Saturday, 16 August 2014

Bill Granger's Baked Leek and Goat's cheese Risotto with Apple and Celery Salad from Easy.

I loved baked risotto's. It is a meal that feels like you have slaved over the stove but really while it was cooking you were having a hot shower and removing the glucose from your elbows and arm hairs that has been there since 7:15am. And when you don't own a heater the oven doubles as one during winter and warms the entire place up making it warm and cozy for when you hop out of the shower all fresh and clean. The only thing is you don't have as much control over the oozzy-ness of the rice and its easy to over cook it. On Thursday night Bill Granger's Baked Leek and Goats Cheese Risotto from his book Easy was a perfect choice. It's like winter has come late here in Sydney... It's FREEZING!! we even turned the oven on last night when we ordered take-away just to warm the place up a little. So being able to come hom from work after getting stuck in traffic and quickly putting dinner together, bunging it in the oven, having a quick HOT shower, throwing the salad together then sitting down to eat all in the space of 45 minutes is a pretty good achievement and perfect for a work night.

The risotto was very tasty with rosemary from my little herb garden and the sweet leeks and then little nuggets of goats cheese dotted throughout it. I overcooked it a little, I baked it for 25 minutes but should have checked earlier to see if the rice was done but a shower was more on my mind to defrost my toes.

The Apple and Celery Salad was so crunchy and fresh. The supermarket didn't have chicory so I used cos lettuce instead. I know they taste nothing like each other but it still worked and the celery had a bit of fridge sag. Fridge sag? You know when you buy celery and its crunchy and stands up straight, then after a day in your fridge it starts to go saggy and flop over when you hold it up? Well I have worked out a way to concur fridge sag when you still want to use it. Slice it up and place it in ice water for about 15 minutes and its refreshed and crunchy again. Genius!

Bill Granger Apple and celery salad

I've never been much of a fan of fruit in a salad... but here I am trying new things and it was actually really nice and worked well with everything else. The sweetness cut through the bitterness of the rocket and the savoury lemon dressing. The walnut also gave it an earthly-ness which was another element but I found them hard to keep on my fork and they fell to the bottom of the salad bowl making them hard to reach...first world problems when your walnuts fall to the bottom of the salad!

Bill Granger baked leek and goats cheese risotto

Baked Leek and Goats Cheese Risotto by Bill Granger from Easy.

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, cut lengthways and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves, plus extra for garnish
250g arborio rice
850mL chicken stock, heated
120g soft goats cheese, rind removed and chopped
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese

- Set your oven to 200 degrees celsius.

- In a oven-proof saucepan heat the oil and butter until the butter has melted. Add the onion, leeks, garlic and salt and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring even now and then.

- Add the rosemary and rice and cook for a minute or two.

- Stir through the stock then remove pot from the heat and add all the cheese, stirring well to evenly distribute the goats cheese.

- Place a lid on the pot and put it in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Check after 15 or 20 to see if rice is al dente yet. Once al dente place under a hot drill to brown the top. (I don't have a grill so I skipped this step). Sprinkle remaining rosemary and serve.

Apple and Celery Salad by Bill Granger from Easy.

Serves 4
(recipe adapted)

100g rocket leaves
1 stick celery, sliced into small sticks (if your celery is saggy, place in some icy water while the risotto is cooking)
1 baby cos lettuce, sliced
1 red apple, cored and thinly sliced (slice at the very last minute or keep in some lemon water to stop it going brown)
handful of walnut pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

- Combine rocket, celery, cos lettuce and walnuts together in a salad bowl.

- Whisk together lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and add some salt and pepper.

- Just before serving add your apple and dress with the dressing.

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