The way I became skilled at cooking was to follow tonnes of recipes. Most of the time I made a little discovery while preparing a meal; whether it was how to use an exotic ingredient, a new method of cooking an ingredient or simply finding a match made in flavour heaven. Cooking is an exciting journey with no destination because it is impossible to know everything. Bottom line? Just enjoy the ride.
Yesterday I tried yet another recipe. Potato, pea, tomato and spinach curry. Sounds yummy, right? Everything went well. The potatoes cooked slowly in the thick, bubbling tomato sauce and it tasted divine. Slowly I added the peas. So far so good. Last step, add the spinach. Result? Disaster. Recently I started eating spinach, first raw and then cooked. One thing I forgot about spinach it that when you cook it, it creates a lot of water. My lovely tomato sauce became disgustingly watery and the flavour diluted to oblivion. Aargh! How can some recipes even get published? Is it possible that the creator of this dish found the result acceptable?!
Speaking of recipe testing, BBC Good Food magazine boasts that it tests all of the 101 recipes in each issue. I have to admit, they do quite a good job at putting the publication together, because I’ve never had a flop.
Leek & Bacon Risotto
Preparation: 10 mins – Cooking: 20 mins
- 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 8 rashers bacon
- 4 leeks, sliced
- 350g (12 oz) risotto (arborio) rice
- 200ml (6½ fl oz) white wine
- 800ml (1½ pint) hot vegetable stock
- grated parmesan, optional
- Heat the oil in the big pot and fry the bacon to your liking (just cooked or very crispy). Remove the bacon. When it has cooled, chop it into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the leeks to the pot and fry for 2 minutes until starting to soften.
- Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
- Add the wine and stock, and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the rice is tender.
- Remove the rice from the heat, add the bacon pieces, then stir in the parmesan if desired and some freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
- Enjoy this plate of delight with a glass of white wine.