mushroom and parsley risotto


I sometimes think that risotto is one of the most versatile dishes I know. Almost anything can be put in with the rice, and a delicious dish will always be the result. With a bit of time spare at the weekend, you can really put in the effort to create something amazing. For example, roasting vegetables and garlic in olive oil, and then taking effort to infuse the risotto rice with Moroccan spices, before combining the two for a dish full of colour and flavour. Or, say, a sweet potato and rosemary risotto – taking time to whizz up the sweet potato in a blender for a brilliant bright orange colour. Maybe, if you’re going to roast vegetables and garlic, you’d like to roast tomatoes to complement the earthy flavour of a turmeric-yellow risotto. Just to name but two examples. If you’re interested. But just as easily, within 20ish minutes, you can add mushrooms, tease out and enhance their flavour with parsley, and have a satisfying dinner.


  • Button mushrooms, to taste, halved
  • Arborio risotto rice, approximately 100g per person
  • 250ml hot vegetable stock per person
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • Grated cheddar cheese, to taste
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Heat in a large saucepan a little olive oil with some butter, and add the risotto rice. It is important to remember that the size of the pan must reflect the amount of rice – keeping it on ‘one level’ during cooking ensures half doesn’t out-cook the rest! This means you will have an evenly cooked meal. Stir the risotto rice in the oil and butter continuously, until the edges of each grain become slightly transparent.
  2. Add the sliced garlic, and fry until it smells aromatic. Then, add a ladle of hot stock, and stir. It is incredibly important to add the stock gradually – as it is added, it is absorbed by the rice, cooking it. If it is added too quickly, it will evapourate away but the rice may remain slightly raw. DSCF7055
  3. Half way through adding the stock, stir in the mushrooms, and sprinkle with the parsley. They will cook in the stock, and will darken in colour and reduce in size. Keep adding the stock to the mushrooms and the rice. As it is added, it should begin to form a small sauce, and the rice should be tender but with a slight ‘bite’ in the centre. Add another ladle of stock as the previous one is absorbed almost fully – if you run out of stock, just use boiling water. This process should take around 20 minutes.
  4. Keep on the heat for 5 minutes more to ensure it is all warmed through. Risotto is not meant to be thick, but creamy and spill onto the plate – if yours is too stodgy, add a little more hot water.
  5. Once the risotto is cooked, take it off the heat, add a knob of butter, and place a lid on the pan. Leave for 2 minutes, and add the grated cheddar.
  6. Leave the risotto with a lid on again for around 5 minutes, to allow the flavours to combine, absorbing the butter and cheese for extra ‘ooze’.
  7. Pour the risotto into a deep bowl. Drizzle a little oil over the top, if it needs further breaking up to ‘ooze’. Season, top with a little more parsley, and serve.



Guest Post: Jan’s stuffed turnips in red pepper sauce

During the Christmas holidays, I had a two week internship at delicious. magazine. Whilst there, I managed to get hold of a Dutch copy, which I duly sent to my Dutch (cooking-enthusiast) uncle, as the only person I know who would appreciate such a publication; language being the main barrier to all other known cooking fanatics! Although my (food-fussy) aunt was slightly dubious about his choice of Dutch fare, even she was convinced by the end product…

comments from a fussy eater:

Tip number 1.

It helps if you check you have all the ingredients at the outset.

It took Jan 3 shopping trips before the dish was complete. He doesn’t do lists, so kept forgetting to purchase the herbs, then the parmesan.2013.01.06-17 copy

Tip number 2.

Don’t judge a book (or indeed a root vegetable) by it’s cover. Consider that my life experience of turnips was the popular children’s book, The Giant Turnip and a sliced and diced tasteless root vegetable in winter soup. In reality, the turnip pre-prep is aesthetically pleasing with its barely blushing base and creamy skin.

Tip number 3.

You don’t have to eat the skin. I didn’t, in spite of the constant encouragement of my husband to do so. I figure, it’s got a thick outer skin for a reason and that reason is to keep the insides in, which is why stuffing this amazing little vegetable works so well. I never eat the skin of a jacket spud either and don’t intend to start changing my rules for root vegetables.

Tip number 4.

2013.01.06-26 copyPortion control. Jan cooks for an army anyway, but did we really need 4 turnips – 2 each? At one point Jan was concerned that all the turnip he had patiently scooped out, wasn’t going to fit back in. If I was inclined to eat the skin, then perhaps not 2 turnips, but as I delicately manoeuvred around the skin to access the filling, I decided that the filling of 2 turnips was sufficient. Especially, when combined with the beautiful, albeit it brightly coloured paprika & pepper sauce.

Tip number 5

You have got to try this recipe. The turnip had an exquisite aftertaste and the chestnut, herb mix was divine and provided texture. I liked the little lids, even though I didn’t eat them, they looked cute and appetising. When you begin to describe turnips as cute and appetising, you either need to seek professional help or you’ve hit on a recipe thatmakes this dish sublime. I think the Dutch know when they’re onto a good thing. No-one likes a smug chef, but the mighty turnip and Jan need to be on a pedestal for this fabulous dish.

2013.01.06-23 copy

Ingredients (enough for 4 people)

  • 1 kg or 8 Turnips
  • 25 g Butter
  • 100 g Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 80 g Cooked Chestnuts
  • 30 g Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 20 g Parsley
  • Olive Oil to coat prepared Turnips

Red Pepper Sauce

  • 200 g Red Peppers
  • 200 ml Vegetable Stock
  • 3 Sprigs Dill
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 60 Butter, cut into small blocks and kept cold


  1. Turn on oven and heat to 200 C
  2. Firstly take some turnips wash and then steam them for around 30 mins, depending on their size.
  3. Whilst the turnips are cooking take the chestnuts and place on a baking tray and put in heated oven to cook for about 15 mins when they have cooled sufficiently peel them and coarsely chop. If you want you could use already prepared chestnuts, I used fresh as I had some leftover from Christmas.
  4. Once the turnips have been cooked and have cooled down sufficiently cut the bottom of the turnip off, just enough for them to stand upright when they are later put in the oven to finish cooking. Cut the tops off to make suitable lids and then scoop out the contents of the turnips and put to one side, to be mashed up.
  5. Wash and chop the parsley.
  6. Finely chop onion, and garlic and cook in a pan with the butter. Once they have sweated off add the mashed turnip, parsley, parmesan and chopped chestnuts. Once the ingredients have been combined take off the heat and stuff the turnips. Either place the turnips on a baking tray or in an oven proof dish glaze with the olive oil and then put in oven to cook for about 40 mins.
  7. Whilst the turnips are cooking chop up your red paper and put in saucepan along with your vegetable stock and 3 sprigs of dill. Bring to the boil and then let the pepers simmer for around 15 mins, until they are soft, puree the mixture and put to one side. Put a pan of boiling water on and take a heatproof bowl big enough to sit on top of the pan. In the bowl beat the egg yolks and then place bowl on top of the simmering pan along with the pureed red peppers. Continue to beat the mixture in the bowl for about 10 mins until the mixture thickens up then gradually add the butter in small amounts, once all the butter has been added season to taste.
  8. Finish browning off the turnips by turning the oven up to 220 C for the last 10 mins take out of oven and plate up pouring the sauce around them and serve.

Jan’s Thoughts: This is a very welcomed colourful and tasty dish for a winter’s day. The turnip, which can be a bland, and dare I say it humble vegetable, was transformed into a satisfying and filling dish. I did not think it was necessary to serve this dish with anything else as it was quite filling. It is also the kind of dish were the turnips can be prepared in advance and finished off later on. All that needs to be done is to make the sauce whilst the turnips are cooking, very definitely one to try.

brussels with crispy bacon

I love brussel sprouts. I’ve never really understood why everyone complains when when winter sets in and brussel sprouts P1030925 16-37-43 4begin to appear. Especially so at school – everyone seemingly detested those poor little green vegetables. Of course I still moaned, everyone at the age of 11 was moaning, but I didn’t really mean it. Only those most trusted knew about my secret love for brussel sprouts. There is a huge difference between a lightly blanched sprout and one cooked to death by an overzealous school cook, but on the whole there is much to love about these leafy green vegetables.

In our house, we use up our unused brussel sprouts in our New Year’s Day dinner. It’s like Christmas trimmings round two; Christmas dinner minus the turkey. The crisp texture and saltiness of the bacon here transform these brussel sprouts into the New Year version of their original Christmassy form. The deep pink hue nestled amongst the bright green makes them immediately different visually. And the new textures and flavours from the bacon give them a whole new taste experience. New Year, new perspective on these humble vegetables – give them a try tomorrow, they’re truly delicious and something to celebrate!


  • Brussel sprouts, washed
  • 5 rashers of smoked bacon
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to the boil. Add the washed brussel sprouts, ensuring they are submerged in the water, and blanche for 6-10 minutes, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan, and add a little butter. Fry the bacon rashers on a medium heat for about 5 minutes each side, until they begin to crisp.P1030924_3 16-37-43 2
  3. Once crisp, remove the bacon from the pan and place on a plate with kitchen towel, to drain the excess fat. Using scissors, snip into 2cm thick sections. Keep warm.
  4. Drain the brussel sprouts, and place in a serving bowl. Toss lightly in a little butter, and stir through the crispy bacon. Season, and serve immediately.