11:00 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category

Luxurious Risotto

If you're planning on making the pasta recipe from my previous post, you'll have some mascarpone left over. There won't be enough for cheesecake, but you could do worse than stir it into a prawn and lemon risotto for a completely indulgent and elegant meal. This is seriously delicious, and might well become my go-to Friday night dinner party recipe for the summer when it's too unpredictable to barbecue. So, so good. I'd serve it with a Chenin Blanc and something fruity for pudding.

To serve 4, you'll need

2 generous knobs of butter
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
about 20 raw peeled prawns
One onion, finely chopped
a packet of arborio risotto rice
a glass of dry white wine
A litre of chicken or vegetable stock
40g frozen petit pois
two generous tbsp mascarpone
40g Parmesan
The zest and juice of one lemon
Two handfuls rocket leaves

Over a medium heat, melt one of the knobs of butter into a pan and add the garlic and prawns, cooking until the prawns turn pink and the garlic is fragrant. Once they're cooked, remove to a plate. Melt the other knob of butter in the pan, and gently fry the onion until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat, before adding the glass of wine. Allow it to bubble up, and stir until the rice has absorbed the wine. You could add a teaspoon of dried italian herbs at this point. Add a ladleful of stock and stir until absorbed and continue to add stock until the rice is tender, about 18 mins. With the last ladleful of stock add the peas. Once the stock has been absorbed and the peas are cooked and bright green, you can turn down the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest, the mascarpone, prawns and about half of the Parmesan. Stir well to melt the mascarpone and create the delicious creamy sauce. Serve to warm bowls and top with a sprinkle of rocket and some more Parmesan. Enjoy, it really is that good!

10:42 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category

Pasta for Spring

I know, I know, it's been ages. I've not really really cooked anything new or enlightening to blog about for a little while. Between-season cooking is uninspiring, and I am sad to admit that quick and functional after-work dishes are the order of the boring day at present. This dish is after-work friendly, untaxing and thankfully requiring little washing up, but it has propelled me into summery tastes and textures with it's zingy cheerfulness. It's a recipe that eases you into the new season gently, a bridge between a stew and a watermelon salad. The indulgent creaminess makes it a suitable candidate for cooler, unpredictable days but the lemon and green vegetables are pure summer.
The recipe is adapted from Good Food online, that brilliant resource for any slightly jaded cook. This is my tweaked version and there isn't much in it, but you can have a look at their original here:

For two, gather 250g of fettuccine
A smallish head of broccoli
75g frozen petit pois
Half a bag of baby spinach, or three chunks of frozen leaves.
75g mascarpone or cream cheese. Light philadelphia works fine if you want to lower the calories a bit. It's nearly bikini season after all!
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
A good dose of freshly ground black pepper
About 30g of Parmasan
10 torn basil leaves

Firstly, put your pasta on to boil in a roomy pan of salted water. With 3 minutes left of cooking time, add the broccoli, frozen spinach (if using) and petit pois. Give fresh spinach about 30 seconds. Drain the pasta and veg, reserving a ladleful of cooking water.

Return to the pan, and over a low heat stir in the mascarpone, lemon zest and juice, most of the Parmasan, the basil and a splash of cooking water. Season with the nutmeg, a touch of salt and a few good grounds of pepper. Stir through, until the mascarpone has melted into a sauce and everything is hot. Serve with the remaining Parmasan. I bet it would be good with prawns...