Rockin’ Risotto & Super Scallops

7 Sep

Having taken nearly four months off to travel I’ve returned to London without my normal structure in place (read: a full-time job). As such, I am rather reveling in the fact I have a spare bit of time (between laborious job hunting, of course!) to drool over my numerous, and normally ignored, cookbooks. Although I love to cook, and consider myself a fair hand at creating some pretty delicious dishes, I tend to work on a random scale, better known as the “throwing whatever is in my cupboard and fridge together and hoping it works out” cooking style.

Now, I find myself milling through the cookbooks I have collected on my travels – everything from a community collaboration from Arles, in Provence, to more common staples like Jamie’s Dinners and Rick Stein’s French Odyssey.

One of my other goals of late – for various reasons – is to eat only free range or sustainably sourced meat, or go it vegetarian if that’s not possible. This can be tricky, due to said aforementioned lack of job, but the great thing about having free afternoons is I can often snag organic meat (due to expire that day) before the hoards of post-work crowds descend on the discount aisle of my local Sainsbury’s. Everytime I come across something “about to spoil” I bring it home and pop it into my freezer for future cooking adventures.

This week this new dinner strategy has resulted in a couple of very tasty creations. In the first I popped my risotto making cherry, and took the full plunge on making this Italian dish. I loaded it with a pack of plump chestnut mushrooms (reduced to 69p!), white wine, perfect garden peas and a large portion of Parmesan (hey, a girl’s got to treat herself some way!). The result: a delicious, gooey risotto that cost no more than £2 a head. From the boy’s expression, I had done well in this first adventure…

Rich risotto steams away

The next day, I tackled that frozen packet of scallops I had snagged the week prior. Combining recipes from three books, I threw together a meal of lentils – stewed in thyme and onions; kale – with chili and garlic; and, perfectly seared scallops with a homemade tomato and olive oil sauce. All organic, all delicious.

What’s on the menu tonight? That is yet to be decided but hopefully Jamie, Rick or Yotam will inspire. And if any of you want to contribute to Gwiltypleasures’ more laid-back lifestyle and suggest some delicious recipes for me to try, simply comment, below. I’d be ever so pleased…

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