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Chocolate ganache

Esther Walker is unwell. It doesn’t have the same ring to it, I know – but it’s true. I’ve had bronchitis. Okay not actually confirmed bronchitis, but that’s what I’ve been saying. In fact it was just a non-specific chest infection but when I say that it sounds like there’s something wrong with my bosoms. I reckon it was pneumonia, just between you and me. I don’t know how much worse you’d have to feel than I felt for it to be pneumonia. I’ve had a pain, you see, a pain in my lungs.

Anyway it’s taken ages to get better. Usually you get the antibiotics and 24 hours later you’re springing about going shopping. But I went to bed on Sunday night and only really got out of bed again on Thursday morning. It was enjoyable in a way – an uncomplicated, straightforward illness: chills, fever, head-to-toe aches, sweats, pain in the chest, dizziness, delirium, all of that. Not just tired, fed-up, run-down, burnt-out. Actually like fucking dying.

I lay in bed inert and unresponsive as other people looked after my children. Occasionally I would try to focus my hot, blurred eyes on my phone and would wonder why no-one was asking me any questions, how life in the house was carrying on quite so merrily without me. But I didn’t get too upset about it, just slipped back into a semi-coma gratefully.

And what I’ve got for you now I’m back from the dead is a thing that’s going to annoy you because I know you don’t want me to write about cakes and sweeties anymore. But the thing is that those are the NEW things that I am cooking.

I am indeed cooking savoury things like a motherfucker at the moment, but it’s all for Sam who has in the last three weeks started raging through food like a starving wolf.

I always used to find people who talked about how much their children (usually their sons) ate quite annoying, as I sat in front of Kitty coaxing her for hours to eat one more tiny weeny thingy of lamb stew. “Oh was Kitty fussy? We’re lucky,” they would say. “He just ate everything from the start.” And they say “lucky” but what they meant was “it’s because we’re such fantastic parents”. I mean, that’s probably what they meant. THEY SAID IT WITH THEIR EYES.

But now we all stand about and marvel at the food disappearing into Sam’s gob. It’s like a sideshow at a circus. Watch the enormous monster baby eat! Down goes a massive spoonful, and another, and another, and another! Like a waste disposal unit. I have decided that in order to fit it all in, the first bit of food must start to be digested and be making its was out of his tummy before he’s finished the bowl of whatever.

But it’s nothing I’ve done, you understand? Just like it was nothing I did that made Kitty able to exist for weeks at a time on nothing but air, sunlight and three bottles of milk a day. And it’s not because he’s a boy, because I know plenty of baby boys who hardly eat anything – because they don’t need to right now. Because they’ll do more growing later, thanks.

It’s just because Sam is massive and getting massiver by the day – he’s six months old and wearing Kitty’s old blue dungarees that she wore when she was over a year – and he will probably go on to be massiver. (Or maybe he will halt at five feet nine inches when he is twelve years old.)

People always act like it’s such a bloody marvellous thing to have a big baby who will eat the world and that having some strapping six footer son is just the gold standard. Whatever Sam ends up being is fine by me, but I don’t mind men under six foot. My husband is five feet nine inches tall and I think he is the perfect height. I can look him in the eye. When we embrace I don’t end up with my head under his armpit. At parties when I want to say something mean about someone I don’t have to climb a ladder to whisper it in his ear. He doesn’t constantly bump his head on things and complain about legroom on airplanes.

My point is that a consequence of Sam eating so much right now is that getting together enough food for him is an issue. (Don’t get me started on clothes!) If Kitty’s hungry I can make her a make her a sandwich. If Sam is hungry he needs something to be cooked and blended. HE WON’T EAT THOSE STUPID ELLA’S POUCHES. Every time I turn around it’s time to make another enormous stew, or enough cheese sauce for 8 pots of macaroni cheese. I think of life with Sam when he is a teenager (Insha’Allah) and really hungry and see entire loaves of bread and pints of milk disappearing in minutes before my eyes.

But I can’t think that you are interested in my recipe for lentil puree. And the new thing I made recently, as I slowly crept out of my bronchial hell, was a chocolate ganache.

I made one of these before and it wasn’t very good. But I have subsequently realised that the recipe was a bummer. So I made it again on the instruction of Paul Hollywood himself (I texted a question into a radio show! I KNOW!!) and it came out just absolutely perfect.

So this is what you do. To cover 12 fairy cakes you need:

100g best chocolate (for kids, milk chocolate probably best – Waitrose do one called Menier, very nice)
100ml double cream
1 knob of butter

(NB – chocolate ganache is always just equal quantities of chocolate and cream – mls to grams.)

1 Chop the chocolate into reasonably small bits and put in a bowl.

2 Put the cream in a small saucepan and heat until it is nearly boiling. Pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. This takes a while, you need to stir all the time. You can bung it in the microwave for a few seconds towards the end if the chocolate has really stopped melting in. Don’t whisk it!! Because you will get unattractive bubbles, as I did.

3 When it has all melted in, add a knob of butter, for sheen.

4 Pour over your fairy cakes and decorate. This doesn’t actually set firm, like an icing, it’s always a bit gooey and sticky. And hurrah for that.

Have a great weekend.

Love
Esther x

Rice: how many types do you know? Do you know how to use them in the kitchen? – Italian Cuisine


Rice is one of the alimony more complete in nature. Light cereal, full of all the necessary nutrients, low fat and many fibers, vitamins and mineral salts, free of gluten and therefore a precious and useful ingredient in the diet of celiac subjects and those with food allergies.

But how many types of this cereal exist? And how can they be used in the kitchen? Let's try to answer these questions and then we'll find out four recipes good and easy to prepare, each for each variant of rice, at least among the best known and most used in the kitchen.

Analyzing the Italian market, we can make a first big skimming and group it into 4 large ones categories, divided according to the size of the beans and the cooking methods.

The first is that "common"Or" original "with small and round grains, a 12-13 minute cooking time and – due to the large amount of starch it releases during cooking – perfect for soups in broth, soups and desserts. semifino, characterized by roundish grains and cooked around 15 minutes, it is used for appetizers, rice balls and timbales). Up (ribe type for example), the king of risottos, with long grains and a 16-minute cooking time. Superfino – the Carnaroli par excellence – with large grains, a cooking that is close to 20 minutes and ideal for risottos and side dishes.

To these types a note should be added for non-Italian varieties of rice, which are mainly used in ethnic dishes. Let's talk about the thai which goes well with meat, fish or vegetables and cooks in about 15 minutes. Of that Basmati, originating from India and Pakistan, with long and thin grain and the characteristic delicate and aromatic flavor. He was born in Tamanishiki: originating from Japan and perfect for preparing sushi.

There are also types of cereal divided by color, very fashionable in the most sophisticated and sought-after recipes because, in addition to nutritional properties, they give dishes colors and combinations that white rice, inevitably, cannot do.

The two best known variants, in this case, are the red rice and the black one. What are the main characteristics of these two types of cereal?

Red rice

Red rice – usually whole – has high fiber content and mineral salts. It is a source of carbohydrates but at the same time it also provides our bodies with protein vegetable, is rich in antioxidants and promotes the correct functioning of the intestine. Eating red rice helps reduce the risk of obesity and keep it low glycemia. Its flavor, since it is grown in clay soils, often in the state wild, it is very aromatic and difficult to confuse.

The times of cooking red rice is about 35-40 minutes but everything depends on the chosen variety and is perfect in combination with first courses, side dishes, as a filling for vegetables, for flans and timbales and for salads and cold dishes.

Black rice

Black rice (or venere rice) – also integral – has a higher fiber content and maintains a higher quantity of vitamins and mineral salts compared to the white one. The black color emphasizes the presence of substances antioxidants in the coating of rice grains that support the proper functioning of the body and help prevent aging and disease.

The cooking time of black rice is around 40 minutes and is perfect both hot and hot cold for pasta dishes, in combination with legumes and for the preparation of rice salads, less for i risotto.

Let's now discover 4 quick and easy recipes to make with 4 different rice variants. White rice, red rice, black rice and whole white rice.

Sauteed white rice with mushrooms and vegetables

Leaving aside the classic and countless recipes that you can do with the White rice, we propose you a light and interesting variant to prepare at home in a short time. You will need:

300 grams of white basmati rice
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
1 onion
1 large carrot
250 g of mushrooms (preferably porcini)
soy sauce

Boil the rice without turning it during cooking. Wash the zucchini and the aubergine with sticks and sliced ​​carrot. Chop the onion into very small cubes. Sliced ​​i mushrooms. In a frying pan (preferably a wok) fry the onion, add the courgettes and aubergines when golden. After about 10 minutes add the mushrooms and cook everything for another 5 minutes. At this point add the rice and a few tablespoons of it to the pan soy sauce and stir for 3 minutes over high heat. Serve and eat hot.

Spring salad with red rice, lettuce and pomegranate

In combination with red rice we have chosen a fresh and light salad of spring, ideal for a quick and nutritious lunch or a picnic outside. Just cook the rice and let it cool before adding the other ingredients. You can embellish your salad with avocado and ginger and season it with a yogurt sauce or simple soy sauce.

Roll of black rice with salmon and avocado

If you like sushi and Japanese cuisine this dish is for you. The black rice will give the dish an even more decisive taste and will be perfect for preparing i roll because it must not be rinsed after cooking, which allows it to be more easily molded. Here are the ingredients:

300 grams of black rice
rice vinegar, sugar and salt
1 slice of freshly cut salmon
1 avocado
1 cucumber
Spreadable cheese
Sesame seeds and soy sauce

Start by preparing the rice, boil it in salted water until cooked and prepare while the emulsion for the rice, boil 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. When the rice is ready, pour the emulsion over it and stir gently. Cover the rice with a wet cloth until you have to use it. Cut the salmon into strips, peel the avocado and cut it into pieces equal to those of the salmon, do the same with the cucumber. Take the classic sushi mat and spread the rice on it, make a layer of spreadable cheese and then put the ingredients on top stuffed, roll up, being careful not to break the roll. Then remove the mat and cut your roll into pieces. Season with soy sauce and enjoy it as soon as done.

Poke bowl with brown rice

We close this roundup of alternative recipes with rice with this fantastic poke bowl with brown rice with salmon, tuna, edamame and ginger. The famous Hawaiian salad has also conquered the cuisine of the Bel Paese and will do so also with your guests for a light and tasty meal, perfectly balanced from an energy point of view and caloric. You will need:

300 g of superfine brown rice
25 g of edamame
30 g of nori seaweed
100 g of fresh cut tuna
100 g of freshly cut salmon
soy sauce and extra virgin olive oil
fresh ginger flakes
sesame

Start, as always, from the preparation of rice. Cook it in slightly salted boiling water. Drain it and let it cool. Keep it under a wet cloth to prevent it from drying out. Cut the tuna and the salmon in small pieces and marinate them with a bit of oil and soy sauce. In a large enough container, create a bed with rice, season it as you did with the fish and add the edamame, the nori seaweed and flaked ginger. Complete the poke with salmon and tuna and crunchy to the plate with a sprinkling of sesame. Add (if necessary) some oil and soy and enjoy it cold!

Recipe Tartlets with American potatoes and first fruits – Italian Cuisine


  • 350 g shelled beans
  • 250 g flour
  • 150 g butter
  • 12 pcs "baby" carrots
  • 3 pcs ripe avocados
  • 1 pc egg
  • 1 pc broccoli
  • 1 pc American potato
  • 1 pc lemon
  • milk
  • mustard
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • sugar

For the tartellette recipe with American potatoes and first fruits, work the soft butter into small pieces with the flour, then mix the egg, a pinch of salt, one of sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Cover the dough and place it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, obtaining a sheet of 2-3 mm thick; with it, cover 6 round molds, tightening them well. Trim it along the edge and prick it with the tines of a fork; lined with baking paper and filled with dried beans or chickpeas or with the special ceramic spheres for cooking in white. Bake the tarts at 180 ° C for 15 minutes; then remove paper and vegetables and leave to cool.
For the vegetables and the cream: Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for a couple of minutes, cool them and peel them. Peel the American potato and with a digger cut out many small balls (alternatively, cut it into cubes and smooth the edges with a small knife). Cook in salted boiling water for 5-6 minutes. Divide the broccoli into small florets and cook them in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Wash the carrots, cook them in boiling salted water for 1 minute, cool them and peel them. Peel the avocados and blend the pulp with the lemon juice, a nice pinch of salt, 3 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of mustard. Distribute the cream in the tartlets, complete with the vegetables and serve.