Sunday, 17 June 2012

Oven Cooked Pork and Fennel Risotto

This week I bought a coat... in June... JUNE. So excuse me while I share with you a recipe that isn’t particularly seasonal. I’ve been resorting back to my more wintery repertoire of warm and comforting suppers, as when the rain is driving against the window and wind is fluttering the roof tiles, I can think of nothing better then standing over a simmering pan for an hour or so. Of course, I’d love to be marinating copious amounts of meat in preparation for an upcoming barbecue, but this evening an oven cooked risotto seemed more appropriate. 

The first risotto I ever made was cooked in the oven rather then through the traditional method of adding stock slowly to the pan and stirring. I will admit that the traditional method does allow for little more control over the level of bite that you’re after, but when you want something that you can throw in the oven and forget about, then this is the risotto for you. 

Fennel and pork is a classic combination, and here I have coupled thin slices of fennel with both crumbled sausage meat, which adds texture and meatiness, and chunks of chorizo, which brings a punch of spice along with the Tabasco. Overall, the risotto is sweet and satisfying, with hints of aniseed, spice and porky-ness. If it’s not too naughty, or if you’re splitting the recipe to serve four rather then two, a wedge of crusty bread to mop up the sauce would be lovely. 

Serves 2 greedy people 
a splash of olive oil
4 sausages
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
a few drops of Tabasco
an inch or so of spicy chorizo sausage, chopped
150g arborio rice
large glass of white wine
roughly 200g of passata
250ml chicken stock 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the oil in a large pan that can go in the oven, and that has a lid. Remove the sausages from their skins and crumble the meat into the pan. Be sure not to allow the meat to burn. 
  2. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, two thirds of the rosemary, Tabasco and chorizo, stir and fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the rice, then add the wine, passata and stock. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Put the lid on the pan, put it in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of the remaining rosemary. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Garlic Prawn Salad with Feta and Parsley

No blog silence apologies from me, suffice to say I finished my degree. Enough said. 

As Summer supposedly draws closer (I missed the mini heatwave due to aforementioned finished degree) thoughts inevitably turn to lighter dishes, fish, salads and picnics, that sort of thing. This dish ticks all the boxes, being light (but bready too to keep Ben full) and reminiscent of the smells and flavours you might expect to encounter outside a Spanish cafe. It’s really simple to make too, so would be a good option for feeding a crowd. 

My best cooking buddy Rose and I originally made a variation of this after trawling through my ever growing collection of cook books for something ‘light and prawny’. We were very pleased with the results, but felt it could do with some tweaking, namely the addition of  the wine, which I think adds a depth of flavour, and slightly less feta, which was a little overpowering to the delicate flavours of the rest of the dish first time round, although the more you add, the more deliciously creamy the sauce will be..

Serves 2
Pack of cooked and peeled King Prawns
Good wedge of butter
half a red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
2/3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
large handful fresh parsley, chopped
75g Feta, crumbled
juice of a lemon
a small glass of white wine
Salad leaves
some crusty bread
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the prawns, chili, garlic and parsley, before sprinkling over a little salt. Stir to coat the prawns.
  2. Add the lemon juice, wine and about half the feta, and leave to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Just before serving crumble in the remaining feta. 
  4. Serve on the salad leaves, pouring over all the delicious sauce, which can then be mopped up by the crusty bread.
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