Mushroom Risotto

Recipes

Mushroom Risotto
‘Mushrooms’ by Albert Kechyan

More a labour of love than a quick meal, risotto is simple in design, and yet without the requisite constant attention you can bargain that it will almost certainly fail to evolve into the silky, almost perfect dining experience it offers, while this recipe exemplifies how just one simple ingredient can lift a risotto to almost heavenly standards, which means you absolutely owe it to yourself to prepare and cook this beautiful meal and share with those you really care about and love in the knowledge that your gesture will not go unnoticed.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

6 Tbsps Olive Oil
150g Butter
250g Mushrooms (sliced)
Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled and grated)
300g Risotto Rice
1 Litre Chicken Stock
Small Bottle of White Wine
2 Tbsps Lemon Juice
25g Pack of Fresh Basil (finely chopped)
150g Parmesan (grated)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Heat half of the olive oil in a 26cm non-stick chef pan, add the mushrooms, stir-fry them until well cooked, and then remove and set them aside, adding any remaining mushroom liquid to the chicken stock.

2. Melt half of the butter in the same pan, add the onions and garlic, and stir-fry both until the onions are soft, but not browned.

3. Meanwhile, add the chicken stock to an 18cm non-stick saucepan, and keep it warm on a low heat while you prep the risotto.

4. Add the white wine to the onions, and reduce by half over a medium heat while stirring.

5. Add the risotto rice to the onions, stir well to coat everything, and add a ladleful of the stock, stirring constantly until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.

6. Continue this process until all of the stock has been added, and the rice is now looking thick and glutenous

7. Gently fold the mushrooms, remaining butter, chopped basil, lemon juice and most of the parmesan into the rice, season with salt and pepper, stirring well to combine the ingredients.

8. Finally cover the pan, turn off the heat, and allow it to sit for 5-6 minutes, before serving as required with a sprinkling of parmesan on each portion.

Comments
When I cook this (and many other types of risotto) for my family, I typically serve it with either a crisp salad, crusty buttered rolls, or both if the appetite is wanting, however it’s just as good served as is, with a nice bottle of white wine to suit your palate.

Toor Dal with Onion and Tomato

Dals

Dal with Tomatoes and Onions
‘Tomatoes on the Vine’ by Pat Koscienski

As with any good dal, the key is allowing the legumes to slowly tenderise but not overcook, and while this simple dish requires almost an hour to complete, the end result is more than worth the wait.

Ingredients (serves 4)
3 Tbsps Olive Oil
Medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 Whole Tomatoes (finely chopped)
210g Toor Dal
0.5 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1.5 Tsps Salt
0.5 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
0.5 Tsp Cumin Seeds
0.5 Tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
13 Dried Curry Leaves
1.2 Litres Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a 16cm non-stick saucepan, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chopped onion and curry leaves, and stir-fry everything until the onions are soft and lightly coloured.

2. Add the tomatoes, and continue gently stir-frying until the tomatoes are soft.

3. Add the water, turmeric, cayenne pepper, lentils, toatoes and salt to a 20cm non-stick saucepan, bring everything to the boil and then simmer partially covered for 50 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and slightly mushy, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. Once the lentils are cooked, add the fried onion, tomatoes and spices, stir well, cover and leave the saucepan to stand for 2-3 minutes, before serving as required.

Comments
This dish is excellent with fresh chapatis, and a salad of your choice.

The Dal and Rice sections are now complete.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Dal and Rice
‘Bowl of Rice with Soy Sauce’ by Faith Te

I’m happy to say that the dal and rice sections have now been written up, and so it only leaves me to add the brief but essential ‘Sides’ section and then begins the proofing and editing phase of this wonderful and diverse cookbook now titled ‘A Cookbook for Food Lovers’.

At this point I aim to have the book ready for purchase in the next two to three weeks, while as things progress I will naturally update this part of the site, while I’m excited to share these great meals with as many people as possible, and although it’s simple enough concept, there have been many unexpected elements to its writing than I first anticipated, so it just goes to show how it’s the simple things that often end up more complex than might be imagined.

Anyway here are the recipes, and while there are only a few dal’s, they were included primarily because of their ability to stand out from what can sometimes prove bland and uninspired dishes, which loosely translates that they’re merely the best of a large number cooked and eaten (at least as far as my family’s taste buds were concerned), while the rice dishes are all equally fantastic.

Dals

(1) Brown Lentils with Shallots

(2) Five Spice Red Lentils

(3) Green Lentils with Kale

(4) Green Lentils with Mint and Coriander

(5) Lentil and Garlic Dal

(6) Mung Dal with Onions

(7) Red Lentils and Ginger

(8) Rich and Spicy Dal

(9) Tarka Dal

(10) Tomato and Red Lentil Dal

Rice

(1) Aromatic Indian Rice with Peas

(2) Basmati Pilaf with Carrot and Mint

(3) Basmati Pilaf with Dill and Cardamom

(4) Basmati Rice with Cauliflower and Peas

(5) Basmati Rice with Cinnamon

(6) Basmati Rice with Lentils

(7) Basmati Rice with Whole Garam Masalas

(8) Brown Rice with Lime

(9) Caribbean Rice and Peas

(10) Cashew Nut and Curry Leaf Rice

(11) Egg Fried Rice

(12) Egyptian Rice with Lentils

(13) Fenugreek Rice and Peas

(14) Ginger and Garlic Rice

(15) Hyderabadi Spiced Rice

(16) Indonesian Coconut Rice

(17) Lemon-Laced Rice

(18) Lemon Rice

(19) Mushroom Pilau

(20) Pea and Mushroom Pilau

(21) Perfect Basmati Rice

(22) Rice and Mung Dal

(23) Rice with Dill and Peas

(24) Rice with Peas

(25) Rice with Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds

(26) Saigon Chilli Rice

(27) Sri Lankan Rice with Fresh Coriander and Lemongrass

(28) Tanzanian Vegetable Rice

(29) Whole Spice Pilau

(30) Yellow Pilau Rice

(31) Yellow Basmati Rice with Sesame Seeds

Chhole

Recipes

Chhole
‘Beans Chickpeas’ by Alessandra Andrisani

This is an absolutely simple and yet utterly delicious vegetarian curry that can be easily tempered to suit your spice and heat threshold, while the fresh mint and coriander combination creates a taste that brings you back time and time again.

The added bonus is that this uncomplicated marriage of fresh herbs and tomatoes also wins votes with both adults and children alike, and what’s even more appealing is that it takes very little time to prepare and cook too.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 Tbsps of Olive Oil
2 400g Tins of Chickpeas (Drained and Rinsed)
2 Medium Onions (Finely Chopped)
4 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
Tbsp Ground Coriander
Tbsp Ground Cumin
Tsp Ground Turmeric
Tsp Garam Masala
Tsp Paprika
4 Whole Vine Tomatoes (Chopped)
Medium Green or Red Chilli (Seeded and Finely Chopped)
25g Pack of Fresh Coriander (Finely Chopped)
Tbsp Fresh Mint (Finely Chopped)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
500ml Water

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), add the chopped onions and garlic, and stir-fry them until the onions are lightly browned.

2. Add the chopped chilli, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika and garam masala, and stir well to coat everything.

3. Add the chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, fresh coriander, fresh mint and salt and pepper, bring to the boil, and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened, and then serve.

Comments
This healthy and incredibly tasty dish goes brilliantly with any rice, however a simple plain basmati rice will easily suffice, and you could also have some nice warmed chapatis and freshly sliced cucumber if preferred.

Mung Beans with Potatoes

Recipes

Mung Beans with Potatoes
‘Basket of Potatoes’ by Vincent Van Gogh

Undoubtedly one of my own personal favourites, this delicious combination of soft tender potatoes, with sweet tomato coated mung beans, never fails to satisfy when I make it, and I’m supremely confident that if you give it a try yourself, you’ll quickly become another fan of this truly ‘moreish’ meal.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Slug of Olive Oil
175g Mung Beans
2 Medium Potatoes (Peeled and Cut into Small Dice)
Garlic Clove (Peeled and Grated)
1” Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Grated)
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
Tbsp Tomato Purée
0.5 Tsp Cumin Seeds
0.5 Tsp Brown Sugar
6 Curry Leaves (Fresh or Dried)
0.5 Tsp Ground Turmeric
Medium Red or Green Chilli (Seeded and Finely Chopped)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
750ml Water

How to Cook

1. Add the mung beans to the water and simmer in a small pan for around 30 minutes, draining away any excess liquid when finished.

2. Par-boil the diced potatoes in another small pan for around 9 minutes, draining away any excess liquid when finished.

3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar), add the cumin seeds, shortly followed by the garlic, chilli and ginger, before stir-frying until the garlic is soft but not browned.

4. Add the turmeric, salt and pepper, and sugar, and mix well before stir-frying for a further 1-2 minutes

5. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée, and bring them to the boil before simmering covered for 6-8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

6. Finally add the mung beans and potatoes and gently mix everything together before serving as required.

Comments
This awesome vegetarian dish goes brilliantly with warm chapatis, but is equally delightful with a simple plain basmati rice if preferred.

Cumberland Sausage and Split Pea Casserole

Recipes

Cumberland Sausage & Split Pea Casserole

This is a deliciously simple, and yet comforting dish that can be prepared and cooked with minimum fuss, and is also perfect for this time of year. If you want to jazz the taste up a little, then by all means use pork sausages with chilli seasoning, or even paprika if you can buy them in your local supermarket, either way it will still go down well.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
A Large Slug of Olive Oil
30g Butter
8 Cumberland Sausages
Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
2 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
200g Split Peas
Small Bottle Red Wine
2 Sprigs of Whole Fresh Thyme (or 2 tsps Dried Thyme)
500ml Chicken Stock
6 Tbsps Crème Fraîche 
Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

How to Cook

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick chef pan (or similar) and gently stir-fry the sausages until golden brown, and then remove them and set aside on kitchen paper to soak up any excess fat.

2. Add the butter to the pan, and stir-fry the onions and garlic until the onions are lightly golden and soft.

3. Add the split peas and  red wine, and then simmer to reduce the wine by half, before adding the stock and seasoning, along with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

4. Cover the pan and then simmer everything gently for 1 hour, or until the split peas are tender to touch.

5. Meanwhile combine the crème fraîche and mustard in a small bowl.

6. Once cooled, slice the sausages into 1″ thick slices, and add them to the pan, before simmering everything again for a further 5 minutes in order to heat the sliced sausages through.

7. Serve equally into bowls and then add a hearty dollop of the crème fraîche and mustard mix on top before serving.

Comments
This dish would go well with either buttered mashed potatoes, or even a nice fluffy basmati rice if preferred, or simply with a buttered crusty bread of your choice.

The Pork section is now finished.

A Cookbook for Food Lovers

Pork

I’m happy to report that this chapter of the ‘Our Favourite Recipes: A Cookbook for Food Lovers’ is now ready, and so now its time for me to start working on the ‘vegetables’ section (far and away the biggest part of the book), therefore it will no doubt take me a while to complete it, but as with food itself, ‘all good things come to those who wait’, and so in the interim, below is a list of the delicious pork recipes that will be included in the finished product. I hope that you will ultimately enjoy cooking and eating them as much as I have writing them up.

(1) Balsamic Roasted Sausages with Vegetables

(2) Cart Drivers’ Spaghetti

(3) Cumberland Sausage and Split-pea Casserole

(4) Fusilli All’ Amatriciana

(5) Goan Pork Curry with Potatoes

(6) Kerala Pork Curry

(7) Lancashire Hotpot

(8) Pasta with Asparagus,Cream and Ham Sauce

(9) Penne with Sausage Sauce

(10) Pork and Butternut Squash Curry Pork Curry

(11) Pork Dopiaza

(12) Pork Fillet in Honey and Ginger

(13) Pork in a Mustard Spice Mix

(14) Pork Kapitan

(15) Pork Vindaloo

(16) Spaghetti Carbonara

(17) Spicy Sichuan Pork with Noodles

(18) Stir-Fried Pork Mince with Basil

(19) Stir-Fried Pork Mince with Mushrooms

(20) Tagliatelle with Minced Pork Sauce

(21) Yellow Pork Curry