General ramblings

Waste not, want not-recipe ideas #3

The third in my little post about how can we all make small changes to help stop food waste. (This is the original post here, and then there was omelettes/frittatas, and soup!)

This time, it is the turn of….


I know everyone says making risotto is a faff. But I will let you into a little secret, I never stand there stirring it constantly, and I never have a saucepan of stock on the heat next to it. And we’ve survived. And the risotto has been yummy.

This is the way I make the basic base.

  • Gently fry a chopped onion in a good knob of butter for about 5 minutes
  • While that is cooking, boil the kettle, and make up your vegetable/chicken stock (about 1 litre)
  • Then add your risotto rice (about 250g should do 4 of you if you bulk it up with some veg)to the pan and stir it well so that it coated with the butter and lovely and shiny
  • Add a good splash of white wine (or I keep a bottle of vermouth to cook with, and save the wine for drinking..) and stir well, then start adding your stock. I just add a good glug each time, turn the heat down low, and give it a stir. Then I potter about the kitchen, wipe noses, dry tears, shout at play with Small children, empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher etc etc while I am doing the rest. Keep an eye on it, and give it the odd stir to stop it sticking to the bottom, then add another glug when the previous lot is nearly all absorbed .Continue until it is cooked! It may need slightly more or slightly less stock, depending on what we are not sure

Then you can add whatever you like to flavour it:

  • Roasted veg (again)
  • Leftover meat from a roast (make sure you heat it through well!)-chicken works well, with some dried or fresh tarragon
  • You can add a tin of tomatoes at the start, or some passata and then use less stock. This is nice with peas and bacon added at the end
  • Leek and bacon
  • Tinned beans/pulses, cream cheese, grated cheese, ham
  • Roasted butternut squash is especially yum-cut your unpeeled squash into quarters lengthways and remove the seeds. Plonk in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and a tsp or 2 of dried cinnamon. Roast in the oven at about 200C for about 40mins until tender. Scoop out the flesh and stir it through your risotto
  • Top with grated (or shaved if you are feeling posh) parmesan and tuck in


We have risotto at  least once a fortnight. Anyone else a fan?

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  • Reply Antonia February 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    You can do a baked risotto too which requires absolutely zero stirring….

    • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      I always forget about this method! Will dig out a recipe and give it a try-thanks Antonia 🙂

  • Reply hmk71 February 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I like the sound of Malaysian rabbit curry! Sorry to hi-jack the comments, but do you have a recipe?

    • Reply thedevolutionary February 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      I’ve just asked my partner and, off the top of her head, she says:
      2 finely chopped onions
      2 finely chopped garlic cloves
      2-inch piece of ginger, finely grated
      2 or 3 small hot chillis, finely chopped (what a surprise)
      1 tsp sugar
      1 tsp turmeric
      1 tsp curry powder
      Juice of half a lemon
      Salt & pepper

      Fry it all in veggie oil for a couple of mins, add a tin of thin coconut milk, add your rabbits pieces & some water if needed to cover the meat.
      Simmer until tender (depends on age of rabbit – 1 hour min for ours)
      Add thick coconut milk & heat through.
      Serve with freshly chopped coriander if you remember to pick some.

      Basically, you can use rabbit for all chicken dishes. Our rabbits grow to about 3 kg (of meat), so they go further than the chickens. We’ve had some success barbecuing but avoid roasting. There’s a local dish here using prunes I did a couple of weeks ago and it was excellent.

      • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

        Wow, so you keep them for the meat rather than using wild rabbit?
        Curry sounds great. May have to ask our local butcher for some bunny 🙂

        • Reply thedevolutionary February 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm

          Yes, we went down the self-sufficiency route, for which rabbit it excellent. But times change and we’re not raising rabbits or pigs for meat any more. We’re moving to towards a vegetarian diet (though with a freezer fully stocked with meat at the moment). I do all the killing and butchering and it’s something I think I would prefer to live without. (And from an environmental viewpoint, I think it’s the way forward.)

      • Reply hmk71 February 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        Thank you, that sounds delicious. I cook (wild) rabbit, but have tended to stick to classic cider-based casseroles etc. Time to be more adventurous!

  • Reply thedevolutionary February 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I add my leftover chicken with the first glug of stock. During cooking it all breaks apart and becomes amazing. But the best risotto ever – and I do mean EVER – is leftover rabbit.

    • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Oooh, do you put any other veg/flavours with the rabbit? I have to admit to never having cooked with rabbit!

      • Reply thedevolutionary February 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        It’s usually leftovers from rabbits stew, but I take the veggies out and add more veggie stock to bulk out the liquid.(But most of our rabbits go into Malaysian curry, which may sound a bit odd but is also amazing.)

  • Reply hmk71 February 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

    And if you have left over risotto, form it into balls (around a chunk of cheese if you like, especially mozzarella if you have it), dip it in flour/egg/breadcrumbs and fry- Arancini! Sicilian rice balls… though mine rarely come out round, more like patties. I don’t know the Italian for blob though, so Arancini they are.

    Jo- the rice shaped pasta is probably risini or orzo? Orzo actually means barley, and pearl barley makes orzotto, cooked just like risotto. Tasty, but not very quick cooking though!

    • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

      That sounds delicious. May have to deliberately overcook to try and make some of these! Hubby usually takes the leftovers to work for lunch the next day at the moment.
      We have tried orzo-v.yummy, and we have a packet of pearl barley skulking a the back of the cupboard, awaiting inspiration, so will give this a try. Do you just cook it in the same way as risotto rice but for a bit longer?

      • Reply hmk71 February 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        I use Sophie Grigson’s directions from Feasts for a Fiver.

        Soak the pearl barley overnight (actually, I rarely remember to do that!) and then boil in fesh, salted water for 20 minutes. (I often freeze it at this point so it’s more ‘instant’).
        Continue as risotto, but add all liquid/stock in one go and cook for 15-20 minutes until barley is tender.
        She paired it with mushrooms and I’ve done leek and ham, which was nice.

        • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

          Great idea to freeze it after boiling. Definitely going to give this a go 🙂
          Thanks so much for all your ideas and recipes!

      • Reply hmk71 February 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        Ah, that’ll be fresh not fesh water…

        And if you boil it in plenty of unsalted water, you can drain the liquor off for lemon barley water- yum!

        • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

          You inspired me, and we had a mushroom version for tea tonight! Yum scrum, and the highest praise indeed, BigSmall ate it 🙂

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo February 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Love risotto, but have recently found a pasta with tiny grains (cant remember what its called) that cooks the same way as the rice (only quicker) which is my current fave. :o)

    • Reply Jen February 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

      We’ve had that as well Jo, we had the orzotto from Nigella’s Nigellisima and it was delicious, and the Smalls loved it too 🙂

  • Reply Angela February 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    It’s one of my favourite meals for using up bits of chicken thigh left from the roast. I don’t stand over it either and just pour the stock in a bit at a time from a jug. Although there is somehing very therapeutic about stirring it if I have the time.

    • Reply Jen February 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Great leftover idea Angela! I love a good risotto 🙂

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