Food from a Physicist who loves to cook

Monthly Archives: July 2010

So today, some one called me a really foodie today and it brought a smile to my face. I was only looking through the Times food pages looking for inspiration, apparently the nudging and exclaiming was unusual. I just like reading about food, I can’t help it, everything I read I want to try, so yeah I guess I might be. Anyway I’m going to give you the recipe to one of my favourite foods, and something I think everyone should be able to cook. And it’s full of pictures to inspire you.

Lemon, Asparagus and Spinach Risotto

Ingredients

  • Risotto rice (enough to serve you and your friends)
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • A few cloves of Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 bundle of asparagus
  • 2-3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pint Vegetable stock
  • Oil a small splash
  • Butter aprox 50g
  • White wine
  • Thyme
  • Pepper
Yum yum yum

Key Ingredients

  1. Heat the butter and a little oil so it doesn’t burn in a large flat bottomed pan, you use a little oil so that the butter doesn’t burn. Add the sliced onions and garlic to the pan and fry over a medium heat till softened.
  2. Then add the rice, and more butter or oil if needed, stir the rice over a low heat until it becomes translucent, with the edges semi see through. When the rice reaches this point add half of the stock and turn the heat down so the whole mixture is simmering.
  3. To the lightly simmering mixture add the asparagus, roughlychopped, along with the juice and a little ring of the lemon. Then add a splash of white wine to deepen the flavour, and continue to stir so that nothing sticks to the pan.

    Adding the green veg

  4. Continue to stir, adding more stock or wine until the rice, become fat, and soft, then add as much spinach as you like. Stir that in, and season with thyme, pepper and possibly salt depending on how salty your stock is. Now turn of the heat, add more spinach if desired and plate how you like. Small portions for a starter, larger portions for a main.

Presentation {a brief word}

I often don’t care about presentation, so long as food looks appetising and tastes good, I’m happy, I mean I’d never eat anything that looks off-putting unless it smells amazing, but I’m not bothered about fancy details.

How I normally serve  risotto

However because I’ve started hosting dinner parties and served this at an anniversary meal I have looked into plating. So if you do want to present this dish in an aesthetically pleasing manner, I suggest small rounded portions, with a garnish of lemon rind on top, and a little spinach to one side, finishing with a sweep of balsamic vinegar. (Only a small sweep otherwise it over powers the flavour.) As an example, I have below, a picture of the risotto plated for a dinner party.

Fancy plating for a dinner party

One final note.

As with any risotto this dish can be easily adapted to water green veg you have available to you. I’ve used green beans, courgettes and leeks as well. I always like to put some green leaf in it and I really feel that spinach is the best bet for this.


As I mentioned, I’m a physicist.

A geek

A Nerd

Whatever

Anyway at the moment my project requires me to code! To write programs, and processes in a language I don’t really understand, a language that when I mention it to my friends who do programme, they actually look scared, it’s not reassuring.

Well today I had a small victory! Hurrah, I managed to create a program which interfaces with my computer, and powers a pair of solenoids, if I type “y” they turn on, if I type “n” they turn off, I was very pleased with myself. However coding takes it out of you, it crawls into your brain and muddles things, hence there being no real recipe here, which is a pity, and is why there was no post yesterday, but I promise a full recipe post with pictures soon.

As well as my solenoids, today I was looking at writing programs that print something on a screen, well in a slight fit or boredom I created a code that prints a message as though some one is trapped in  the computer, this kept me amused for quite a while. I’ve taken some screen prints so you can all see, I would have made a movie if I knew how, anyway, it made me giggle.

Man trappd in a computer

LET ME OUT!!!

So in celebration of my small victory and the lovely weather we have had today, I made a cocktail, I do love making up cocktails, and I’d appreciate comments or recipe for your favourite cocktail. Here is what I made today.

Summer Blush

Ingredients

  • Ice lots of ice!!
  • Elderflower cordial (mine is homemade, I’ll try to find the recipe)
  • White wine
  • Hibiscus flowers in syrup (Lakeland is a good place to get them)

Put the ice and elderflower in the glass, then add the wine, mine was about half cordial half wine, which is quite sweet, but then I have a sweet tooth. Now add a little hibiscus syrup to make it that lovely pinky red or alternatively put the hibiscus flower in first then pour the wine on. The colour of this cocktail is so bright and summery it really picked me up.

Elderflower and hibiscus summer blush


So today the proper tourists have returned to the bubble, none of these Golf tourists we’ve had over the past two weeks because of the open, but  proper dazed tourists. Which I personally love, particularly the japanese/East Asian tourists, because they take photos of the cutest things, for example, a group were stood out side bibi’s bakery taking photos of the buns, and today a group were carefully watching a baby rabbit  and taking eager photographs. Now I don’t blame them, St Andrews is full of cute animals, and the rabbits are my favourite, they hope about the parks and gardens looking so cute, and they are so tame. Tame enough to get close and take pictures, they’d have to be with the number of students who wander through the parks during term time.

Tiny Baby bunny

As well as Bunny’s there are ducklings from late spring well into the middle of July which is lovely, it makes walking around such a joy, well maybe only for me but I love cute animals.

A blurry cute duckling

Well enough with the cute animals, or sort of enough, I am going to move on to talk about another cute spring animal, but in more of a food related way. My flat mate and best mate, contacted me today for this recipe, she wants to cook it for her mother, and who am I to deny her that. SO without further ado, I present.

Rosemary and Garlic, Mustard Lamb

This is a lovely recipe, that makes said flat mate come into the kitchen and take great sniffs, and she is a Vegan so I think that’s an achievement.

Ingredients

  • Lamb cut (The cut is entirely up to you.)
  • Several cloves of garlic (as many as you are comfortable with
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh rosemary
  • whole grain mustard about 2-3 teaspoons
  • A splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • a little butter
  1. Blitz all but the lamb in a food processor adding more or less to get the quantity you want.
  2. Marinade the lamb in this, kind of massage it in, messy but of so much fun. Leave it for as long as you can, be that overnight, all afternoon or only an hour. I’ve left it for a whole afternoon and then only 30mins it’s good either way.
  3. Wrap the marinade lamb in foil and cook in the oven at about 200 for 5-10 mins, then grill the lamb till cooked the way you like it. Any marinade that drips off can be used as sauce for any veg, or be drizzled over the finished meal.

I like to serve this with seasonal green veg, and some potatoes, as the marinade makes a lovely sauce for them. I’m sorry that this post is in slightly bad taste, but my flat mate wanted the recipe and it has been a spring animal filled day.


Though I’m saying hello to you all here for the first time, I had to say goodbye to a lot of people this week. You see I’m currently doing a summer project, and living up to the 2nd part of my name, being a Physicist, a lot of my friends were also doing projects this summer, and many of them finished on friday, so I had to say good-bye to a lot of them for two months.

Though this was saddening, it did had some benefits, namely the redistribution of food that occurred. People were leaving flats and didn’t want to leave stuff that would go off, so I managed to get myself almost a weeks worth of veg, onions, garlic, cucumber, spinach and cabbage. Oh cabbage, as a kid I never used to have an opinion of cabbage, it was just a vegetable my mother occasionally gave us, but now I quite like it, which is why I’m going to be daring and feature it in my first recipe.

Flavoursom puy lentils

Terrible name for a recipe I know, now this is based on something i cooked this week, something I cooked for my parents wedding anniversary, and something that was cooked for me during a charity Come Dine With Me.

Ingredients

  • Puy lentils (as many as you like, scale up or down to match your proportions)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic chopped (I like lots but I know some people aren’t so keen.)
  • Half a cabbage chopped
  • A few rashers of smoked bacon
  • small knob of butter
  • oil
  • vegetable stock
  • Marmite or similar concentrated stock
  • red wine
  1. Measure out your desired amount of lentils and boil them according to the instructions on the packet, if you want them to be full of flavour add some stock.
  2. When the lentils have about 10-5 minutes left to cook, start to heat the butter in a little oil in a seperate pan. To this pan, add the onions garlic and bacon, cook until the bacon has browned a little and the onions and garlic has softened.
  3. Transfer the lentils with a bit of the stock into the pan with the onions and add the Cabbage, leave this to simmer for a little while.
  4. Now add the Marmite (I’m a sucker for its rich flavour) or your substitute, stir it in, and then add a little wine to give the dish depth.
  5. Once the lentils seem to be in a thick rich source, season to taste, and serve.

I like this on its own, or as a packed lunch or with something relatively light, though it works as a side to almost anything.

Well there you have it, my first foodie post, sadly without pictures as I didn’t take any, but if i cook this again I promise to upload them.



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