Monday, August 15, 2011

Saffron & Pea Risotto in Romano Peppers

Saffron and pea risotto was one of my favourite suppers when we lived in the UK. I would make a big pile of it just for myself and standing there and stirring it is a great way to wind down after a hard day at work. Rediscovering this dish as been great like meeting an old friend you haven't seen for a while and wondering why you lost touch in the first place. 

This dish was too stodgy for Singapore's climate not too mention that I could never find the right rice so it is great to be able to enjoy this recipe again. For this recipe I used Carnaroli rice which makes quite a creamy risotto but you could use Arborio  or even better use Vialone Nano instead. I used to throw in a handful of  cheese such as Parmesan at the end which you can do if you are dairy inclined.

A quick warning to those on a gluten free diet I have read that it is not always advisable to order risotto in Italy or traditional Italian restaurants as it is quite common to use pasta water to feed the risotto rice which will contaminate the whole dish with gluten. Not sure how widespread this practice is but worth being aware of as it is certainly not something I would have thought of.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Minted Courgette/Zucchini Soup

The best thing about being back home is seeing my family after nearly a year away from them. I was lucky enough to make a flying visit up to my parents in our first week back to the UK. I  saw the alloment plots that they have been working on all this year and see (and eat) all the lovely produce that is ready for harvesting. Here is a picture of my parents' alloment looking very neat and tidy after a little weeding and trimming. It is hard to believe that less than 6 months ago this area was just a regular field grazed by the occassional cow and it is now feeding lots of people with yummy organic produce.

Needless to say I managed to bring home a massive bag of produce freshly picked from the allotment. A pretty good exchange for a couple of hours gardening. However, as with most vegetable garden owners there comes a point when you just don't know what to do with all your zucchinis or courgettes as we call them in the UK. Hence this yummy soup came about to use up a few. I have to say this was yummy with a real summery feel to it and along with curried courgettes and courgette cake this makes a lovely way to use them up.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Calm Down London- Gluten Free Camomile & Courgette Cake

Well, it has been a crazy month but we are now back in London just in time for some riots and looting! No one here can quite believe the anarchy that our beloved city descended into. Not sure what the future holds for the UK at the moment but we definitely know that we are not in safe and comfortable Singapore anymore. I am definitely regretting my occasional rants that Singapore didn't have enough edge to it. Now London has so much edge that people are hurting themselves and others.

With so much stress and angst I thought it might be nice to make Harry Eastwood's Courgette and Camomile cupcakes from her Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache book. What could be more summery and calming than these little lovelies. Unfortunately, as we are staying in temporary accommodation with a lovely but not well equipped kitchen, I have no muffin or cupcake tins. I thought that I would break one of Harry's cardinal sins and make the recipe as a cake instead as I figured that even if the texture wasn't as good as her cupcakes, a half decent cake is better than no cake at all! And the texture was great, well risen and moist but I guess the cupcakes would be even lighter and fluffier. You could do either I guess but the book advises that this recipe makes 12 cupcakes. I have only given weight measurements rather than cups to ensure a good texture as this isn't your normal kind of cake recipe as it has no oil or margarine in it which makes it more important to get measurements right.

I am proud of all the Londoners out there who came together to help clean up the mess left and who are trying to work together help protect their communities. So lets all sit back, make a cup of tea and enjoy these soothing little cakes and for hope for a return to little normality in the world.