Beer risotto with chanterelles and bacon

This weekend I had culinary holidays. Mr. No Onion Please disappeared in a cottage among woods with his friends and that meant only one for me – FREEDOM!!! I could eat whatever I want, without murmurs and complaints – pancakes as a main dish of the day? Yes, please! But, but, but…. the centerpiece of my celebrations is here, a dish that revolves around 2 most hated ingredients of his, onions and mushrooms (on the other hand it also includes 2 of his favs – beer and bacon 😉 ). The autumn is inevitably approaching, and as much as my mood suffers from upcoming darkness, my belly wildly celebrates, as my favorite culinary season begins. There are still some berries and currants available, capsicums, eggplants and courgettes are at their best, first mushrooms appear and soon the pumpkins and my beloved root veggies will star in my dishes! The recipe for basic beer risotto comes from THIS book. I pimped it up with adding some pancetta, thyme and of course chanterelles!!! It is absolutely delicious, it’s such a pity that those great mushrooms are in season for such a short time 😦 The amounts make a generous portion for 2 people. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

butter

250ml risotto rice (eg arborio)
130ml dark, rich beer
80ml double cream
roughly 500ml chicken stock
onion, finelly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finelly chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
a handful of grated mature cheese such as grana padano, parmiggiano reggiano, pecorino etc

1,5 liters of chanterells, bigger ones cut to pieces, smaller ones left whole
150g of pancetta
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
5-6 tbsp of beer

1. Heat up a tbsp of butter in a pot. Add garlic and onion and saute till golden in colour. Add the rice and mix until it becomes slightly transparent from the fat.

2. Add the cream and simmer slowly, stirring continuously. Once the cream is nearly absorbed add the beer and stir. Yes, risotto is all about stirring – the more you stir the better it is, because the more starch is released. Once the beer is nearly absorbed start to add the chicken stock in small amounts and stir. You will need around 500ml and 15-20 min till rice absorbs everything. So in the meanwhile you can make the mushrooms.

3.  Melt a tbsp of butter in another pot. Add pancetta and cook till crispy. Add the mushrooms and thyme, saute for 3-4 min till the mushrooms soften yet stay tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Fish out the mushrooms and add to remaining sauce beer. Heat up till boiling and reduce the sauce.

5. Once your risotto looks ready add the thyme, cheese and 1/3 of the mushroom/pancetta mixture into it, stir for a minute or so.

6. Serve risotto on a bed of mushrooms sprinkled with sauce.

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Prawns in garlic butter sauce

Yesterday I read in the news, that we are enjoying righ now the most beautiful summer for the last 23 years! That was quite a shock for me. True, the summer is really lovely this year, with few occasional showers and temperature often in it’s mid 20s, but still for me it’s a kind of “average” summer, the one I was used to enjoy as a kid in Poland. Though the weather is definitely better in my homecountry, I much prefere the summer time here in Finland. I really adore how much it is able to transform throughout the year. While in the winter time it looks as if everything has frozen and died for good, now the land is thriving with vibrant green colour, spotted with blue lakes all around. Summer means for me lot’s of dishes with seasonal fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood. This lovely, fast, slightly changed recipe comes from Bajaderka. I’ve made a small mistake and was close to burn the garlic, fortunately nothing really happened apart from the colour change 😉 I’ve figured out I’ll fry the garlic first and once it is ready I’ll fish it out and throw the prawns in. Unfortunately the butter started to foam and I couldn’t do that, I just quickly threw the prawns in. Phew. No more modifications, next time I’ll follow the recipe straight 😀

INGREDIENTS

25 large prawns
3 tbsp good quality virgin olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp chilli flakes
6 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
50 ml white wine
2 tbsp provencal herbs
salt and pepper
lemon juice

1. Wash and clean your prawns. Rub them with a bit of salt.

2. Heat up oil and butter on the pan. Add pepper flakes and garlic, fry for 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the prawns, saute for 2 minutes. Add the wine and provencal herbs, turn the prawns on the other side and saute for 1-2  minutes more.

4. Remove the prawns from the pan. Heat up the sauce till it boils. Season with pepper, salt and lemon juice. Serve with baguette.

How to slow roast lamb plus a quick Mediterranean leftover salad

Mediterranean flavours inspired salad with slow roasted lamb

I’ve just noticed that till now I’ve blogged either about sweets or about Asian inspired dishes. I admit, we love to use lots of spices as well as have combined sweet, sour and salty flavors together, just as it is done in that part of the world, but it doesn’t mean that we’re eating only like that 😉 So here, finally, is something more European. A slow roasted lamb and still a second recipe for Mediterranean salad with the roast leftovers.

We don’t eat lamb that often. Or actually by that I mean we don’t eat it at all. Usually, I order it when we go to a restaurant, but Mr No Onion Please firmly states that he dislikes this meat, cause it is bitter (has anyone ever heard that lamb has some bitter aftertaste?). I understand if he said “stinky”, cause I guess that’s the most often heard complaint, but BITTER? Well anyway, once I got the permission to finally buy some lamb I decided to slow roast it, as I hoped that it will mellow the whatever taste there is that makes Mr No Onion Please shudder. In his book “Jamie’s Kitchen”, Jamie Oliver describes how it should be done. I’ve just added some lemon to flavour it nicely and otherwise followed exactly his recipe.

Ingredients:

2kg lamb meat for roast (leg or shoulder)

olive oil

salt & pepper

bunch of rosemary

bulb of garlic unpeeled, broken into cloves

lemon cut in wedges

1. Preheat your oven to the highest grade possible. Score the skin (beware not to disturb the meat), splash with olive oil and rub it with lots of salt and pepper.

2. Press the garlic cloves with knife so that they crush a bit. Place the meat on the roasting tray together with rosemary, garlic and lemon (place those around and on top of the meat).

3. Tightly cover the tray with tinfoil and place it in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 170C and cook for 4h.

Yup, simple as that, no fuss at all and of course slow roasting rewards you with delicious meat that melts in your mouth. And yeah, according to Mr No Onion Please there’s no bitterness anymore (if there ever was any 😉 ). Now, when you roast 2kg piece of meat, obviously there will be quite some leftovers. But that’s not a problem really cause I have here for you a truly refreshing salad recipe.

I must say, I’m really bad when it comes to salad recipes, as I basically just throw things together and I simply can’t give you any proper measures on how much of what you need. But hey, I bet most of you do it same way, so just toss the things together as you usually do and you’ll get a great Mediterranean flavours inspired lamb salad.

Ingredients

green stuff (oh how lovely descriptive is that 😉 ) – I used watercress since it’s in season

cucumber – sliced, then cut into sticks

2 red bell peppers, cut in half, deseeded, brushed with oil and baked till soft, skin removed, torned to smaller pieces

feta cheese, cubed

sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

big bunch of mint, shredded

pieces of roast lamb

olive oil + a pinch of sweet paprika