Arancini

Not your obvious kids meal I know. In fact I probably shouldn’t be posting this at all, rather should banish myself to a corner and repeat “Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a dick.” as that is quite possibly what you might already be thinking.

But in my defence this was a total one off and it took less than 15 mins to throw together. Also Amelie has reached that delightful age where she will only eat if she can fist the food into her mouth herself. Anything presented to her on a spoon is met with shrieks of outrage as if the very idea of her mother trying to keep her alive through feeding her actual food is some form of child abuse!

I love anything that uses up leftovers and anything that means I can eat the same lunch as the kids. Although, note to self, deep-fried balls of risotto is not what Mama should be eating for lunch if she ever wants to shift the baby-weight!! (Can you even still call it baby-weight when said baby is nearly a year old??!!)

Ingredients:

  • leftover risotto
  • plain flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • dried breadcrumbs
  • flavourless oil (vegetable/sunflower)

Wet your hands with cold water and, using about a dessertspoonful at a time, roll the risotto together until it forms a small ball. You should be aiming for it to be about the size of a ping pong ball. Keep going until you have as many as you need.

Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs each in their own separate bowl or plate – if you are cooking these for adults youΒ would do well to season the breadcrumbs at this point. Gently roll the risotto ball first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs shaking off the excess as you go. Set aside on a clean plate. Repeat with all balls.

Meanwhile have about 5cm of oil warming in a deep saucepan. To check you’ve reached the correct temperature drop in a small piece of bread and watch if it sizzles and bubbles. You want it to do this gently, if it’s too aggressive the arancini will burn.

Using a slotted spoon drop one of your risotto balls into the oil. Use this as your tester to check the temperature of the oil is correct. It should take about 5 mins for it to cook and you are aiming for a golden brown colour. If you’re happy with the temperature then carry on cooking the rest of them. The amount you cook at one time will depend on the size of your saucepan (and the size of your balls!) but be careful not to crowd the pan as it will lower the temperature of the oil.

Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

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My Pop’s Mushroom Risotto

I think the first time I ever had risotto was at my friend Charlotte’s house and I must have been about 15. Never once had I come across this dish within the bosom of my own, otherwise very ‘foody’ family. Actually I’ll retract that – we did get something called risotto a couple of times for tea but it definitely wasn’t the same thing – basmati rice with peas and chopped up bits of bacon in it does not count as proper risotto.

So about 5 years ago my Pop suddenly ‘discovered’ risotto and since then has ordered it every time he has seen it on the menu in a restaurant and has hailed it as one of the great mysteries of the culinary world. I should clarify at this point that my father is a good cook. An extremely good cook in fact. But it wasn’t until Sunday night last weekend that he attempted his first risotto. Not only did me and every one of my siblings get a phone call to announce that this monumental event was going to take place but most of us got one while he was cooking as well: “I’ve been stirring the bloody thing for 20 minutes and the rice STILL isn’t cooked”. “Yes Pop, it does take about 35 minutes of constant stirring to make risotto.” “WHAT!! I’m not going to stand here stirring for THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES!!” But he did, and having been treated to the (much calmer) second attempt on Saturday night this weekend, it was well worth the effort…Β  Continue reading…