While I doubt you’re any fonder for my absence, I apologise! Life has a way of catching up to you & sucking away time. My son has started walking, my garden has been growing, and I accidentally scored myself a part time job. Throw in a road trip to Perth, and a visit from my mother-in-law, and I’ve been time poor. Even my cooking has taken a hit. But welcome back, all the same.
What have I been cooking? Well, as my garden has been in a massive state of growth & harvest-or-perish, I have been getting into any recipe that included a mix of carrots, potatoes, broccoli, fennel, and chard (silverbeet). That pretty much shut me down to roasts with an amazing array of veggies. I never knew just how good roast fennel could be until it was diced in with the standard fair. But most noteworthy for my garden-based cooking is my Beetroot & Dill Risotto, that was inspired by a side dish I had at a Estia Cafe Restaurant in Mount Lawley. It’s vibrant in colour & flavour, and feeds many! I peel my beetroot before I cook it because I find it bleeds less. But do whatever you like. I also used fennel (a bit too much? is there such a thing??) in place of an onion, but it was on the edge of bolting & I couldn’t not cook it. Incidentally, as long as you use the right stock, this is gluten free!
Beetroot & Dill Risotto
500g beetroot, peeled (or washed & unpeeled)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium to large fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (roast garlic would also be superb)
400g risotto rice
1/2 to 1 cup White wine
1.75 litres vegetable stock, heated
small bunch of dill, chopped
2 tbs mascarpone cheese
salt and black pepper
Individually wrap the beetroot in foil and bake in an oven (or if short on time, dice & roast with a foil cover) preheated to 200C for an hour. Leave them to cool. Peel them and then dice into 1-2cm pieces.
Put the oil in a pan and cook the onion/fennel and garlic very gently until softened. Add
the rice and coat it well in the oil. Then add white wine, stir & allow it to be absorbed before adding the hot stock gradually a ladleful at a time, allowing for absorbtion each time. Cook it until the rice is al dente. Add the beetroot and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, then add the dill and the cheese.
Allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper to taste and a maybe little (large?) dollop of mascarpone.
I’ve also been having a crack at some deserts. Rosewater Meringues where a broad success, but I think I need some practise there. The left over yolks went in a Crème Pâtissière (pastry creme) out of Et Voila! This is possibly the best custard I have ever made. Hands down. Including my infamous baked egg custard or 12-egg bread & butter pudding (technically a baked custard). And for giggles, I cracked out some NinjaBread Men, which weren’t to my liking on account of the strong molasses flavour. That stuff will put hairs on your chest.
And I know my delicious. Challenge hasn’t been completed in a while, but in my defense, the magazine took so long to get here last month, I went out & bought a copy at the newsagent after waiting 2 weeks. It was still another week before my subscription copy arrived. How rude! Maybe this month, I’ll get back on the horse? For now, enjoy my photos!