With the New Year upon us the traditional resolutions have, for many, been made and probably already forgotten or broken. I make a few each year and although I have been prone to the odd lapse, I do tend to be a good boy and stick them out.
Due to health reasons, this year has become even more vital that I retain full control of my will power and see out the year as well as the rest of my life with the the old resolutions. The doctor duly delivered me a small shock not long back and as I'm the perennial optimist, I see the New Year as good an excuse as ever to make resolve and start all over again - 4 days in and it's so far so good.
One resolution that certainly won't be broken is my love and commitment to good food. I can get cynical about the sheer 'in your face' of television food and the host of 'celebrities' that come with it. But as the years tick on, I find my own solace in the simplicity of an honest plate of grub as opposed to the complications of unnecessary techniques and over-dressing. And as 2009 is going to be my very own dedication to frugal foods it only magnifies the importance of keeping it basic.
So happy new year to everybody and may you remain resolute to your resolve. Keep it simple, be strengthened from your mistakes and be inspired by the beauty of sensible and honest food.
Swede, Lemon and Sage Risotto
1 medium swede, peeled and cut into cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
500g risotto rice such, I use Carnaroli
1 small glass of white wine or Noilly Prat
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
50g Parmesan cheese
Fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper
1 – Put the cubed swede into a steamer and steam for 10 minutes or until soft. Blend to a puree and put aside.
2 – Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook briefly until soft but not coloured. Stir in the rice then pour in the wine. Cook, stirring, until evaporated.
3 – Add a couple of ladles of stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until evaporated. Continue like this for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked but still retains a bit of bite. You are looking for a loose consistency, not too dry.
4 – Stir in the pureed swede, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice. Taste for seasoning. Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick pan and crisp up the sage leaves.
5 – Serve in bowls with a scattering of cheese, the crisp sage leaves and a wedge of lemon.