Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category

Saffron Series III: arancine di riso

In Cheese, Egg, Main meals, Rice on August 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm


Continuing with my saffron posts, here is a recipe for a delicious snack/main meal which is very similar to a post I made a while back about suppli, except that here we have the Sicilian variation arancine.

According to Maxine Clark; “These crisp balls, stuffed with leftover meat ragu (or in my case, cheese) are eaten as street food in Sicily. However, when made cocktail snack size, they are perfect to serve with drinks. Unlike making a true risotto, you want to overcook the rice to make it really stick together. The mixture should be very thick before it is cooled and can be made with leftover risotto.”


75g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

150 ml dry white wine

275 risotto rice

900 ml vegetable or chicken stock

8 saffron threads or 1/4 tsp powdered saffron

25g parmesan cheese

1 small egg

250g meat ragu or cheese or some other filling

salt and pepper

oil, for deep frying


100g plain flour

2 large eggs, beaten

125g dired white breadcrumbs


deep fryer


Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently for 10 minutes until soft and golden but not browned. Pour in the wine and boil hard until reduced and almost disappeared. Stir in the rice and coat with the butter and wine. Add a ladle of stock and add the saffron and simmer, stirring until absorbed. Continue adding the stock until all the stock has been absorbed. The rice should be very tender, thick and golden.

Taste and season well and stir in the parmesan. Lightly whisk the egg and beat in the risotto. Spread out on a plate and let cool completely, about an hour. Take 1 tablespoon cold risotto, and with damp hands spread out onto one palm. Mound a small teaspoon of filling in the centre. Take another tablespoon of risotto and enclose filling. Roll and smooth between hands to form a perfect ball. Alternatively, make a cone shape with a rounded end. Continue until all the risotto and filling has been used.

To make coating, put the flour on a plate, the beaten egg in a shallow dish and the breadcrumbs in another. Roll the arancine in the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs until evenly coated. At this stage, they can be covered and left in the refrigerator for up to a day.

Het up oil or fat in a deep fryer to 180 degrees. Fry a few arancine at a time until coating is golden, around 3-5 minutes (mine were a bit quicker). Drain on paper towels and serve immediately. However, I have eaten them cold and they were also fine…depends on how fussy you are!

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.



Kitchiri with red Lentils

In Egg, Main meals, Rice on May 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

I was dithering about what to make for lunch today and happened upon this recipe in my trusty ‘Comfort Food’ recipe book.

According to my book – “This lentil and rice dish is a delicious interpretation of the original Indian kitchiri, which was adapted by the British to use smoked fish instead of  dhal and renamed kedgeree. Slighty spicy and full of calming carbohydrate this is perfect for a lazy breakfast”

Well, I have to say…I never ate kitchiri or kedgeree in a form that was similar to this or kedgeree when I lived in India. My boarding school cafeteria did make something called sago khichdi, which I ate sometimes for breakfast. But nothing with fish….or even just with lentils and rice mixed. That said, our school cafeteria was not exactly a great exemplar! Anyway, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of kedgeree because my mother loves it and it is a dish that one rarely encounters eating out (or at least, in my experience…not that I get to eat out all that frequently) yet she and I never used to make it at home. Until today, that is….even if this is kitchiri rather than kedgeree.

It’s pretty simple and cheap, but even better – it keeps your tummy full! Also, I sense there is definitely potential for dressing this dish up by adding your own variations. Today, I considered incorporating either some capsicum or chillis that I had lying around, but confess I was too hungry and lazy at the time! Next time.

(Please note this dish was not easy to photograph attractively, but it was so nice that I couldn’t help sharing!)

50 g/1/4 cup red lentils

1 bay leaf

225 g/1 cup basmati rice

4 cloves

4 tbsp butter

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tbsp chopped parsley

salt and pepper

4 hardboiled eggs, quartered to serve (if desired)

1. Put lentils in a pan, add bay leaf and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 25-20 mins. Remove bay leaf and drain. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, place the rice in a saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover it. Swirl rice around in the water and then drain. Repeat. Return rice to pan and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Add cloves and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, covered, for 10-15 mins, or until all water is absorbed and rice is tender. Discard the cloves.

3. Melt butter in pan, add curry and chilli powders. Cook for 1 min, and then stir through lentils and rice until they are well coated. Season mixture and leave 1-2 mins to guarantee that it is cooked through. Stir through parsley and add eggs, if using. Enjoy!

Recipe says it serves 4 people, but 2-3 is more realistic I think 😉

Fennel & Black Olive Risotto

In Main meals, Rice on April 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

I make this recipe all the time and oddly enough, I’ve never photographed it. Possibly because risotto is one of those things that is very difficult to photograph well. Not to mention I usually make it at night, so the lighting is poor. Also, I was in such a hurry to get eating, I even forgot to move my whiskey glass out of way – ooops!

However, that’s enough excuses. And bad photo aside – this recipe is delicious! There’s a reason I make it all the time. Plus, you generally have some relish leftover, which is always a good thing. I used fennel from my garden – I’ve got to say it really helps if you grow it yourself as it’s pretty expensive to buy. It’s really easy to grow though – so if you’ve got any space in your garden, I really recommend planting some fennel!

Fennel & Black Olive Relish:

6 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped

5 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped

200 g oven dried black olives, pitted

1 fresh bay leaf

12 basil leaves, torn

2 tbsp aniseed liqueur (I used white Sambuca)

salt and pepper

To make relish, heat 2 tbsp of oil in medium saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and fennel until softened. Add sundried tomatoes, olives and bay leaf and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Season, remove bay leaf and stir in basil. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a coarse texture. Stir in the liqueur and remaining oil. Cover and set aside.

Risotto ingredients:

1 litre vegetable stock

125g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3 fennel bulbs (I only ever used one), trimmed and finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

300g risotto rice

150ml white wine

parmesan, to serve

To make risotto, put the stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the onion, fennel and lemon zest and cook until whole lot is well softened, about 10-15 mins. Add rice and stir until well coated with butter and heated through. Add glass of wine and wait until absorbed.

Begin adding stock, one ladle at a time, stirring gentle until the liquid has been absorbed. I always cook my risotto on a very low temperature – it’s better to cook it slightly slower and let the flavours be absorbed by the rice. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, but still firm to the bite. Cover and let rest for a few mins; stir in the remaining butter. Top with the black olive relish and grated parmesan.

YUM. Winter is here! Well, almost.