Squid ink risotto

In 2007 I was in Genoa and tasted squid ink spaghetti for the first time on a strong recommendation from my local hosts. Ever since I have always been curious about it, ordering it at every possibility. People think the ink will make the risotto super-fishy but that is not the case. Visually, this is special as no other dish is completely black and there is something mysterious about eating risotto with ink.
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Like all Italian dishes, minimal ingredients, an onion, garlic, chilli (optional) and squid. We substituted fish stock for chicken stock and cooked the squid separately with a splash of lemon, adding it to the risotto with about 5 minutes before it was ready. Serve immediately and garnish with fresh parsley.

Lamb shanks

I have a lot of favourite dishes but for slow cooking this has to be one of the best.IMG_2764

Behind the tomatoes, onion and celery you can see the shanks. They have been slow-cooked for over 3 hours in red wine, chicken stock and diced tomatoes (in an oven as I don’t own a slow-cooker). You only need a few ingredients to make this dish work as the slow-cooking does the hard work for you. Once ready, the meat will literally fall off the bone… definitely worth the wait. Serve with mash potato or polenta if you are adventurous, and of course red wine.

Beetroot & pumpkin salad

Great dishes don’t have to difficult. Pick a few ingredients you love or have tasted recently and try recreating your own delicious meal. For me, beetroot and feta go well together and they are always in my kitchen. Tonight I added roasted pumpkin (in coconut oil) for something different. Kale is something I’ve been cooking with more and more lately. I prefer it to normal salad leaves because you control the texture when steaming (crunchy or softer).

salad

Finish this salad with olive oil and sprinkle with pine nuts. Simple and easy for those not too confident in the kitchen.

Mussels from Brussels

Change of scenery when Belgian flavours took over my kitchen and palate thanks to a special guest appearance from a wonderful Belgian chef. The beauty of this dish is that you have two meals in one. The mussels were delicious as always, however, they were cooked in a vegetable broth that compliments them very well. We simmered the broth for 45 minutes with a mixture of shallots, onions, celery, leeks and carrots. Use your imagination to create your own flavours.

mussels from brussels!

Belgium’s best kept secret is best served with “frites”. Homemade of course. Use different types of potatoes to mix things up.

Bon appetit!

Creamy cauliflower mash

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My new fortnightly cooking challenge is to use an ingredient I have never (or rarely) cooked with. This week I saw cauliflower and thought it would be a great start seeing I can’t remember the last time I had it any where. Apparently this mash has less carbs that potato mash so it’s great for your health and surprisingly tasty.

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For a smoother texture, place the steamed cauliflower in a food processor. I only had a traditional masher.