The last of the automn crops & a delicious roasted squash, oyster mushroom risotto with brown butter sage and truffle oil

10BE4256-4E35-4080-8771-4330C6CC07D6

This is it, almost the end. The market is getting smaller with every week, my hats, scarves and mittens have come out of hiding and the weather has dipped. Funny how we’re never prepared to have winter arrive yet when spring shows its face, it can never come soon enough! The good news with this kind of weather is cooking. Comfort. Food.! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I created this dish kind of as an afterthought. I had bought the mushrooms and forgotten them and needed to cook them ASAP. I originally wanted to make a seafood risotto but forgot to buy the seafood…(!) As I looked around, the winter squash looked back at me and then an idea started to form. How about roasting the pumpkin in the oven with a bit of maple syrup and Piment Espelette. The result was even better than I imagined, the roasted squash melding with the rice as I stirred, giving it a beautiful colour. Yay! Seeing as the oven was on, I might as well roast the seeds and mushrooms as well. Cooking alone means you have smaller quantities and therefore I try to only turn the oven when I have more that one dish. Multitasking = better energy consumption. You kind of have to be super organised to function this way, what can I say, the environment and its health are important to me ๐Ÿ™‚

96766258-95EA-430B-85DE-6992DAC3F1072B3DD19B-7114-4E56-A3C7-1EDF8A62B75F6BEFA22C-327B-4AA1-8D9E-356025676019

INGREDIENTS

1 cup thinly sliced winter squash (with skins if variety permits) cut to 2 inch pieces, tossed with 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette and salt to taste

1 cup oyster mushrooms, tossed in a dash of olive oil and salt

1 small shallot, diced

1 small sprig sage

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 teaspoon butter

1/4 cup arborio rice

1/2-3/4 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Truffle oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 375ยฐ. Place tossed squash on baking dish lined with parchment paper, place oyster mushrooms on a second dish. Roast in oven for 25-35 minutes, keeping an eye out for burning. Let cool while preparing the other ingredients.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, place sage leaves face down and pine nuts. Allow butter to brown lightly. Remove sage leaves when roasted, add shallots and sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add rice and sweat a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock a few tablespoons at a time, stirring frequently and allowing rice to absorb liquid before adding more. After 15 minutes, add half the roasted squash, continue adding stock and stirring, until rice is cooked and has creamy texture, roughly 20-30 minutes. Add remaining squash, stir to blend and add more stock if needed. Serve in plate, garnish with roasted mushrooms and sage leaves. Lightly sprinkle a dash of truffle oil and enjoy! Serves one, can easily be doubled for a lunch leftover, however add more liquid to refrigerated portion, as it will continue to absorb.

B2534FE7-75EA-40B5-B265-BBED705FB01F

 

 

A colourful, mouth-watering Minestrone

IMG_1162

I love weekends filled with cooking. The house smells fantastic, the fridge and freezer fill up with beautiful meals that I’ll be enjoying in the following weeks. A spiced peach jam, lentil and eggplant sheperds pie, spanish lentil soup, clam and corn chowder, vichyssoise and this delicious minestrone. If I had more time, I’d document all I’ve done but sometimes you just want to get on with it!!! I’ll be running full steam ahead over the next weeks, I will start canning and pickling on top of cooking comfort food we all crave once the wearher cools. I can’t wait!

Minestrone has a flexible ingredient list according to what you have on hand and what’s seasonal. It checks all the boxes for me at the end of summer. Fresh ingredients, warmth and a hit of flavour with all those fragrant herbs from the garden. So any ingredient you see in this list can be switched to what suits your tastes and what you’ve picked up at the market ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients

2-3 chipolata sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup fresh roma beans

1 of each green and yellow zuchini, quartered

1 onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch kale, shredded

1 large tomato, diced

200-300 gr. fusilli or similar pasta

Sprigs of each fresh oregano and thyme

1 teaspoon each chili flakes and fennel seeds, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking

1 litre chicken stock

Parmesan shavings and basil to garnish

Instructions

Heat a little olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add onions and sweat for a few minutes then add garlic until fragrant. Add sausage pieces then zucchini, stirring frm time to time. Whe sausage starts to colour add tomatoes and beans. Stir to combine and continue to cook until tomatoes start blistering, add stock, herbs, spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to come to a slow simmer, then add kale and pasta and cook for 20-30 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Serve in large soup bowl topped with parmesan and granish with basil. Makes 4-6 portions, freezes for up to a month and keeps n the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

IMG_1164

When all else fails, the market stalls keep my spirits up & Italian plum Clafoutis

 

IMG_1130

We all have something that drives us, that we love doing no matter what, that we never get tired of and are always interested in learning more about. For me, food is definitely it. I love reading about it, I love shopping for it, I love cooking it, I absolutely love offering it and I really love eating it! If my spirits are down, I can go to the kitchen and start baking, it’s my meditation. What could possibly elevate that experience? Growing my food. Actually having a small orchard and vegetable patch. I have this fantasy of owning a small farm, maybe having a small bed and breakfast, selling my canned jewels, a totally self-sufficient operation! I guess you put that in the eco-tourism category, who knows, maybe one day ๐Ÿ™‚ Living in an appartment in a big city and working in an office in a tall downtown building has probably lost it’s charm for me. I am craving a lifestyle that is diametrically opposed to the one I’m living now, maybe age is working it’s magic on me!!! In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming away whilst walking through the market, for the short month we have left! Happy September ๐Ÿ™‚

Recipe

1 lb prunes, cut in two, keeping pits for flavour

250ml milk

3 eggs

Grated nutmeg

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon buckwheat flour

2 tablespoons almond flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

IMG_1134IMG_1135IMG_1136

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ยฐ. Butter a baking dish and place plums in a decorative pattern, halves with pits down. Put aside. Warm milk. Cream butter and sugar and add vanilla and flours. Beat in warmed milk until smooth. Pour over plums, sprinkle almond slivers on top and place in middle of oven, bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden. Makes 6 servings. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

IMG_1141

 

Lemon & Pea Risotto and impatient to be back on my own two feet!

IMG_0875Half way through my six week post-surgery recovery. For someone like me, hyperactive (!), it can be difficult remembering to take it slow, especially when you feel fine. When fever strikes, your body just takes over and stops you in your tracks! I’m missing the market so much, I try to console myself by remembering that when my recovery is over, it will be the best time for all the beautiful fruits and veggies. Cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, plums, apricots and did I mention, Peaches? Can’t wait ๐Ÿ™‚ In the meantime, my mom has graciously offered to go for me, although I’m happy for fresh fare, it’s not the same as seeing it all. To me, the market is like a candy store for a kid! It’s also a struggle creatively, the market is inspirational, it’s totally different making a list for someone else to go with the hopes of finding what you want, sometimes you see something you hadn’t thought of or something you wanted just doesn’t look quite ready yet… Plus the weather has been quite strange, mostly grey, some sun, lots of rain. I am happy that evenings are cool though, as it’s easier to sleep in the cool than in the heat ๐Ÿ™‚

Risotto is not something I make frequently, I like mine with just one or two star ingredients, like the fresh peas for this one. Some lemon zest adds a lot of brightness and keeps the dish light. You could certainly make this with frozen peas, the peas won’t be quite as firm under tooth. The most important thing to remember is that you just can not make risotto with another type of rice such as Arborio. It absorbs a lot of liquid and has a decent amount of starch to create that creaminess that risotto is famous for. I use my spanish Bomba rice with success, it has the same basic qualities, but in an ideal world, Arborio should be used. Here’s to enjoying summer, whatever shape it may take!

IMG_0869IMG_0870IMG_0872INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup Arborio rice

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup peas

1 medium shallot, diced

1 tablespoon tarragon, minced

1 cup stock of your preference

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat pan over medium-high heat, add butter and when sizzling, add shallots. Stir until glassy and add peas, mix well then add rice and stir to coat rice. Slowly add stock ( 50 ml at a time) and stir often, add tarragon and reduce heat to medium-low. When rice absorbs most of the liquid, add more stock. Continue this way, stirring and addingย  small amounts of liquid until creamy and rice is cooked, maybe 20-30 minutes. Add lemon zest and parmesan, rectify seasoning if needed. Serve in bowl orย dish. Serves 2. Enjoy!

IMG_0878IMG_0873