Simple Red Onion Risotto

An easy and comforting dish which requires little preparation and is perfect for chilly evenings.
It originates in Northern Italy, in the Piedmont region, where the best rice for risotto is grown.

Serves 4:
300g risotto rice
1 big red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1litre vegetable stock
1 small glass dry white wine
Grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to season

1. Gently fry the onion in the olive oil in a cast iron pot until tender and add the rice, tossing it quickly until it is transparent.

2. Add the stock, a little at a time, until it is all absorbed, then add the wine until it is also absorbed.

3. Simmer for 20’minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

4. Add the parmesan, stir well and cover. Leave for 2 minutes and serve.

Bon Appétit!

If you have some dried cèpes (Porcini mushrooms), prepare them and add them to the rice, having used their stock for cooking the rice.


Moka Ice Cream

A delicious ice cream for those who love coffee.
Quick and easy to make, it will be perfect at the end of a meal or as a mid afternoon treat in the shape of a “café liégeois”.

You need:

200ml double cream
Instant coffee
125g sugar

1. First, make a sugar syrup: dissolve 125g sugar in 100ml water in a saucepan. Stir constantly. This does not take long and you need to pour the syrup into a container before it turns to caramel!
Let it cool.

2. Meanwhile, make a strong cup of black coffee using instant coffee. Let it cool.

3. Add both syrup and coffee to the fresh cream and stir well.

4. Pour into the ice cream/ sorbet maker for the time indicated by the manufacturer and consume immediately. Serve with cigar-shaped biscuits.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, use a tupperware type container, whisk the mixture and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Check it is still soft and whisk again before serving to break down any icicles that may have formed.

For the Café Liégeois:

In a tall ice cream glass, put 2 scoops of Moka Ice cream, pour some cold coffee on top, add some fresh Crème Chantilly ( see post of Aumônières à la Chantilly of 26 February), decorate with chocolate coffee beans ( or chocolate vermicelli).

Bon Appétit!

Demerara sugar takes longer to dissolve than white sugar.
If you use filter coffee, the taste will be too mild as the ice will diminish it.
If you place the ice cream in the freezer for too long, it can turn into a block of ice.

Merlan en Papillotte = Hake in a Parcel

It is always a pleasure for me to see that the fishmonger has just received some fresh hake as it reminds me of the fish that arrived still alive at the Old Port in my native city.

There are different ways of cooking hake and today, I chose to cook it en papillotte because it seals in all the flavours and avoids frying.
It is a good dish to prepare if you are vegetarian.

Serves 2:

2 fresh hake steaks
1 courgette, peeled
8 sun-dried cherry tomatoes in olive oil, garlic and herbs
1 fennel bulb, rinsed and quartered, fronds removed
Salt and pepper to season
Juice of half a lemon

1. Cook the fennel in a pressure cooker or boil in salted water until tender. Reserve.

2. Line an oven dish with foil, sufficiently to close the parcel.

3. Place the fish delicately on the bottom and add the tomatoes and the fennel fronds. With a vegetable peeler, cut the courgette in tagliatelle and cover the fish with them. Sprinkle with some olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar.

4. Close the parcel and cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 15 minutes.

5. Serve immediately with the fennel bulb quarters. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Bon Appétit!

If you want to avoid using oil, use sliced fresh tomatoes which will moisten the fish. The courgette ribbons will also bring moisture.