a food stylist's blog

Cooking courses and food tours in SW France

Mushroom spelt risotto with melted camembert

Spelt is one of the world’s oldest wheat grain varieties. It is great as an alternative to rice in a risotto as it retains a wonderfully crunchy texture and unlike rice, you can add the stock all at once and let the risotto simmer away on the stove – making it low maintenance as well as delicious.

Spelt and Mushroom risotto 2

Serves: 4

300 g spelt grains

15 g dried porcini

150 ml boiling water

100 g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbs chopped fresh thyme

500 g mixed mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped

150 ml red wine

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

50 g Parmesan, grated

150 g Camembert, sliced

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Soak the spelt grains in boiling water for 20 minutes. Soak the porcini in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain spelt and shake dry. Drain and chop the mushrooms, reserve the liquid.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic and half the thyme over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and porcini and stir-fry until starting to soften. Add the spelt and stir for 1 minute then pour in the wine and boil until it is all but absorbed.

Meanwhile bring the stock and reserved porcini liquid to the boil in a separate pan. Add 750 ml to the risotto and cook gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock is almost absorbed and the spelt, tender. Add a little more stock if needed (any left over stock can be reserved, chilled in the fridge for up to 3 days).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and half the Camembert, cover and leave to melt for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan and add the remaining thyme leaves. Cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the butter turns a golden brown. Serve the risotto topped with the remaining camembert and drizzled with the thyme butter.

Tip: Spelt is available from larger supermarkets as well as health food stores.

Sorry everyone, just realised I omitted the quantity of pearl barely from my previous post………….so you will need 400g for this recipe.

 

Categories: Home

Warm salad of roasted vegetables and barley

A great time of year to serve this warm salad – still cold enough outside, but it will soon be time to start looking forward to warmer days.

roasted-vegetable-and-barley-salad-copy-2-e1517819870381.jpg

Serves: 6

6 large shallots, halved

6 large garlic cloves, left whole

750g carrots, roughly chopped

750g beetroot beetroot, cut into wedges

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 litre chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

finely grated zest and juice 1lemon

2 tsp cumin seeds

100g Greek yogurt

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the shallots, garlic, carrots, beetroot, herbs and some salt and pepper in the prepared tray. Add half the oil, 3 tablespoons of the stock and stir well. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, rinse the barley in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining chicken stock and a pinch salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain off and discard any remaining stock. Place barley in a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the coriander and lemon juice, season to taste.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the cumin seeds and lemon zest for 1 minute until fragrant. Spoon yogurt over the salad and drizzle over the cumin scented oil. Serve at once.

 

 

Copyright Food & Travel magazine, published 2017

Recipe and styling Louise Pickfordf

Photography Ian Wallace

Basque chicken with chickpeas and espelette pepper

Espelette is a town in South West France close to the Spanish border, an area known as French Basque country. It iss famous for the small red pepper named after the town. The dried and ground chilli has a wonderfully smoky flavour, not dissimilar to smoked paprika, but with a hint of citrus. It is so revered in it’s native region that it has replaced black pepper in all savoury dishes.

Basque Chicken with espelette 1

Serves: 4

2 kg free range chicken, cut into 8 pieces

400 g chickpeas, drained

1 onion, cut into thin wedges

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 lemon, sliced

150 ml white wine

150 ml chicken stock

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 sprigs rosemary, lightly bashed

2 tbsp clear honey

2 tsp espelette chilli pepper

salt

herb couscous and aioli, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200c. Wash and dry the chicken pieces and place in a large roasting tin. Arrange the chickpeas, onions, garlic, lemon and rosemary around the chicken, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt. Add the wine and stock to the pan and transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes.

Warm the honey, espelette chilli pepper and the remaining oil together until runny and drizzle over the chicken. Return the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is browned. Serve with couscous and aioli.

 

Seafood Hotpot

Versions of this soup can be found throughout South-Asia where it is traditionally served as a broth cooked over a gas flame at the table. Diners add their own meat, seafood, noodles and vegetables to the broth, an Asian fondue if you like. The soup is then served with piles of fresh herbs, chillies and beansprouts to scatter over each bowl of soup. This version is a simplified one.

seafood-hotpot

Serves: 4 

250 g raw king prawns

2 litres water

2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped

8 lime leaves, torn

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2-5 cm piece root ginger, peeled and sliced

1 Thai red chilli, bashed

4 tbs Thai fish sauce

2 tbs palm sugar

juice 1-2 limes

350 g dried rice noodles

250 g cleaned squid tubes

250 g shelled scallops

4 tbs chopped fresh herbs – Thai basil, mint and coriander

to serve

125 g fresh beansprouts

a few fresh Thai basil, mint and coriander

A few sliced Thai red chillies

Make the broth. Peel the prawn shells and heads, wash briefly and place the shells and heads in a saucepan with the water, lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic, ginger and chilli. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the pan. Stir in the fish sauce, sugar and enough lime juice to taste and return to the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain well and set aside.

Using a sharp knife cut down along the top of each shelled prawn and pull out and discard the intestinal tract. Wash and pat dry. Cut the squid tubes in half and score the underside in a diamond pattern. Trim the scallops.

Add the seafood to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until the seafood is cooked. Add noodles and chopped herbs. Transfer the pot to the table for guests to serve themselves and hand around a platter of beans sprouts, herbs and chillies.

Seafood Hotpot 2

Categories: Home

Honey roasted chicken with lemon, olives and herbs

A great mid week meal, ready to pop into the oven in minutes. The roasted lemons infuse the chicken as it cooks and the honey is a lovely balancing of flavours. Serve with green beans or any other green veg.

Honey Baked Chicken

Serves: 4

1.5 kg chicken, jointed into 4

1 lemon, quartered

2 tbs olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbs clear honey

1 tsp Tobasco

1 tbs each chopped fresh thyme and rosemary

500 g small potatoes, scrubbed and halved

50 g pitted black olives

1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Place the chicken pieces in the prepared tin. Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and reserve the skins. Add the oil, garlic, honey, Tobasco, herbs and some salt and pepper to the lemon juice and stir well.

Add to the chicken with the potatoes and the reserved lemon quarters and stir well until evenly combined.

Transfer to the oven and roast about 45-50 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are brown and tender. Add the olives and roast for a further 5 minutes. Scatter over the parsley and serve with some French beans.

 

Chinese-style steamed cod with ginger

After the excess of the Christmas period this is a light yet comforting Chinese steamed fish recipe. I use cod but you could use any firm white fish such as bream, snapper or ling.

Steamed Cod with pak Choi

Serves: 4

2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tsp white sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

5 cm piece root ginger, peeled

4 x 200 g white fish fillets, such as cod, snapper or ling

100 ml chicken stock

3 tbs Shaoxing Chinese rice wine

4 baby pak choi, quartered

4 large spring onions, very thinly sliced

2 tbs peanut oil

coriander leaves, to garnish

plain boiled rice, to serve

Combine the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a jug. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Cut the peeled ginger into thin slices and then into thin strips or julienne. Place the fish on a deep heatproof plate (an enamel plate is ideal – or use foil to shape into a bowl) set in a large bamboo steamer. Scatter over half the ginger and pour in the stock and rice wine.

Top the steamer with a lid and place over a saucepan of lightly simmering water. Cook for 5 minutes and then carefully pop the pak choi into the steamer over the fish. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Place the peanut oil in a small pan and heat gently until the oil is hot and starting to shimmer.

Transfer the fish and pak choi to serving plates, scatter over the remaining ginger and the spring onions and immediately pour over the hot oil, to soften the ginger and onions. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with small bowls of rice.

%d bloggers like this: