stir, cover with a lid and leave to soften for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add a can of plum tomatoes and break them up with a spoon. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and the vegetable stock before upping the heat and bringing to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the parsley and the cavalo nero. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Take off the heat, ladle into bowls and top with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread and good crack of black pepper.
If you’ve had a go at making my Winter ribollita or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
V– Vegetarian Vn– Vegan Gf– Gluten free Df– Dairy free ❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
It is no secret that I hate nut roast. I hate it for the same reason I hate stuffed peppers, mushroom stroganoff and risotto – because they’re the dishes that were stuffed down my throat as a child in the late ’80s.
But times have changed, and so have these dishes (or so I hear) and therefore, so must I – although actually, I’m pretty sure stuffed peppers are still pretty awful.
Anyway, nowadays, ‘I’ll have the risotto,’ is a phrase being uttered across the country, and not just out of necessity but choice! By choice, I tells you! And the same can be said for my ultimate nemesis – the nut roast, AKA – dry, flavourless, nutty gravel.
Want a way to ruin a lovely plate of roast vegetables? Simply add a big, ugly door-stopper-sized slice of nut roast. Horrible. Or so I thought.
Recently, I took a chance and ordered the nut roast at our local pub and it was (dare I say it) rather tasty. Like a rare and exotic specimen, I expertly dissected it with a fork as Jamie and his friends tried to ignore my terrible table manners – I practically face-planted into my plate in order to give it a good old sniff. In the end, I couldn’t figure out what was in it (and I was being being incredibly rude) so I just scoffed it.
So, with that in mind, and not having a clue what was in it, I decided to try and make it – not at all challenging. What I came up with in the end was this butternut squash, goat’s cheese and chestnut concoction. It’s nothing like the one I had at the Brave Sir Robin, but wrapped in cabbage leaves it’s lovely and moist and scarcely resembles the nut roast that used to end up on our Christmas table in the ’80s.
Butternut squash & goats cheese nut roast Serves 6 / Hands on time 45mins / Total 1hr 45 mins /V You’ll need: Food processor, hand blender, 2lb (21cm x 11cm) loaf tin, ice cubes and kitchen roll.
6 savoy cabbage leaves
50g unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
100g parsnip (1 medium) cubed
150g butternut squash, peeled and cubed
150g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
100g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped (I used Merchant Gourmet)
100g brown breadcrumbs
100g vegetarian goats cheese, roughly cubed
2 Sprig rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1. In a large heavy bottomed pot or large saucepan, sweat the onions in 50g of unsalted butter and ½ tsp of salt, on a medium heat with the lid on. Put a filled kettle on to boil and start preparing and chopping the butternut squash and parsnip.
2. Add the butternut squash and the parsnip to the softening onions, give it a stir and replace the lid. Turn the heat down from medium to a low heat and stir occasionally.
3. Grease a loaf tin generously with butter, line with foil and grease the foil with more butter. Put to one side. Pour the boiling water from the kettle into another large saucepan and and bring to the boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes and put to one side. Remove 6 cabbage leaves from the savoy cabbage and drop them carefully into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place straight into the ice cold water bath. Put to one side.
4. Using a food processor, now is a good time to make the breadcrumbs by simply wizzing a couple of torn slices of brown bread in a blender. Put to one side. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ 350°F/gas mark 4
5. Uncover the butternut squash and onion mixture and using a hand blender, blitz half the mixture straight in the pot. Give it a good mix and add the chopped mushrooms before stirring again and covering with the lid once more.
6. In a large dry frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, toast the cashews and the walnuts together for a few minutes moving constantly in the pan to avoid burning (you want them to get a bit of colour but not too much). Turn out onto a chopping board and using a large knife, roughly chop them along with the cooked chestnuts.
7. Take the butternut squash and mushroom mixture off the heat and add the breadcrumbs and the chopped nuts. Add the roughly chopped gooey goats cheese along with a ½ tsp of salt, a good crack of black pepper and the chopped rosemary. Give it all a good stir and put to one side.
8. remove the cabbage leaves from the water bath and blot each leaf with kitchen roll to dry it off a bit. Line the tin with overlapping cabbage leaves, leaving any excess hanging over the sides. Spoon in the mixture and pressing it down well with the back of a spoon. Fold any overhanging cabbage leaves back over the top and use any spare cabbage leaves to fill any holes. Cover with foil and bake in the oven 40 mins. After 40 minutes, remove the foil and continue to cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes.
9. Once cooked take out of the oven and put a large serving plate over the top of the tin. Holding the tin with oven gloves, turn the plate over and turn the nut roast out. Peel off any foil and cut into generous slices and serve as part of a roast dinner.
If you’ve had a go at making my nut roast or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
I was shopping in my beloved Sainsbury’s today and got talking to an elderly man in the queue. His trolley was full of cakes, various pastries, walnut whips and a large pack of adult nappies – way more interesting than my own basket. He was quick to explain that the adult nappies were for his 80-year- old boyfriend, but unfortunately one pack only lasts him three days – TMI. When I suggested he go and get another pack, he explained he couldn’t carry the chocolate, cakes and the two packs of nappies on the bus, so I offered to give him and his nappies a lift.
In the car, I learned that not only was this eccentric old man a delight to talk to, but his name was Peter and he used to be a producer at the BBC. He spent the journey recounting all his worldly adventures, dropping casually into conversation that his tutor was none other than David Attenborough.
Sadly, when I pulled up outside his house, I had to say my goodbyes – he had afternoon tea to prepare – so I helped him with his bags and shook his lovely warm hand, only for him to present me with a box of walnut whips that I will treasure forever.
Oh, and so when I got home, I made cheese and onion puff pasties, but they were a total disaster, so I decided to sack off making another batch and retreat to my sofa to eat marmalade on toast for the rest of the afternoon. So, these are my second attempt and the reason you didn’t receive a blog yesterday, apologies.
Cheese and onion puff pasties Makes 4-5 pasties / Hands on time 45 mins / Total time 1 hr 10 mins /V❄ You’ll need: A rolling pin and a tea cup saucer (roughly 14 cm)
1 medium large baking potato (250g), skin on and chopped into cubes
250ml cold water
½ a vegetable stock pot or cube, I use Knorr
1 large onion (200g), peeled and finely chopped
150g mature vegetarian cheddar, grated
375g chilled ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs flour (for dusting)
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ 428°F/gas mark 7. In a casserole pot or large saucepan, add the chopped potatoes, stock pot and 250ml of cold water. Put on a high heat and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes.
2. Add the chopped onions and give it a good stir. Turn the heat down slightly and continue to cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring frequently (now is a good time to grate the cheese). Take off the heat, season well with salt and pepper and put the filling to one side to cool.
3. Roll out the ready rolled puff pastry and using a tea cup saucer as a stencil, cut out as many circles as you can before gathering up the trimmings and re-rolling to make more. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and dust with a little flour. Place the pastry circles on them and using the back of a fork make little imprints along the edges of each circle.
4. Stir the grated cheese into the cooled potato and onion mixture and add another crack of black pepper to taste. Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture down the middle of each circle of pastry. Brush the imprinted edge with a little beaten egg, before folding over to create a half moon pillow. Seal by applying downward pressure with your finger tips and imprinting with the back of a fork. Cut 3 small slits in the top of each pasty with a sharp knife to allow the hot air to escape while baking.
5. Once all your pasties are filled, brush them with beaten egg, space out evenly on the baking trays and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack. Serve warm or cool completely and enjoy cold as a snack. The pasties will last up to 3 days refrigerated in an air tight container.
If you’ve had a go at making my pasties or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
V– Vegetarian ❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
When it comes to making things like cheese and bread, I have to admit that I have a bit of a bad attitude. I mean, why would I bother when I can buy a lovely loaf of bread from the shop made by someone who actually knows what they’re doing? I know that’s not the point, but sometimes I find it hard to snap out of my stubborn, convenience-obsessed self.
So, after accidentally adding two pots of Greek yoghurt to my online shopping basket, I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a go at making labeh* – I mean, there’s only so much yoghurt a girl can eat.
I dug out the muslin cloth I used to make cheese three years ago and draped it over an inadequately sized sieve, balanced over an inadequately sized bowl. I added salt to my yoghurt and poured it straight into the muslin and tied it in a knot. Okay, what next? Oh, is that it? Well, that was easy. So I walked off and enjoyed an afternoon watching Blake Lively almost get eaten by a very big shark in The Shallows.
*For those of you that don’t know, labneh is literally strained yogurt. It has the texture of cream cheese but the flavour of Greek yoghurt and is utterly delicious. Serve with salads, roasted vegetables, on toast or check out what I decided to make with it next week. Oh, I bet you’re on tenterhooks.
Homemade labneh Makes 350g / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins + 20-24 hours draining /VGf You’ll need: Roughly a metre of fine muslin
500g full-fat Greek style yogurt
1 heaped tsp of sea salt flakes
1. Place a sieve over a large bowl and cover with a muslin cloth folded in half (you need to fold the muslin to prevent yogurt seeping through, you only want to remove the liquid).
2. Add the salt directly to the tub of yogurt and stir well with a butter knife (you can use a spoon but the surface area of a butter knife is smaller so you’re less likely to spill the yogurt).
3. Once combined, spoon the yogurt straight into the muslin cloth. Gather up the edges and tie in a tight knot (the liquid draining out of the yogurt should be relatively clear). Keep in a cool dry place for 20-24 hours covered with a tea-towel (the longer you leave the labneh the thicker it will become).
4. When you’re ready, give the labneh a final squeeze to get rid of any excess water before untying the knot. Tip the labneh into an air-tight container and store in the fridge. Consume within 3 days.
If you’ve had a go at making my labneh or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
This is what I order every time I eat in an Indian restaurant. I always have the intention of trying something new, but I don’t like change. So, when the waiter looks at me, pen poised, I always utter the same words. “…And I’ll have a saag paneer, taka dhal and a chapati, please. Oh and I’ll just share Jamie’s rice.” (Jamie scowls.)
This isn’t the first time I’ve had a go at making saag paneer, though – I’ve made it once before the more traditional way, using a ton of fresh wilted spinach, drained and squeezed by hand – but I ain’t got time for that these days, far too hungry. So I came up with this quicker, less labour-intensive version (#storyofmylife).
Saag paneer with kale Serves 4 / Hands on time 50 mins / Total time 50 min /V❄
You’ll need: A hand blender or food processor
1 tbs rapeseed oil
500g paneer, cut into chunks
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
½ tsp salt
Knob of ginger (1 inch), grated
5 garlic cloves, peeled roughly chopped
1 green chilli, de-seeded
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground fenugreek
½ tsp garam masala
500ml vegetable stock, I use 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot
150g spinach leaves
150g kale, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped To serve Lime wedges, chapatis, brown basmati rice
Method 1. Slice the paneer into chunks and fry in batches in the rapeseed oil over a medium to high heat in a casserole dish with a lid (the paneer can spit a bit so you may need to cover with a lid). Once the paneer is browned on all sides, remove from the pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Put to one side.
2. In the same casserole dish, add the chopped onion and a bit more oil and a sprinkle of salt. Give it a mix before covering with a lid and cook on a medium heat until soft (you may need to add a dash of water to help the onions steam).
3. Add the garlic, fresh ginger and the chopped green chilli. Cook for a further few minutes before adding the all the spices. Add a dash of water to help loosen the spices a bit and to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Add the stock and give it a good stir before adding the spinach in batches. Once wilted, add the kale and continue to cook until the kale has softened. Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
5. Return the sauce to a medium to high heat and add the paneer. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the paneer has softened. Serve immediately with boiled brown basmati rice and chapatis.
If you’ve had a go at making my saag paneer or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
V– Vegetarian❄ – Freeze the fried paneer and curry sauce separately. Defrost before combing and heating through until piping hot. Consume within 3 months.
So, this was supposed to be a peach and gooseberry cobbler, but Morrisons ran out of peaches and gooseberries (let’s be honest, it’s unlikely Morrisons stock gooseberries, but I live in hope). So my peach and gooseberry cobbler turned into an apricot and blackberry cobbler – but guess what? No blackberries. However, to my amazement, they had apricots. YES! But what goes with apricot other than peach? Plum? That old classic combination of plum and apricot. Is that a thing? Probably not, but I decided to give apricot and plum cobbler a chance.
So, after wrestling with a rather elderly but scrappy lady* for the last two packets of plums, I returned home only to realise my apricots were rock hard, so I settled for a plum and ginger cobbler – it was clearly meant to be.
*Don’t worry about the elderly scrappy lady, she could clearly look after herself and had a whiff of Stella Artois about her.
Plum & ginger cobbler
Serves 6 / Hands on time 35 mins /Total time 1 hr /V ❄
You’ll need: Deep casserole dish For the filling
12 ripe plums, each sliced around the stone in 4 big chunks
80g light brown sugar
Juice and zest of a lemon
Juice of an orange
1 tbs self raising flour
1½ tsp ground ginger
For the topping
250g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ginger
60g caster sugar
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
150g full fat Greek yogurt
4 tbs semi-skimmed milk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Handful flaked almonds
2 tsp soft brown sugar
Crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Start by taking each individual plum and standing it upright on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife as close to the stone as possible, slice in a downwards motion on all four sides of the plum leaving you with four chunks. Discard the stone and repeat this process with the rest of the plums.
2. Tip the plums into a deep oven dish and squeeze over the juice of an orange and a lemon along with the lemon zest. Sprinkle over the soft brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour and ground ginger and give it all a good mix. Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, milk, vanilla extract and egg yolk. Put to one side.
4. In a larger separate bowl, combine the self-raising flour, ground almonds, caster sugar, salt, ground ginger and the baking powder. Add the cubed cold butter and start rubbing it into the flour mixture using your hands until you have breadcrumbs.
5. By now your plums should be soft. Keeping the oven on, remove the plums and set aside to cool before mixing the wet ingredients with the dry (as soon as you combine the two they will start interacting with each other, you don’t want that as this could prevent a good rise later).
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon until you have a sticky dough. Using wet hands (this prevents the dough sticking to your hands) take small handfuls of dough, roll in-between your palms before topping the plums. Repeat this process until the plums are covered in an even layer of dough (don’t worry if the top looks a bit messy and you have a few holes, the dough will rise and expand in the oven disguising your shoddy workmanship). Sprinkle over a handful of flaked almonds and couple of teaspoons of soft brown sugar.
7. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the top of your cobbler is well risen and golden in colour. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Spoon into bowls and top with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.
If you’ve had a go at making my cobbler or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
V– Vegetarian❄–Once cooled, suitable for home freezing in an airtight container. Consume within 3 months.
I don’t know why I thought that making my own pesto would be such a chore, but even in my hungover state it only took 10 minutes. Good thing, too, as I’d spent the previous evening dancing the night away – along with 60,000 other people – to Britney Spears at Brighton Pride. The last time I saw Britney thrust her way across a stage in her knickers was back in 2003, and she hasn’t changed a bit. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for me, although I did manage to squeeze my rather soft 34-year-old self into a corset and some fishnets – classy.
Anyway, so Sunday morning was a bleak affair, waking up with panda eyes and covered in other people’s glitter. I couldn’t face leaving the house’ so made do with what I had – a bit of kale, a handful of walnuts and an overactive basil plant. I hope you enjoy the results stirred through some delicious pasta.
Kale and walnut pesto Makes 8 servings / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins / V VnGfDf❄ You’ll need: A food processor 50g walnuts (aprox one handful) 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced 1 handful of kale, heavier stems removed and discarded 30g fresh basil 4 tbs Pomora extra virgin olive oil
1. Roughly peel and chop the garlic before adding it to a food processor, along with the walnuts and a handful of kale (heavier stems removed). Blitz on full for about 10 seconds or until you have a rough paste.
2. Add the fresh basil, a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and give it another blitz – this time for a bit longer until you have a slightly smoother paste.
3. Lastly, add 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil before blending for a final time (how long you blend is up to you depending on how smooth you like your pesto).
4. Spoon into a jar and top with 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Store in the fridge for up to a week and enjoy stirred through pasta, drizzled on salads or simply spread on toast. Tasty!
If you’ve had a go at making my pesto or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
V– Vegetarian Vn– Vegan Gf– Gluten free Df– Dairy free ❄– Suitable for home freezing in an airtight container. Consume within 3 months.
The last time I made a rosti was in a home economics lesson at school when I was nine. I wasn’t such a fan of cooking back then, partly due to this particular rosti-making experience. I added far too much oil and heat to my pan, resulting in my rosti spitting hot oil at me like an angry llama. The results were abysmal, my arms were flecked with burns and my rosti scorched on the outside and raw in the middle.
Well, not this time, you rosti bastard – this time I will win and you will lose and I will spit on your arms. How do you like that? Anyway, turns out that rostis are pretty easy to make, and I was clearly a young fool with a rubbish home economics teacher.
Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus Serves 1 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 25 mins / VGfDf❄ You’ll need: A small, non-stick, frying pan
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 large baking potato (300g) peeled and grated
½ small red onion, peeled and grated
½ tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 eggs – one yolk for the rosti and one egg for poaching
Handful of asparagus
Method 1. Combine the grated potato, red onion in a bowl and give it a good stir. Tip out onto a clean tea-towel before gathering up the corners and squeezing out the excess moisture. Once squeezed, discard the water and pop back in the bowl. Add the chilli flakes, smoked paprika, egg yolk and season well with salt and pepper before giving it a good stir. Put to one side.
2. Fill a small saucepan three-quarters of the way up with boiling water and put on a medium heat to simmer (bear in mind this saucepan needs to be big enough for the asparagus and a poached egg). Trim your asparagus to the appropriate size for your pan and crack the egg into a small teacup or ramekin. Put to one side.
3. In a small non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat, add a teaspoon of rapeseed oil. Once hot, tip your rosti mixture into the centre and then using the back of a spoon, spread it out to the edges by pushing gently down on it. Leave to sizzle for around 5 minutes. To help flip the rosti without breaking it, I use a plate. Simply place a large plate over the frying pan and carefully turn the frying pan upside down, transferring the rosti to the plate. Return the frying pan to the heat before easily sliding the uncooked side of the rosti into the frying pan from the plate.
4. Cook the other side of the rosti for around 5 more minutes whilst you boil the asparagus and cook the egg. In the simmering water, slowly tip your egg out from a teacup or ramekin. Give it few seconds to settle before carefully adding the asparagus to cook next to it for around 2-3 minutes, before removing carefully with a slotted spoon.
5. Slide your rosti onto a plate and top with the boiled asparagus and soft poached egg. Season with salt and pepper and devour.
If you’ve had a go at making my rosti or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
V– VegetarianGf– Gluten freeDf– Dairy free❄– Once cooked and cooled, the rosti is suitable for home freezing for up to 3 months.
Let’s be honest, it’s too damn hot to cook this week, so I’ve been living off a nutritious diet of fresh tomatoes and gin and tonics. I was hoping to save this recipe for when my tomato plant started to produce fruit, but insultingly, he (my plant) has only produced two tiny green tomatoes so far, and that does not a bruschetta make. Selfish. Just remember who waters you, mate. So instead, I scampered off to Waitrose and came back with a big bag of overpriced tomatoes, sourdough and enough tonic water and ice to sink HMS Belfast. Within 10 minutes I was chomping on delicious bruschetta and sipping ice cold G&Ts while staring daggers at my tomato plant. I’m not angry, just disappointed – he hangs his head in shame.
Bruschetta Serves 2 as a starter / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins /V VnDf 2 pieces of sourdough (I used a rye variety)
4 ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
Handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar Pomora extra virgin olive oil
1. Start by de-seeding and roughly chopping your tomatoes – I do this by halving my tomatoes, removing the core and spooning out the seeds. Roughly chop and place in a bowl before sprinkling with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped basil, balsamic vinegar and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Put to one side.
2. Toast 2 large pieces of sourdough on either a grill pan or in a toaster. Meanwhile, cut the end off the garlic clove and peel. Once toasted, rub the toast with the cut side of the garlic to give it a gorgeous flavour. Finally sprinkle the toast with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil before topping with the tomato mixture. Tasty.
If you’ve had a go at making my bruschetta or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
It may have escaped your attention, but I have well over 150 recipes on this blog, and not one of those recipes is a risotto. Even just the word fills me with a despair, one which can only be trumped by the even-more-disappointing ‘stuffed pepper’. There’s nothing worse than a pepper stuffed with whatever scraps the restaurant chef can find – which, more often than not, is last night’s vegetarian option: risotto. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Don’t get me wrong, a risotto can be a wonderful thing – but frankly, it rarely is. It’s the lazy vegetarian option that graces pub menus throughout the land, and has been given all the love and attention of some over-steamed veg at a carvary.
On a few occasions (and I know this sounds silly), I’ve been close to tears when I’ve looked up from my sickie bowl of stodge to see plates piled high with tender-looking roast beef, golden Yorkshire puddings, glazed carrots, crispy roast potatoes and glossy gravy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I want to eat my boyfriend’s roast dinner, I just crave the same love and attention that went into making his meal. And, in my experience (and I’ve eaten a lot of risotto), that is rarely the case… Until recently.
After a day of exploring the Derbyshire countryside and eating our weight in Bakewell pudding, my boyfriend and I booked a table at The Manners in Bakewell. Starving, my eyes quickly devoured the menu only to fall upon the word I had been hoping not to see: ‘risotto’. My heart sank, and so did Jamie’s (he knows how upset risotto makes me).
“Maybe there’s a special on?” he said apologetically, turning in his chair to look for a board.
“There isn’t,” I replied glumly, looking at the starters to see if one could double up as a main. “They have a burrata salad – maybe I could have that with chips or something?” I added weakly, but Jamie could see my disappointment.
“Why don’t you just try the risotto?” he suggested tentatively.
“Why don’t you try it?!” I snapped accidentally, and instantly regretted it.
“Fine!” he hit back. “Let’s just go somewhere else – forget the fact we’ve been waiting an hour at the bar for this table and it’s almost nine o’clock.”
“Are you ready to order?” the kindly waiter interrupted. He had suddenly appeared by my side, pen poised and expectant look on his face.
“Er, yeah, sorry – I’ll have the burrata and the risotto,” I smiled weakly.
It. Was. Delicious. A creamy, dreamy bowl of perfectly cooked rice with bursts of fresh pea, asparagus and dill. With every mouthful, I discovered pockets of tangy goats cheese rind as well as subtle notes of lemon. Before I know it, Jamie had abandoned his meal and we are both digging into mine – and I didn’t mind one bit. For the first time in living memory, a pub risotto was finally worthy of centre stage. So I did something I thought I would never do – a risotto recipe. Pigs have flown. Enjoy!
Asparagus, pea and goats cheese risotto Serves 4 / Hands on Time 1 hr 10 mins / Total time 1 hr 10 mins /Gf❄
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g risotto rice
150ml vegetarian white wine
800ml vegetable stock, I use Knorr stock pots
200g frozen peas
40g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan
100g vegetarain goats cheese with rind, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh dill, chopped
½ lemon, juice and zest
Method 1. Discard the woody ends of the asparagus spears, chop in half and submerge in a small saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 4 minutes before draining and putting to one side.
2. Prepare all of the other ingredients, making risotto is pretty hands on so you want everything ready and to hand while cooking. Measure out, chop and grate everything you are going to need. Once the asparagus has cooled slightly, chop into chunks and put to one side with other ingredients.
3. In a large non stick pot, or saucepan with a lid, add the butter and sweat the onions down, on a low heat for around 10 minutes, with the lid on. Add the crushed garlic and continue to cook for a further few more minutes. Add the risotto rice and coat well in the buttery onion mixture before upping the heat to high. Stir continually for 3 minutes until the rice goes slightly translucent at the edges. Add all of the wine (it should fizz) and cook until the wine has absorbed.
4. Turn the heat down to medium and add a ladle of stock, stir until absorbed. Continue to add a ladle of stock one at a time and cook until each addition has been absorbed. Once all the stock has been incorporated, take off the heat.
5. Add the asparagus, peas, lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh dill, Italian hard cheese and the goats cheese. Mix well and cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes. Finally uncover, season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
If you’ve had a go at making my risotto or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
Gf– Gluten free ❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months. *Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.