Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Saffron Series II: Saffron Risotto/ risotto allo zafferano

In Cheese, Main meals, Rice on July 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

As promised, here is the second of my saffron posts. I made this for lunch today to take to share with friends at uni. The recipe came from my risotto bible, Maxine Clark’s ‘Risotto with vegetables, seafood, meat and more.’ If you are a fan of risotto and haven’t yet seen it (which I find hard to believe) then you definitely should! Risotto isn’t that hard to make if you know how to do it, and all it takes is good quality ingredients for meal for an average meal to be turned into a sumptuous risotto. Clark’s recipe for saffron risotto was very simple, but it was truly divine – especially on a wet and windy Auckland afternoon/evening!



1 – 1.5 litres hot vegetable stock or light chicken stock

125 g butter

1 onion finely chopped

(I also always add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, or smoked garlic if I have it)

500g risotto rice (your choice, I always go with arborio)

150ml dry white wine (I just use a generous wine glass rather than measuring)

1/4 tsp ground saffron or 16 saffron threads

75g grated parmesan

salt and pepper


Put the stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer. Melt half the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the chopped onion and garlic, if using. Cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, so the onions are soft, golden and translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir until well coated with butter and heated through. Pour in the wine and stir until it had reduced down and almost disappeared.

Add the stock, one ladle at a time, stirring until the liquid has almost dissolved between each addition. Add the saffron after the first ladle. The risotto should be kept at a bare simmer throughout, don’t let the rice dry out! Continue cooking until the rice is tender and creamy, but the grains are still firm to the bite.

Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining butter and add all the parmesan. Cover and let rest for a few minutes before serving, and add a little bit more stock to loosen it if you think it is necessary.



Saffron Series I: Lucia Muffins

In Baking, Muffins on July 29, 2012 at 8:59 am

Ever since I started cooking ‘adventurously’ – or rather when I became vegetarian and had to eat different food from my non-veg family – I have been curious about saffron. It’s one of those ingredients that your average person doesn’t have in their pantry (at least, not where I come from) but it IS one of those ingredients that always seems to crop up where you least expect it – in a home and garden magazine, on food network or in one of your favourite recipe books. Then you consider buying some and giving the recipe a go, but never seem to get around to it or simply feel to cheap to justify splurging on buying some. To cut a long story short, I felt like that for years until this year I finally bought some…and found out that my mother already had a packet in her sorely neglected pantry. Unfortunately her packet expired last year, but I may still attempt to use it. But basically, between the two of us, we have lots of saffron! Therefore, expect to see various saffron recipes on this blog in the near future (sneaking in between other posts, of course) hence why this post is titled ‘Saffron Series I.’ I am also going to add ‘Saffron Series II’ when I am done with this post.

Possibly muffins weren’t the best place to start – my last post was about muffins AND included sultanas – both of which have featured heavily of late. But I’m of the opinion  that one can never make too many muffins, and the recipe for these came from 101 cookbooks, so it must be good! I actually made them a while ago and I don’t remember how much I fiddled with things so it’s probably best to refer to the original recipe. My only words of advice would be DON’T OVERMIX. I know baking recipes always say that, but I found my batch of muffins were a bit tougher than my usual, so I may have been a little too aggressive with the batter. Click here for the recipe for Lucia Muffins from 101 Cookbooks. Enjoy!

Molasses Oaty Muffins

In Baking, Muffins on July 29, 2012 at 8:55 am

As indicated from my last molasses post, I’ve got molasses on the brain. First it was treacle in baking, now it’s molasses…well, at least that’s a healthier progression, right? I made these this morning and was very satisfied with them. I was initially incredulous at their success, given that molasses is the only sweentener (and I suppose the sultanas or raisins) in the recipe. These muffins have this amazing ability to be vaguely sweet but also seem slightly savoury at the same time – quite a hard thing to come by! Their only downside was that I felt a bit unoriginal pairing molasses with sultanas again – but hey, it’s a good combination! Plus I happened to have sultanas around, though the bag is now finished. Anyway, there’s lots of other delicious things in these muffins as well.

Because I didn’t adapt the recipe much (apart from substituting sultanas for raisins, which doesn’t count) and it’s available online, I’m not going to write it out. You can find the recipe here on Yummly, which was awesome enough to feature one of my posts about a salmon quiche a while back.


Red Bell Pepper Relish with Garlic & Onion

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2012 at 3:48 am


A while back, I posted a relish/sauce recipe about a bunch of bell peppers that my grandparents gave me. Well, they managed to give me another small bag, but I did not want to use the same recipe as last time. I looked at this recipe, but had to change it a bit to suit what I had.

Red bell shaped peppers, 300g – 500g – whatever you have

oil, for roasting + 2 tbsp extra

2 onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup dark cane sugar, more to taste if needed

cider vinegar, as needed


1. Take peppers (I would guess that my bag was between 400 – 500 g, though it could have even been less), cut in half and deseed. Roast in a few tablespoons of oil in a preheated oven of 180 degrees celsius. Roast until cooked through, approximately 40 minutes. You could probably roast it for longer, depending on the flavour you want.

2. Take a med-large saucepan. Sautee onion and garlic in the saucepan until cooked but not browned – though I suppose you could brown them. Chop the roasted peppers and add to the garlic and onions. Mix some vinegar in with the sugar and add to the pan along with the dry mustard and cayenne pepper, cover the mixture with vinegar and bring to the boil, then lower heat and reduce it down. Season to taste, and if needed – add more sugar. Sterilize some jars and fill with relish, I got about 3. Enjoy with some bread and cheese!