Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Summer of love...

We do love a good wedding - especially anything unique, down to earth, beautiful and community-spirited! So, I bet you can imagine how very pleased we are to be providing The Elemental Kitchen's bespoke hospitality this summer at an intimate village hall wedding celebration, close to our base in the East Neuk. We'll be sourcing lots of delicious local produce! Of course, we'll also be sharing our special ingredients for the good life with our happy couple.....

Monday, 11 April 2011

Monday, 4 April 2011

Spring Recipe - Cauliflower Risotto

Cauliflower Risotto with roasted cauliflower and cauliflower puree

This risotto is a great way to use what I think is an often overlooked vegetable. The combination of rich, creamy risotto, velvety puree and crunchy roasted cauliflower really showcases the versatility of the cauliflower. The dish too, has many uses - great as a starter, a vegetarian main, or as a wonderful accompaniment to fish, shellfish or a nice piece of roast spring chicken...

Serves 3-4


1 small cauliflower weighing approximately 600g
300ml milk
a little olive oil
2 small onions
140g arborio or carnaroli risotto rice
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
40g butter
100ml of white wine or vermouth
20g freshly grated hard cheese such as gran padano or parmesan
Salt & pepper

There are three elements to this dish, the puree, a white risotto, and the roasted slices of cauliflower.

First, remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower, remove the core, and split the cauliflower into florets.

For the puree, take half the florets and cover with the milk in a small saucepan, making sure that the pieces are small enough to be submerged. Season with salt, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and gently cook until the florets are soft (about 10 minutes). Drain, reserving the poaching liquid, then blend the cooked cauliflower with the milk, adding as much as you need to make a smooth, velvety puree - you might not need all of the milk. Taste, adjust the seasoning and set aside in a warm place.

To prepare the roasted cauliflower, cut the remaining florets into slices about half a centimetre thick, then transfer to a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Ten minutes before your risotto is finished, roast in a hot oven preheated to 220 centigrade, until the slices are brown at the edges and cooked 'al dente' - we want a crunch to contrast with the risotto.

For the risotto, first bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a saucepan and keep this simmering during the rest of the cooking.
In a separate pan, finely chop the onions and sweat over a gentle heat with 20g of butter until soft.
Turn up the heat to medium, add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn't stick. This stage is important, as by 'toasting' the rice, you enable it to absorb hot the stock and cook more quickly later on in the process.
Add the wine and stir, it should boil up quite quickly as the pan will be hot. Cook until the liquid is all gone.
Turn down the heat and add the stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly, and only adding a new ladle of stock when the previous one is nearly gone.
Continue until the rice is cooked, but with a little bite. You might not need all 500ml of the stock, but there shouldn't be much left! At this stage, we want the risotto to be quite dry, as we're about to add the cauliflower puree.
Remove from the heat and fold in approximately half of the cauliflower puree, then beat in the remaining 20g of butter, cut into cubes, with the grated parmesan. Season to taste and leave for 2 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon the risotto onto a base of warm puree and top with the roasted cauliflower slices.

Recipe created by James, head chef @ The Elemental Kitchen for the award-winning
Ardross Farm Shop, East Neuk of Fife.