any occasion asparagus & leek risotto

This is another toothsome vegetarian meal, perfect for meat-free Mondays or really, any occasion. Risotto, a special kind of Italian rice that can easily absorb a fair amount of liquid without become mushy, is cooked with broth until it reaches a beautifully creamy consistency.
Some of the main ingredients used when cooking risotto are onion, white wine, parmesan, butter and broth.
Although it seems like quite a lengthy process, it really does not take much time to cook. Risotto simply needs a little patience and good fresh ingredients, to make it a mind-blowing meal.

ingredients | serves 4 | a little effort
1 medium sized white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
1C white wine
3C chicken or vegetable stock
3 leeks, sliced diagonally
200-300g fresh asparagus, sliced with tips left whole
1C risotto rice
juice & zest of 1 lemon
3T butter
1C cream, full fat
bunch fresh thyme, stalks removed
1C finely grated parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
2T olive oil
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
creme fraiche, optional (garnish)
chopped chives, optional (garnish)

instructions
Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Submerge the sliced asparagus and tips into the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute. (This is called blanche). Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and dunk it into iced water. Leave to cool for 1 minute, remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot. Add the chopped onion & garlic and cook until glossy. Add the sliced leeks, stir to coat and cook for about 3 minutes.
Tip the risotto rice into the pot and stir to coat. Mix the wine and stock and pour a ladle full into the rice mixture. Cook on a low simmer until mostly evaporated before adding another ladle of the stock & wine mixture.
Repeat this process until you have used all of the stock mixture. Add the blanched asparagus, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and thyme, combine and cook for about 2 minutes while stirring.
Add the cream, lemon juice, zest and parmesan, combine and cook for about 5 minutes, while stirring, until thickened and the cheese has melted into the sauce.
Taste and season with salt & black pepper.
Stir the parsley through the mixture.

Garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche, shavings of parmesan and chopped chives and serve with a side salad or roasted vegetables.



brunch galette

nothing beats a late, lazy morning with amazing food! some days three meals are just too much for my stomach so i love a good brunch. and really, brunch is a mixture of breakfast & lunch, so anything goes.
this is my take of an eggs Benedict at lunch time and it is absolutely delicious! if you are not the smoked trout / salmon type then replace the fish with prosciutto, bacon or parma ham.
it seems like there is a lot going on here but this dish is actually so simple and really doesn’t take up a great majority of your time.
serve the galette with my creamy hollandaise. it will just not be the same without it.
* the galette in the photo is for two. i have adjusted the recipe to feed six.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1 roll puff pastry, thawed
300g mini asparagus (or size of choice)
100g smooth cream cheese, at room temperature
300g/400g smoked trout ribbons / smoked salmon
1 egg, beaten
2 spring onion, sliced at an angle
black pepper
salt
6 eggs
parmesan shavings, for garnish
fresh chives, for garnish
1 recipe hollandaise sauce (in my post dated 17 February 2021)

how to do it
preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
place the ready rolled sheet of puff pastry on a greased oven tray. using a sharp knife, make cuts in the pastry, about 1cm from the side, to form a border. take care to not cut all the way through the pastry.
dock the pastry with a fork in the centre as well as in the border.
coat the centre of the pastry with the cream cheese. now lay the asparagus (which has been cut to fit the pastry) down on the cream cheese. season lightly with salt & black pepper and brush the border of the pastry with the beaten egg.
bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden and beautifully flaky. meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to the boil. gently lower the eggs into the water and cook for five minutes for soft boiled. pour the water off the eggs and top with cold water to stop the cooking process.
make the hollandaise sauce.
carefully remove the pan from the oven.
top the asparagus with the trout or salmon ribbons. gently place the eggs between the fish ribbons and cut it open using a sharp knife.
garnish the galette with the sliced spring onion, chopped chives and parmesan shavings.
place the galette in the middle of the table and serve with the hollandaise sauce.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x








asparagus, poached egg & hollandaise sauce

this simple, yet elegant and great tasting dish is always a show stopper. less is more and that is exactly what this dish offers. simple, blanched asparagus, poached eggs and a thick, rich, buttery hollandaise…my idea of simple perfection.
i love serving this as a light, easy starter or when i serve it for breakfast i add salmon ribbons to it. smoked mackerel and kippers are also a hit with this dish and don’t forget the crusty bread to dunk into the sauce!!

asparagus
butter
salt
pepper
eggs
white wine vinegar
parmesan (garnish)
chives (garnish)

hollandaise sauce
4 egg yolks
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2c butter, melted
juice of half a lemon
1/2tsp fine salt
pinch white pepper

pour water into a large bowl and add a few blocks of ice to it. set aside.
bring water to boil in a large skillet. lower the asparagus into the boiling water and leave to cook for about 2.- 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. remove the asparagus from the skillet using tongs and plunge it into the iced water. drain on kitchen towel paper. set aside.

in a stainless steel mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice vigorously until light, thick and creamy use a double boiler or place the mixing bowl over a saucepan / small pot containing barely simmering water. (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water).
continue to whisk rapidly for about 30 seconds, taking care not to that the egg does not scramble. (this will happen if it gets too hot.). slowly drizzle the butter into the egg mixture while whisking, until the sauce is thickened and almost doubled in volume.
remove from the heat, add the cayenne, salt & pepper and whisk through.
set aside.

add about one tablespoon of white wine vinegar to a saucepan filled with water and bring it to the boil.
break the eggs into small ramekins. create a vortex in the centre of the water, add the eggs, two at a time. once the eggs are in the water, turn the heat down to a simmer. poach to your desired doneness.
remove the eggs from the water and drain on kitchen towel paper.

to assemble
heat butter in a frying pan and toss the asparagus for about one minute. season with salt & pepper.
place the asparagus on a plate. top with the poached egg and the hollandaise sauce.
garnish with shaved parmesan & chives.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x