Beetroot Risotto with Feta


Maus and I are always in a dilemma about what to have for dinner.  Being the proud owner of a blog, I feel a need to try different things.  Maus, on the other hand, feels no such burden.  She is happy to have whatever I give her.  And if she is cooking, baked beans, an omelette or rissoles will do just fine.  Clearly, it is a balancing act between the two.

The other night, I asked the dreaded question, to which Maus replied, “Something light.”   “But I need something new for my blog”, I lamented.  Out came the cookbooks.  I chose this recipe because it fitted the ‘Something light” criterion, we have plenty of beetroot in the garden and there has been feta in the fridge far longer than is good for it.   A quick review of the recipe and I was sold.  We had everything listed and it looked really easy.  I was particularly interested in the fact that Gary does not add the stock a little at a time, stirring all the while.  Rather, he adds all the stock in one go and only stirs it at the end of the cooking.

I thought the risotto was great.  It certainly looks very specky.  As an added bonus, it could easily be made vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

This recipe is from Gary Mehigan’s Comfort Food.  The recipe serves 2 as a main or 4 as an entrée.

  • 2 medium-sized beetroot or 3 small ones
  • 500 mils chicken stock
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • salt & ground white pepper
  • 200g Arborio rice
  • 100mils white wine
  • about 60g crumbly feta
  • basil to serve (optional).  (As it is the middle of winter here, I didn’t have any, so dried basil it was.)
  1. Preheat your oven to 160°C.
  2. Place the beetroot on a tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little dried basil (if desired) and roast for 40 minutes or until tender.
  3. Peel the beetroot.  Cut one third of the beetroot into 1cm cubes. Puree the balance.
  4. Bring the stock to the boil then set aside.
  5. Melt 30g of butter in a sauté pan.  Cook the onion and garlic until soft and translucent then add 1 teaspoon of salt*.
  6. Add the rice and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the wine and allow it to reduce.
  8. Add the boiling stock all at once and bring to a simmer.
  9. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  10. Stir in the beetroot puree and cook for a further 2 minutes over low heat.  If your rice is not quite cooked, add a bit of water (or extra stock, if you have it) cover and cook for an extra 5 minutes, then test again.
  11. Add the remaining butter and stir.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve risotto sprinkled with cubed beetroot, feta and fresh basil (if using).

*NB: If you are using commercial stock or you have already added salt to your stock, you may not need this much salt.

Man’oushé with za’atar and with spinach and cheese



Pizzas or man’oushé (in Lebanon) and me have had a convoluted history.  To me, a good pizza is all about the base.  For years, I have been trying to make the perfect pizza base:  it needs to have bite, be thin and crisp and, ideally, a little charred in places.  A big call for a domestic oven. Continue reading

Date and Nut Loaf – Mark II


My sister, Sandra, sent me a text after my last post with mum’s recipe for date and nut loaf.  It was a little cryptic in part.  It included ‘a few spices’ which I interpreted as something one conjures up when faced with ‘mixed spice’ in a recipe and you don’t have ‘mixed spice’.

Continue reading

Date and Nut Roll


A while ago, I decided I wanted to make the date and nut roll I remember my mum making.  I had my mum’s Willow nut loaf tins and had never used them.  My mum used the CWA Cookbook so I went straight to it, thinking I would find the recipe in it but it wasn’t there.  I decided to look a little further and found this recipe in my Macquarie Dictionary of Cookery. Continue reading

Sourdough scones


I am very excited.  I have been making the best scones ever lately and it is all due to a recipe I found in a little old cook book.

In the early years of my life, I only bought cheap, pocket-sized cook books.  Money is hard to come by when you are young so you spend it sparingly.  I still have those old books and some of them have turned out to be real gems.  The book in question is Homemade Bread, by the food editors of Farm Journal.  It was first published in New York in 1969.  My pocket book edition was published in 1977. Continue reading