Risotto Bianco with Rocket & Parma Ham

Risotto Bianco with Rocket and Parma Ham

2 tblspn olive oil

2 tblspn butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

5 sticks of celery, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

250ml dry white wine

350g arborio rice

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock (homemade)

Salt

2 handfuls grated Parmesan

50g butter

Pepper

To serve:

Parma ham

Rocket

  • In a large pan, heat the oil and butter over a medium heat until melted.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and stir to coat.  Reduce heat a little and cook gently for 15 – 20 mins until vegetables are soft and translucent but not caramelised.
  • Meanwhile, heat the stock in another pot until simmering.  Reduce heat to keep stock hot but not simmering.
  • Increase the heat to medium high and add the rice.  Stir to coat with oil and combine with the veg and cook for a minute.  Add the wine and let it bubbly up, stirring occasionally.
  • Now for the relaxing part…  Reduce the heat to medium and add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon firmly, massaging the rice until all of the liquid is absorbed.  You want the rice and liquid to just simmer at a gentle blib not vigorously.  Keep adding the stock and letting it absorb until the rice is almost soft and the last ladle has been absorbed.  Taste for seasoning at this point, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Don’t be too liberal with the salt as the Parmesan and Parma ham will also add salt.
  • Remove the pot from the heat.  Stir in the remaining butter then cover and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir well again then serve topped with parma ham and rocket.
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Sourdough Bread

IMG_6372One of my summer projects was to make sourdough bread.  I made my own starter and tried out a few different recipes/techniques.  What initially seemed like a massive faff to make bread, quickly developed into a bit of an obsession and I’m now making sourdough whenever I’m home at the weekends.  It’s time consuming in that the dough needs to be mixed and stretched and risen over 24 hours, and you do need to plan ahead.  But once you know the routine, there’s something quite relaxing about tending to the dough periodically throughout a day.

I follow the instructions from The Kitchn almost to the letter.  I use slightly less water and my rising period in these cool climes can be longer.  Instructions here.

Cumin Roasted Carrots

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Got these beautiful carrots from our local Food Assembly a few weeks ago.  They were so very pretty, I wanted to show them off.  So I sent photos of them to everyone (receiving a variety of responses in return) and then planned dinner around them: cumin roasted carrots with grilled lamb leg steaks, hummus, tzatziki, salad and pita chips.

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Cumin Roasted Carrots

Allow 2 medium carrots per person (they reduce considerably in size as they cook)

¼ tspn cumin seeds per portion

½ tspn olive oil per portion

Pinch of salt and pepper

  • Heat the oven to 190oC
  • Peel the carrots, half length ways then width ways to make batons. Toss with the oil, cumin and seasoning and place on a baking tray (Don’t crowd).
  • Roast for 30 – 40 mins, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelised.

Handa Island

Handa Island is a nature reserve off the west coast of Scotland.  I’d never heard of it until this summer when I decided I wanted to see a puffin.  These beautiful wee birds tend to leave Scotland late July so at the beginning of August I knew there was a chance I’d be disappointed.  Half way round the island I’d accepted that puffin spotting would have to wait until next year – and then there he was.

We’ve been out and about in the Highlands this last month and it’s been rather spectacular.   First up was a walk up Meall a Bhuachaille (pronounced meal-a-bookle), a popular Corbett near Aviemore.

Click on the photos to see larger versions.  (Regular visitors – do you like this way of showing photos or prefer the standard one after another?)