Lamb and Apricot Stew or a Study in Steam

Thursday, 22 January 2015

I love a good steam shot.  Just piping hot food and winter light.  I got a little carried away here.  The stew is flavoured with Ras El Hanout spice mix which originates from North Africa and has got to be one of the prettiest spice mixes around with its dried rose petals.  Containing spices like paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, chilli and ginger it can’t fail to warm you up on a cold day.  The lamb is melt in the mouth tender and the sweetness from the apricots compliments the warming spices perfectly.

Find the recipe here from BBC Good Food.
Notes: I add sliced carrot and fennel to my stew and I like to cook mine for at least an hour so that the meat is really tender.  You will need a bit more stock if you are going to cook it longer.  I threw in some chopped kale at the end and I served this over brown rice.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Friday, 16 January 2015

I wasn’t planning on such a long blog break but life has been busy with a 4 month old keeping me on my toes.  He has no interest in pretty napkins and taking photos, unless of course they are of him or perhaps a bottle of milk.  I didn’t manage to blog much last year and I’ve missed it so blogging more is a New Year resolution of sorts.  If anyone is still reading this blog then thanks for sticking around!

This roasted butternut squash risotto is a regular meal through winter.  I love the vibrant orange of the squash to warm up a grey day.  It’s easy to throw together and comforting to eat.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how to make risotto but I do mine a little differently by adding quinoa for a healthier and lighter meal.  If that isn’t your thing just make your favourite risotto recipe, roast the squash and add both the squash and kale to your risotto at the end.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 2
½ butternut squash, peeled and diced
2-3 cavolo nero leaves finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
Knob of butter
1oz quinoa rinsed
2-3oz Arborio rice
500ml stock (I use chicken stock)
Hard goats cheese or parmesan, grated

For the roasted squash: line a baking sheet with parchment.  Spread out the butternut squash, sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in the oven for approx 35 minutes at Gas mark 7.

For the risotto: Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the shallot or onion.  Sauté over a low heat until translucent.  Add the garlic and continue to sauté for a further minute.  Add the butter followed by quinoa and Arborio rice.  Sauté for a two minutes until the rice becomes translucent and the quinoa is slightly toasty.  Deglaze the pan with a ladle full of stock or white wine if you prefer.  Once the stock is absorbed by the rice add another ladle full and continue with this method until the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes, stirring between each addition of stock.  Add the roasted butternut squash and chopped kale.  Cook for a further minute then turn off the heat, add the grated cheese and cover with a lid.  Leave the risotto to rest for two minutes then serve with more grated cheese on top if you like.