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Wild Mushroom Risotto

Wild mushroom risotto

I love September. It’s the beginning of autumn, the air gets crispy but not too cold, and you can start detecting that lovely autumnal decay smell, which I absolutely adore…

It’s also a season for mushrooms. I always loved chanterelle mushrooms, I’m obsessed with them. In Poland, at this time of year, you can get them anywhere. In UK it’s not so easy, but I managed to find them in one of the shops. The lady at the check out was looking at me funny because I bought few packs (I just couldn’t help myself, and they freeze really well).

And when you get hold of your favourite mushrooms, why not make your favourite dish??!

(Warning for any Italians reading it – I know it’s a blasphemy but I didn’t use arborio or carnarolli rice…In my defence – I wanted to make it healthier and it was still nice and creamy).

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto:

1 1/2 cup chopped chanterelle mushrooms

2 cups short grain brown rice

1 l vegetable stock

1 cup white wine

2 shallots

1 clove garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

knob of butter

sea salt

pepper

pinch of saffron

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 cup grated parmesan

fresh parsley

  1. Start by heating olive oil and butter in an iron cast or any heavy pan. Add chopped shallots and fry until translucent. Add garlic and fry for another 2 min.
  2. Add chopped mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes. Then add rice and let it coat with olive oil and butter.
  3. Cook on a medium to low heat adding gradually warm vegetable stock and wine. Let it cook for 30-40 minutes until rice is really soft. Add pinch of saffron,lemon zest, salt, pepper and herbs and mix well. At the end add parmesan, mix it well and let it melt until the rice becomes really creamy. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley on top and a salad.

You have to serve it with an appropriate film, and what’s not more suitable than a film ‘September’ by Woody Allen.

The film wasn’t received well and it didn’t bring a lot of money box-office wise. I don’t really understand why, maybe because people in 1987 were more into fast paced films.

‘September’ ‘s plot was inspired by Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ play. Woody Allen wanted the film to look like a play, hence the long shots and one location. You can also see how the film was influenced by Ingmar Bergman’s work. It is a beautifully cast and acted drama. Not a typical Woody Allen film but a gem. And I am also a sucker for a melancholic story with a mother who drinks too much and has to be a centre of attention, suicidal attempts and a beautiful summer house.

What’s not to like, heh?

Enjoy!

Wild mushroom risotto

Wild mushroom risotto

Wild mushroom risotto

 

Risotto Provencal

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risotto Provencal

risotto Provencal

In the middle of summer when you can eat dinner al fresco in your garden, all things Mediterranean come to mind. And I mean all Mediterranean food and films.

Films are a funny thing though. Some good films made in a particular area don’t make you want to go there, and some really (pardon my French) shite ones have got no good plot, writing or inspirational characters but have got that something which makes you yearn to visit the location.

Examples? Take Francis Ozon ‘Swimming Pool’. A really good film to watch, gives you some urge to holiday but doesn’t make you instantly long for south of France.

It is making me think more of French films and writing.

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A really intriguing story though with great acting.

Then take for example ‘A Good Year’…Such a terrible film…Russel Crow pretends he can do light comedy and terribly fakes British accent. I cringe every time I watch it. But I watch it to the end. Why? Because of Phillipe Le Sourd cinematography. The location is so beautifully shot it always makes me want to pack my bags and go to Provence. And also to dine al fresco.

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‘A Good Year’ proves that it’s not as easy as you might think, to make a romantic comedy. In theory, you’ve got good script. Ridley Scott is a brilliant director. Cast wasn’t too bad either, especially Marion Cottillard. Although Russell Crow was not too shabby either in some of his films. Then you put it all together and there you go – a fiasco. That’s why people should never frown upon a romantic comedy. A really difficult genre to succeed in.

Everything what ‘A Good Year’ wanted to be and failed was a success in ‘French Kiss’. Maybe because cast was chosen better. Meg Ryan is a veteran of romantic comedies. She delivers. Kevin Kline is a genius and his portrayal of a French man is hilarious and brilliant. Another film which makes me want to go to France, dine al fresco, but doesn’t make me cringe.

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Remember the scene when Meg Ryan’s character arrives at the little French town which we find out later is Luc’s hometown, and she says’ oh, beautiful! gorgeous! wish you were here!’? That’s the line I say everywhere nice I am since I’ve seen the film.

And there is another category way above any league – Eric Rohmer’s films. I said it before and I will say it again, Eric Rohmer was the master of film making, dialogue, character building. He was the man. His films made me not only want to dine al fresco, go to France, walk and talk, but also simply just live… And not many films make you feel like that.

So this summer take the party outside.

Risotto Provencal :

risotto provencal

risotto Provencal

risotto provencal

risotto Provencal

risotto provencal

risotto Provencal

1 1/2 cup brown short grain rice

1 l vegetable stock

1 cup white wine

1 leek

2 courgettes

1 cup green peas

2 tbsp olive oil

knob of butter

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 clove chopped garlic

salt

pepper

grated vegetarian parmesan

1. Start with warming up olive oil and butter in a pan. Add garlic and fry on a low heat for 4-5 min. Add chopped leek and fry for another 8 minutes.

2. Add rice and coat it with oil. Add wine and cook for 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock. Cook until rice starts getting tender. Add more liquid if required. Slice courgettes and add them with peas into your risotto. Cook for until soft.

3. Add salt, pepper and herbes de Provence. Mix well. Serve with grated parmesan.

risotto provencal

risotto Provencal

 

Mushroom Risotto

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It’s time for classics. Perfect combination – risotto and ‘Blade Runner’.

First of all I love, love, love Philip Dick. He was an amazing writer, captivating and intelligent. Like most writers similar to him, his work was never easy to adapt into a film. Same as ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert – an amazing book (or series of books) and plenty of shitty films and short series. Even David Lynch failed, although if Herbert himself and a studio didn’t interfere, I believe he could have created something exceptional.

All films based on Philip Dick books or short stories are lacking that something which you can find in his work. Books are atmospheric and very vivid, I can never get enough and can read them over and over again, hundreds of times, and I still find them mesmerizing.

Every film apart from one. ‘Blade Runner’.

The look, eeriness of the film, set design and it similarities with Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, make the film a true masterpiece. Its elements of film noir work perfectly, especially with Vangelis’ music. You have to watch the director cut, although is long, it is totally worth it.

To me it is perfection.

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A classic like that has to be paired with something I am very passionate about:

Mushroom Risotto:

mushroom risotto

mushroom risotto

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms

200g chestnut mushrooms

1 leek

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cup arborio rice

1 1/2 l vegetable stock

1/2 cup white wine (optional)

3 tbsp olive oil

knob of butter

pinch of saffron

salt

pepper

chopped parsley

vegetarian parmesan

1. Start with soaking porcini mushrooms in hot water for 30 – 40 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy (iron cast) pot. Add chopped leek. Stir and let it fry on a medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add garlic.

3. When leek and garlic start getting soft add arborio rice. Stir and wait until all grains are coated with oil.

3. Add chopped porcini mushrooms, liquid from soaking the mushrooms and wine (room temperature). You can add saffron at this point.

4. Cook on a medium heat stirring from time to time and adding vegetable stock every time the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

5. In the meantime slice chestnut mushrooms. Heat olive oil in a pan and add mushrooms. Fry until golden.

6. When your rice is cooked, add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Serve with sprinkled chopped parsley and vegetarian parmesan.

mushroom risotto

mushroom risotto

mushroom risotto

mushroom risotto

 

Squash risotto – a dish with character

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squash risottoMy love of risotto runs deep. It is a dish with character and personality. It is almost like me – it needs attention, if you can’t give enough, it turns nasty.

I mentioned before that you can hardly ever have good risotto in a restaurant or a pub if it’s not run by a devoted Italian family.

I was embarrassed by Boyfriend’s father once in a very nice pub. As it happens, the only vegetarian option was mushroom risotto and based on my experience I expected it to be horrible. And it was. You couldn’t find mushrooms in it with a magnifying glass, tasted of nothing and it was overcooked. I bitched about it for 5 minutes, just because I love bitching. Then the waitress came and asked if we liked the food and Boyfriend’s dad said : ‘Yes, food was really good, apart from risotto, but that’s just because she can make it better’. I was afraid to have a desert because I expected them to spit in it. And who can blame them.

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spinach risotto – easy way to show your love

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Potatofaces.com: spinach risottoRisotto is one of my favourite dishes. I can’t say my absolute favourite, like I can’t say what my favourite film is- there is just too many amazing ones to choose from.

Here’s the thing though – if you ever go to a posh restaurant where waitresses look like models and you sit on uncomfortable but beautiful to look at chairs, you won’t find anything vegetarian on the menu apart from mushroom risotto. And it’s always the most horrible dish you can ever try and you have to pay for it (honestly, they should pay you for making you eat it). It’s either undercooked or overcooked, looks like grey blob and is tasteless. Trust me, the only good risotto I ate was the one I had in Italy or at my sister’s.

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