Baked pea and asparagus risotto

April 4th, 2014


1 veg stock cube
250ml boiling water
150ml white wine
1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 cups arborio rice
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 pack asparagus (10 thin stems)
1 cup peas (petit pois)
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tbsp salted butter

Preheat the oven to 180c

Snap woody ends off asapargus and chop into 1cm size pieces.  Chop onion finely and fry gently in oil, over a low heat, until translucent.  Add crushed/finely chopped garlic.

Add the rice and stir for a minute until all grains are coated in oil.  Crumble in stock cube, then add wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Add thyme, asparagus and peas. Stir well.  Mix in 250ml of boiling water and transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 30 mins, stirring once after 15mins.

To finish, stir in the butter and parmesan and serve with a thinly sliced tomato salad.

Lamb, pumpkin and pea curry

March 11th, 2014


1 lb diced stewing lamb
1 small pumpkin
2 cloves garlic
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
2 onions (or leeks)
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp curry powder
2 lamb or beef stock cubes
1 tin thick coconut milk
1 mug frozen peas

Cut the pumpkin in half and roast in the oven at 200c  for an hour until soft.  When cooked, remove and discard the seeds.  Scrape the remaining pulp into a bowl.

Peel onion, garlic and ginger.  Crush garlic, finely chop the onion and ginger and put them all in a big stewing pan on the hob.  Add oil and fry on a high heat for a couple of minutes.  Add the curry powder, stir well, then add the lamb.

When the lamb is no longer pink on the outside, add the stock cubes, 200ml of boiling water and the coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the pumpkin flesh and simmer for 2 hours, checking occasionally that there is enough liquid and giving it a stir.  Add some water if it begins to look dry at all.

Add peas and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste and check lamb is tender.

This works very well with couscous or rice as an accompaniment.


Winter Vegetable Couscous with harissa

March 10th, 2014

parsnips 2 Onions
4 Parsnips
4 carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme (or a sprig of fresh thyme, washed)
2 mugs couscous
1 tbsp harissa





Peel the vegetables.  Crush the garlic, and chop everything else into eighths.  Place all the veg in a roasting tin and mix with the olive oil and thyme and roast at 200c for 40 mins.

Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water (so the water comes around 3mm over the top of the couscous).  Cover with a plate. Stir after 5 mins, then recover with the plate.

When the veg is cooked, mix with the harissa, then mix in the couscous.

Perfect served hot or cold as a winter lunch!

Choc orange cup cakes with mint icing

December 11th, 2013

choc mint cupcake

4 eggs
170g white SR flour
30g Green & Blacks hot chocolate
150g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter
1 bar dark choc with orange peel, chopped into small chips

Chocolate: 4 tbps unsalted butter, 2 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder
Mint: 4 tbsp icing sugar, 2 drops mint essence

Heat oven to 180c.

Cream sugar and butter in food processor or bowl. Add eggs and flour and beat until smooth. Stir in choc chips and divide between 24 cupcake cases. Bake for 20 mins.

To ice, either cream together 4 tbps unsalted butter with 2 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tbsp cocoa powder to make choc cream icing. Or mix 4 tbsp icing sugar with 1 tbsp water and 2 drops mint essence.

Cakes are ready when a chopstick comes out from the centre clean and they are nicely domed. Cool on rack.

Ice and decorate ( I used rice paper flowers and edible gold spray).