Monday, 9 August 2010

More Ottolenghi, and a medley of berries


I realise as I write this that I have made quite a lot of risotto recently. I think it is turning into a bit of a habit; I just love the depth of flavour you can get from a good risotto. I think it is also to do with my parmesan addiction: anything you can grate the stuff liberally over is going down well at the moment. I had also been asked to cook something vegetarian for dinner, and risotto is always a good way to make people forget that their meal lacks meat, because it makes up for it with lots of flavour.

A salad to wake you up, and dessert heaven


I was going to start this post by saying that the above pear tart is the best dessert I have had in ages/my new favourite dessert. But my boyfriend cruelly mocked me yesterday for apparently starting all my blog posts (or at least those that are dessert-related) with that phrase, so in defiance I am not going to use such an opening. I will instead say that this pear tart is simply "a dessert worth making". (Even though it is in fact one of my new favourite desserts. Sshh...)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

An unusual pasta sauce


Generally when pasta sauces involve meat, it is normally minced meat or finely ground meat. However, last night I made a sort of stew to use up some lovely braising beef from the Yorkshire butchers, and to satisfy a pasta craving I had been nursing for a couple of days, thought I would serve it with pasta. I finely shredded the large chunks of beef so they'd stick more easily to the pasta, and the pasta became coated in the lovely braising liquid, containing cinnamon, cloves and coriander. I suppose you could serve it with couscous or mash, or even rice, but there is something very satisfying about the combination of pasta and aromatic shreds of beef and red peppers. Pappardelle is, I think, the best choice of pasta here because it's large enough for the sauce to cling to all the strands, but rigatoni might work well too, or those giant pasta shells you can get (I imagine the sauce would fill up the shells nicely once given a good stir).

Seared tuna with lime and chilli couscous


Returning home to find two tuna steaks sitting in the fridge awaiting my consumption has to be up there with one of the best things that has happened to me this week (top of the list would be the ability to eat my lunch without the very real possibility of throwing it all up again - but more on that when I get round to writing my "Catering at sea" post).

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Peach and blueberry cobbler


One of my new favourite desserts. It's like a crumble, but lighter and more summery - the topping is a scone dough made with sour cream and placed in rounds over the top of the fruit so it doesn't cover it entirely. The purple juice from the blueberries bubbles up around it in the oven and the whole thing is truly delicious. A good way to use up those supermarket punnets of peaches/nectarines that are hardly edible when raw (I bought two punnets for 40p each in Tesco's reduced section yesterday), but transform into something perfumed and beautiful when cooked and combined with blueberries. 

Monday, 2 August 2010

Beetroot and goat's cheese risotto


Dramatic-looking food. The addition of grated beetroot to a normal risotto recipe turns it alarmingly sanguine, contrasting nicely with snowy white clouds of goat's cheese crumbled over the top when serving. It needs quite a lot of cheese to set off the beetroot's rather cloying sweetness, and a few handfuls of rocket stirred in at the last minute would probably be a good addition too.