Monday, April 16, 2007

Nigella's Chocohotopots

These are meant to be a kids dessert but they are great for adults too. They are very easy and look very impressive...

125g Unsalted butter
125G dark Chocolate
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour

You will need four 150ml ramekins. Perheat oven to gas mark 6 (200C). Butter four ramekins. Melt the butter and the dark chocolate, then set aside to cool. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and flour. Then beat in the cooled butter/chocolate mix. Pour into four buttered ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes. The tops should be cooked (and cracked) like a macaroon and the cent gurengy and gooey. Serve while hot. This is very quick. You can make them up ahead of time and set aside. Just pop them in as you sit down to your main meal (or just after).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Butternut Squash Risotto with parma ham and thyme.

This was inspired by a recipe i got from the BBC website, but I changed the herbs and cheese used.


1 large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling..( truffle oil?)
about 5 stalks of thyme leaves, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1 knobs of butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 small leek
handful green beans
400g/14oz arborio or other Italian risotto rice
2 glasses white wine or vermouth
1 litre/1¾ pint hot chicken or vegetable stock
good handful of freshly grated comte or gruyere cheese, plus extra to serve
75g/3oz pinenuts, to serve
100g parma ham, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the butternut squash inhalf lengthways, remove the seeds and place on a roasting tray. drizzle with olive oil. 2.
Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes until softened and becoming golden in colour.
3. Once the squash has cooked, cool slightly, then scrape the soft flesh away from the skin into a bowl. Lightly mash with a fork or potato masher keeping it fairly chunky. Stir in lots of black pepper, a little salt, and truffle oil if you have it.
4. Heat the olive oil and a good knob of butter in a deep, frying pan or saute pan.
5. Gently fry the onion and chopped leek until softened. Add the rice and stir for about a minute until the grains are coated with the oil and butter.
6.Pour in the vermouth/ wine and stir continuously until it has cooked into the rice.
7.Add a good ladle of hot stock and the chopped thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down so the stock is simmering gently. Keep adding ladles of stock as it cooks into the rice, stirring and moving the rice around in the pan. After about 15-20 minutes the rice should be soft but still have a bit of bite left in it. The texture of the risotto should be thick and creamy, but not too loose. Add extra stock if necessary.
8. With about 5 minutes to go, add the topped and tailed green beans to cook lightly in the juices.
9. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir the roasted butternut squash into the risotto with the comte, the remaining butter and seasoning to taste. Add any extra stock if the risotto seems particularly thick.
10.During this time, place the pinenuts in a fairly hot frying pan and toss until golden.
11. rip the parma ham in to little pieces
Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and scatter with the pinenuts and extra comte and the ham.