Updated: Apr 18
Hello guys, welcome back to my blog! How's life?
Mine is very quiet...I am not working for the time being as all the stores are currently closed so I am taking some rest. My boyfriend is still working from home so we decided to keep a similar rhythm to our usual hours. The flat has been divided into "his" part (the bedroom, where is computer is) and "my" part (kitchen and living room) to avoid distractions and to have some space for ourselves. Obviously my space is much bigger. I hate being confined to just one part of the house so I took two, just to have a place to migrate when I am bored.
Also, the kitchen is the warmest room of the flat which I enjoy especially during the morning and the early afternoon. The living room is spacious and I would spend the late afternoon at my computer and working out. They con of it, is that is the coldest room of the house as it never see the sun so even with the heating on it is always icy.
Anyways, from now on it should get better as we are slowly but steadily going towards hotter temperatures.
It is officially spring and we had a couple of very sunny days but unfortunately this week the weather was a bit unpredictable. I personally I am more than ready for some change in the kitchen now that little by little more vegetables will be in season. Since it is not super hot yet, I still feel the need of something warm. like a soup or a comforting bowl of rice.
One of my favourite spring vegetables are asparagus, even though now it is available all year round, it usually grows now.
I remember with pleasure and a bit of nostalgia this time of the year when I was in Italy.
My dad and I loved going in the woods as he was teaching me how to find wild asparagus. After a couple of hours spent strolling in the nature where he know they would grow, we used to come back home with a bunch of asparagus and we would cook a nice risotto or a frittata (sort of omelette) together.
Now that I live in London it is very difficult to find some wild asparagus, so I just buy the regular ones from the supermarket or my local grocery store but I really miss the intense flavour and taste of the wild ones.
Why basmati and not some fancy Italian rice you might ask?
Well, first of all, Italian rice such carnaroli is bloody difficult to find in general in my area, nowadays is practically impossible. I couldn't find any slots for home deliveries (apparently they are all taken until the end of the month and I can't be bothered to wake up at 5 in the morning to look for them) so no online supermarket can help me at the moment.
Another reason is that basmati grains are quicker to cook and by now you'll know how speedy I am when I am coming back from work and my belly is growling. Not that I have this issue right now but I am still very active and productive so I don't want to spend all my time in stirring rice.
Same issue with the saffron which is one of the main ingredients for classic Italian risotto.
Saffron's flavour is subtly metallic with earthy and nutty notes. It is very expensive and 8 times of of 10 is not good quality and it doesn't taste anything. I have got a batch I bought in Italy and I use it only for great occasions.
Therefore, the best and closer substitute for it, is turmeric powder.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and one of my go-to spices as it has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties so I recommend to add some in your vegetables recipes at all times.
Turmeric's flavour is slightly peppery (which I don't mind because as you noticed already I put chilli flakes and pepper everywhere) with a mild bitter note and it is amazing to give some extra taste and a brighter colour to the vegetables. It is great in soups, stews and stir fries of any kind.
-250 gr basmati rice
-a bunch of asparagus tips
-a big leek
-half onion (white or red is up to you)
-a table spoon of turmeric
-extra virgin olive oil
-chilli flakes (optional)
-half tablespoon of salted butter (Lurpark is the best for me)
-grated Parmesan cheese
-Start slicing you leek. Don't through away the dark green ends, they will be as nice as the lighter part once cooked.
-Place the sliced leek in a bowl full of water and wash it well to get rid of the dirt and sand it might be inside. Use a colander to drain it and pat it dry with a clean towel.
-Dice roughly half onion into cubes
-Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil in a wok pan. Add some chilli flakes + the thyme. Let it warm up for a minute.
-Toss the onion and the leeks in the wok and stir well to allow the aroma to release. Cover with a lid and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
-Meanwhile, wash the asparagus tips and cut them into rather big bits. Put them into the pan and season the vegetables with a bit of salt (if you prefer you can also drizzle some soy sauce).
-Warm up 0,8 L of water.
-Put some vegetable stock in the pan, pour a cup of hot water on it and let it melt.
-Add the basmati rice and give it a nice stir, then include the remaining water and the turmeric powder.
-The rice should be ready in 10 minutes (basmati rice cooks very quickly, that's why I use it often)
-It's time to switch off the stove. The essential part for an excellent risotto: what Italians call "mantecare", which means including some grated parmesan cheese and butter in order to make the risotto nice and creamy.
-Serve hot with some more Parmesan cheese on top if you like it a bit more cheesy (like I do)
I hope you guys enjoyed my rather springy recipe today!
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Have great weekend and take care of yourself!
Check out another of my recipes with asparagus: