Lemongrass and Prawns Squid Ink Risotto

eggquilts_lemongrass_risotto eggquilts_lemongrass_risotto2

My cooking usually revolves around what I can find in my fridge, pantry and/or the garden. On days like this, when it’s a little cold and gray outside, I do crave for some comfort food – a little bit of starch and cheese. I found some lemongrass at the bottom of my vegetable crisper that was begging to be used (it was starting to morph into an old stick). Also located a lonesome packet of squid ink. Before I know it, I have made a South East Asian take on a Mediterranean classic.

I have since had seconds and have subsequently slid down the over-indulgent spiral of shame. It was so good and I still have enough leftover for tomorrow.
This will probably feed 3-4 people…depending on how hungry they are.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 stalk lemon grass, white parts finely chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf, sliced really thin
2 stalks of Thai basil
Handful of shrimp/prawns, shelled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp squid ink (1 pack)
1 cup arborio rice
3-4 cups chicken stock, boiling hot
1/2 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped parsley and spring onions for garnish

Method:
Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large pan. Sauté the onions and lemon grass with 1 tsp of salt, when onion softens, add in garlic and asparagus. Next, throw in the arborio rice and give it a good stir, making sure each bead of rice is coated with the aromatic oil and butter. Add in the kaffir lime leaf and Thai basil.

In the meantime, stir in the squid ink with the chicken stock, mix well and heat up until the stock is boiling hot. Begin adding the hot chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time – for the first few addition, cook until the liquid is absorbed. Stir gently so the rice doesn’t break apart. Continue to add in stock and cook until the rice is al dente. Throw in the shrimp/prawns, cook for 2-3 minutes until they are no longer transparent. Then add in the shaved parmesan cheese, give it a gentle stir to combine the cheese with the rice. Give it a try and season the risotto with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with spring onions and parsley. Serve immediately.

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Holy dill pickles.

Between working on quilts and graphic work – there needs to be a little bit of time put aside to feed the gut. The monster needs to be fed, I don’t make the rules! And that usually means grocery shopping! Imagine my glee when I went shopping and found some baby cucumbers. First thing that popped to mind, dill pickles! Proper dill pickles. I don’t have the ‘gallon jar’ and yes, I could only fit six baby cucumbers in this jar that I bought from Milly’s, but I think it came out pretty impressive.

I got the recipe from here. I added extra mustard seeds, celery salt and slices of onions to mine. Something tells me that this isn’t going to last long. Bring on more spring/summer crops!eggquilts_candied_tiger

Pickle me timbers!

I ate a lot of pickles last winter. A lot. I do not discriminate against any type of pickles, although I do prefer them to either be hot or cold…none of the tepid, lukewarm, undecidedness that usually comes in a burger. The list of pickles available to us, is astounding. I have had chutneys, piccalillis, refrigerator cucumber pickles, beetroot relishes, achars, sauerkrauts, pickled jalapeños, kim chis, radish pickles and a whole lot of ‘what-are-they?’ pickles. I love pickles. And so…because I have collected so many empty jars, I have decided to take advantage of springtime and turn real vegetables into pickles!

We went to the Twisted Tomato about three weeks ago and had their Rabbit and Pork Rillette & Piccalilli. I cannot let it go. I never thought terrines would go with piccalilli but it did! I was hooked, fell in love, head over heels, praying for the courgettes to get cheaper so I can make my very own piccalilli. Don’t get me wrong, the rillette was fabulous too, but oh honey, my money was on that sweet sour beauty.Eggquilts_PiccalliliI got my recipe from River Cottage – Pam’s Piccalilli. The taste of honey makes me gag, so I replaced that with brown sugar. Instead of using seeds and blitzing them, I just used powder. Remember to cook the paste a little until aromatic, just so you don’t get that terrible raw powder feel. I say, taste as you go and make sure that it suits your palate. For my piccalilli, I chose to use courgettes, cucumber, cauliflower and onions. I have FIVE jars marinating in its own goodness. Apparently it will taste better if you wait for a month (I shall try) and it lasts for a year in the larder. And I suppose it should be refrigerated once open.