30 December 2015

Brussels Sprouts risotto

If you bought just a few too many brussels sprouts over the festive season and have no idea what else to do with them other than boil them, then this is the perfect recipe.

Its quick, really tasty and something unusual to surprise your guests with..

Ingredients: (to serve 2 hungry people or 4 as a starter dish)

20g salted buter
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 lemons (1 shaved into long strips of lemon zest and the other for grated lemon zest.)
150g risotto rice
250g trimmed bussels sprouts (100g shredded and 150g quartered)
100ml dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
500-600ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper
Sunflower oil for deep frying
Parmesan/cheddar cheese


Put a large heavy-based casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil and once the butter has melted, add the diced onion.

Cook the onion on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise. Then add in the crushed garlic, thyme leaves and strips of lemon zest. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then add in the rice, a good pinch of salt and black pepper and the shredded sprouts. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring, and then add in the white wine. Let the wine simmer for a few minutes until reduced and then add in your first spoonful of stock.

Continue to add in the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring well in between each addition until the liquid has been absorbed before you add in the next ladleful. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked but still has a little bite.

Whilst the risotto is cooking, add the sunflower oil to a medium-sized saucepan so that you have about 2cm of oil. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the quartered brussels sprouts, a few at a time with a slotted spoon and deep fry them for about 20-30 seconds until golden and crispy. (Be careful as the oil will spit a bit). Once cooked, transfer to some kitchen paper whilst you fry the rest of the quartered sprouts.

Once the risotto is ready, stir through a small knob of butter and a handful of grated parmesan or cheddar cheese, as well as half of the fried spouts.

To serve, top each portion of risotto with a few more of the fried sprouts, some lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi, slightly adapted from from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/17/brussels-sprout-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi

10 December 2015

Spiced squash pumpkin pie with salted caramel and maple pecans


250g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
500g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Cold water

750g butternut squash (peeled, deseeded and cubed weight)
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp maple syrup

140g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla paste
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
175ml milk
50g melted butter
50g ground almonds

100g Pecans
2tbsp Maple syrup

200g caster sugar
125ml water
100g unsalted butter
100ml double cream, cubed
1tsp flaked sea salt (Maldon)


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (fan.)

Start by peeling and deseeding your butternut squash. You want 750g of butternut squash once peeled and deseeded. Cut the squash into roughly 2cm cubes and then add them to a roasting tray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mix the pecans with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl. Tip them out onto a non-stick baking tray and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, make your pastry. Add the plain flour and cold cubed unsalted butter to a large mixing bowl along with the sugar. Using the end of your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg and then add it to the other ingredients along with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Mix the egg and water into the dry ingredients and then continue adding a small amount of cold water until the mixture comes together into a ball. (You want the pastry to just hold together- don't add too much water or it will be too wet to use.)

Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Whilst the pastry is chilling, use a potato masher to mash the roasted squash and then pass it through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla paste, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, milk, melted butter and ground almonds until fully incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Then whisk in the roasted squash.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface until the thickness of a one pound coin. Grease a large, fluted loose-bottomed 25cm tart tin with butter. Carefully lift the pastry into the tart tin and make sure to push the pastry into the sides of the tin. Leave any over hanging pastry for the moment and then line the unbaked pastry case with a layer of baking paper and some baking beans in order to stop if from puffing up. Blind bake the pastry case in the preheated oven for 15 minutes and then remove the baking beans and baking paper and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the pastry starts to turn golden.

Once golden, remove from the oven and using a sharp knife, run the knife along the edges of the tin to remove any excess pastry. Then pour in the squash filling. Turn the heat up in the oven to 200 degrees C (fan). Once at the correct temperature, bake the pie for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 160 degrees C (fan) and continue to bake it for another 30 minutes until set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Meanwhile, add the pecans to a small plastic bag and then using a rolling pin, bash the caramelised pecans into very fine pieces.

To make the caramel, add the sugar and water to a large heavy-based saucepan on a medium heat. Let them cook without stirring until the mixture starts to turn golden brown. Take off the heat immediately and whisk in the butter until it is all melted. Then whisk in the double cream and salt.

To serve, remove the tart from the tin by pushing the base of the tin up and away from the sides. Cut a slice of the tart and top with a drizzle of the salted caramel sauce and a sprinkle of the crushed pecan nuts.