Pesto & goat cheese risotto

Just come back from holiday so got some catching up to do on blogging. I made this pesto and goat cheese risotto a while back using some dried pesto that I got from TK Maxx. I love perusing the food aisles in there and I have some parmesan truffle cream to find a use for. This recipe was on BBC Good Food – I’m really starting to wonder if I need a separate risotto tag on my blog.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp dried pesto
  • 100g goat cheese
  • 1 tin broad beans

Method

1.) Make up the stock

2.) Heat up a tbsp of oil in a saucepan then add the rice and the pesto.

3.) Toast the rice for 1 minute then add ladlefuls of the stock, simmering until the liquid mostly disappears

4.) Continue until all the stock has been absorbed

5.) Drain the tin of beans and add them to the pan

6.) Cook for a minute then add half the goat cheese, stir to dissolve in the risotto.

7.) Cut the remaining goat cheese into chunks. Serve the risotto and plate up the rest of the cheese.

Beetroot & Goat Cheese Tacos

Goat cheese and beetroot is a classic flavour combination but I’d never thought to have it on a taco before I saw it in Tony Singh’s ‘Tasty’. I also added some smoked mackerel to the mix as it’s another thing that pairs well with beetroot and because I inexplicably had ordered a packet of mackerel and couldn’t remember why. I halved the goat’s cheese instead. Probably in the US you have more choice on taco shells and that kind of thing but in the UK Mexican food isn’t that popular so we just have one brand of everything Mexican. I got the corn ones. With it being Tony Singh there is a bit of an Indian twist and the toasted cumin works really well with the beetroot.

Makes 8 tacos

Ingredients

  • 4 pickled beetroot
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 mackerel fillets
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (a sharp apple)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 125g goat cheese
  • 8 taco shells
  • 1 avocado
  • 15g coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • salad leaves

Method

1.) Grate the beetroot into a bowl. Peel the onion and grate that in too. Grate in the apple. Peel and dice the garlic and add to the bowl. Throw in the sultanas. Give it a mix.

2.) In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds until starting to smell fragrant. Add to the bowl with the beetroot and add the sherry vinegar. Peel the mackerel away from the skin and tear into flakes. Give it a quick mix.

3.) Toast the pine nuts and set aside.

4.) Turn on the grill, line a baking tray. Slice up the goat cheese and place on the tray. Grill until its brown then set aside.

5.) Make up some guacamole. Peel an avocado, place in a bowl and mash up with a fork. Chop a lime in half and squeeze in the juice. Season with salt. Finely chop up the coriander leaves and mix in.

6.) Assemble the tacos by first putting some leaves in the shell, then spooning in some of the beetroot mix, top with some goat cheese, then some guacamole then sprinkle over some pine nuts.

Mexican stuffed peppers

Looking for another recipe from Rick Stein’s ‘Road to Mexico’, I stumbled upon this stuffed chilli recipe which I was able to adapt for an English kitchen. I served the chillis with some couscous (rice would probably work too but I hadn’t thought about sides and couscous takes 10 minutes) and stale tortillas crisped up in the oven. I used 1 tsp chilli flakes, I would like it a bit spicier so I’d go for 1.5 tsp. Ancho chilli flakes and chipotle chilli flakes are both readily available in Sainsburys as opposed to the guajillo chills Rick Stein suggests. I also used pointed red peppers in the absence of poblanos and brownie points for you if you’ve ever heard of epazote – I subbed with oregano.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 300g goat cheese
  • 250g ricotta
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 6 pointed red peppers
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • coriander leaves
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 3/4 tsp ancho chilli flakes
  • 3/4 tsp chipotle chilli flakes

Method

  1. ) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C fan)
  2. ) Peel and finely chop the garlic and the onion. Measure out 350ml water.
  3. ) Place half the garlic, half the onion, the tomatoes, the tomato puree, the water, the chilli flakes and 1/2 tsp oregano, salt and pepper in a large pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. ) In a frying pan, heat some olive oil then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or so then add the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  5. ) Add the bay leaves, the sugar and the rest of the oregano then place in the pointed peppers. Add some water and cook for 15 minutes, enough to cover or if not, turn the chillis over halfway through.
  6. ) In a bowl, mix the ricotta and goat cheese. Chop up the jalapenos and mix with the cheese.
  7. ) Take the tomato sauce and whizz it in the blender until smooth.
  8. ) Heat some oil and add the tomato sauce back in the pan to thicken for about 10 minutes.
  9. ) Chop up some coriander leaves for the garnish and set aside.
  10. ) When the chillis are cooked through, remove from the heat and leave them to cool until they’re cool enough to handle.
  11. ) Slit one side with a sharp knife, stuff the chillis with the cheese, seal them up by poking through toothpicks and set them aside.
  12. ) When the sauce has thickened, pour some of it into an oven proof dish, place on the chillis, pour the rest of the sauce around the sides.
  13. ) Serve by removing the toothpicks and garnishing with coriander leaves.

Date & Goat Cheese quiche

In the UK we do love a quiche, it’s great picnic food along with a scotch egg, pork pie and some Pimms. I make these on a regular basis so expect to see some more on the blog in future. On the Great British Bake Off, there seems to be a snobbery towards having super fine pastry but personally I like a nice thick pastry as long as it’s cooked properly and no ‘soggy bottom’ as they say in the show. When I complained to a colleague about no longer being able to eat pork pie as I don’t eat meat but I love the pastry he said ‘You are so Northern’ so maybe it’s a Northern thing. I went a bit overboard on making the pastry as my tin is quite deep (5cm) and I had some leftovers. I would go for 250g flour to 125g butter if I was doing it again which I will put below. Typically with pastry you want to go with half fat to flour. Goat and date cheese is my own combination. That’s the beauty of quiches – you can pretty much put whatever you want in them.

Serves 8 – 12

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • cold water – about 30ml
  • pinch salt
  • 150g goat cheese
  • 130g stoned dates
  • 4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 300g crème fraiche

Method

1.) Chop up the butter into cubes and add to a mixing bowl. Measure in the flour and add a pinch of salt.

2.) Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it turns into breadcrumbs.

3.) Crack the two egg yolks into a bowl and beat with a fork then add the egg to the pastry,

4.) Mix a little with a wooden spoon then gradually add the water. Mix with a spoon until it looks like it will hold together then bring it together into a ball with your hands. Only add the water you need to bring it together. Squash the ball of pastry into a disc, wrap with clingfilm and put in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

5.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

6.) Lightly dust a surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the pastry and line a 20cm tart tin. Use a bit of pastry to push the pastry into all the corners. This will help it to not shrink down the side as it bakes. Put parchment paper over the pastry and drop in some baking beads.

7.) Bake for 15 minutes. Take out the oven and remove the baking beads and paper. Bake for another 10 minutes.

8.) While the pastry is baking, make up the filling, beat the eggs and add the crème fraiche. Slice up the goat cheese and chop up the dates. Dot the sliced goat cheese around the pastry and sprinkle over the dates. The pastry does tend to puff up a bit in the middle and I got a bit impatient and pushed it down to put the filling in. Pour in the egg/crème fraiche combination.

9.) Bake for about 40 minutes until the middle is set and golden brown. You should be able to test it with a fork and it will come out clean.