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Cypriot Village Bread

Cypriot bread

It’s embarrassing to admit but there’s going to be a gap in my life now that Bake-Off is all over. The children and I have loved the show so much this year (watching it curled up on the sofa in our dressing gowns).

We’ve not been bothered by the swap to Channel 4. I like Sandy and Pru and the children think Noel is hilarious. Even the adverts give us a welcome break for trips to the toilet and to make hot drinks.

With the Bake-Off theme in mind, I wanted to share with you this recipe for Cypriot Village Bread based on the recipe in Paul Hollywood’s ‘100 Great Breads‘. Now I’ve tried a few of these breads and they’re not all great (the croissant recipe is dreadfully disappointing and bears little resemblance to his croissant recipes elsewhere).

This one however has become a bit of a family favourite when we want a smorgasbord style dinner where a nice loaf of bread is the star of the show. It seems to go well with cold meats, dips, soup and cheeses alike.

The seed combination on top is amazingly delicious. You will probably find that you have some seeds left over after soaking and covering the dough (even though the recipe here uses half the amount that Paul suggests). Don’t throw any leftovers away but dry the seeds out again in a hot oven and sprinkle them over salads or noodle dishes.

Cypriot Village Bread

Makes one loaf which will feed a family of four as the main part of a dinner.

  • Pinch of mastika (ground first with a pestle and mortar)
  • Pinch of mechlebe (ground first with a pestle and mortar)

I have never heard of or seen these spice for sale. Paul recommends using ground fennel seeds instead which is what I do.

  • 500g of strong white bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 20g of yeast (I am going to experiment with reducing this quantity, I usually use instant action yeast and I think this is the quantity for fresh yeast)
  • 50ml of olive oil
  • 300ml of water
  • 50g of sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of black cumin seeds (or use regular cumin seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Put the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil and water in a large bowl and mix together. Add the mastika and mechlebe, or fennel, then knead for 5 minutes.

Leave to prove for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size (the time here will depend on your room temperature). I find it needs at least 2 hours.

Tip the sesame, cumin and caraway seeds into a cup and pour over a little warm water. This will puff up the sesame seeds help them to release their juice.

Line a baking tray. Tip out the risen dough and shape it into a ball.

Spread the seeds thinly onto a flat plate and roll the top of the ball of dough in it until well covered with seeds.

Place the dough on the lined baking tray and leave it to rise again for a further hour. I cover it with a large upturned bowl, my husband prefers to place a tea towel lightly over the top.

Preheat your oven to 220oC.

Using a very sharp knife, make a cut all the way around the middle of the ball and two large cuts across the top.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. I like to remove it from the tray after 20 minutes (and place is directly on the wire rack in the over) to make sure that the bottom is crisp.

Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting (if you can wait that long).

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Nigella’s Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shwarma 2

I’ve avoided  posting this recipe because I didn’t want you to think I was some sort of crazed Nigella fan/stalker such is the large number of her recipes on this blog.

However, this has become such a ‘go to’ recipe when I have to feed lots of people for a buffet type spread (and so many people have asked me for the recipe) that I’ve finally caved in.

This is a wonderfully simple recipe and whilst you do need a well stocked spice cupboard there’s nothing really specialist involved. It also makes good use of chicken thighs which still remain economical even if you buy them from a quality butcher (which I always do).

I cut the chicken into thin slices which makes it go along way and serve either with rice (easy) or homemade flat breads (a bit more effort). As an accompaniment Nigella mixes up a tahini and garlic flavoured yoghurt bejewelled with pomegranate seeds but I don’t bother with this.

Nigella’s Chicken Shawarma

Serves 6 (or more if you’re serving as part of a buffet with other dishes)

  • 12 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (I like to remove as much of the visible fat as possible)
  • The grated zest and juice of two lemons
  • 100 ml of regular olive oil
  • 4 fat or 6 smaller garlic cloves grated
  • 2 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • ¼ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Take a large bowl, tupperware or freezer bag, tip in the chicken thighs and add all the other ingredients.

Squish everything about (hands are best for this) until the chicken is well covered with all the marinade ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.

When you are ready to cook heat your oven to 200oC fan and take the chicken out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.

Spread the chicken thighs out on to a large baking tray – you may need two because you don’t want them to overlap.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden and slightly crispy on top. I like to turn mine halfway through for an even colour. Sometimes they need slightly longer than 30 minutes.

Take the chicken out of the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes covered with foil.

Slice the cooked thighs thinly with a sharp knife and place in a sharing bowl for everyone to help themselves.

Pork meatballs with grapes and a whole roasted cauliflower

meatballs with grapes

You can never have too many meatball recipes in your culinary repertoire and this one which uses sweet black grapes in a sauce to accompany a nutty pork meatball is wonderful.

The flavours are very Middle Eastern and although I used to be sniffy about fruit in savoury dishes my more mature self is starting to enjoy the combination.

The recipe is from the ‘Good Carbs Cookbook’ which I’ve already mentioned on this blog. My husband Ben agreed that the dish was tasty but then asked where the carbs were? Like Ben, I always thought that grapes were low in carbohydrates, but a quick google search suggests that they are one of the highest carb fruits there are, alongside bananas. Not that I care too much about that.

I accompanied the meatballs with a whole roasted cauliflower using a recipe from the same cookbook. I couldn’t believe that I had not tried this before – it was incredibly delicious and so very easy. The nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower went perfectly with the sweetness of the meatball dish but I think it would also make a great addition to any standard roast dinner.

Pork meatballs with grapes

For the meatballs

  • 600g of minced pork
  • 2 shallots or small onions, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons of hazelnuts, crushed with a pestle and mortar or a sharp knife
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • A little plain flour to coat

For the sauce

  • 100g of sultanas
  • 150ml of freshly brewed black tea
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 270g of black seedless grapes (cut in half if they are large)
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

To make the meatballs put the pork mince, half the chopped onion/shallot, garlic and hazelnuts in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to your own personal taste. I like a lot of seasoning but you may not.

Form the mixture into balls a bit smaller than golf ball size. Coat lightly with plain flour.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Then brown the meatballs until a dark golden colour on all sides. This will take around 10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining onion/shallot. Put a lid on and leave to soften for a couple of minutes. Then add the sultanas with the tea, the stock and the grapes.

Simmer gently without a lid for 10 minutes, there is no need to stir. The sauce will reduce and thicken during this time.

Scatter with fresh, chopped parsley and serve.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

whole baked cauliflower

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon and a good pinch of sea salt
  • 60 ml of olive oil

Set your oven to 220oC.

Trim away the green leaves of the cauliflower and chop off the bottom so that it stands up straight.

Take a pan large enough to fit in all the cauliflower and fill it with water until it comes to ¾ of the way up the cauliflower. Add a teaspoon of salt, put a lid on and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down to a rolling simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Drain well.

Line a baking tin with baking parchment. Put the cauliflower in the middle and drizzle over the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt flakes.

Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.

Vegan chocolate cake

vegan chocolate cake

A very honest (and bad) photo!

I hosted my book group this week. We talked about Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’ which divided opinion and prompted a good debate. I thought it was rubbish.

I have only recently entered the Book Group World and always imagined it to be just an excuse to drink white wine on a school night. Whilst this may be true of some, ours is more a decaff tea and cake affair. This makes a nice change as most of my other social groups only seem to function when accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.

One of our members is vegan which set me a welcome challenge to find an edible cake recipe that used neither eggs or dairy. A quick google search bought up thousands of options but I had to search hard to find one that used regular (albeit dairy free) store cupboard ingredients (no agave syrup, medjool dates, coconut butter or flax eggs here please!).

My supplies of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda have dramatically decreased since the children started using them in their ‘Kitchen Science’ experiments. But it’s the same reaction between the vinegar and bicarb that propels plastic rockets and creates mini volcanoes that makes this cake rise in the absence of eggs.

The cake is disappointingly bland until you add the silky, sticky glaze which transforms it into something rather delicious. I would serve it quite happily to non-vegans who I don’t think would complain. It’s not a looker though (as the photo above demonstrates). You could work the presentation if you like with rose petals. Nigella does this in her version.

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

For the cake

  • 180g of plain flour
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • 215ml of warm water or coffee (I used decaff coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 70ml of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar

For the glaze

  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 60g of vegan/dairy free margarine
  • 2 tablespoons of soya milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC.

Line a 20cm x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) square baking tin with parchment and grease with vegetable oil or vegan margarine.

Into a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork until there are no lumps.

Measure the warm water/coffee, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and vinegar into a jug and pour into the dry ingredients.

Mix the ingredients together with a metal spoon until incorporated.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, in a small saucepan melt the sugar, margarine, soya milk and cocoa powder and bring to a boil stirring all the time. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and stir for an additional 5 minutes until the mixture is cooled and thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the glaze onto cake and put in the fridge to set.

vegan chocolate cake 1

Unglazed

Spaghetti with green tomatoes

Green tomatoes

I feel like I’ve been away from this blog for a long time and it’s nice to be back.

I think I might have over-egged the custard when I said at the end of my last post that my local library had reopened with a “stunning array of cookbooks”.

On closer inspection the bulk seems to be by new celebrity chefs such as Kirsty Allsop and Fearne Cotton (seriously!!!) and the old guard – Nigella, Mary, James, Jamie, Rick etc. But hidden amongst these largely style-over-content tomes there are a few more interesting books that I’ve never seen before. One called ‘The Good Carbs Cookbook’ seemed to speak to my rebellious, carb-loving self and this recipe, which promised to use up some of the green tomatoes currently refusing to ripen in my greenhouse, caught my eye.

It’s a good recipe that takes just as long to prepare as it does to cook a pan of spaghetti (about 10 minutes). So it’s perfect if you’re short of time on a midweek evening.

It’s not dissimilar to a regular herby pesto with the acidity of the green tomatoes taking the place of the usual lemon. It’s not a dish that’s going to blow you away with its complex flavours but the result is a perfectly tasty bowl of pasta that will make you feel virtuous and happy that those green tomatoes haven’t gone to waste.

Below it is the only other green tomato recipe I know – a chutney by good old Delia. It is wonderful (one of the best chutneys I’ve ever tasted) but in contrast with the pasta recipe it takes a great deal of time and effort to make and needs to mature for at least a year (preferably longer) before it’s at its very best. Not a great one then for the impatient. It’s sometimes difficult to see the advantages in putting the effort in now if the rewards are not to be enjoyed for such a long time.

Pasta with green tomatoes and fresh herbs

Adapted from ‘The Good Carbs Cookbook’ – Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall

Serves 2 greedy people or 4 normal ones

  • 6 medium green tomatoes
  • A generous handful of mint
  • A generous handful of basil
  • A generous handful of parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Half a pack of spaghetti or linguine (250g)
  • 50-100g of ricotta (I think 50g between two is more than enough)
  • A light olive oil (not extra virgin) – between 50 – 125 ml (the original recipe uses the full 125ml but I think this is too much personally)

Roughly chop the tomatoes, mint, basil and parsley and place in a food processer with the olive oil and crushed garlic. Pulse for a few seconds until you have a chunky mixture.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water until done to your liking. Purists would say it should be al dente but I prefer it a little more cooked than that. Drain but reserve a ladle full of the salty cooking water for the sauce.

Return the pasta to the pan over a low heat and add the tomato mixture. Tip in the reserved water and give everything a good stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper to your own personal taste. I refrain from giving exact measures because I like a lot of salt and you may not.

Serve immediately with blobs of ricotta on top to be stirred in when eating.

NOTE: I think some green chilli would also be a good addition and you can play around with the quantities of herbs and oil depending on your personal taste.

Green tomato pasta

Delia Smith’s Green Tomato Chutney

Makes 8 x 450g jars

  • 1kg of green tomatoes
  • 1kg of cooking apples
  • 900g of onions
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g of raisins
  • 625g of soft brown sugar
  • 25g of pickling spice
  • ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 level dessertspoons of ground ginger
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 1.75 litres of malt vinegar

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into quarters.

Peel and quarter the onions.

Peel and core the apples – keeping them in water so that they don’t go brown.

Mince the tomatoes, onions, raisins and apples and place them in a very large pan. Now I don’t have a mincer and I don’t know of anyone that does these days. An alternative is to use a food processor and this is what I do.

Now add the garlic, cayenne, salt, ginger and sugar and mix everything together thoroughly.

Tie the pickling spice in a piece of cloth and attach the string to the handle of the pan so that it dangles down into the mix.

Now pour in the vinegar and bring to a simmer, removing any scum from the surface.

Simmer very gently for 3.5 hours without covering, stirring now and then to prevent sticking.

It is ready when the vinegar is absorbed and the chutney has thickened to a smooth consistency. The chutney should leave a trail on a metal spoon when it’s done.

Pour the chutney into 8 sterile 450g jars, filling them as full as possible.

Cover with wax sealing discs and seal with a tight lid immediately.

Store in a dark, cool place and leave for at least 3 months before eating. I have found though that this chutney is best when left for at least a year and the very best when left for 3 years!

 

Cornflake cakes

cornflake cakes

Someone once told me that when you reach 40 your musical tastes stagnate. You no longer consumer new music but rather spend the rest of your life buying records that you wish you’d bought earlier in your life.

Well this seems to have happened to me with regards to recipes. I keep cooking the same old things and seem unable to get excited by anything new. I can often be found scrolling aimlessly through recipes online admiring the pretty photos but failing to find anything that I actually want to eat. If anything they seem to curb my appetite. I find myself looking longingly at the toaster and the egg cupboard.

I am still cooking, it’s just that right now I seem to be keeping to my current repertoire a good percentage of which is now on this blog. I am definitely its biggest user and that’s really why I keep it going. My collection of courgette recipes has certainly proved useful with our current glut. I’m always on the lookout for more but just not ones involving pickled samphire, or freekeh!

Now here’s a recipe for something I definitely do want to eat. I’ve turned 40 and I may now be heading backwards, but seriously, who can resist the lure of a good old fashioned cornflake cake. Made simply with cocoa powder, butter and golden syrup.

I used to make these in the school summer holidays as a child and now I encourage my children to do the same. I’ve never actually made these from a ‘real’ recipe it was more a case of approximation in our house but I’ve now made an effort to attempt to write it down (for future generations – if anyone is still cooking by then!).

Cornflake Cakes

Makes 18 (using muffin size cases)

  • 150g butter
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 200g of cornflakes (any brand will do or use rice krispies if you prefer)

Take a saucepan and measure in the butter, golden syrup and cocoa powder. Heat gently until all the ingredients have melted and stir with a wooden spoon until the cocoa powder has no lumps and you have a nice smooth mixture.

In a large mixing bowl measure out the cornflakes. Pour over the chocolate mixture and stir well until every last bit of cornflake is coated in chocolate.

Take a muffin tin and line with muffin cases. Fill each case with the cornflake mixture pressing down well with the back of the spoon to compact a little.

Put in the fridge to set for at least an hour.

PS. I hope to get my experimental, forward-looking self back soon. I have been writing this blog for nearly four years now and I have a feeling I’ve been here before? My local library in Beeston has reopened with a stunning array of cookbooks which will hopefully inspire me.

Nasturtiums

20170706_174441.jpg

No time for a recipe this week but here’s a photo of some pretty Nasturtiums brightening up a bowl of pesto pasta.

This is the first year I’ve grown Nasturtiums and not only do they add colour to my herb bed but they taste great too (rather like rocket – very peppery).

I’ve had some success with using the leaves to make a pesto instead of basil.

Ben’s Japanese style fried fish

Ben'sjapanesefish

Well it’s not really Ben’s recipe, it’s actually Nic Watt’s from the Saturday Kitchen at Home cookbook. This is a very good book if you fancy upping your game in the kitchen from time to time. The dishes are or all a little more complicated than your average Nigella, Nigel, Jamie or Delia recipe but still achievable for the ambitious home cook. Look out for it in your local charity shop – it’s a few years old now so it’s bound to crop up.

Image result for nic watt chef

This is Nic Watt.

This has become one of Ben’s signature starter dishes. Ben by the way (if you’re new to this blog) is my husband. He does not look like Nic (above).

The recipe involves deep frying the fish skeleton (not shown in the photo above). This sounds vile but it crisps up beautifully and tastes rather like a fishy version of pork crackling.

The dipping sauce and marinade is amazing and I guess you could use the concept for other meats like pork or chicken if you like.

We have made this with turbot instead of lemon sole and you could probably substitute any firm white fish. The deep fried skeleton however only really works with sole.

Nic Watt’s Crispy lemon sole with chilli, sesame and soy

For the marinade and dipping sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped red chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of Djon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 50ml of soy sauce
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For the fish

  • 2 lemon sole
  • 50g-75g of potato starch (you can buy this from Holland and Barrett)

To serve

  • The zest of two lemons
  • A little coriander

Put all the ingredients for the marinade (except the oil) into a bowl and mix to combine.

Heat the vegetable oil on a high heat until it is smoking, then pour it over the other marinade ingredients and stir. It may spit a little so be careful. Put one half of the mix into little bowls for the dipping sauce and leave the rest in the bowl for the marinade.

Prepare the fish by cleaning, descaling, skinning and filleting it. Or ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Cut the filleted fish into bite size pieces and place in the marinade for 15 minutes.

For the skeleton, cut in half lengthways keeping the backbone intact on one half. Discard the half without the back bone. Dust the skeleton with potato flour and place around a small bowl placed upside down to shape.

Heat some oil in a very large saucepan to 190oC

IR GM300E Infrared Thermometer

PS.These infrared thermometers are brilliant for testing the surface temperature of oil and can be bought online for less than £20.

First place the skeleton in the heated oil for 2-3 minutes until crispy and drain on kitchen paper. Hopefully it will keep it’s bowl like shape.

Lift the sole from the marinade and coat evenly in potato starch. Shake to remove any excess flour, then drop into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until a light golden colour. Drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, arrange the fish pieces and skeleton nicely on a serving plate, grate over some lemon zest and sprinkle over some chopped coriander (these garnishes are not shown in the photo above).

Serve the bowls of dipping sauce alongside.

Mary Berry’s honeycomb ice cream

honeycombicecream

‘Half Term Treat – Mary Berry’s Honeycomb Crunchies’ is by far my most successful blog post to date – if you judge success by the number of hits that is. This is quite depressing really because I wrote it with minimal effort, in a rush, with the children nipping at my heels.

I love honeycomb and when I had this ice cream at a dinner party recently I was in absolute heaven. I just had to look up the recipe and try it. Mary makes the honeycomb in exactly the same way as in the crunchies recipe and mixes it with a ‘cheat’s’ ice  cream that doesn’t need an ice cream maker. It’s so easy to make and I look forward to trying this ice cream technique with other flavours.

Mary Berry’s honeycomb ice cream

  • 4 tablespoons (60ml)  of golden syrup
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • 600ml of double cream
  • 397g (1 tin) of full-fat condensed milk

Measure out the bicarbonate of soda and set aside. Then line a flat baking tray with baking parchment and lightly grease with a flavourless oil.

Put the sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and set it on a very low heat for about 10 minutes until all the sugar has melted, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the sugar is completely melted, turn up the heat to medium. Once the mixture has started to boil, leave to bubble without stirring until it turns golden-brown (this only takes a couple of minutes).

Turn off the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda and quickly whisk for a couple of seconds. The mixture will froth up massively so make sure you use a saucepan with plenty of room. Quickly pour it into the middle of the oiled baking tray and don’t spread it out or touch it or the tray. Leave for about 30 minutes to cool and harden. You can hurry things along by putting it into the fridge after about 15 minutes.

Now break the honeycomb into bite size pieces. Set a third of the honeycomb to one side for decoration, the rest will go into the ice cream.

For the ice cream, whip the cream in a large bowl until it has soft peaks. Then pour in the condensed milk and stir well to combine. Fold two thirds of the honeycomb into the ice cream.

Pour the ice cream mixture into a loaf tin lined with cling film, cover with more clingfilm and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, turn out onto a serving dish and top with the remaining honeycomb.

Onion and rosemary risotto with Marsala

rosemaryrisotto3

I don’t make risotto – all that standing and stirring is too boring and laborious for me. I get impatient and try to add the stock too quickly…my arm hurts. Luckily though my husband Ben is a risotto king. It has become his special dish which he makes for me with love and care when I ask him very nicely and give him plenty of notice (having first checked the weather forecast as standing stirring over a hot stove in the heat is not fun).

This very simple sounding risotto from Lindsey Bareham has become my new favourite – knocking beetroot risotto off the top spot. Prior to that it hand been a James Martin smoked haddock and black pudding one.

The combination of onion and rosemary with the sweet Marsala produces the most heavenly rich flavour. You won’t believe me until you’ve tried it.

Marsala is widely available in supermarkets, look for it in the ‘fortified wine’ section. It also makes a nice aperitif, served cold with ice.

Stirringrisotto

The master teaching the son.

Lindsey Bareham’s onion and rosemary risotto with Marsala

  • 2 ½ medium sized onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 75g of butter
  • 250g Arborio rice
  • 1 small glass of Marsala (or Madeira works well too)
  • Approximately 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is always best but a good ready made stock will still be nice)
  • 50g of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Fry the ½ of the onion in hot vegetable oil until crisp and drain on some kitchen roll. These are for the crispy onion garnish which is essential.

Melt 50g of butter in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the rest of the onions seasoned with ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes until limp.

Stir the rosemary into the onions. Add the rice and cook with the onion for a couple of minutes until the rice is semi-translucent.

Then add the Marsala and let it bubble away into the rice stirring all the time as it does.

Now for the laborious bit.

Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and not adding the next ladleful until the rice has absorbed almost all the liquid. You may need to turn the heat down a bit so that you have a nice gentle simmer. The whole process will take around 30 minutes in total. At the end the risotto will have a creamy like consistency and the rice should be soft with a slight bite in the middle. If when you have used up all the stock the rice is still not cooked keep adding a little more hot water until it is done.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining butter and cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and a little sugar. Cover the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with the garnish of crispy fried onions and extra Parmesan if you like.