Sunday, April 17, 2011


We went to Prego in Ponsonby on Friday night for Josh's birthday, and it was, as expected, nothing short of excellent. I had pan-fried snapper with coriander, dill & chervil risotto and a glass of Bellbird Spring Pinot Gris which I am now going to look out for because I don't usually go for white wines. It was excellent. Although I just discovered it was $30 a bottle so perhaps that'll be one for special occasions. We were too full for dessert although I did spy chocolate fondant on the menu which I might have to go back and try. I also had some ridiculous lychee cocktail which was delicious.

On Wednesday night Jonny and I had a slightly poncey dinner, partially because I got a Lodge cast iron skillet (see link) and HAD to cook steak in it because cast iron and steak go together like Bonnie and Clyde. Cast iron browns meat in the most amazing way and stays super hot, so it cooked the BEST. STEAK. EVER. Being a student, the budget stretched only to sirloin but the cast iron made it ridiculously good sirloin. I usually leave the steak-cooking to Jonny (apart from cooking steak, the last time he had to cook an actual meal was probably around October last year) but I took it upon myself to do it this time, with his help of course. We managed to produce perfectly-cooked medium rare steaks, which I then served with mushrooms in a red wine jus. Not bad considering we were through the first bottle of wine before the meal was even served. Good one.

Tonight Gordon cooked spag bol for him and Jonny, I didn't really fancy anything until I trawled through a million and one food blogs and had the urge to cook. Gordon pointed out that I'd said I wasn't too keen on having carbs for tea and that wasn't rice carbs? I said yeah, I just felt like making risotto. He told me I was retarded. I don't think the boys understand the concept of not-cooking-solely-for-the-purpose-of-eating.

When I cook a meal I usually have only a basic idea of what I'm going to do and it all kind of comes together at the end. I knew that I was going to do a mushroom risotto, the rest of it kind of just fell into place.

To make risotto, you need aborio rice. You can get this at the supermarket in the "sun rice" packs for around $3.00 per 500g, I think. To make your risotto, start out by finely chopping garlic and dicing up some onion and chucking them into a saucepan with a little olive oil. After the onion becomes translucent, throw in a handful of aborio rice per person and then stir it for a minute or so to stop the rice sticking, then pour in around a quarter of a cup of liquid (wine or stock usually). Then you just keep adding small amounts of liquid until the rice has the right kind of bite to it and the sauce is all simmered down (the sauce will keep reducing as the rice will obviously keep absorbing the liquid).

I used to be intimidated by risotto but once I tried it I was kind of blown away by how ridiculously simple it is. The beauty of it is that you can have absolutely nothing in the pantry but a few herbs and maybe one or two different veges in the fridge and you have the base for risotto. You could do it with lemon juice and parmesan, tuna and veges, white wine and asparagus, almost anything. In my case I had a third of a bottle of red wine (a rarity in this house), a bunch of button mushrooms and some thyme.

Et voila. Mushroom, thyme and red wine risotto.


  1. Yummy! Risotto is the best -don't need many ingredients, just time and love

  2. I'm so aroused by this. Defs gonna make it.