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Valentine cheat


I’ll admit, I was reminded this morning that it was Valentine’s Day by texts from my brother and girlfriends rather than by a frisky wakeup greeting from DS. Mostly through laziness, we’re not ones to make a big song and dance about the day…or any anniversaries for that matter…woe is us etc. Even my local cafe in Paris, from where I write, has surprised me by putting up an army of heart shaped balloons (silver, at least, not pink). Perhaps I’ll be getting my coffee elsewhere in future.

Anyway, today’s recipe is not particularly linked (or really linked at all) to the big V day. It has does have a sprinkling of red paprika on top, so I suppose that’s something. This leek and goats' cheese risotto has become a regular staple over the last few, busy weeks. Quick, warming, satisfying, cheesy AND suitable for 13 month-old AS. Also gluten free and vegetarian, if that's your thing.

The recipe comes with a disclaimer for all Italophiles. I’m calling it a risotto, but I DON'T stir all the way through cooking OR add the liquid gradually. Scandalous, I know. Admittedly, this was an accidental discovery, as the patient 20 minutes of stirring I’d originally allocated to my dinner prep were otherwise commandeered by an impatient AS, who was surprisingly uninterested in watching me stir a risotto. Off the cuff, I decided to add all the liquid at once, bring it to a simmer and leave it. Che meraviglia, after 10 minutes the rice was cooked and I had a deliciously unctuous and creamy risotto. So, no stirring AND less cooking time. I’m not really sure what the downside is.

To bring things back to the V day, this should leave you with plenty of time to get down to the more important things. Goodee.

Leek and goats' cheese risotto

Serves 2, takes 25 minutes

A cheat's risotto, without all the stirring and standing over the pan. Tangy, cheesy, hearty and super simple to prepare. You can easily increase the quantities here - you just need keep keep the ratio of 3 to 1, liquid to rice.

* Leeks - 2, cleaned and sliced

* Garlic - 1 clove, peeled and sliced

* Butter - a knob

* Round rice (or risotto rice) - 1 cup

* Lemon - juice of 1/4

* Stock (chicken or veg) - 3 cups (use unsalted if cooking for a babe)

* Goats cheese - a couple of hunks

* Parmesan - to serve

* Paprika - a couple of pinches, to serve

Place the leeks and garlic with a generous knob of butter in a heavy based saucepan over a medium high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, turn the heat down low, add a splash of water, cover the pan and leave to soften for ten minutes.

Add the rice and the lemon juice to the pan and stir everything thoroughly. Then add the stock. Bring to a healthy simmer, cover the pan and leave to cook for ten minutes.

The rice should be nicely al dente. Stir in the goats cheese, check for seasoning and add more lemon to taste. Serve with lashings of parmesan and a sprinkling of paprika.


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