At work this morning, I decided to try to shake my dull mood by sitting outside and writing down the good and exciting things about my job and my day. This is what came out of my pen. Then it rained.
After a day of achieving precisely nothing, I gave myself an early mark. Alex and I were intending to head to the gym this afternoon, but once we were on the way home I changed my mind. I'd been tired for weeks, been too busy on the weekend and needed some time out to look after my emotional well-being rather than the physical. Once we got home Alex brewed up some vanilla tea and we perused our favourite cook books. Despite this surfeit of inspiration, I decided against anything in the books and set about making the one meal that had been gestating in my brain all day: wild rice and mushroom risotto. After all, I had fantastic fresh mushrooms from the market, to-die-for chicken stock I'd made on Sunday and a packet of black rice that had been sitting in the cupboard for almost a year. What I didn't have were wine and cheese, but a quick trip to the shops soon remedied that!
All good cooking should start with quality fresh ingredients, and this was no exception. To make this dish I used:
* unsalted butter
* fresh garlic
* olive oil
* coarsely ground salt and pepper
* fresh oregano and garlic chives (picked straight from the garden)
* button mushrooms
* home-made chicken stock
* proper feta (made from sheep and goat milks)
* bacon (in hindsight, I'd not bother with the bacon)
* reggiano (a rich parmesan-style cheese)
* white wine (mmm, West Cape Howe Semillon Sauvingon Blanc)
* wild rice (I had a funky black rice that turns dark purple when cooked - gorgeous!)
Melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot. Sautee garlic and torn oregano until garlic begins to brown. Add rice and stir to coat with the butter mix. Add enough stock to cover rice and allow to simmer. As the rice absorbs the liquid, keep adding stock until the flavour is strong enough. After that, just add water and white wine to taste. When rice grains start to soften, stir in mushrooms and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally.
When rice grains are chewy but still firm in the middle, remove risotto from heat. Fry chopped bacon and chives in a little olive oil until bacon goes crispy. Drain on paper towel (honestly though, I wouldn't bother with the bacon again). Gently stir cooked bacon and cubed feta into the rice mix. The feta should melt slightly but retain it's shape.
Voilà, your risotto is now ready! Spoon into serving bowls and top with the shaved reggiano. Now stick a fork in it - you're done! Enjoy with the rest of the wine.
My mood was most definitely improved by taking the time to savour the sensory pleasures of cooking this meal. And who says living gluten-free is difficult?