Mediterranean “Staycation” – Part 2

I’ve been wanting to spend a holiday at home for a while. The current pandemic has already given me that opportunity twice!  We’ve been very lucky with the weather in the UK this year.  So, it was only natural to replicate some of the flavours we would get on a holiday in the South of Europe.

This time we went for a mushroom risotto.  No artifical flavours. All made from scratch!

Risotto (serves two)


1 onion roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
6 chestnut mushrooms
1 cup of risotto rice
1 cup white wine
2 medium or 4 small carrots
half a cup peas
1 dry bay leaf
A pinch of saffron, nutmeg, cumin, coriander seeds, salt and pepper
1tbsp of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
Chopped parsley


Put a non-sticky pan on a medium heat and add the 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the chopped onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf.  Separately, put the saffron, nutmeg, cumin, coriander seeds, salt and pepper in a mortar and crush them together.

When the onions and garlic turn golden add the rice. Softly stir the rice for 2 minutes so that it absorbs the oil.  Add the white wine and keep stirring to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom.

Once the wine has evaporated turn the heat down a notch and add the spices blend to the rice, then slowly pour some of the water. Just enough to almost cover the rice, but not fully.  The rice will start absorbing the water, so keep stirring throughout this process to avoid sticking to the bottom. This will also give you an indication when more water is needed.

After 5 minutes of the rice absorbing the water add the mushrooms (chopped in quarters or slices, whatever your preference).  Cook for 5 minutes, then add the carrots. Add water as appropriate and keep stirring softly in a low heat for another 8 minutes. Then, add the peas.

Check the rice to see if it’s cooked. If not ready yet a bit of water and keep stirring.  When the rice is ready add the butter and let is melt, softly stirring throughout.  Finally, grate the parmesan and chopped some parsley leaves and pour them over the risotto when serving. Bom apetite!

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