haddock risotto with leeks & peas

I love a good risotto and will pay good money for a well cooked, tasty one although sometimes this seems like a tough request or expectation.
A good risotto is a process and needs a little love for a delicious end result. Take the time, nurture the arborio rice and you will be left with a wonderfully tasty meal, perfect for lunch or dinner.
Arborio rice is a starchy, short-grained rice variety that produces a luxuriously creamy finish and can absorb quite a bit of liquid without becoming mushy.
A little effort for this one but well worth your time and patience.
I used skinless, de-boned haddock that was lightly smoked. It has a flaky texture and a beautifully delicate flavor, perfect for the rich, creamy risotto it is served with
This dish is quite rich so is best served it with a simple rocket & avocado or tomato salad or simple steamed vegetables.

ingredients | serves 4 -6 | a little effort
270g haddock fillet, lightly smoked & de-boned
350ml milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
300g uncooked risotto
600ml fish stock
1C dry white wine
1/3C cream
3T creme fraiche
4 leeks, washed and sliced diagonally
1C frozen peas
3/4C finely grated Parmesan
1t dried dill
1.5t fine salt
1.5t black pepper
zest of half a lemon
bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
fresh dill, garnish (optional)
2T olive oil
80g salted butter

how to do it
In a pot, bring the milk and bay leaf to a gentle boil. Gently submerge the haddock fillet into the milk, bring it down to a simmer and poach for two to three minutes per side.
Remove the haddock using a slotted spoon. Set aside and reserve the milk for later use. Mix the fish stock and white wine together in a large jug. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt 20g butter with the olive oil. Saute the chopped onion until glossy taking care not to burn it. Add the leaks and cook until soft. About three minutes.
Add the uncooked risotto to the pot and stir to coat. Add the garlic and dried dill and cook for one minute while stirring.
Gently pour about one cup of stock & wine mixture into the risotto and stir. Leave to cook on a gentle heat, stirring twice, until almost fully absorbed. Repeat this until you have used all of the liquid. Add the remaining 60g butter and stir through.
Now pour the poaching milk and cream into the risotto and leave to simmer, while stirring for about three minutes.
Add the peas, stir and cook for three minutes. Stir the creme fraiche through the risotto mixture. Add the salt, pepper, zest, parsley and parmesan and stir well.
Flake the poached haddock into the risotto and give it a gentle mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with fresh dill if using.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

meatballs in curry cream

Mince is just one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer as there are so many wonderful dishes i can cook using it.
Good, easy and quick food is really what I am after most days. Not because i don’t have enough time or because I am lazy but merely because I also want to spend quality time with my family.
I served this dish with basmati rice although mash will also make a wonderful accompaniment to soak up all the wonderful, flavourful juices.
And if you prefer a mixture of beef and pork mince, you are welcome to make that change. I, however, only had beef mince on hand.
You might think the meatballs are fairly plain, considering what i added to the meat, but it works really well as the sauce is wonderfully fragrant.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
500g mince meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1tsp minced garlic
1/2c fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
1tsp salt
black pepper

place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. using your hands, roll balls almost the size of a golf ball. set aside on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

curry cream sauce
2tbs Olive oil
good knob of butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2cm ginger, grated
2tsp mild curry powder
2tsp turmeric
1tbs brown sugar
2tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp onion seeds
1/2tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 can chopped tomato
1 can coconut milk
bunch fresh cilantro
spring onion, sliced at an angle
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.
Blitz the canned tomato until smooth. Set aside. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute the onion until glossy. Add the ginger, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, & onion seeds and cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomato and fish sauce, stir it through and cook for one minute. Season with salt & pepper. Add the chilli flakes now, if using.
Slowly pour the coconut milk into the skillet and bring the mixture to a light boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the meatballs. Cover with a lid and cook on low for about ten minutes, turning the meatballs once.
Remove the lid and cook for a further ten to fifteen minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced, turning the meatballs halfway through cooking.
Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the dish. Garnish with sliced spring onion.
Serve with basmati rice of mashed potato and a side dish of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.

easy, budget friendly family meal – sausage & spicy rice

I welcome easy, budget friendly meals that my family will enjoy. Meals that are packed full of flavour even when I didn’t spend hours slaving away in the kitchen.
Cooking shouldn’t feel like a chore. Food is meant to be enjoyed and not only when eating it but also when preparing it. For this reason, easy, quick dinners, that fit into our busy schedules work wonders for me!
I used normal sausage but you can use a spicy sausage, pork sausages or really any kind of sausage you prefer. Removing the meat from the casing adds extra flavour to the dish so i highly recommend doing so.
I served this dish with a green salad of leaves, avocado, green pepper and topped it with toasted almonds, red onion and radish. Steamed greens or roasted vegetables will also be perfect as side dishes.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
600g sausage, casing removed
4tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5tbs paprika (not smoked)
pinch chilli flakes
6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp onion seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1/2tsp salt
black pepper
3/4c long grain rice
1 can chopped tomato
1/5c chicken stock `
1 red pepper, cut into blocks
spring onion, sliced at an angle (garnish)
handful fresh parsley, chopped

how to do it
remove the sausage meat from the casings/s and set aside.
heat oil and brown the sausage, about two minutes. set aside. add the butter to the skillet and cook the onion until glossy. add the paprika, oregano, thyme, onion seeds, cumin seeds, chilli & coriander and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
tip the rice into the skillet and stir through to coat. add the garlic, diced tomatoes, red pepper & chicken stock and stir. tip the meat into the mixture and bring it to a light boil.
turn down to a gentle simmer. cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes, until the rice have absorbed the liquid and is cooked through.
add a little more water if desired.
remove the skillet from the heat and stir the chopped parsley through the food. garnish with the sliced spring onion and serve warm.

chicken fried rice

this is just such an amazing, flavourful dish that brings back fond travelling memories. fried rice certainly is a big favourite of mine. the marriage of chicken, rice and spices, the fresh herbs, the chilli and paprika zing…a well rounded, great tasting dish! there are so many varieties of fried rice that you can make. it really depends on your personal taste. turmeric adds wonderful colour to the chicken and the paprika lends beautiful earthy notes. the almonds add a lovely crunch and the tomatoes a little bit of acidity / sourness.
i prefer using jasmine or basmati rice and i do like the addition of egg here. (this is, however, optional)
i used veggies i had on hand, making this an excellent dish to use up some of those ‘forgotten’ vegetables tucked away in the bottom drawer of your fridge. i do however feel that carrots are an essential part of this dish.
making use of freezer bags to marinade my meat is one of my big loves as it really simplifies things and leaves me with less dishes to clean up. since there are only so many hours in a day i don’t like complicating things.

2c rice, cooked according to packet instructions
3tbs butter
2 eggs, whisked
1/2tsp salt
pinch of pepper

once the rice is cooked, heat the butter in a medium sized pan. add the rice and toss for one minute. add the salt, pepper and whisked eggs and toss / gently stir until the eggs are cooked. set aside.

3 chicken breasts, blocks
2tsp paprika (not smoked)
1t turmeric
1tbs crushed garlic
1t lemon juice
1/3c soya sauce
1t curry powder
1/2tsp chilli flakes (optional)

place all the ingredients in a ziploc or freezer bag. shake to coat. place in the fridge for an hour.
heat olive oil & butter in a pan. (medium heat). add the chicken and fry until cooked and fragrant. about 12 minutes. set aside.

sauce base and vegetables
2tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, grated
160g cauliflower florets
160g mushrooms, sliced
150g baby marrow / courgette, sliced
1 small red pepper, sliced
2 small leeks, sliced
8 rosa / cocktail tomatoes, sliced
1c chicken stock
salt to taste
pinch black pepper

in a large pan or wok, heat olive oil and butter. sauté onion until translucent. add thyme and toss until fragrant. add the remaining ingredients except the stock and toss for about 4 minutes. add the stock, bring down to a gentle simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the vegetables are cooked. add sliced tomatoes and cook for two more minutes.

2 spring onions, sliced
handful cilantro / coriander
1/2c slivered almonds, toasted

to assemble
add the chicken to the rice and mix through.
on medium heat, add the vegetable mixture to the rice and chicken and stir while heating for about 5 minutes.
garnish the dish with toasted almonds, cilantro & spring onion.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

salmon with herb & nut basmati

like mash, i can eat rice with almost anything. basmati being my favourite.
this dish is so easy and quick and the flavour will blow you away! spending time with the family after a long day at work is really what it is about. so why spend hours in the kitchen when you can whip up something so wholesome and delicious in almost no time at all?
i happened to have salmon on hand but any white flesh fish or trout will be just as tasty. i served this dish with a lemon beurre blanc sauce, which is made up of onion, white wine, cream & chilled butter blocks.

ingredients | serves 4
4 pieces salmon or white flesh fillets
2tbs olive oil
2tbs butter
1c basmati rice
1 1/2c fish stock
1/2c dry white wine
1/3 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3c frozen peas
1/4c fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/3c fresh dill, finely chopped
pinch saffron or 1tsp turmeric
1/4tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp salt
1/2c chopped & toasted cashew nuts
1/2tsp black pepper
1 lime, juice only
1/4c fresh chives, roughly chopped

heat oil & butter in a medium size pot. saute onion & garlic until soft and translucent. add the spices, salt, wine & fish stock and bring to the boil. add the rice, bring down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. add the peas, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the rice have absorbed the juices. in a dry pan on medium heat, toast the chopped cashews taking care not to burn it. stir through the fresh coriander, dill & cashew nuts. drizzle the lime juice over the rice.
spoon out into a dish and garnish with the chopped chives.

for the salmon –
rub both sides of the fillets with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. heat a pan and place the fillets skin side up into the pan. cook for about 4 minutes. flip over and cook for a further 3 minutes.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x