Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Jamie Oliver's risotto ai funghi a prezzemolo

Continuing my Jamie Oliver week. Tonight's meal was risotto ai funghi a prezzemolo (or mushroom and parsley risotto to the non Italian speakers amoungst us!) from the Italy book. I love risotto, and the Princess of Power has a thing for rice (or 'ice') at the moment. I adore mushrooms, but MacMan isn't so keen. However, he wasn't in for dinner this evening so it didn't really matter what he likes or not!! This was sooo lovely - really flavoursome, and very moreish. It was a bit fiddly to do, but not at all complicated. I'll definitely be cooking it again - just not for MacMan. Pah!

Jamie Oliver's risotto ai funghi a prezzemolo
Mushroom and parsley risotto
Serves 6

For a basic risotto bianco
1 l of stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
a knob butter
1 large onion - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1/2 head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g Risotto rice
2 wine glasses full of dry white wine
salt and pepper
70 g butter
115g parmesan – grated

For the funghi e prezemolo

200g wild mushrooms - cleaned and torn
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bulb garlic - separated in individual cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter
1 bunch fresh parsley - very finely chopped
lemon juice

  • Step one: Bring the stock to a boil. In another pot heat the butter and olive oil together and add the chopped onion, celery and garlic. On a low heat cook very gently for 15 minutes without colouring. Add the rice and turn up the heat.
  • Step Two: Keep stirring the rice while it cooks and turns translucent. After a minute, add the wine. It will smell amazing!
  • Step Three: Once this has evaporated, add a ladle full of the stock. Stir well and add a touch of salt. Reduce the temperature so that the rice doesn't cook too quickly. Now, keep adding ladle full of stock, allow the rice to soak this up and stirring every now and then. When the rice has soaked the liquid add another ladle full. This whole process takes approx. 15 minutes. Check the rice to see if cooked. If not, add more stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Season to taste.
  • Step Four:Take the pot off the heat and add the butter and parmesan cheese. Mix well and cover.

    The wild mushroom mixture:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Around the end of preparing Step Three (above) you should begin with the preparation of the mushroom mixture. Heat an ovenproof pan and add some olive oil. Fry the mushrooms for approx. 1-2 minutes until they begin to colour. Season, and add the garlic thyme and butter and mix altogether.
  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast the mushrooms for 6 minutes or so.
  • At stage 4 of the risotto recipe, stir in all of the parsley to give a great colour and smell. Chop half of the roasted mushrooms and stir into the risotto. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavours.
  • Serve up the risotto, and sprinkle over the remaining mushrooms. Serve with grated parmesan.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Jamie Oliver's Traybaked Chicken Maryland

My granny used to make chicken Maryland for us when we stayed with her for holidays when I was a little girl. We used to love it, and it was especially a favourite for my big sister (who is now vegan, though I don't think it was overdosing on chicken Maryland that did it!!).

Jamie O's version is traybaked, rather than fried like the traditional one. So in theory it should be a bit healthier. However, this one is cooked in double cream and wine - so it's not exactly low fat!!

I'll definitely be cooking this again. Stuffing the chicken with banana may sound a little odd, but works hugely well. All The Family enjoyed this - even the Princess, and Twirly Boy asked for seconds. I drained off the creamy liquor and will use it in place of plain chicken stock for a risotto I'm cooking tomorrow.

Jamie Oliver's Traybaked Chicken Maryland

Monday, 26 February 2007

Edmonds Cookbook is legendary in NZ. It was first published in 1955, with a further 56 reprints. It has sold over 3 million copies, which for a country with a population of little more than 4 million, that really is pretty good going! Kiwis are very proud of this cookbook, and it is regarded very much as a national institution. I was lucky enough to be given a copy this week, and thought I'd better dip straight in!!
My first experience of baking from the Edmonds book was a good one. The carrot cake was so moist, and proved very popular.

Carrot Cake
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamoon
3 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used dessicated coconut as MacMan isn't keen on walnuts)
1 tsp orange rind
3/4 cup crushed pineapple

  • Beat eggs until thick. Stir in oil.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon into the egg mixture and combine.
  • Fold in carrots, walnuts (or coconut!), orange rind and pineapple.
  • Grease and line the base of a 23cm ring tin. (I used two loaf tins). Spoon mixture into tin.
  • Bake at 180C for 40 minutes, until cake springs back when pressed gently.
  • Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  • When cold, ice with cream cheese icing if wished.
Cream cheese icing
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy. Mix in icing sugar and lemon rind, beating well to continue.

Cheese, corn and coriander muffins

I made these savoury muffins as lunch box fillers. They're good cold - but were even better straight out of the oven!!

Cheese, corn and coriander muffins
Makes 12 standard muffins

1 1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sweetcorn
1/4 cup chopped coriander
50g butter
1 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Grease or line muffin pans with paper cases.
  • Sift the flour, salt, sugar and paprika into a large bowl. Stir in the grated cheese.
  • Add the corn and coriander.
  • In a separate bowl, melt the butter. Add the yogurt and beaten eggs. Beat together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and combine well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins.
  • Bake for 20 mins.
  • Enjoy!

Thai fish curry

This was my final dish of the week from Taste's budget feature. It was very tasty, but went against the grain a bit as it used jarred Thai curry paste,whereas I prefer to make sauces etc from scratch. It was the second fish dish of the week, and both of them Thai influenced. However, both were a success with The Family, so both will be repeated at some point.

My main changes to the recipe was to use red curry paste rather than green, as we already had red in the cupboard from the fishcakes! I didn't use aubergines either as MacMan isn't keen, so it would seem to serve both fish and aubergines in one dish.

Thai Fish Curry

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Nigella's cupcakes

I made these easy little cakes today to meet the request for 'CAKE'! They're very quick and easy, but also very light and yummy. The Princess of Power's favourite part was of course the decorating afterwards. Apparently it is necessary to test the icing a lot before actually applying to the cakes!

Nigella's cupcakes

Bucatini with sausage, tomato and caramelised onion

The Princess of Power requested 'sketti' for tea. Conveniently, one of the recipes in the Taste budget feature is a spaghetti dish.

Bucatini with sausage, tomato and caramelised onion

When I'd prepared it, I thought the dish looked a bit bland and uninteresting. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was really tasty. It was a big hit with The Family too (even the Princess made a very good attempt!).