Friday, 27 February 2009

Risotto Balls with Jenever Cabbage

A great way to use up leftover risotto and looks fantastic.


  • 400g of left over beetroot risotto

  • 2 tbsp cornflour

  • 2 eggs

  • 150g blue cheese, like Danish blue, cut into 8 cubes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 a cabbage, washed and shredded

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 25g butter

  • 25ml gin


  1. Mix the 2 eggs and cornflour into the leftover risotto in a large bowl.

  2. Wrap 1/8th of the risotto mix around a cube of the cheese and use your hands to form it into a ball.

  3. Repeat with the remaining risotto.

  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on low heat.

  5. In a different frying pan place the butter, cabbage, gin and onion and fry on a low to medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir it every-so-often to make sure it's not sticking and burning.

  6. Place the risotto balls into the olive oil frying pan and cook them gently, turning them every couple of minutes to make sure all sides are evenly cooked.

  7. It should be timed just right so that the risotto balls are nicely golden and cooked on the outside when the cabbage is done.

Serves 3 to 4.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Beetroot Risotto and Steamed Kale

For ages I always avoided using basmati rice for risotto as it's not the proper way of doing things. However I once had to use it and discovered that while it takes longer to cook, it gives a delightful nutty taste to the risotto.


  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 stick celery, finely sliced

  • 35g butter

  • 400g basmati rice

  • 800ml vegetable stock

  • 400ml white wine

  • 4 beetroots, peeled and cut into short strips

  • 10 large kale leaves, cut into inch wide strips

  • 20g butter, sliced


  1. Use the 35g of butter to fry the celery and onion in a large pan until soft.

  2. Stir in the rice until you get a good coating of butter all over it.

  3. Add the beetroot and stir well.

  4. Add the stock and white wine and leave to simmer for 40 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes to make sure it doesn't stick on the bottom. If it starts to look dry then add some more water or wine.

  5. Place the kale in a steamer and top with the 20g of butter. Make sure you use a small amount of water in the steamer as we'll use it later as a gravy for the kale.

  6. Steam the kale for 20 minutes.

  7. When the kale is done transfer it to a serving bowl and cover with the liquid from the bottom of the steamer. This gives a wonderful stocky but thin gravy around the kale.

Serves 6, but aim for 4 so that you can use the leftover risotto to make risotto balls. I'll post the recipe for risotto balls next time.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Many Apologies

I've missed my first regular post. That must make me a proper blog now.

I promise that this was a one-off and it will never happen again. Honest.

In the meantime have a link to a wonderful recipe:

Herb Roasted Onions

It's caused me to try my own experiments with roasting things other than potatoes and turnips, so expect more roasted recipes from me at some point soon.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Semolina Dumplings with Cheese

These usual dumplings are very tasty and something unexpected to give to people. The semolina needs preparing the night before, so you will need to plan a bit, but other than that it's a really simple recipe.


  • 150g coarse semolina

  • 300ml milk

  • 250ml water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • 50g ricotta cheese

  • 50g Gorgonzola cheese


  1. Mix the water, milk, semolina, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a sauce pan and bring to the boil on a medium heat.

  2. Stir the semolina mixture constantly and simmer for about 4 minutes. It should be stiff enough for a spoon to stand up in it.

  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and the 2 eggs.

  4. Place in the fridge having covered the mixture with clingfilm.

  5. When you want to cook it, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

  6. Grease and ovenproof dish and make the semolina dough in balls about 3 cm across and arrange them in rows in the dish.

  7. Dot ricotta cheese onto each of the semolina balls and place a cube of Gorgonzola on top.

  8. If you have any spare Parmesan cheese leftover then grate that over the top of the dumplings.

  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is a nice golden colour.

Serves 4.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Steamed Beetroot with Cous-Cous

I recently discovered the wonders of steaming; it's a really healthy and interesting way to get wonderful flavoursome vegetables. This is a quick and easy dish which tastes fantastic.


  • 2 green peppers, cut into 16ths

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 4 beetroots, cut into couple of cm cubes

  • 10g butter

  • 300g cous-cous

  • 600ml vegetable stock, boiling


  1. Place the peppers, cauliflower and beetroot into a steamer and steam for 30 minutes once it's got up to temperature.

  2. Mix the butter, cous-cous and stock together.

  3. Wait for 5 minutes while the cous-cous cooks in the warm stock. Once it's cooked stir it with a fork to fluff it up.

  4. Serve with freshly milled black pepper as soon as the vegetables are steamed.

Serves 3.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Vegetables au Gratin


  • 1 pint milk

  • 3 tbsp flour

  • 25g butter

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 carrots, sliced thinly

  • 4 leaks, sliced thinly

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 1 stick celery, finely sliced

  • 3 sweet peppers, chopped into strips

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 400g cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Add the milk, flour and butter to a sauce pan and start to heat gently on a low heat. Stir frequently.

  2. Fry the vegetables in the olive oil on a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Once the milk mixture has started to thicken add most of the cheese (saving a handful for putting on top) and stir until the cheese has melted.

  4. Add salt and pepper to the cheese sauce to taste.

  5. Mix the vegetables and cheese sauce together and pour into an ovenproof dish.

  6. Top with the remaining cheese and put under a hot grill until the top is crisp.

Serves 4. Best served with a loaf of fresh bread.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Double Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

This is a very special pudding and ideal for dinner parties. It's also lovely cold.

Make it the day before you need it to allow the chocolate sauce to soak into the bread.


  • 175g dark chocolate

  • 65g butter

  • 450ml single cream

  • 50ml brandy or rum

  • 125g caster sugar

  • 1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon

  • 10 large slices of white bread, crusts removed

  • 3 large eggs

  • 50g dark chocolate chips (try white chocolate chips for a lovely speckled look)

  • double cream for pouring over when served


  1. Put the chocolate, butter, cream, rum, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl over a saucepan with water in and gently heat the water. Don't be tempted to stir it until it looks very melted.

  2. While it's melting cut each slice of bread into 4 pieces by cutting from corner to corner.

  3. Mix the sauce well and then break in the 3 eggs and stir well again.

  4. Grease a deep ovenproof dish and then spoon in a couple of spoons of the chocolate sauce over the bottom.

  5. Add a layer of half the bread, sprinkle on half the chocolate chips and add half the remaining sauce all over the bread.

  6. Then using the last of the bread put another layer over bread, chocolate chips and then sauce over the top.

  7. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, but it's best over night.

  8. Cook in an oven at 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the top looks nice and crispy but still a bit moist. Serve with the cold cream.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

James' Chilli Sauce

A really simple but delicious chili sauce.


  • 1 naga chili, finely sliced

  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

  • 20g of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced

  • 2 tsp white sugar

  • 3 tbsp water

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil


  1. Fix all the ingredients in a pan and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.

  2. Serve.