At the end of the street my Dad lives on in London there is a beautiful farm shop called Franklins, and across the road is their restaurant. Everything is organic and seasonal, and the majority of their produce is sourced locally. Sadly, this usually means that price-wise it's way out of the league of a poor student, but Zosia and Jamie had come to stay - and we had a plan.
We envisaged creating a beautiful risotto full of things we could never usually justify buying, which we would then eat in the sunshine whilst pretending we were sitting outside a fancy restaurant. Or that may have just been me - but either way we were all excited.
The ingredients list is a bit vague as rather than weighing things out we just put in a bit of what we fancied, but you can really do whatever you like with it.
- 225g arborio risotto rice
- 1 large red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- handful of chestnut mushrooms
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1125ml of vegetable stock
- 6 spring onions (we only used 3, but they were HUGE)
- 2 handfuls of garden peas in pods
- large glass white wine
- 2 handfuls of fresh tarragon, chopped
- large handful of samphire
- large handful of rocket
- 100g goats' cheese
Start by shelling your peas. This takes ages but is very satisfying - and in our case Jamie was our chief-sheller while Zosia and I started on the risotto. THANKS JAMIE.
Melt some butter in a pan (with a teeny bit of olive oil first to stop it burning) while you chop the red onion and the garlic. Add them to the pan and let them soften for around 5 minutes while you wash and chop the mushrooms, then add those too along with the rosemary.
|Organic vegetables are funny looking.|
Once you've let that cook for about 2 minutes, add the rice and stir to coat, followed by the wine. Allow that to simmer and reduce down a little bit before starting to add the stock (about a ladle-full at a time) (the full stock-adding process should take around half an hour). Chop the spring onions, and after about half of the stock has been absorbed add them to the pan along with the shelled peas.
About 5 minutes before the risotto is ready, cook your samphire. None of us had ever had it before and Zosia was anxious about putting it straight in with the risotto in case we did it wrong or it turned out awful, so we loosely followed THIS recipe (the first one) and boiled it for 4 minutes. We added the butter and seasoned but instead of oil and lemon wedges we just added a squirt of Jiff from the fridge. We are students, after all.
Once all the stock has been added and the risotto's looking good, add the rocket, tarragon and cheese and stir well. I also added a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil because I found some in the cupboard and it's amazing, but that's not really a necessity. Serve with the samphire on the side.
So there you go. It sounds posh, but in actual fact we ate a restaurant quality (if we say so ourselves) meal for only £4 each. Eating fancy on a budget is easy when you cook for yourself.