Chorizo and Pea Pilaf

This is a tasty little dish to use up store cupboard ingredients – we’re moving house (hopefully!!) very soon and so this is a very handy recipe to have to hand! When you’ve made it one or two times, you’ll know which additional ingredients will go well in it, so you can start throwing in whatever you’ve got lying in the fridge!

The dish itself could be very well described as a cross between a risotto and a paella – though there is none of the stirring of a risotto, and none of the seafood and delicacy of a paella.

I would say that the chorizo is a must in this recipe, but really, if you wanted to chop and change the flavours, you could mix it up as much as you like.

The recipe below will serve at least 4, and is ready within 40 minutes.

Chorizo and Pea Pilaf

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

250g chorizo ring

3 cloves garlic

2 tsps smiked paprika

1 small glass sherry

400g tin chopped tomatoes

250g basmati rice

700ml chicken stock

1 lemon

3 bay leaves

200g frozen peas

1 large bunch chopped parsley

1. Chop the onion and add to a large casserole dish with the olive oil. Sizzle over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the sliced chorizo.

2. Cook until the chorizo is browned, then stir in the finely chpped garlic and smoked paprika.

3. Deglaze with the sherry, then tip in the chopped tomatoes. Stir in the rice, then add the stock, bay leaves and grated lemon zest.

4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

5. When the rice is cooked, add the peas and chopped parsley. When the peas are cooked through, it’s done!

Vegetable Egg Fried Rice

Some people will look at the title of this post and think it’s not a healthy dish – but it is! I only used 1 tablespoon of olive oil to make the stir fry, which was plenty. The other ingredients are veggies which will of course go towards your 5-a-day, and you can add more if you have them lying in the fridge.

Egg fried rice is filling and nourishing, and very fast to make  – it can be ready in 10 minutes if you have left over rice in the fridge. You can use bought, pre-cooked rice too if you don’t have left overs but don’t have time to cook the rice yourself.

Give this one a go – kids will love it too! The recipe below will make enough for 4 hungry people.

Vegetable Egg Fried Rice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

2 red peppers

175g okra

2 garlic cloves

1 green chilli

125g oyster mushrooms

750g cooked long grain rice

3 eggs

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

25g parsley

1. Chop the onion, peppers, okra, garlic and chilli and add to a large wok with the olive oil. Put on a high heat, and sizzle away for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms.

2. Stir in the rice and heat through, then make a little well in the middle of the wok.

3. Beat the eggs, then tip into the well and gradually stir into the rice, until all of the rice and veg is covered in egg. Continue cooking, stirring all of the time, until the egg has turned opaque.

4. Stir in the soy sauce, chilli sauce and parsley. Yum!

Asian Poached Sea Bass with Jasmine Rice

If you’re an avid reader of my blog you’ll notice that if one of us is feeling less than 100% I cook Thai food. This occasion is no different – hubby feels as though he’s coming down with a cold so I thought I’d knock it out of him with this dish!

This is a lovely way to cook sea bass – it makes it so soft and flaky. The broth itself is gorgeous too; I could drink it instead of tea! You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like, I prefer a medium heat just so that it warms the taste buds.

This recipe will serve 2, but just increase the amount of fish and rice if you want to feed more people.

(P.S. If you like this, why not try this)

Asian Poached Sea Bass with Jasmine Rice

1 litre vegetable stock

4 inch piece of ginger

2 sticks lemongrass

4 shallots

4 spring onions

1 green chilli

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 large bunch coriander

1 pak choi

120g shiitake mushrooms

2 sea bass fillets

250g cooked jasmine rice

1. Pour the stock into a large casserole dish and put on a medium heat – bring to a simmer.

2. Chop the shallots, ginger, spring onions and chilli. Add to the stock. Bruise the lemongrass with the back of a knife and add that too.

3. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, chopped mushrooms, chopped pak choi and chopped coriander stalks.

4. Heat the rice according to packet instructions.

5. Place the fish gently, skin down, into the stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes, depending on how thick your fish is, until cooked all the way through.

6. Chop the coriander leaves and scatter over the top for the last 30 seconds of cooking.

7. To serve, place a large spoonful of rice in the middle of a bowl, top with the fish and then ladle over as much of the delicious stock as you can.

Asparagus Risotto with Parmesan Crisps

Asparagus is cheap in the UK at the moment so I thought I’d utilise it with this easy and scrummy risotto recipe.

The risotto itself is very simple, so I thought I’d jazz it up a little with some tasty parmesan crisps. These are also dead easy to make – give them a go!

This will serve at least 4, and takes 30-40 minutes to make. A really lovely dish for a Monday night!

Asparagus Risotto with Parmesan Crisps

1 onion

2 tbsps olive oil

300g risotto rice

1 glass white wine

500ml vegetable stock

600g asparagus spears

60g grated parmesan

1. Chop the onion and add to a large casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Soften over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then pour in the risotto rice. Stir for 2 minutes.

2. Pour in the white wine, stirring all the time, until the liquid has been absorbed.

3. Add the stock gradually, continuing to stir.

4. Chop the asparagus spears into bitesize pieces, and when the stock has been aborbed add the asparagus to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes over a low heat, then turn the heat off. Pour over the remaining tablespoon of olive oil then put a lid on the pan and leave it to sit for 6-7 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Get a baking tray and split your parmesan into four small handfuls. Place on the baking tray with as much of a gap between each as possible, and put in the oven for 6-7 minutes until the parmesan is golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

6. To serve, top each bowl of risotto with a parmesan crisp.

Beetroot Risotto

This is a very fashionable combination at the moment and you’ll find lots of restaurants serving some form of beetroot and goats cheese. Some people find the very bright colour of this risotto a little unpalatable but I love it, the flavour is delicate and sweet and goes so well with the salty goats cheese.

This dish would be a talking point at a dinner party!

Lots of people are scared of making risotto, but they needn’t be. It doesn’t need constant stirring – just a little attention.

The recipe below serves 4 – to increase you can just add an additional 100g risotto rice per person and increase the stock accordingly.

Beetroot Risotto with Goats Cheese

4 large raw beetroot

2 tbsps good olive oil

1 onion

400g risotto rice

1 small glass red wine

1 litre vegetable stock

1 small bunch fresh thyme

25g goats cheese

1. Chop the beetroot into bit bitesize pieces. Drizzle with one tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt, then put in the oven to roast at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, shaking a couple of times throughout the cooking process.

2. Chop the onion and add to a casserole dish with the rest of the oil, and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the risotto rice.

3. Stir for 30 seconds and then add the wine.

4. When most of the wine has been absorbed, begin to add the stock bit by bit, stirring fairly often to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

5. When you have added half of the stock, add the chopped leaves of the thyme then continue adding the stock.

6. After the beetroot has cooked for 20 minutes, add it and any cooking juices to the risotto. Continue adding the stock bit by bit.

7. When all of the stock has been added and the risotto is deliciously gloopy, turn the heat off and put the lid on the pan for 5 minutes.

8. To serve, top with a spoonful of goats cheese. Enjoy!