Wednesday, 29 June 2011

London in the Summer Time...

... means having to be prepared for scorching sunshine and torrential rain in the same day. At least it (famously) gives us all something to talk about. 

I guess living in a city famous for fog, drizzle and grey makes people even more keen to make the most of the sunshine when we get it.

Sailing and sandcastle building on the Thames.

And makes even the familiar sights (surrounded by apparently omnipresent building work at the moment) look a bit different.

St Paul's, framed by cranes.

I've even been making more summer-y food; last night was beetroot and broad bean risotto. The beans and the beetroot were the prettiest colours.

Despite being delicious and the most fantastic shade of bright pink, I couldn't take a decent picture and the finished dish looks a bit like it might appeal more to zombies than to real humans.

But please trust me, it was very good.

Beetroot and Broad Bean Risotto

2 beetroot, preferably with greens still attached
1 bulb fresh garlic
1 onion
250g risotto rice (I tend to use arborio)
Splash of vermouth or white wine (not essential)
2 pints vegetable stock, kept warm
Handful of broad beans, podded and shelled
2 tbsp Quark (or cream, yoghurt or cream cheese)
Sprinkle of hard cheese

(Quantities are pretty arbitrary for this recipe... I always make far more risotto than the recipe recommends and how much stock I use always varies! Ditto the amount of veg and cheese - add as much or little as you like.)

Remove the beetroot greens, chop and put to one side. Chop the beetroot into bite-size chunks and roast in a hot oven with a splash of oil/spray of Fry Lite for about 30 minutes until they're soft and darkening at the edges.

Soften the onion with some oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic. Once they're beginning to brown, add the rice and stir well 'til it's all oily. Spolsh in the vermouth/white wine and cook until it's mostly evaporated away.

Add a ladle full of stock and the beetroot. Stir and watch whilst it all turns pink! Add the rest of the stock, a ladle full at a time, waiting for each one to be absorbed before adding the next. Keep going 'til the rice is cooked but not mushy - it'll probably take about 30 minutes, and you might not need all the stock.

Stir in the broad beans, chopped beet greens and then the dairy ingredients. Taste and add anything else you might like. Enjoy!

Oh, and one more summer-y activity. We did some bowling. 

I'm not very good with throwing (or catching or hitting for that matter) and was quite amused by this picture. It looks like I was explaining to the ball where I wanted it to go, in case it wasn't apparent from my actions...

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