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.

Summer liver salad

Just a quick note to let you know that I’m back from my holidays 🙂 I had lot’s of fun sightseeing, hiking in the mountains and visiting my family, a real pity it’s already over. But there is a good news too: just 6 weeks till the second part of my holidays 😉 Life is good (particularly in the summer 😉 ). Now I have to look through hundreds of pics I made, get back to working mode and make one million of other things. Huh, it’s so easy to get used to lazynes, but somehow getting adjusted to regular working mode is a total nightmare. Anyway, I have to try to organise my life again and I leave you with this delicious recipe that I have found on Tatter’s blog. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

3 tbsp oil
handfull of croutons
3 handfulls of watercress
2 handfulls of salad mix
500g poultry livers, cut into pieces (I used a piece of veal liver)
12 pancetta slices, finely cut
125ml Marsala or sherry
1 tbsp french mustard
1 tbsp of torned sage leaves (or as in my case a whole bunch 😉 )
salt and black pepper

olive oil  mixed with herbs such as:
dried garlic, basil, pinch of chilli

1. Heat a pan, add the oil. Fry pancetta till nicely brown and crunchy. Set aside.

2. Add liver pieces to the pan. Fry for several minutes. Set aside. Add sherry to the pan and heat for 1-2 min to reduce the liquid in half. Add mustard, sage, salt and pepper. Add liver pieces again. Mix them well to coat in the liquid and put the pan off the heat.

3.  Arrange salads and watercress on the plates. Put the liver pieces on top and sprinkle with pancetta.

4. Drizzle a bit of oil with herbal mix onto croutons and scatter them on the plate. Season with rest of sherry sauce and olive oil mixture.

Szechuan smoky bacon cabbage

Today we’ve enjoyed a really great weather! Finally the spring has come. YEY! We had a long walk in the woods, some nice a bit lazy but still very good food and since we got up pretty early also looots of time just to hang around and relax. Ahhh I feel so energetic, the days are really long (15,5h at the moment – a definite reason to celebrate after winter’s darkness) and recently we also got quite much of cloudless days what additionally boosts me with energy. Anyway, time for the recipe 🙂 Today a very simple side – again Chinese and again from Ching-He Huang. The Szechuan cabbage was really good, though I’ve made a small mistake that reflected negatively on the final outcome. The recipe calls for  pointed cabbage I’ve never seen it before and just guessed I’ll do fine with savoy cabbage. Unfortunately, the ends of the leaves in savoy cabbage are very delicate and upon frying they wilted. The white parts, however were deliciously crunchy. Next time definitely I’ll go for a  cabbage with tougher leaves.

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp frying oil
1 chilli, finely choped
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
5 streaky bacon rashes chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tsp Shaohsing rice wine
300g pointed cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp rice vinegar
juice of half lemon
salt

1. Heat wok, fry chilli and peppercorns for a while. Add bacon and fry for 2-3 min till browned.

2. Add rice wine and cabbage and stir-fry for 3 min. Season with vinegar, lemon juice and salt.