We had friends over for dinner on Friday night, so I decided that elegant yet modern Italian would be just the thing. Enjoy!
Chilli and Beetroot Dip with Marinated Goat's Cheese
6 beetroot, peeled and diced into largish chunks
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
100 grams marinated goat's cheese
3 pieces wholemeal Sorj bread, cut into 8cm squares
1 - Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the beetroot in a large roasting dish, and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 30 - 40 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.
2 - Puree the beetroot and chilli flakes together, adding a teaspoon of water if it becomes too thick.
3 - Meanwhile, toast the Sorj bread in a hot oven for 2 minutes, or until crispy.
4 - Arrange the dip, the goat's cheese and Sorj bread nicely on a platter, and serve. The dip tastes awesome with some goat's cheese slathered in top!
Note: The dip will keep in the fridge for 4 days, and is great on toast, as a spread on burgers, or even as a vegetable side dish.
Broad Bean and Lemon Risotto
300 grams broad bean pods
50 grams butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1.5 litres vegetable stock or water
2 cups arborio rice
Grated rind of one lemon
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 - Shell the broad beans. Bring a small pot of water to the boil, and add the beans, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Drain, then set aside to cool.
2 - Once the beans are cool enough to handle, slip each one from it's little grey case. Set aside.
3 - Meanwhile, heat the stock until it is simmering. In another saucepan (a large one), heat the olive oil and butter together. When hot, add the onion and cook until golden and tender. Add the rice and lemon rind, and let it cook for a couple of minutes, or until the rice becomes translucent.
4 - Add the stock one ladleful at a time, letting the rice absorb it before adding more. Continue in this way until all the stock is used up, and the rice is al dente. Add the broad beans and parmesan cheese, and stir through gently, taking care not to squish the beans. Take off the heat, then serve, seasoning to taste, and with extra parmesan for those who like it cheesy. Accompany with a simple lettuce and cucumber salad.