Winter has been absolutely artic this year - or maybe it's just my old house full of draughts and dodgy insulation. All I want to do is curl up in front of a fire with a good book, some comfort food, and hope that winter isn't going to last too much longer. The weather has turned to custard this week in Christchurch with torrential rain - so I've been cooking comfort food like risottos and sticky desserts for the rampaging hordes.
BACON & PUMPKIN RISOTTO
Adpated from a recipe by Donna Hay
1 small leek - sliced
5 c chicken stock
700 g pumpkin - diced
½ cup grated parmesan
italian parsley to garnish
2 cups arborio rice (Ferron Carnaroli or Ferron Vialone for a more creamy risotto)
60 g butter
300 g bacon
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Place rice, chicken stock, leek, pumpkin, and butter in an oven proof dish and cover tightly wth a lid or foil. Bake for 50 - 60 mins until the rice and pumpkin are cooked. Add more liquid (water or stock) if the risotto drys out too much during cooking.
While the risotto is cooking fry the bacon rashes, then drain on kitchen paper.
Remove the risotto from the oven, chop up the bacon rashers and fold through the risotto with the parmesan, salt & pepper until combined. Garnish with extra parmesan and parsley.
STICKY DATE & WALNUT PUDDING WITH TOFFEE SAUCE
250 g pitted dates - chopped
½ c boiling water
100 g butter - softened
1 c caster sugar
1½ c plain flour
1½ tspn baking powder
¼ c milk
100 g chopped walnuts
100 g butter
140 g brown sugar
125 ml cream
Place the dates in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Set aside until the water has been absorbed.
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric beater until light and creamy. Add the eggs gradually and beat well. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture, add the milk, dates, and chopped walnuts, and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture into a greased 8 inch cake tin. and bake for 30 - 40 mins, or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
While the pudding is cooking make the toffee sauce. Place the butter, cream and brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and simmer rapidly for 5 - 8 mins or until the sauce is thick.
To serve, cut the pudding into thick slices, pour over the warm toffee sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.
Serves 6 - 8
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All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2012