Monday, November 27, 2006

Leek risotto

When someone asks me what my favorite food is, risotto is the first thing that comes to my mind.

It's delicious and versatile: you can use your imagination and come up with many different flavors, mix ingredients and even use leftovers that have been in your fridge for a while.

This recipe was taken from a Brazilian magazine - it's not a favorite of mine, but when I saw the risotto special edition I had to have it.

Even though I omitted the sausages, I liked the result very much. I will definitely make this risotto again, and use bacon instead of sausages.

Be careful not to do as I did: I ate so much that I had to walk around the apartment not to explode - I felt like Violet herself!

Leek risotto

62ml olive oil
4 leeks, sliced
150g pork sausages
400g Arborio rice
120ml red wine - I used white wine
500ml chicken stock - I used vegetable stock
50g cold butter
40g grated Parmesan cheese

Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan.
In a large pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes.
Cut and crumble the sausages, add to the pan and cook for 1 further minute.
Pour in the rice and stir for 1 minute; add the wine and stir until it's absorbed.
Add the stock - 1 ladleful at a time - and stir constantly until it's absorbed. Repeat this step until the rice is al dente.
Remove from heat, add butter and cheese and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Madeira cake

On a very lazy Sunday, I was trying to find something good on TV when I felt a sudden urge to bake!

I checked some of my books but every time one recipe got my attention I realized I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients. My fridge was sending me a message: “go to the grocery store!!”

I found two different recipes for Madeira cake (which is not common here in Brazil). Although I like this book very much, I decided to prepare the other recipe for two reasons: it called for almond meal – I love almonds – and it was a Donna Hay recipe. This woman is a modern time Midas.

The cake was not so high – my loaf pan wasn’t the correct size so I decided to use a 25cm round tin.

Despite being a simple cake, no filling or icing, I really liked its flavor and was pleased with the result.

Since I’m a “citric person” I squeezed some lemon juice over the cake slices before eating them; the cake absorbed all the juice – it was delicious!

Madeira cake

170g butter, softened
170g sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3 eggs
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice – I used 3 tablespoons
100g all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder

75g almond meal

Preheat the oven to 170ºC (330ºF). Grease a 10x20cm (4x8in) loaf tin, line the bottom with non-stick baking paper, grease the paper and then flour the entire tin.
Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually
add the eggs and the lemon juice, beating well. Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture and fold through with the almond meal.
Spoon the mixture in the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack – since I don’t have one, I left the cake in the tin for 15 minutes and then turned it directly onto the plate.

Serves 8-10.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fettuccine with prawns and fresh herbs

I love fish, but I'm not a huge fan of the other types of seafood. I'm allergic to some of them, so I stick to something more common: shrimp. I must admit that I don't know what the fuss is all about...

I love choosing new recipes to try but my husband is a picky eater and it gets in the way (he doesn't read the blog - lucky me!).
I always feel like preparing and tasting everything but have to slow it down a little because he's a little conservative with food.

Sometimes, when I'm going through a cookbook, he sees a photo and says "would you make this one?" - I really like that! It spares me a lot of work. :D
That's what happened with the pork loin I made the other day - sorry, the recipe is in Portuguese - and this pasta, which was taken from this wonderful book.

I was a bit disappointed with the shrimp - they looked so big at the supermarket and almost disappeared in the pot! :\ The dish tasted good though.
I added lemon zest even though the recipe didn't call for that.

We had friends over for dinner that night, so I took the photo on the following day with the remaining pasta. And the forked shrimp was the sole survivor. :D

Fettuccine with prawns and fresh herbs

400g fettuccine
100ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped - I omitted
16 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
12 basil leaves, torn
30g chives - I omitted
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon - optional

Cook the fettuccine in a large pot with boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the garlic, stir briefly, then add the prawns. Cook until they're pink.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 further minute - I cooked for a little longer since I wanted it to be juicier.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add prawns and tomatoes, the herbs and lemon.
Toss it together and season with salt.

Serves 4.
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