Another Risotto

I think I’ve been making a different risotto once a week now for quite a while. I just can’t get enough.

I have loads of time on my hands and there’s a certain type of comfort I feel in standing and stirring the pot, only taking a break in order to sip my wine. I feel special – not, ‘don’t eat the paste’ special but happy and in love with the knowledge that making risotto is not a scary or indeed a fussy thing at all – I love making it and certainly love eating it.

I had brunched with the girls earlier in the day – I know right! – brunched! – Pft – so wanky but there you have it – we brunched! On my way home I found myself wandering through an amazing international grocers and found a wondrous collection of mushrooms and bags of carnaroli rice – dinner for the evening was set.

My parents have this thing for dropping by with huge amounts of things they find on special – so, another 5 kilo bag of red onions were begging to be used. Last time they did this I made French Onion Soup but as it’s just me here on my little lonesome now, that wasn’t an option.

I spent half the afternoon slicing onions and the other half caramelizing them. I now have a jar of sweet caramalised onions just waiting to be added to whatever they go with.

Mushroom and Caramalised Onion Risotto it was…and it was all mine! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • butter and olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • whatever mushrooms you like just use lots of them
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons dried herbs – I used an Italian mix
  • 1 cup carnaroli or aborio rice – I used carnaroli
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 litre (approx) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon good flaky salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to garnish
  • some more butter and parmesan
  • caramalised onions

Place oil and half the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Cook onions stirring, for 6-8 minutes until soft. Add garlic and rice, stirring to coat grains, then add wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until almost evaporated. Stir in stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes or until al dente (you may not need all the stock – I didn’t).

Drink wine while you do this otherwise go away and don’t make it!

Melt remaining 30g butter in a pan over high heat. Add the caramelized onions and chopped mushrooms and fry for 4 -5 minutes or until mushrooms are golden. Season.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the risotto and stir through. Add more butter and parmesan – love this risotto really creamy but not soupy so make sure you don’t over do the stock.

Serve risotto immediately and make lots of ‘mmmmm and aaahhhhh’ noises – drink wine with it… 🙂 🙂 🙂

lovely ingredients

lovely ingredients



mmmmeeeeaaatttt - for vegetarians!

mmmmeeeeaaatttt – for vegetarians!


frying the onions and mushrooms together makes the house smell awesome!

frying the onions and mushrooms together makes the house smell awesome!


I make myself so happy!

I make myself so happy!





Bring on the Bourguignon Baby!

Beef Bourguignon

I love to say ‘Boof Bourguignon’ a lot! I also love to make it and of course almost dive face first into it, if I didn’t care much to layers of my face peeling off in the process. I also enjoy watching the TV show ‘Food Safari’ although I never remember when it’s on so watch an episode every now and then online. It took me a long time to stop being annoyed with Maeve O’Meara’s “that’s yum/yummy” and “mmmmm’s” … I used my skill as a secondary school teacher to tune out the things I don’t want to hear and tune in to what I do…great skill to have let me tell you!

My favourite episode is the French one, where beef bourguignon is made. Maeve loved the dish “her knees were weak” and now I like her (although she is no Nigella – I love her – she’s my girl crush!). Beef Bourguignon sounds fancy but is not and making stews and casseroles is something I do often in Winter. It’s what I love about the Winter months. Looking back over these Winter months, I have realised that I haven’t made this classic dish and haven’t made any mashed potato at all!


I haven’t made Shepard’s Pie either come to think of it. Something is definitely amiss here. Must make a mental note that while Spring is here, the weather is still cool enough to make it…who am I kidding? I live in Melbourne there will be plenty of opportunities to make it! Such is the magic of Melbourne weather…”if you don’t like the weather in Melbourne, wait a minute!”

Back to Beef Bourguignon! It has been so cold, wet and windy this past week that I have been going to bed every night with this on my mind (no, there is nothing wrong with my relationship, but I do think about food – a lot!) and decided that Sunday was going to be a Beef Bourguignon dinner…and of course in true Melbourne style, it’s a beautiful day!

Don’t care! I’m making it!

Beef Bourguignon, mashed potato with so much butter I may keel over right after eating it, but what a way to go and great bread for mopping up!

This is the Food Safari recipe…love the carrot puree to thicken and sweeten the bourguignon.

Bon Appetit!


1kg beef, cut into large chunks
300g speck, cubed
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced
2 celery sticks- leaves intact, halved then sliced
1 leek, halved and sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
5 shallots – halved
10 sprigs of thyme
bay leaves 
1 bunch of parsley
½ litre red wine, brought to the boil and simmered to remove acidity
Salt & pepper to taste
300g button mushrooms

Carrot Puree
5 carrots, peeled and chopped

Mashed Potatoes
6 large desiree potatoes, skin on
100g butter
200ml milk

Sourdough bread – to serve


Heat oil in a pan over med-high heat.

Seal the beef in batches until golden brown then drain and set aside – reserve the oil.

Repeat until all beef is sealed – reserve oil.

Using the same pan and oil as the beef, add all vegetables except the mushrooms and cook for 5-8 minutes.

Place meat in a large casserole dish, top with the vegetables, bay leaves, thyme and speck. Stir to combine.

Pour red wine over the beef and vegetables, season with salt and pepper and cover with lid.

Place on the stove and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to very low and cook for 40 minutes.

While the bourguignon is cooking prepare the carrot puree and mash below.

Just before serving, add the carrot puree and mushrooms, stir through and cook for a further 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve with mashed potatoes and bread.

Carrot puree
Add chopped carrots to a pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Add salt and cook until just soft.

Pass through tamis, fine sieve or hand blender.

Mashed potato
Place whole unpeeled potatoes into a pot of cold water.

Bring to the boil and add salt.

Cook until soft.

Peel while still hot.

Pass through a tamis, fine sieve or use a fork.

Heat milk in a saucepan until warm.

While the milk is heating, return the mashed potatoes to their pot and stir over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes to remove excess water (this will also add air to the potatoes and make them more light and fluffy).

Add warm milk in small amounts and stir in the butter – mix until combined.

Place cling wrap on top of the potatoes and set aside until ready to serve.

Car Trouble and Nice dinners

Fillet Mignon and Fast Cars

I’ve been driving my partners car for a couple of years now. Mine died and my partner bought himself a new car and passed on his loud, revved up car to me. It’s been quite funny driving it as the engine roars and I feel like I’m in the Grand Prix every time I start it up. It’s set very low to the road and has all the add ons guys love.

The kids at school are always amused that this 5ft nothing teacher steps out of this hotted up machine, and apparently I have a following (at least my car has a following) of a group of young teenage boys who hang around after school just so they can hear the engine roar when I start it up.

It’s been the best car and has been well looked after but it’s 10 years old now and things have started to go wrong. Firstly as a direct result of bad workmanship during a routine car service earlier this year…it’s cost us more than $2000 over the last 3 months to fix a problem that wasn’t our fault…Oh Dear! This is a food blog not a car complaints forum!!! Anyway, for the second time this week I am getting a lift in to work so my partner can get the poor car towed back to the mechanic!

Just quietly, I think the car is reacting to the news that we were going to sell it and buy me a new one so it decided to make life difficult out of feeling rejected at being traded in for a newer model…I think I know how that feels!!!

This has nothing, of course, to do with the fillet mignon I made for dinner tonight. I don’t think that meal felt rejected at all!

Just as my car has been fancied up with extras to make it more appealing so has this steak fillet wrapped in bacon…My car may not be too classy right now but there’s no reason why dinner can’t be!


  • 2 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bacon strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, crimini, and chanterelle, stemmed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir
  • 2 tablespoons prepared demi-glaze
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Season both sides of the filet mignon generously with salt and pepper. Wrap a piece of bacon around the sides of each steak and secure with tooth picks.

In a large heavy, ovenproof pan/skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place the steaks in the hot pan and cook until well seared on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over, there should be a nice crust on top. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; give everything a good stir. Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until the steaks are cooked medium-rare.

Remove the steaks, mushrooms, and rosemary to a platter; cover to keep warm. Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Deglaze with the wine, scraping up all the yummy bits in the bottom of the pan. Mix in the demi-glaze, stirring to combine. Put the steaks and mushrooms back in the pan and coat in the pan sauce.

Finish with a couple of tablespoons of butter to make it rich. Pour the wine sauce on top and garnish each plate and serve with baby potatoes or whatever vegetable you like.

Me? I served mine with cauliflower and cheese and I had to have yorkshire puddings to mop up.