Winter Supper

There has been a little pause since my last post. I think I might have had baker’s block! Certainly not blogger’s block since I started a blog about design: Design Hawk. I did a little supper for friends at the weekend which went down well so here is the Winter Supper Menu. I’ve been experimenting with date and almond pastry which I shall refine and post soon.

The Winter Supper started with homemade humous and deli made wholemeal bread. (All recipes serve 6 people)

For the humous you need:

1 can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)

1 dessert spoon tahini

Juice of 2 lemons

100ml extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (grated or just sliced)

Half a teaspoon of powdered cumin

Half a teaspoon of paprika

A pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper

What you need to do:

1. Put the chick peas in a blender with the tahini, olive oil and lemon juice and blend.

2. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and blend again. If it seems too thick add a splash of water or two and blend again.

3. Store it in the fridge while you prepare the risotto.

Butternut squash with sage risotto:

1 butternut squash (about 600g)

2 cloves of garlic

3 red onions if small and 2 if big

100g arborio rice per person

vegetable stock powder

sage

olive oil

6 x flat mushrooms (optional)

What you need to do for the risotto:

1. Cut, deseed and remove the skin of the butternut squash. This is quite a job in itself. If you lie it on its side, cut it into segments, then put the segments on the chopping board so the fleshy part is touching the board then you can slice the skin off. You really deserve a good meal after this little work out!

2. Cut it into pieces about an inch and a half by an inch and a half and place them in a pan of water. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes until the pieces are soft but not squishy. There should be a bit of resistence when you put a fork in them.

3. Drain the squash and allow to cool whilst chopping the onions into small pieces. Put the onion pieces in a deep pan with a coating of olive oil.

4. Fill a pan with a litre of water and 3 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder and simmer.

5. While the stock is heating up place the squash pieces with a handful of washed sage leaves in a blender and blend. You can add a splash of the stock if it isn’t blending well.

6. Now that the squash is prepared and the stock is heating up you can start on the rice. So, turn the heat on low and sweat the onion with the lid on for a few minutes. Then add the rice to the onions and stir it while it toasts.

7. Add a good splash of stock and let the rice and stock fizz and bubble a bit in the heat whilst stirring. Make sure no rice or onion is sticking to the base of the pan.

8. Add the rest of the stock, give it a good stir and leave to cook on a low heat. (The squash is added later)

9. Wash the flat mushrooms and bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes or until cooked but not shrunk!

10. Once most of the stock has been absorbed add the butternut squash puree and stir in well. Add a few more sage leaves. The risotto is ready when the rice is cooked but not so that it is squishy. There should be a bit of bite to it.

11. Serve the risotto with a flat mushroom placed on top and a drizzle of oil.

Ingredients for the shortbread:

100g butter

100g cocoa powder

150g plain or wholemeal flour (wholemeal flour is bitty so if you want smooth shortbread use plain)

80g brown sugar

1. Heat the oven to 175C.

2. Rub the butter and flour together until it forms crumbs.

3. Add the cocoa powder and sugar and work it into the butter and flour mixture until it forms a heavy dough. It will seem quite dry – this is normal.

4. Grease a baking tray (I used a circular one 20cm in diameter) and press the dough into it. Using a knife mark out the pieces and then with a fork gently spike it all over to give it that classic shortbread look!

5. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

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