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Archive for the ‘Grains’ Category

This is one of Rob’s all-time favourites. It’s always a joy to watch his eyes light up when we’re on the way home from work and he asks “what’s for tea?” and I get to say “Seafood Risotto”. I usually make it with Sainsbury’s Seafood Collection which is a mixture of cooked mussels, king prawns and squid rings, because its easy and relatively cheap, but I’m sure it would be wonderful with lots of other seafood too.

I’ve been experimenting with this recipe for ages. Sometimes I add a bit less lemon or a bit more cheese. I’ve also used red wine as a substitution for white, which I don’t recommend. Apart from turning it a wierd colour, it just didn’t taste right. The parsley isn’t essential, and could be curly rather than flat if that’s what you have. If I have some asparagus on hand, I like to grill it with some olive oil, salt and pepper, cut it into one inch pieces and stir it in at the end.


Seafood Risotto

Serves 2.

Seafood Risotto

2 1/2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
150g arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/2 to 3 cups of stock, chicken or vegetable
235g (or more) mixed seafood, cooked
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted add the chopped onion and cook until almost translucent. Add a few grindings of black pepper and the minced garlic.

2. Just before the garlic starts to brown, add the rice and stir well. Keep stirring until the rice has absorbed most of the butter and the pan is almost dry.

3. Add the white wine and turn down the heat a notch. When the wine is almost absorbed, add 1/2 cup of stock. Stir frequently adding the rest of the stock in approximately 1/2 cup portions until the liquid is almost all absorbed. If the rice is still a bit hard, add any seafood juice from the packet or some hot water and cook until it is absorbed.

4. Add the lemon juice and stir for a few more minutes. Add the seafood and a bit more pepper.

5. Just before serving, stir in the parmesan and the parsley.

6. Serve up in bowls with some extra parmesan and a bit more parsley as a garnish.

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This year I was determined to have a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. Usually I get all wrapped up in Freshers’ week activities and forget that Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up. Everyone always asks me why us Canadians have Thanksgiving on a different day than the Americans. So here goes..

In Canada we celebrate on the second Monday in October and unlike the Americans who remember the safe arrival of the Pilgrims, we give thanks for a successful harvest. More detailed explanations can be found on Wikipedia and here.

Since Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, I wanted to make use of as many locally sourced products as I could. I bought a locally grown free-range organic chicken from a new deli and shop in Cambridge called Origin8 which specializes in local, organic meat, game and produce. From the market in the city centre I got local onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, apples, parsnips and a little pumpkin for a homemade pie, and from the garden outside I picked fresh sage. The wild rice was imported (by me!) and was my token representative of the Canadian harvest.

I stuffed a 1.6kg chicken (the biggest they had) and had lots of stuffing left over that I baked in aluminum foil alongside the chicken. I roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips drizzled in olive oil and minced garlic. Unfortunately fresh cranberries are only available at Christmas in the UK, so I had to settle for cranberry sauce from a jar, but all in all, it was a fabulous dinner enjoyed with good friends.


Wild Rice Stuffing

Preparation time: 20 mins.
Makes about 6 cups.

2 1/2 cups dried multi-grain bread, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups wild rice, cooked
1/4 lb butter, melted
1/2 cup water or stock
2 small apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/8 cup walnuts

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the bread, onion, sage, celery and wild rice.

2. Combine the melted butter with water or stock and gently mix into the bread mixture.

3. Add the apples, raisins and walnuts and toss.

4. Carefully stuff the chicken or turkey taking care not to pack too tightly – otherwise it will get sticky. If you don’t want to stuff the bird, or have extra stuffing that doesn’t fit, bake it in a covered casserole dish or aluminum foil for about an hour.

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Delicious Big Bowl – Quinoa

I’m moving out of my flat in a few weeks and I’ve been trying to use up some of my many opened bags of grains in the cupboard. I have paella rice, risotto rice, wild rice, basmati rice, long grain brown rice, buckwheat groats, quinoa, millet and bulghur. I made kasha for breakfast the other day and today I decided it was a day for quinoa so I had a quick search on 101cookbooks.com for quinoa. I have previously made Heidi’s Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad and it was fab so I had high hopes for the Delicious Big Bowl – Quinoa. And let me say, it did not disappoint.

I substituted some green beans and a courgette for the asparagus, toasted some pine nuts and for the dressing I used lemon juice, parmesan and freshly ground pepper. I wouldn’t normally think to put potatoes with quinoa, but the textures and flavours in this recipe combined wonderfully. I’ve just eaten a big bowl for supper and am looking forward to eating the rest for tomorrow’s lunch. It was one of those meals where I constantly thought” wow how good is this”. Thanks Heidi for another great recipe. You’ve really perked up my day.

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I was feeling particularly hungry this morning so I decided to make kasha for breakfast. Kasha has been a part of Eastern European cuisine for many centuries, although in Slavic languages it refers to a porridge made not only from the buckwheat groats used here, but a whole family of porridges made from wheat, buckwheat, oats, millet, rice, potatoes, etc.
This is another recipe rom my mom’s cookbook and it reminds me of her.


Breakfast Kasha

Breakfast of the giants on the Russian steppes. A very complex carb!

1 C kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 C boiling water
1 C raisins (opt.)
2 bananas, sliced (opt.)

1. Mix dry measured kasha with beaten egg in a saucepan. Bring water to a boil in kettle and add to pot. Add fruit if using.

2. Bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 20 minutes. If it is too hot use a diffuser or waffle to keep it from boiling over.

This is enough for 2 breakfasts. Refrigerate half (well-covered) for the day after tomorrow or find someone to share it with.

Cover with milk and brown sugar or maple syrup or honey, etc.

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