Wednesday 25 May 2016

the sunday session 21 - just keep stirring

hello  - well it's been another great melbourne week and one where i got to experience a little more of the great melbourne offerings.  i took a trip to the brighton farmers market which happens each month. i really loved this as it gave me a little taste of one of the things i miss in brissy. the davies park outdoor market.

it was where i would get my ritual saturday breakfast - the spinach and cheese pie from the pie guy and have impromptu meetings with people as we crossed paths on our saturday morning forage.  in a couple of weeks my son is coming to visit and he is under strict instructions to fill his hand luggage with some pie treats for his mumma.
on saturday it was probably my first real taste of the chilly weather and of course i decided to hot it up with some gold liquid pants from target and go about trying to cause some panic at the disco.  my plan come summer is to upcycle these pants to shorty shorts.  well maybe not, but maybe..... like really, if kylie minogue can do it, then surely i can!

this wasn't my fave look of the week - and why i don't know - cause it pretty hot, but it was a toss up between the spots on spots craziness and the adidas chopped up T look.  Adidas won out. and why, cause i'm a bit of a tomboy at heart.  when i was little,  i was nicknamed fred.  I kinda like that name and although i am as girly as all fuck, i still have that little tomboy streak.  i like beer, cars, motorbike racing and obviously dressing in a muscle shirt...
this was an outfit that turned heads -  believe it or not - and oozed some sassiness and a confidence undercurrent.

the jeans come from target, the boots are mollini,  the hoops are from fiji. i had a black singlet under the T, cause i decided to give it the chop.  i cut off the sleeves, cut off the chocking neckline, gave it an underarm cut, down the side. so there was a fair bit of side boobage, but too bad. if it's good enough for those 20 something's, then it's good enough for me. i was owning it big time.
so let's get back to food shall we, following my excitement of the farmers market.  I am doing an old recipe share - cause not only is the weather turning chilly, but i am in need of some good quality homemade risotto.  my first risotto encounter was about 20 years ago in new york. it was a joy to watch being cooked and a joy to eat.  it's a really solid meal, but having quality over quantity is a risotto treat. enjoy the beauty of the risotto with a side of something else. let it be the subtle standout in the meal. here's one of my faves - stinging nettle risotto - enjoy.

it doesn't matter how many times i make it, i always want to have it with fresh pesto, a simple rocket salad and panko fried gluten....eeewww i hear you say - well eeeewww back to you.  feel free to come over and enjoy this delicious number anytime. 
I am sure that in melbourne that stinging nettles will be somewhere and I am going to be on the lookout.  But really a great risotto can have so many variations and for a vegetarian like me what comes to mind is roasted beetroot or sage risotto or what about zucchini and lemon, or Jerusalem artichoke  - so many great options.  but today, i'm sticking with the green goddess.

Remember stinging nettles sting, hence the name and you will require some special tools such as a pair of scissors and some thick gardening gloves to prepare the first part. come on, be a devil and live on the stinging nettle edge....

so you will need

stinging nettles. a big bag of them. (available from a market or in some gardens or derelict parks) and if you can't get them, then you are fucked really and there would be no point going on reading. but feel free to adapt and use some other exotic item such as what ive suggested above.  let's go.  get:
a knob of butter
a big splash of olive oil
an onion
a clove of garlic
arborio rice
white wine and lots of it
stock (massel vege is my stock of choice) this way there is no competition between the veg and non veg. a largish saucepan will work for this and you can always top up the stock as you go along if you start to run low. But, keep the stock hot.
salt & pepper
more wine

first up take all the leaves off the nettles using the gloves and scissors. i didn't use the stems at the bottom of the leaves, but did use the softer top bits.

once done, you need to blanch them. you can give them a rinse in a colander if you like but DON'T TAKE THE GLOVES OFF TILL DONE. either put them in a boiling pan of water for about 30 seconds, or submerge them in a dish of boiling water from the kettle. This was the easier way.
drain them and then you need to put them in a wizzer and make a kind of paste adding a bit of water if needed. it doesn't need to be a runny puree though.
heat the stock in a large saucepan till boiling then turn to simmer
while that's happening, dice the onion and peel the garlic
once the stock is boiled or nearly boiling you can kick off with the rest
using a deep style frypan or specialised risotto pan (like the fancy one below),
ladies, one with a wider bottom is bound to work, i relate to the wider bottom, so am okay with this.
add the butter and oil.

once it's melted, add the onion and fry, then add the clove of garlic.
when the onion is a bit soft and browned, add the rice. now there's no measure for this that i use, but you start with a cup or so.
once the rice looks all glistening and covered in oil (after a couple of minutes) add a big splosh of wine - at least a cup full and it will sizzle and fizz then start to evaporate.
give it a bit of a stir, then the fun starts. add a bit of salt and pepper and once the wine has evaporated, it's time to start adding the stock.

NB: this is when the extra wine comes in, cause risotto is just like the ocean - you never turn you back on it and you will probably need a full glass to drink while doing the stirring part

using a soup ladle, start to spoon a ladle full into the risotto

NB2: i know it's all looking complicated, but go with it

keep the risotto on the move as much as possible (ie - stir) the liquid will evaporate and once it has, it's time to add more stock. no brainer really, but keep on doing this

after about 10 minutes, add the nettle mix. (or your other vege of choice)
the vibrant green will mesmerise you.

so quite simply, keep on doing this adding, stirring, waiting and sipping your wine business till the rice is cooked.
it's probably going to take about 20 - 25 mins in total to be ready, but well worth the wait.
once the rice is cooked, but not gluggy - just a bit creamy - it's ready to go. It should not be runny at all
you can always add more butter in at the end if you want.
serve it up and add a bit pf Parmesan and enjoy with whatever salad you fancy.

i myself was a bit over being offered gluggy risotto when i went out anywhere, but it's been a while and i got a hankering for some good old fashioned italian comfort food.

good luck - and happy risottoing.

as like fashion, there is no right or wrongs with what you dish up - but if you are like me and have an adventurous side, then i say go for it, let your recipe for risotto be as exciting as your recipe for life. 

and you are more than welcome to come and join me at my dinner table to get into a risotto frenzy.

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