So, the other day I was rather inspired by a few Jamie Oliver recipes I had read on the internet and a wonderful little film I had watched, called Julie & Julia. I had the sudden urge to cook a meal for the family. From start to finish, on my own. I was a little nervous buying all the ingredients that could possibly, at the hand of myself, turn into something rather inedible.
Well, I definitely surprised myself, if not the rest of the family. I thought I’d share my little beginner recipes on here with you, should another cooking novice out there, want to make something yummy. (Shortcuts “a la Awesome” included)
Fresh Caprese salad accompanied by Chilli Crostini
A handful of fresh Basil leaves
12 or so Mozzarella buffalo balls
15 or so Italian cherry tomatoes
Salt & pepper
1 Packet of Woolworths ready-made chilli crostini
1 loaf sourdough Italian baguette & A few tablespoons of chopped chilli and garlic in olive oil
1. Should you want to save an infinite amount of time, the Woolworths crostini are fantastic. If you ‘d like to try your hand at your own; You need to slice the baguette into approximately 1.5cm thick slices. Then you need to brush both sides of the slices with the chilli oil and toast them on a grill until both sides are nice and golden brown.
2. The rest of the salad is a simple layering process. Halve the cherry tomatoes and scatter them across your platter. Break the mozzarella roughly into big chunks, then scatter them on top of the tomatoes. Break a few leaves of basil over that, then dress with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
3. Display your little crostini around the edge of your platter and enjoy!
Creamy Mushroom Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
150g roughly chopped mixed exotic mushrooms
20 g dried porchini mushrooms
2 cups of Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 litre vegetable stock
1 Handful of fresh parsley
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
(Serves 4-6 people)
1. Soak the porchini mushrooms in a little warm water for 30 minutes. (Keep the water afterwards.)
2. Heat some oil in a pot and fry the onions until translucent and slightly golden. Add the garlic and the exotic mushrooms. Fry a further 3 minutes or so. Add the rice and stir it around to coat the rice granules with the oils in the pot. Fry the rice until it becomes slightly translucent. This should only take a few minutes.
3. Add the wine and stir it into the mixture, until it has dissolved. Turn down the heat to a low setting. (So that it is just simmering) Roughly chop the porchini mushrooms and put aside for later. Mix the porchini water in with your vegetable stock.
4. Add a ladleful of stock mix to your pot, stirring continuously. Once it has dissolved, add another ladleful. Keep on with this process, which should take about half an hour to complete. (Keep stirring continuously during this process. -Very important.) You know that the mix is ready when it has a gooey, viscous appearance and the rice is no longer hard. The porchini mushrooms can be added now.
Note: You don’t have to use all of the stock if your dish is ready earlier. Should you need more liquid after your stock is finished, just add a little boiling water instead.
5. Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and drop in the butter, parsley and parmesan. Give the mix a good final stir and cover the pot with the lid. Set aside to rest for 2 minutes, then serve to your very hungry guests.
Individual meringue baskets (You could make your own, but I’m afraid I haven’t tried it myself.)
Roughly chopped container of Strawberries
A handful of Blueberries
A handful of Raspberries
2 tablespoons of Honey
1. Mix the honey into the chopped strawberries and let them rest a for about 15 minutes.
2. Place a meringue basket in each serving bowl and fill with the glazed strawberries. Place a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on top and garnish with the blueberries and raspberries. Easy! (And yummy.)
So now you, too, can actually serve a complete meal to your friends and family without a kitchen related worry. Surprisingly yummy and SO easy to prepare.