Bonfire-Ready Pea and Bacon Risotto

Nourishing November Grub

The First Day of November and here at Love Food HQ I’m inspired to celebrate this month of bonfires, sparklers, fireworks and guys with some cheap, cheerful and deliciously easy-to-make food – all wrapped together under the delightfully apt banner of #NourishingNovemberGrub.

Without further a-do, here’s this evening’s dinner recipe of pea and bacon risotto which has gone down a treat – or up like a gigantic firework with it’s tasty, filling and nutritious simplicity, depending upon how acknowledging you are of this month’s pending celebrations.

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Ready to eat well – for mere pennies, fellow foodies? Then here you go!

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 white onion or 2 shallots, peeled and chopped finely

1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

1tsbp of oil (I’ve used coconut oil: sunflower or olive oil are useful alternatives)

2 rashers of unsmoked bacon, rinds removed and cut into small pieces

100g rice, thoroughly washed and rinsed, your preference as to type (I’ve used a basics white rice range)

50g frozen peas

1litre vegetable stock (I used a good quality gluten-free stock cube with boiling hot water)

2tbsp low fat natural yoghurt

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • On a medium heat, place a frying pan and add the oil you are cooking with. Wait until a mini heat haze appears and add the onion and garlic, turning the heat to low and cooking the ingredients for about 10 minutes or until the onion appears translucent.
  • Now add the chopped bacon and swish within the onion and garlic mixture until all the mini-looking rashers are coated in both the oil and the onion and garlic. The bacon will turn from a raw red-looking colour to a medium pink colour once cooked.
  • Next, add the washed rice and stir into the ingredients, ensuring it is coated with the mixture.
  • Gradually add the vegetable stock a little at a time and allowing each lot of stock to slowly cook out, then adding another similar sized portion of stock and again cooking it out. Repeat this process until all the stock is used.
  • The rice I’ve used will take about 10-15 minutes to cook and retains it’s shape and texture well, whilst being a cheap alternative to the more expensive risotto rices.
  • You are looking for a thick-ish soup consistency and once achieved, down off the heat and remove the frying pan to a cold burner. You can now slowly add and stir in the low fat natural yoghurt being mindful not to let it curdle – this is optional so if you don’t have any to hand, then this meal will still tasty delicious without it. The natural yoghurt simply adds a creaminess to the dish.
  • Season and serve on warmed places or in dishes.

And that, fellow foodies, is it: a very quick, ever-so cheap and easy-to-make dinner after the day.

Bon appétit,

Dawn

For more easy-to-make recipes and inspired food ideas, then follow this website here and keep up-to-date with Ms Love Food on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find me on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming up, fellow foodies!

 

 

 

Ghoulishly, Wickedly Green Pumpkin Soup

Ah…Halloween evening has arrived and as we await the darkness to unfold it’s legendary, ancestry Celtic secrets…

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble*.

…on this bewitching, witchery evening that takes it’s name from “Hallowed evening” being the day before All Hallows Day (you may know it as All Saints Day), what better way than to stir up spirits (get it? ;O)) than to wave a magic wand over a caldron-shaped pumpkin…abracadabra…behold! Flashes of purpley-seaweed green smoke, sizzle-sounds of burning embers…and phew!

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I give you: an intoxicating liquor of life-enhancing deliciousness that will have you digging deep for more…more…more!

Pushing my pointy hat to a saucy wee angle, I’ll crack on with spelling :O) out how you can get your hands on bringing your very own green goblin to life.

Ingredients

Per portion

1 medium size pumpkin, washed (I used a ghoulishly green one and you can use any colour)

20g butter

1 onion or 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled, chopped and squashed (Get it ;O))

Fresh grated nutmeg (a wee pinch)

1tsp chopped fresh sage (or dried)

500ml of vegetable stock (I used a gluten free, good quality stock cube)

2tbsp low fat natural yoghurt

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Heat the oven to 190⁰C, gas mark 5. In a medium size, deep ovenproof dish, add a little oil. Slice the top off the pumpkin scooping out the inner flesh and seeds. Make sure you leave the pumpkin’s outer skin thick enough to act as “walls”. Place it in the ovenproof dish with the pumpkin lid on top of it’s body; place the dish in the centre of the oven.
  • Next, remove the pumpkin seeds from the flesh and chop the flesh. Set the seeds aside in a container and soak with water. I’ll come back to these.
  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan and when melted, add the chopped onion. Fry for 10 minutes until they begin to soften and become translucent. Don’t brown them, though. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the nutmeg, sage and pumpkin flesh. Gently swirl into the onion and garlic mixture making sure everything is coated with the available oil. If not, add a splash of boiling water which will help prevent the ingredients from sticking to the pan.
  • Now add the vegetable stock making sure all the ingredients are covered and bring to the boil. Once at boiling point, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the pumpkin flesh has softened. About 10-15 minutes should suffice before transferring the ingredients to a food processor and blitzing. If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher to combine all the ingredients to a pulp-like consistency.
  • Pour this thick-ish liquid into the pumpkin’s body, season and cover with it’s lid. Allow to bake in the oven for about 40-50 minutes or until the pumpkin body is tender and still holds it’s shape.
  • Open the lip and serve with a dollop or two of low fat natural yohgurt mixed into the creamy-like soup with a hunk of tasty bread.

And there, fellow Halloween foodies is a visually stunning ghoulish treat for this bewitching evening.

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Not forgetting…once you have washed the pumpkin seeds and removed as much of the clinging flesh as possible, pour them out onto a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. These seeds produce a rich, nutty flavoursome tasty snack to nibble or a sprinkling top for a salad.

Does a wee twirl, sprinkles some magic dust and cuddles a black cat before jumping on the ol’broomstick – enjoy yourselves!

Dawn x

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PS: Licks lips…burps like any good witch does and cackles a cackle…that was yummy!

For more easy-to-make recipes and inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date with Ms Love Food on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find me on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

*Double, double toil and trouble by William Shakespeare

 

Tangy Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mackerel Risotto

I love risotto! It’s quick and oh-so-easy to make…and did I mention it costs pence to make? A big pan of risotto will make a handsome and delicious evening meal for four people or serves ample portions for two with cold leftovers thrown in containers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Originating in Northern Italy, this rice cooked in a broth dish can consist of anything you have in: from fish (fresh, frozen or canned, any variety suits this dish), through to meats of any description and then on to vegetarian versions. This truly is a dish of variation – and you can concoct any variety you happen to have the ingredients for.

Here, I’m creating a tangy fish, tomatoes and mushrooms version. And for those following gluten free and dairy free diets this simple, traditional Italian starter dish makes a very delicious meal that won’t inflame any food intolerances*.

Usually a high starch white, round rice is used with one such example being Arborio rice. In this instance, and being mindful that rices such as Arborio can be relatively high priced, I tend to use a cheap “basics” white rice, having thoroughly washed it beforehand in salted water and then numerous rinses to make sure it is clean before cooking with it.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)

A glug of olive oil (optional: sunflower or a healthy choice oil)

200g white rice (thoroughly washed and rinsed)

2 tins of mackerel (optional: in spicy tomato sauce used here)

80g mushrooms (peeled, washed and sliced)

100g sun dried tomatoes, sliced

1000ml vegetable stock (made from a stock cube)

1tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil until it starts to spit on a medium heat.
  • While the oil is heating, make the vegetable stock as per the instructions of the stock cubes you are using. Set aside.
  • Next, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it begins to look opaque in appearance. Now add the rice and swirl the rice around and into the chopped onion and oil. If need be and to stop the ingredients from sticking to the pan, add a little more oil or a splash of boiling water. Fry the ingredients for a few minutes until all are covered in the glistening oily liquid.
  • Turning the heat down to a low simmer, add the mushrooms, tomatoes and mackerel, and stir these into the onion and rice mixture. The tomato puree can be added now, too.
  • You are now ready to start to add the vegetable stock a little a ladle at a time. Stir the ingredients regularly so as to enable the rice to absorb the stock and when the stock looks to be absorbed, add more of it. Keep this going until all of the stock is used. You are aiming to achieve a thick broth-like consistency for the final look of the dish.
  • Once this broth-like consistency is reached, the rice should be cooked. Taste it: is it cooked? If not, add a little more liquid as you’ve used the stock by now by simply adding a little boiling water and cook until the rice is cooked. Cooking time will depend upon the rice you are using so check the packet instructions for the timing.
  • Serve on warmed dinner plates or in bowls, and season.

I used rice that cooked in 10 minutes which made this a super quick meal to make. And as the rice was from a “basics” range, it was extremely affordable, too.

And you can quite literally use any combination of ingredients when making a risotto: I’ll be bringing you a few more such examples soon.

Some people might add butter and flakes of a strong cheese such as Parmesan at the latter stages before serving but I don’t: I’m a healthy eating advocate and the dish already has fats in it from the oil. Our bodies need “good” fats in moderation – unsaturated fats – to operate so aim to incorporate some into your daily food intake. But, as with all fats, it contains calories so be aware of this fact and choose healthier options that can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. More details can be found on the National Health Service website at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Fat.aspx

For more easy-to-make recipes and inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date with Ms Love Food on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find me on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

* Do check the food labels to make sure you are fully aware of what each ingredient includes before using it within your recipe.