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Tomato and Rosemary Risotto

Recipe post: Tomato and Rosemary Risotto with toasted almonds

Rosemary and Tomato Risotto

Rosemary and Tomato Risotto

Today’s recipe is a rich and lovely Tomato Risotto. In my last post I was looking at the lovely Spaghetti Carbonara which Adam cooked for Hana and I when we went to visit him a couple of weeks ago now (yikes, I’m behind!). I talked a bit about the lovely meal he cooked for us but I didn’t talk much about Adam moving out. Back in June I talked about loosing my gran, who had raised Adam and myself since childhood. Adam still lived with her and so for him it was a much bigger shock, not just losing her but having to move out of his childhood home in a very short space of time.

It was a big move and shock for him to have to start searching around for a place to move to and with me living in London there was only so much I could do to help (aside from looking at listings, calling agents and that sort of thing). But after a few of months he moved in in mid September and by early October was nicely settled into what isn’t just a really lovely house but also a good home too. I know it relaxed him a lot to be stable and renting a place. For me, I could breath again after holding my breath for three months half expecting him to be moving in with Hana and me in London.

It ended what had been a pretty rough time for both of us on the day we finished clearing out the house, moved Adam out and handed over the keys. It was both an end and a new beginning. Seeing him moved in meant things really were moving on.

Tomato and Rosemary Risotto

Tomato and Rosemary Risotto

Tomato and Rosemary Risotto

So on to something totally unrelated, the Tomato and Rosemary Risotto I cooked up the other week, not sure if that was last week or the week before! I made this risotto recipe using a pack of mixed risotto rice A risotto is relatively simple to cook but takes a lot of attention and constant stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick and has enough liquid so in that sense it does wed you to the kitchen stove for an hour or so. I usually take my iPad in with me so I have something to keep me amused whilst it slowly reduces and cooks down.

Ingredients for 2 – 3 portions

1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
200g – 300g 3 grain rice (barley, spelt and Italian rice)
800ml – 1ltr low sodium vegetable stock
dash of balsamic vinegar to taste.
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
3tsp dried rosemary
50 whole almonds
½ a small tub of low fat cream cheese (Philadelphia)

Tomato and Rosemary Risotto Recipe:

Tomato Risotto bubbling away

Tomato Risotto bubbling away

  1. You’ll need a big and shallow pan to cook this in, we use a cast iron frying pan to cook risotto. Begin by preparing the onion, celery and garlic. Heat the oil in a olive oil, test it’s hot with a little bit of chopped onion, if the oil starts to bubble around it you’re good to go.
  2. Gently fry the onion, celery and dried rosemary for about 10 minutes, till translucent and soft, now add the garlic and cook for another two minutes.
  3. Boil the water and prepare the stock, you might not need it all but make up 1ltr.
  4. Stir in the barley/ Italian rice/ spelt mix. Make sure to coat each grain with onion, celery and garlic. Now add 600ml of stock and 1 can of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, make sure you stir every so often else the grain will stick to the pan. I leave 1 can of tomatoes out here as there is too much liquid for the grains to absorb in one go.
  5. 5. After 20 minutes add the second can of tomatoes and more stock. You’ll need to gauge the amount you need by how much stock was absorbed in the last 20 minutes. Now simmer again for 20 minutes, or till most of the liquid has been absorbed.. Remember if it gets too dry before the grains are soft and cooked through, add more stock
  6. Whilst this is reducing (and you are stirring it) pop the almonds on a baking tray under a warm grill for about 5 minutes, or till golden brown. Once toasted, cool and chop to garnish the finished risotto.
  7. When the risotto has reached your desired consistency, not to dry or liquidy. Serve each portion with a generous serving of Philadelphia and garnish with the chopped toasted almonds.

You might be tempted to buy ready toasted almonds but I promise they taste better when you do it at home.

Other risotto recipes you might like:

Rosemary risotto with borlotti beans

Leak and Parmesan risotto

Recipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes

Find me on Google Plus, catch up and message me on Twitter and see more great pictures on Flickr and Pintrest

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Budget Tuna pasta bake

Budget friendly Tuna Pasta bake.

This is another great recipe from my budget week last week. I made this tasty and filling tuna pasta bake on Friday evening after a good session at the gym. I was feeling quite hungry and I did push the budget a little to be able to make this recipe but I think when you consider it cost just 88p per portion for 4 portions then I don’t think you can complain.

The budget week was a real challenge but in the end I was happy with how it went. I really made me think about how and where I spend money every day and I’ll probably take a lot of this forward.

Budget tuna pasta bake 88p per serving Photo: Russell Bowes

Budget tuna pasta bake 88p per serving Photo: Russell Bowes

Ingredients for four portions
50g Butter – 30p
100ml (aprox) Milk – 8p
50g flour – 5p
50g strong cheese, grated – 50p
300g Value pasta – 20p
2 cans of Value Tuna – £.160
1/2 a can of Value Sweetcorn – 15p
1 large onion – 10p
2 cloves of garlic – 5p
1 huge leek – 50p

Total cost £3.53 / 88p per serving

Recipe

Preheat your oven to 180c and pop on a big pan of water. Once boiling add the pasta and boil for 2 minutes less than the pack instructions, you’ll finish the cooking in the oven later.

Whilst the pasta is boiling finely chop the garlic, onion and giant leek. Add a little butter to a saucepan and gently the fry the onion, garlic and leeks till softened then set aside.

On to the cheese sauce. Grate the cheese. In a saucepan melt 50g butter. Add the 50g of flour and stir till absorbed by the butter, it will get clumpy but don’t worry. Whilst constantly whisking, pour in the milk a little at a time till it’s all added. Remove from the heat and whisk till you have a smooth sauce then add the grated cheese and whisk this in too.

Drain the pasta once it’s almost cooked and add back to the pan. Pour on the cheese sauce. Drain the tuna and sweetcorn and mix in too. Stir everything together to make a nice budget tuna pasta bake and add it to an oven-proof dish.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, till golden on top, then serve.

Recipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes

Find me on Google Plus, catch up and message me on Twitter and see more great pictures on Flickr and Pintrest

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Filed under Lifestyle, Living on a tenner: Budget cooking

Budget homemade vegetable soup

Quick and tasty homemade vegetable soup.

This is one of the quick and tasty budget recipes I made during my £20 challenge week.

Quick veggi soup Photo: Russell Bowes

Quick veggi soup Photo: Russell Bowes

This is a great budget-friendly soup recipe which I put together from what was in the fridge and cupboards. I was still using some of the potatoes, carrots and other veggies from the big bag I picked up earlier in the week (see day two) from the local greengrocer. I’ve made lots of soups before, so I didn’t need to follow a recipes when making this. I was in a bit of a hurry on Thursday and between rushing about a lot I was glad this turned out to be a very quick meal to make.

I ended up making enough soup for Thursday dinner and Friday lunch for me; Hana was out again, so if she had been at home to eat, it would have been enough for a meal for two. Either way it makes two portions, which is great when you think it costs about £0.91p to make and even cheaper if you don’t include the bit of Ham I did. I added some Ham each time as I had bought it in the reduced section of the supermarket and it needed using up quickly before it went off.

Budget friendly recipes: Homemade Vegetable soup with chopped ham.

Ingredients:

2 Potatoes – 16p
1 Carrot – 10p
1 Onion – 10p
2 sticks of Celery – 20p
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube – 10p
100ml milk – 8p
Butter/ low-fat spread – 5p
2 slices Ham – 12p
Total cost for 2 servings £0.91p / 45p per serving

Recipe

Peal and chop the potatoes and carrots into 1 inch cubes then add to a pan of boiling water and boil for 15 minutes or till soft.

Finely dice the onion and celery. Add to a pan with a little butter, just enough so they won’t stick. Fry these till soft and translucent, then put to one side.

When the potatoes and carrots are softened drain them, reserving about 1.25ltrs of the cooking water, which we will use for the soup. No sense in wasting any of that goodness from the vegetables.

Pop the potatoes and carrots back in the pan with the reserved water and add the stock cube. Stir well as you bring back to the boil. Add the celery and onions and keep stirring to break up the stock cube.

Remove from the heat and add the milk. Stir well. Blend the soup in a blender or with a stick blender till you have a creamy consistency (the milk really helps with this).

Chop the slices of ham and sprinkle half on each bowl of soup. Add pepper to taste, you shouldn’t need salt as even low sodium stock cubes can be more than salty enough.

Cost per serving 45p. Makes two servings.

Recipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes

Find me on Google Plus, catch up and message me on Twitter and see more great pictures on Flickr and Pintrest

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Filed under Living on a tenner: Budget cooking