Time for some more Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto

Having enjoyed the butternut risotto the last time we had it, I made it again.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto

Having thought for many years that risotto was a complex dish to cook I now find it one of my go to recipes when we want something tastier than plain rice to go with a meal. Sometimes we just have the risotto.

One of the key ingredients for this is the rice, always use a proper risotto rice, it won’t work with other kinds of rice.

For this recipe I used:

      • 250g of Gallo Traditional Risotto Rice
      • 1 clove of garlic
      • 1 onion
      • 1/2 red pepper
      • 1/2 yellow pepper
      • 1/4 of a butternut squash
      • 4 chestnut mushrooms
      • 20g of butter
      • Dried Italian herbs
      • Splash of olive oil
      • 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
      • 50g parmesan cheese
      • Water

Dice the onion, pepper and butternut squash.

Cut the chestnut mushrooms into chunks.

In a large hot frying pan add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter has melted and is sizzling, add the garlic, diced onion, pepper and butternut squash.

When these are softened add the chestnut mushrooms.

The add the Gallo Traditional Risotto Rice and stir into the mushroom, onion and pepper mixture, until the rice is coated and well stirred in the pan.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto

Add the Knorr Chicken Stock Pot and water to cover the rice. Stir well.

As the water and stock is absorbed, add more water and continue to stir.

Cook the rice for 16-18 minutes until the rice is soft tender and creamy, but the grains are still firm.

Stir in the  parmesan cheese.

Season if required.

Serve.

Orecchiette Pasta

I think it was the time I had some delicious pasta at Paesan in London that inspired me to buy some orecchiette pasta when I saw some on sale in Aldi. Though I did have a dish of this pasta back in 2014 at Bottelino’s.

Orecchiette are a pasta typical of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. Their name comes from their shape, which resembles a small ear.

The pasta took 18 minutes to cook, which from experience of cooking a range of pasta types is quite long.

While the pasta was cooking, in another pan I cooked off some pancetta, onions, pepper and mushrooms.

To this, once it was cooked I added some creme frache.

Once the pasta was cooked I drained and then added to the pan with the mushrooms in. I added some grated parmesan, mixed together, finished off with some pine nuts, and then served.

Gluten Free Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made a variation of the gluten free cookies I have been making recently.

My son found a recipe online for cookies which we tried, though we replaced the standard flours with gluten free variants. These were nice, but they were a little too crisp and a little too sweet. He then adjusted the recipe and the result was tasty chewy gluten free choc chip cookies. What I and my son liked about them was that they were very similar in taste and texture to the fresh (non-gluten) cookies you can buy at supermarkets that he use to enjoy before he went gluten free.

When I was buying cookies from places like Sainsburys I did quite enjoy the raspberry and white chocolate versions. So I was intrigued in Aldi in their store had a pack of raspberry and white chocolate for baking. It was in their specials area, which is a pity as we quite liked the cookies and it might be challenging to find a pack again, hopefully I can find an alternative from another supermarket.

The process is pretty much the same as the process I used on the other cookies.

Ingredients

225g of unsalted butter
125g gluten free bread flour
125g gluten free plain flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
100g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
1 pack of raspberry and white chocolate
One teaspoon salt
One teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Two teaspoons of vanilla essence

Melt the butter in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. The aim is to boil off some of the water off the butter. The recipe said to go ensure the milk solids got a nutty brown. I was a little wary in case of burning the butter, so didn’t probably go far enough. Once the butter melted and had turned slightly brown this was removed from the heat and cooled to room temperature.

Cream the liquid butter with the sugar, vanilla essence. The idea is to mix it until it is light and fluffy. The recipe calls for an electric mixer, ours was broken, so we did it by hand, which was hard work. Beat in the eggs until they are incorporated into the mixture.

Combine the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

Stir in the dry ingredients a third of it at a time until it is incorporated.

Using a wooden spoon fold in the raspberry and white chocolate.

Chill.

Place six small balls, about 2-3cm across, of dough on a baking tray and bake for 6-9 minutes.

This quantity of ingredients will make about eighteen cookies.

After cooking leave on the tray and then after three minutes move to a rack to cool further.

Eat!

Loaf Cake Disaster

I have a simple recipe for a gluten free loaf cake, but despite usually having no problems, I did recently have a bit of a disaster.

The recipe is quite simple and is based on the weight of two eggs

Ingredients

      • 3 standard eggs
      • Take the same weight of two of the eggs of soft butter
      • Take the same weight of two of the eggs in caster sugar
      • Take the same weight of two of the eggs in self-raising gluten-free flour
      • Vanilla essence

Cream the sugar and butter until you have a smooth consistency.

Beat the eggs, add some vanilla essence.

Stir the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar with some of the flour, until the mixture is smooth and consistent.

Then fold in the remaining flour until it is combined with the rest of the mixture.

Spoon into a loaf tin and bake in a 180º normal oven or 160º fan oven for 35 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

The main issue I had was I thought it was cooked. I used a metal skewer to see if it was cooked and after inserting into the cake it came out clean. I think that was because it was only about 25 minutes into the cooking time.

However, alas the entire middle of the cake was uncooked, so though it looked okay after coming out of the oven, as it cooled it completely collapsed in on itself.

There was no way to salvage the cake, so I started over and this time cooked it for the right amount of time, so this time it worked.

 

Mushroom Risotto

Wanting to have something nice to go with some fish I was cooking I decided to cook some risotto.

One of the key ingredients for this is the rice. I like Gallo as the rice cooks well and the resulting dish is creamy and soft, but with defined grains of rice.

For this recipe I used:

      • 250g of Gallo Traditional Risotto Rice
      • 1 clove of garlic
      • 1 onion 
      • ½ red pepper
      • ½ orange (or yellow) pepper
      • 100g chestnut mushrooms
      • 100g woodland mushrooms
      • 20g of butter
      • Dried Italian herbs
      • Splash of olive oil
      • 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
      • 15g of dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated)
      • 50g parmesan cheese
      • Water
      • Parsley

Dice the onion and peppers.

Cut the chestnut mushrooms and the woodland mushrooms  into chunks. I used the mushrooms from Morrisons, but you can get similar mushrooms from Sainsburys and Asda.

Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms by placing in container and covering in boiling water, and set aside to hydrate. I used some from Lidl.

In a large hot frying pan add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter has melted and is sizzling, add the garlic, diced onion and peppers.

When these are softened add the chestnut and woodland mushrooms.

The add the Gallo Traditional Risotto Rice and stir into the mushroom, onion and pepper mixture, until the rice is coated and well stirred in the pan.

Add the Knorr Chicken Stock Pot and water to cover the rice. Stir well.

As the water and stock is absorbed, add more water and continue to stir. 

Cook the rice for 16-18 minutes until the rice is soft tender and creamy, but the grains are still firm.

Stir in the chopped rehydrated porcini mushrooms as well as the parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley.

Season if required.

Serve.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

chocolate chip muffins

I’ve been meaning to try and make these for a while now, but kept making other things instead.

      • 125g gluten free plain flour
      • 25g cocoa powder
      • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
      • 1 large egg
      • 60g caster sugar
      • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
      • 100ml whole milk
      • 50g chocolate chunks
      • Dark chocolate chips for decoration.

Heat the oven to 180ºC or 160ºC for a fan oven.

In your muffin tin or tray add six muffin cases. 

Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a medium bowl. 

In a jug add the egg, sugar, oil and milk, then mix well together

Gradually pour part of the mix into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Then add some more, repeat until all the ingredients in the jug are combined with the flour, cocoa and baking powder.

Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 mins until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Scatter a few dark chocolate chips on top of the muffins.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tray for 15 minutes and then remove from the tray.

Not 100% sure about the blue muffin cases, but you’re not going to eat them are you?

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto

Having thought for many years that risotto was a complex dish to cook I now find it one of my go to recipes when we want something tastier than plain rice to go with a meal. Sometimes we just have the risotto.

One of the key ingredients for this is the rice.

For this recipe I used:

      • 250g of Gallo Traditional Risotto Rice
      • 1 clove of garlic
      • 1 onion 
      • 1 red pepper
      • 1/4 of a butternut squash
      • 4 chestnut mushrooms
      • 20g of butter
      • Dried Italian herbs
      • Splash of olive oil
      • 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
      • 15g of dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated)
      • 50g parmesan cheese
      • Water
      • Parsley

Dice the onion, pepper and butternut squash.

Cut the chestnut mushrooms into chunks.

Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms by placing in container and covering in boiling water, and set aside to hydrate. I used some from Lidl.

In a large hot frying pan add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter has melted and is sizzling, add the garlic, diced onion, pepper and butternut squash.

When these are softened add the chestnut mushrooms.

The add the Gallo Traditional Risotto Rice and stir into the mushroom, onion and pepper mixture, until the rice is coated and well stirred in the pan.

Add the Knorr Chicken Stock Pot and water to cover the rice. Stir well.

As the water and stock is absorbed, add more water and continue to stir. 

Cook the rice for 16-18 minutes until the rice is soft tender and creamy, but the grains are still firm.

Stir in the chopped rehydrated porcini mushrooms as well as the parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley.

Season if required.

Serve.

That’s not a recipe…

That’s not a recipe, that’s just a way to construct a dish.

In my cookery book collection I have a 1980s recipe book from Sainsbury’s. There are some interesting recipes in there, but this recipe caught my eye, Prawn and Artichoke Vol-au-Vents.

No, this wasn’t a recipe which inspired me, it was more that I couldn’t quite see how this was a recipe.. This was a way to construct a dish.

Take some processed food and put it all together. Don’t make a sauce from scratch, just use a sauce mix. Throw in some canned vegetables and defrosted frozen prawns. Don’t make pastry, just bake some prepared frozen vol-au-vent cases.

To me if this was a recipe, it should be about making a sauce from ingredients, cook some vegetables over using canned. I’ll let the prawns go on this one. Make come vol-au-vents, rather than use ones from the freezer. The construction process isn’t wrong per se, just that I think it shouldn’t be in a recipe book.

Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies

My son found a recipe online for choc chip cookies which we tried, though we replaced the standard flours with gluten free variants. These were nice, but they were a little too crisp and a little too sweet.

He then adjusted the recipe and the result was tasty chewy gluten free choc chip cookies. What I and my son liked about them was that they were very similar in taste and texture to the fresh (non-gluten) cookies you can buy at supermarkets that he use to enjoy before he went gluten free.

Ingredients

225g of unsalted butter
125g gluten free bread flour
125g gluten free plain flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
100g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
85g plain chocolate chips
130g plain chocolate chunks or chopped chocolate bar
One teaspoon salt
One teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Two teaspoons of vanilla essence

The adjustments we made to the original recipe was to increase the amount of flour, reduce the amount of sugar and swap the dark brown sugar for light brown sugar.

Melt the butter in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. The aim is to boil off some of the water off the butter. The recipe said to go ensure the milk solids got a nutty brown. I was a little wary in case of burning the butter, so didn’t probably go far enough. Once the butter melted and had turned slightly brown this was removed from the heat and cooled to room temperature.

Cream the liquid butter with the sugar, vanilla essence. The idea is to mix it until it is light and fluffy. The recipe calls for an electric mixer, ours was broken, so we did it by hand, which was hard work. Beat in the eggs until they are incorporated into the mixture.

Combine the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

Stir in the dry ingredients a third of it at a time until it is incorporated.

Using a wooden spoon fold in the chocolate chips and chunks.

Chill.

Place six small balls, about 2-3cm across, of dough on a baking tray and bake for 6-9 minutes.

This quantity of ingredients will make about eighteen cookies.

After cooking leave on the tray and then after three minutes move to a rack to cool further.

Eat!

Simple Pasta Salad

pasta salad

Over the summer months we have been eating a lot of salad. To accompany the other salads we have, I sometimes make a simple pasta salad. I cook the pasta and when it is cooked, I drain the pasta, place it back in the pan and fill with cold water, drain and then repeat. The aim is to both cool the pasta down, but also stop it from cooking and getting too soft and sticky.

To the cooked pasta I add various ingredients, what I add depends very much what we have in the fridge. Some I cook, some I add raw.

Our usual favourites include, onions, pepper, courgettes and mushrooms. These are usually cooked in a pan, cooled and then added to the salad. Raw ingredients I have used include cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions.

The mix of pasta and other stuff, I season the salad with olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir and serve.

I have been using gluten free pasta, which when fresh is fine, however unlike wheat based pasta doesn’t stay soft if you keep it until the next day, so it’s very much a matter of eat it today.