Creamy Saffron Risotto

Whoa, it’s blowing a hooley out there today! I couldn’t wait to get home and get something super comforting made for tea.

Creamy saffron risotto

Risotto makes an appearance on my table nearly every week in autumn and winter in some form or other. Tonight I kept it simple and made a saffron risotto topped off with some prawns.

Regardless of what people say, you don’t need to stand over it stirring non-stop. a stir after each addition of stock is enough I find.

I bought a variety of Spice Drops a while ago so tonight got to use the saffron drops for the first time. Spice Drops are nifty little bottles of spice extract which I am finding really useful. The saffron drops are beautiful golden yellow in the bottle and give a good subtle flavour. The finished risotto didn’t keep the colour the way it does with saffron strands but it was a lovely creamy pale lemon and hey colour isn’t everything, it’s all about the taste. And it tastes delicious!

Saffron Risotto

Creamy Saffron Risotto

Serves 2 greedy guts

  •  Risotto rice (I use carnaroli) – 200g
  • Saffron Spice Drops (or pinch of saffron strands)
  • Dry white wine – small bottle
  • Hot chicken (or veg) stock -750ml
  • King prawns, cooked – 200g
  • Onions, finely diced – 2
  • Frozen peas – 1 cup
  • Garlic cloves, crushed or grated – 2
  • Parmesan, grated – 20g
  • Butter
  • Olive oil

What you do

  • Put two pipettes of saffron Spice Drops into the wine
  • In a large saucepan, put a good drizzle of oil and knob of butter (approx 20g) in a pan and heat until butter begins to melt
  • Add your onions and soften on a low heat, around 5 mins, then add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • Put the risotto rice in the pan and stir so it’s covered then add the wine, season and stir
  • When the wine has nearly all gone, add a cup of hot stock and stir
  • Continue adding stock and stiring until the rice plumps up and softens (I had to use about 600ml of stock tonight. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less)
  • Add a cup of frozen peas and a good handful of parmesan. Stir well and take off the heat
  • Add a generous knob of butter and leave for two minutes
  • Stir well, season and serve topped with prawns

Post Script: Gouri, the lady who has brought Spice Drops to the UK, got in touch with a tip. Rather than add the saffron drops right at the start, add them towards the end of cooking and add just 2-3 drops rather than the two pipets full. She reckons this way you need to use less because you won’t losing any of the delicate saffron flavour, or colour,  to cooking. I shall certainly be trying it this way next time. I love experimenting with new products like this so am always thankful of tips and hints. Thanks Gouri! 

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Procrastination!

The end is in sight now for my post-grad. It should have finished in July but for reasons too boring to explain, we’re still here at start of October slogging away and procrastinating.

Anyway, there are a tonne of things I haven’t done and can’t wait to get done once the 8th October deadline has passed. So in a spectacular display of procrastination, here’s my post-uni to do list!

Write

This blog has been gathering dust and I am looking forward to finding new and inspiring things to share with you.

I also love to write lists- I am a little OCD. If it is written on a list I can chill out, know it will get done.  I’m itching to get stated on my Christmas gift list and a things that need doing around the house before Christmas list.

DSC_0020 lower

Meal planning

One big writing project is to pull together a reference list of all my favourite recipes and where they are (book, filed, online). I’ve been getting into a rut making dull evening meals so I need to go back through all of my books and cuttings and online saves and make a reference list to inspire me each week when I am menu planning.

This may also inspire me to join in meal planning Monday again when I’m not too ashamed of what I am putting on the table!

 

Read

Anything which isn’t a uni book! I got some food books for my birthday which I need to get my teeth into and I am desperate to find some decent fiction (recommendations welcome. I love ghosts but open to most things!).

 

Cook

One of my first jobs is Christmas cake- my hubby has been asking about it with concern because I am usually on the case in September! Am thinking of doing a smaller round one this year which I will decorate and two or three loaf ones for general scoffing. In terms of decoration I am loving this pin- seems totally accessible for my rubbish artistic skills!

I’m also going to spend a weekend batch cooking for the freezer. I find this so therapeutic and I love indulging in a whole weekend in the kitchen. I don’t want to live on freezer meals seven days a week but it is good to know that a couple of times a week we can come in from work and not spend ages cooking. I might chuck a couple of things like ginger cake in there too for impromptu midweek treats!

Slow Cooker Stew Base

Garden

I didn’t grow veg this year to concentrate on uni, but I still need to clear out the greenhouse, cut back the rhubarb and weed the veg patch before it gets too cold.

I’m going to give all my herbs a good cutting and dry some mint, tarragon and other bits to see me through.

 

Move

Having had a cold for two weeks has made me realise I need to get my health in to order. I’m not sure yet if I can bear to join a gym but I have a work mate who I can cajole into walking / Zumba with me hopefully!

So there we have it. I have put off writing for a few moments longer by doing this post and now I have a weird urge to do some tidying before I carry on…no willpower at all! See you on the other side of the 8th! Xxxx

Nutella Cheesecake

When the theme for August’s Clandestine Cake Club in Bolton was announced as The Nutcracker (ie contains nuts), my chocoholic brain immediately tuned to thoughts of Nutella.

Nutella Cheesecake

Initially I thought about enrobing my favourite Nigel Slater chocolate hazelnut cake in Nutella buttercream, but it seems like sacrilege to such a lovely cake. Then I started to think about cheesecake. There are a lot of Nutella cheesecake recipes on the internet and all quite similar: lots of extra sugar (Nigella for example), cup measurements (grrr, how messy must it be to measure Nutella into a measuring cup and then scrape out again?) and/ or with something American called whipped topping which seems to be frozen ready whipped cream with added sugar (like this beauty). So I decided to ditch the cups and weird frozen cream and make it ‘proper’ with grams and real cream!

None of the recipes I saw used chocolate Philadelphia cheese which seemed like a no brainer, so I decided to give it a go. It’s a funny ingredient. I had never tried it before. It’s both tangy and chocolaty. I shouldn’t like it, but I kinda do!

Most of the recipes had more cream cheese in than I used, but this is the size of tub the chocolate Philly comes in so I decided not to be wasteful by using just a bit of another tub. I think this is why it takes so long to set. It’s less cheesecake, more nutella cake with cheese!

My first attempt had a ginger nut base, the second was bourbon creams. Both worked- the latter is idea for chocolate purists but the ginger helps cut through the intense chocolate hit of the filling. Follow your heart and use your biccie of choice.

Nutella Cheesecake

A work in progress- this is what it looks like before it sets!

It most definitely didn’t need any extra sugar and I used what I think was the minimum about of butter in the base. Of course when you look at what’s in the filling, a few grams of butter isn’t really going to make a difference, but every little helps!

It’s not for the feint hearted. Even the most hardened cake clubbers only managed a slither. It is perfect served with a glass of milk.

Nutella No Cook Cheesecake

Will easily serve 10, less is definitely more

Nutella Cheesecake

  •  300g biscuits
  • 40g melted butter
  • 150ml double cream, softly whipped
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional – or try hazelnut liqueur – I intend to do this next time!)
  • 1 x 160g tub chocolate Philadelphia
  • 300g Nutella
  • 30g chopped hazelnuts

Topping

  • Chopped hazelnuts
  • Chocolate sprinkles

What You Do

Nutella Cheesecake. Up close and personal.

Getting up close and personal with the cheesecake!

  • Line a loose base flan tin with cling film – make sure there is plenty hanging over the sides. I also put a circle of grease-proof paper in the bottom. I find it easier to get out later on
  •  Put your biscuits in a food processor and blitz to crumbs – I find it easier to do it in two batches
    • If you’ve no processor, but them in a ziplock bag and bash with a rolling pin
  • Gently melt the butter and pour into the crumbs- I do this in the processor with the motor running
  • Press the crumbs into the tin, making sure you go up the sides as well. Pop in the fridge and chill for a couple of hours
  •  Whip your cream
  • Mix together the Nutella, Philadelphia, vanilla and hazelnuts
  • When combined, gently mix in the double cream to loosen the mix
  • Dollop it onto the base, and carefully smooth it over, making sure you get it right up to the edge
  • Leave in the fridge to set. This doesn’t set hard like some mixes so give I find it needs a good 24 hrs to be able to cut without making a pigs ear of it!

Serve in slithers with a cold glass of milk and a bill of good health!

Nutella Cheesecake

 

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