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I cannot take credit for this recipe – my friend Andrew hosted a bunch of us in his lovely home and on a beautiful Saturday morning presented me with theĀ ingredients and his idea. We cooked together and caught up over a glass of wine and fed everyone this amazing risotto. He brought over most of the ingredients from his current home in London, including fresh herbs from his garden. We had a little laugh over that:


It’s not often that I get to cook with a fellow foodie and friend in such a gorgeous environment. It was truly an afternoon to remember šŸ™‚

You will need:

– Arborio or Carnaroli rice, about 100g per person – we had 6 mouths to feed that day so the following proportions make 6 portions

– 1 very large or 2 medium onions

– 3-5 cloves of garlic according to taste

– 1 glass of white wine

– Ā 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

– 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

– 2-3 bay leaves

– approx. 700ml stock (make your own like this)

– a couple of knobs of butter (thrown into the skillet with such stealth that I barely had time to protest, but hey it was a delicious result)

– 3 tablespoons olive oil

– zest of one lemon

– juice of 2 lemons (that’s about 50ml because it largely depends on how juicy the lemons are, but add this in small amounts until you achieve the desired taste)

– salt to taste (do use the Himalayan variety, it’s better for your health!)

To serve:

Cherry tomatoes which have been halved and roasted with some olive oil, salt and a small sprinkle of sugar

Almonds – dry roasted and crushed or chopped

To make:

Prepare your cherry tomatoes in a flat oven dish and place in the oven to roast whilst you start cooking. Place the almonds in a separate dish to roast or cook them quickly in a dry pan for a few minutes.

Heat up the olive oil and start cooking your onions. Add the first knob of butter to stop them from browning. When they are translucent add the garlic. You know the deal with risotto – you’re going to be stirring almost continuously and there’s no reason not to start now! Add the thyme, bay leaves and rosemary as well as the lemon zest.

Add your rice and stir, then add the wine.Ā It’s a good idea to keep your stock on low heat so as not to cool down the risotto as you cook. You’re going to be adding the stock one ladle at a time, waiting until almost all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. The rice will take between 20-30 minutes to cook so start tasting it after adding almost 500 ml of your stock.

And somewhere in between you will add a knob of butter, won’t you?

When your rice is almost cooked you need to taste several times to add salt and lemon juice until you get the desired result. We wanted strong tastes so the lemon juice got all used up and then added salt to counterbalance some of that sharpness. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves beforeĀ plating.

Finally serve with crushed almonds and roasted cherry tomatoes. And a crisp glass of cold white wine. Sunshine always helps šŸ™‚


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Mushroom Barley ‘Risotto’ (Orzotto)

The following is a recipe for making stuffed peppers. We filled them with rice containing bacon, peas and onion but the choice of ingredients can vary widely, for example by omitting the bacon you can make the meal vegetarian and much lighter. I prefer to use brown basmati rice but feel free to use your favourite rice.

You will need:

  • one onion, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 can tomato puree or juiced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 peppers (any colour will do)
  • goat’s cheese to cover the tops of the peppers

Cook your rice according to the instructions on the packet. Note that brown rice will take longer to cook, about 30 minutes for one cup of uncooked rice. Cook in double the amount of water to start with, but you may need to add more if this dries up before the rice is cooked.

In a fan fry the onion for a few minutes until it softens, then add the bacon and peas and cook until the peas are fully defrosted/cooked and the bacon starts to become brown and crunchy.

Add to the rice and add the tomatoes and sugar. Mix well.


Remove the tops of the peppers by carving out the stem and seeds. Place in a skillet with water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 15 minutes of until they have softened. Please note that they will cook further in the oven so don’t overdo it.

Stuff the cooked peppers with as much rice as possible, but leaving a small 1cm gap at the top.

Cover with goat’s cheese and cook in a 180 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the peppers just start to brown.

Split in half when serving and warn your guests that they will be rather hot! Bon Appetit!

For this yoghurt dressing, you will need:

  • 3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar or preferably rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoon French DijonĀ mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional, I didn’t use these)
  • pepper to taste

Whisk very thoroughly!

Serve over fresh salad or as a substitute to caeser salad dressing